Winter 17/18

It might be cold out but this season is FIRE.

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So many options its hard to choose somewhere to begin!

How about HUBSTACK AFTERGLOW. The best light yoyo in the world. Turn play on its side with the Patented TRIPLE BEARING HUBSTACK design.

Then there is something never done in WOOD. Our LEGEND WING design has a unique textured rubber finish. Unique feelings and great classic play.

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Then we gave some of our favorites a NEW holiday look.

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FLIGHT, REPLAY PRO and LOOP 720 in a CLEAR WHITE marble snow swirl.

The 720 is SHU TAKADA specification with the RED responsive looping spacers (which do not require lubricant) plus the new BLUE spacer for those looking for a freestyle setup.

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Then there is the Gentry Stein SHUTTER Wide Angle. A clear winner in a white on white look.

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Last but not least we have something from nowhere near snow. Hawaiian born and breed Evan Nagao is never out of place, so we are dropping a brand new model, the WEDGE in the collection.

 

Machined from Delrin with a solid Aluminum hub this yoyo encapsulates Evans play style and penchant for massive tricks. Give it a big throw.

We would also LOVE some help photographing this collection.

If you can get any shots of these yoyos in the Winter Wonderland they should exist in share them with the hashtag #yoyofactorywinter and we will choose some winners before spring to receive a generous selection from our catalog :)

NATE DAILEY / ND ULTRA

We got the briefest of shoots with Nate Dailey to show off his new signature yoyo the ND Ultra. Nate is ultra consistent as a player and doesn't miss a trick which makes him a joy to shoot. We hope to get some time with him soon to lay down a full video. 

YoYoFactory Adventure, where not a single yoyo was thrown

How can it be? How can it be a YoYo.... anything Adventure if a yoyo isn't thrown? Well, sometimes it isn't the time, or the place. On this adventure we visited THAT place, at THAT time.

Gentry Stein stands on the steps of Freedom House. Panmungak North Korea behind him

Gentry Stein stands on the steps of Freedom House. Panmungak North Korea behind him

Today, Nov 13 2017, news broke of a North Korean soldier was shot by his former comrades while defecting to South Korea 

The soldier is reported to have left the North Korean guard post in front of Panmungak, on the border inside Joint Security Area (JSA) on the heavily-guarded border between the two countries  and proceeded to move towards Freedom House on the South Korean side.

This is where our adventure took place.... less than 10 days ago.

The freedom railway connects the north to the south. It is one of many symbols of the wish for a relationship between the North and the South.

The freedom railway connects the north to the south. It is one of many symbols of the wish for a relationship between the North and the South.

North Korea is now off limits to US citizens. Visitors from other nations can access it via China and we know a number of people who have visited in the last 2 years. None of them recommended going. Since the capture and ultimate death US tourist Otto Warmbier its something we wouldn't consider doing.... but there is another way to visit.

Its safe they say. Organized tours leave Seoul daily shuttling camera toting tourists to the DMZ (demilitarized zone). This area is 6km back from where the battle line was when a ceasefire on the Korean Peninsula was called in 1953. Roughly following the 38th parallel, the  DMZ stretches almost 150-mile-long.

Located within the territory is the “truce village” of P’anmunjom here North Korean and American soldiers stand face to face.  This is part of the Joint Security Area (JSA) which is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and, until March 1991, was also the site of military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC). Now its is used for posturing. Loud speakers blare propaganda, both directions. 

While the military stands face to face, guns ready. So do tourists. From the South and North.

They stand alert. The blind on the building will offer some weather protection for the armed and alert solider on the southern side. Standing on the stairs opposite is his Northern equivalent.

They stand alert. The blind on the building will offer some weather protection for the armed and alert solider on the southern side. Standing on the stairs opposite is his Northern equivalent.

Its a bizarre scenario. The North Koreans don't get the opportunity to come down to the actual border, instead watching from a building (with a door locked from the outside) preventing anyone  from defecting. From the south visitors get to enter the negotiation halls and literally step into North Korea, albeit briefly.

As with all travel, the understanding gained from an experience IS the reason why. Here we balanced the risk of visiting the front line of a technical war zone with the opportunity to share the feelings on the ground. While we felt safe every moment we knew events like this shooting do occur and that this was NOT the place to start busting out yoyo tricks.

For a brief moment, this yoyo existed in both the south and the north. It sits atop the conference table which one day may be used to negotiate a permanent resolution to the conflict on the Korean peninsula.

For a brief moment, this yoyo existed in both the south and the north. It sits atop the conference table which one day may be used to negotiate a permanent resolution to the conflict on the Korean peninsula.

While the American media portraits an imminent conflict, in South Korea life goes on. The have lived in the spectre of conflict since the ceasefire in 1953 and its no use hiding. It is not part of daily conversation or news cycle. North Korea has never changed its tactics. Brinksmanship or the 'chicken game' is a way of life. South Korean have shown a lot of compassion to the north. previous periods of the 'sunshine policy' offering aid and attempting to support joint trade initiatives may be dulled by current international sanctions but there is evidence along the DMZ a unified Korea is desired. Rail bridges, point of entry bus and rail terminals all modern and constructed in the past decade, exist ready for reunification. While 2.5million land mines will ensure that it is not an easy process, many hope for this day to come soon.

