That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the WFA Grand Slam Tournament is over for another year and we have our winner. For those who don’t know the WFA Grand Slam Tournament takes place throughout the year, starting with the first WFA Grand Slam (usually Flairmania in January) and ending with the final Grand Slam, the Roadhouse in November. The Grand Slam Leaderboard is hosted here on the WFA website and following each Grand Slam tournament the points for each bartender are updated depending on where they placed in that Grand Slam competition. Each year the number of Grand Slam Competitions can vary, this year we had 7, located all over the world from Singapore to London, Mexico to Latvia.
Talking of Latvia, this year’s winner is a born and bred Latvian himself who has been fighting for those top places at all of the WFA’s biggest competitions for many years – it is of course the master of the big trick, Deniss Trifanovs! Congratulations to Deniss in having his most successful year of flair bartending competition yet and deservedly becoming our new WFA Grand Slam World Champion. Here were his results:
Flairmania, Latvia – 3rd
Barstylez Big Match, Singapore – 3rd
Skilled Flairbartender, Mexico – 1st
Cambridge Cocktail Weekend, UK – 2nd
Dream Flair, India – 1st
Loolapaloosa, Italy – 1st
The Roadhouse Grand Finals, UK – 3rd
Unbelievably, Deniss managed to place in the Top 3 for every single WFA Grand Slam this year ensuring maximum points and quite the lead to finally win the WFA Grand Slam Tournament:
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Congratulations are also in order for this year’s runners up, Marek Posluszny and Luca Valentin.
Following his victory, we took some time to talk to the man himself to find out how he feels being crowned the new WFA Grand Slam World Champion, what’s to come next year and so much more:
Deniss, how does it feel to win your first WFA Grand Slam World Championship?
“It feels really awesome! I’ve really wanted this for a long time. This year I had the chance to compete in every WFA Grand Slam competition and I was really happy to finally get it. To be one of the 6 people in the world to be a WFA Grand Slam World Champion is amazing and I feel privileged to be amongst the other legendary bartenders who have won it”.
When you started 2018 with Flairmania, was your target always the Grand Slam Championship, or were you just taking each competition as it came?
“To be honest I started this year without any thoughts of winning the Grand Slam Championship, firstly I didn’t know if I was going to have enough money to make it to all the places around the world! The first one was Flairmania, which was easy for me to get to of course being in my home country. Following that however, it was thanks to the Flair Project bartending school who sponsored me, which allowed me to get to some of the further afield Grand Slams such as Singapore, Italy, India and London. I have been very lucky to be able to get to all of these competitions.
Being the first year I was able to take part in all of them I also learned how tough it is to prepare for all of these competitions, a Grand Slam is the best of flair bartending competitions so you have to bring something good and different for every one. I would change my performance to focus more on originality, creativity, or showmanship, depending on what each competition was looking for – this of course meant changing my routine quite a bit too! I am really, really happy with how this year has gone for me. Not just in the Grand Slams but in every competition I have taken part in. In total I took part in 17 bartending competitions this year achieving 12 first places with the rest being second or third. For me this is the best year I have ever had – so far!”
Which was your favourite Grand Slam event?
“That’s a hard one, each of the competitions had moments for me in different ways. When I landed the 8 object move at Flairmania this felt like the best move on stage I did at the Grand Slams, whereas my best feeling was definitely at Cambridge where I felt like a real rock star – especially with the cool new entrances! The best or cleanest overall routine for me had to be Loolapaloosa, where I basically had no drops so this was a bit of a favourite of mine also”.
Finally, now you are the WFA Grand Slam World Champion. What is to come from you in 2019?
“Next year I just want to continue to try my best in all the competitions I am able to take part in. I want to develop each and every time and bring something new to every competition. I try not to bring the same routine to every competition, unless I only have a few days between two competitions! I find it really boring to practice the same routine, I just can’t do it! I want to keep rocking the stages and stay on top of my competitors where I can and just all round keep kicking ass!
If I have a chance to take on the WFA Grand Slam Championship again I will always try, it just depends on if I have the capability to take part in every competition as I did this year. I also found that preparing for so many big competitions was very stressful and it takes over your life, so I don’t want to push it to hard next year and stress my mind and my body too much. We will see what happens…”