BACK TALK

Hobby

The art of foot cubing

JOHN INTINI November 7 2005
BACK TALK

Hobby

The art of foot cubing

JOHN INTINI November 7 2005

Hobby

JOHN INTINI

The art of foot cubing

Craig Bouchard doesn’t go anywhere without his bag of Rubik’s cubes. “I keep about 17 cubes with me at all times,” says the Grade 11 student from Kingston, Ont., who picked up cubing this summer-and is one of four Canadians heading to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Rubik’s World Championships (Nov. 56). While there, he plans to test more than just his hands and mind. “I’ve been getting pretty good with my feet,” says Bouchard, who averages five minutes per solve with his feet (his personal best using his hands is 24.9 seconds). “You do it barefoot to use your toes.”

At the championships-which boast US$19,500 in prize moneyevents include foot-solving, blindfolded and one-handed, as well as the more traditional speed competitions (with 3-by-3, 4-by-4, and 5-by-5 cubes). This Rubik’s subculture is growing rapidly. In fact, 200 cubers from 24 countries are expected in Florida this weekend-and more than likely the current world record of 11.75 seconds (with a 3-by-3 cube) will be shattered. Justin Eastman, a Montreal graphic designer, is one such hopeful. His best time, albeit unofficially, is 11.5 seconds. “You have to always be thinking two or three moves ahead,” says Eastman, 27, who competed at the 2003 World Championships in Toronto. “Once you have your moves memorized, solving it becomes automatic. At that point, it’s all about how fast you can do it.” J.l.