Casually standing on the North Korean side of the room, Gentry is pictured with a South Korean guard. The door behind him isn't locked. It leads to 'no-mans land' where you will not be retrieved from should you decide to head North.

Casually standing on the North Korean side of the room, Gentry is pictured with a South Korean guard. The door behind him isn't locked. It leads to 'no-mans land' where you will not be retrieved from should you decide to head North.

While our visit was brief, it was certainly memorable and while not significant on a geo-political scale we hope we have shared some insight into one of the most tense situations on the planet right now.

 

YJ YoYoFestival

There has been a change in Asia. Over the past 10 years Korea has emerged as a powerhouse. Not economically, although brands like Hyundai and Samsung have been doing their part to make that true too, but as THE style influencer.

Korea is cool. Fashion, music, design.... its all being driven by Korean influencers. While the USA media hypes WW3 and Nukes raining down the truth on the ground in Seoul is a well dressed NOW generation moving through life with a funky K-pop soundtrack to their lives.

Tourism in Korea is up. They come for makeup, food and a look at the magic. We joined them in Early December to visit the YJ YoYoFestival. 

WHAT IS YJ YoYoFestival? Why didn't you know? Its the biggest single day yoyo event held anywhere in the world in 2017. close to 700 ticket holding attendees headed to Sejong University performing Arts building for an unforgettable day of yoyo action. The hosts, YJ shop run a day of non-stop yoyo action for players of all ages. There are games and fun, performances and contests and you guessed it.... plenty of K-pop.

Outside the venue players participated in a range of activities

Outside the venue players participated in a range of activities

Apart from the number of players the thing that stood out the most was the overall high level of skill from everyone in attendance. The kids here are good. Not just 1a good.... there are off string players, 3a, 2a.... they can play all styles. More than just play everyone was having fun.  

The first player to take to the stage was Gentry for a demo Freestyle. The crowd went NUTS. Gentry admitted forgetting his second trick because he was so blown away by the response.

Later John took to the stage. Its the first time we have seen John perform this year so its the first video we shared.

The action continued throughout the day. Long sleeper contes with over 300 participants, Parent contests all the way up to a Pro division for cash prizes.

 

Special thanks to YJ YoYoShop for hosting an amazing event! If you are ever in Seoul make sure you come through and check out their store

Shanghai

Shanghai is undoubtably one of the greatest cities in the world. YoYoFactory has been lucky to have an excuse to visit annually for the past 5 years with players like Ben Conde, Jake Elliot Gentry Stein and now Shu Takada coming along. Its a really fun city. Easy to navigate by public transport, great food, history, art, style.... all things that will make it an amazing host city for the 2018 World YoYo Contest (if they would just name the date!!!).

Checkout this video by HEARTBEAT Media of the behind the scenes action from our latest visit.

Shanghai Toy Fair

An annual event for YoYoFactory that takes a new meaning with the World YoYo Contest scheduled (well not scheduled as that would mean there is a date set, but planned maybe?)  for Shanghai in 2018.

Gentry and Shu lit up our booth today and will be for the rest of the week. We also have a community event planned for Saturday and a city to go get lost in! After this, Gentry heads to Japan with Shu for Yodobashi Cup, to eat Ramen and eventually head to Korea next month for YJYOYO Festival.

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Big in China. 

John Ando Adventure

‘I want to do an adventure ‘

Thats where it starts. Last year pre USA nationals we did Peru. This year our goals were not as broad but still pretty high. There was talk of rafting, multi day hikes but in the end we came back to some unfinished business.... the summit of Mt Lassen. First time we came through on a West Coast tour there was snow on the peak and we didn’t have gear. On a pre-nationals trip 3 years ago with YoYoExpert the trail was closed to maintainance. 

This time nothing was going to stop us. 

 

the peak  

the peak  

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the accent  

 

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On the way

 

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near the top

 

 

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Above it all! 

 

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Altitude Check  

 

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loop2020

 

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dressed for snow? 

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Adventure complete.

Got Talent!

lots of it!  In Poland, Kacper Pałatyński is the hot ticket while in Thailand  Polo Garbkamol is setting the stage alight! 

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Kacper has it! 

 

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Polo has it! 

USA NATIONALS 2017

The headline is easy EVAN NAGAO WINS but there are so many other stories from an amazing weekend of yoyo play.... 

The noise was made here

The noise was made here

 

It started on a picture perfect Friday night. The Wildcard round went off in just over 40 minutes leaving many to wonder why it couldn't have been added to the next day. ask them again 24hrs later and you would find out there was enough yoyo action to more than fill Saturday.

The contest had moved back to Chico but it also moved to a new venue, a theatre auditorium which offered not a bad seat in the house. Action started early and didn't end until late.

6th placed capped off a great competitive year for Chandler Steele

6th placed capped off a great competitive year for Chandler Steele

 

There is a bit of debate over the whole wildcard/prelim/semi/finals structure. especially when you consider it would have been faster to just let everyone do 3 minutes so its a good one to analysis how good a barometer 30 seconds and 1 minute can be to the overall results. As it turns out, wildcard winner Ryan Cvijanovich just missed a spot in finals meaning no-one who played Friday night would survive the 3 rounds it took to get to the finals. The bottom half of the semi-finals qualifiers filled out the bottom half of the finals result so the seeds certainly showed they earned their pass through the earlier rounds.

Angelo went from 'kid who might make finals but would be down the bottom' to 'oh, i can miss this guy'  at NYYC17. Star power the rise.

Angelo went from 'kid who might make finals but would be down the bottom' to 'oh, i can miss this guy'  at NYYC17. Star power the rise.

 

While 11 players stepped up to the finals, it was viewed by many as a three horse race. Crowd favorite, Nate Dailey looked unstoppable in qualifying and based on previous results including a pair of 3rd placed finishes looked ready to ascend to the title. Evan Nagao had a date with destiny and both of them would have to beat the king to be the king. Gentry Stein. 

5x the champ. Alex Hatorri

5x the champ. Alex Hatorri

In the 'other A' divisions there are changes going on. The 2a and 5a crows were not being defended. The reigning 3a and 5a champs both double digit favorites. It might not be remembered as a stellar year but long time competitors Josh Yes and Conner Scholten got titles and Philip White and our own Alex Hattori added another title each. Alex is 1 title away from equaling the record for most national title and conveniently, he only has to wait until the spring to aim for it.

 

Hunter Feuerstein again proved he is going to be a force in the future stepping closer to the top.

Hunter Feuerstein again proved he is going to be a force in the future stepping closer to the top.

1A started off clean. Chandler Steele went early and held down the 'most likely to be in first spot' until we got pretty deep in the back end of the competition. As the judges called it, Kieran beat him out, to be in the 1st spot until Michael Feridco took the lead with 3 players remaining. It was Nates time and in literally the blink of an eye, the pull on a string to release a snag he had a yoyo on the floor. In terms of scoring this is -5. In the semi-finals this would have taken a player from 1st to 5th... The way the scoring works, the dream of winning basically ends at that point.  Nate didn't quit, he doubled down. threw hard, put on a show. Might not have won but was definitely a champion.

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And then there were two.

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Evan first came to Nationals in Chico when he was 3. He came as a 2a player 1 year and then a few years ago he stunned everyone to come as a top 5 1a player. He rolled on the floor and was focused on the show. Still focused on the show, he also showed he could consider the judges and in recent years has been putting the elements together to construct a winning freestyle. The wins have been spaced out but PNWR 2016, EYYC 2017 (open) showed his ability to get the nod and take a crown.... and it was shaping up to be his day. it was cleaner than everyone before him, his pacing was great, dense dense piles of tricks broken up with BIG BIG HARD tricks. This was a winning freestyle. When it ended he was in the lead. It would have been the end of the story if it wasn't for Gentry Stein.

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There isn't anything Gentry hasn't done and everyone knew he was going to bring it. When the dust settled it wasn't perfectly, clean. If it had been there would have been little doubt ... but there was. Gentry had it, everyone knew it. When the announcers called him for second the crowd was on the edge of their seat (pun intended). Evan Nagao was the new champ. When his emotions got the better of him on stage during photos it could be argued the happiest person on stage might have even been Gentry, he looked stoked for Evans win. There was going to be a celebration. Evan is King!

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Usa NATIONALS Prelim results

USA Nationals 1a prelim results


20 to semis


1. Nate Dailey YYF

2. Kieran Cooper

3. Angelo (shutter Crew)

4. Paul Harness

5. Joey MONTOYA (shutter crew)

6. Phillip Pacific

7. Mathew Poon

8. Tomo CLARK

9. Remy B

10. Hunter F (shutter crew)

11. Ryan C (shutter crew)

12. Tal Rogers

13. Kevin Nicholas (YYF)

14. Tyler B

15. Eugene J

16. Phillip White

17. Michael Kurti

18. Chris G

19. Collin Ellington

20. Stuart White

 

 

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USA Nationals

Day 1 of competition was about 45 minutes....  GREAT VENUE and love the backdrop styling.

Some of the action:

Prelim Qualifiers

1

Ryan CVIJANOVICH

99.10

To Prelims

2

Alec CECENA

87.10

3

Tal ROGERS

85.30

4

James PRATT

84.20

5

Tyler BROOKS

82.50

6

Chris GODSEY

75.00

7

Tomoaki CLARK

74.30

8

Collin ELLINGSON

57.90

9

Talia JAMISON

54.50

10

Josiah DAVIS

54.10

11

Erik EVERSON

51.60

12

Hong Joon CHEW

46.00

Usa Nationals in Chico

A locals tips on what to do. ...

We hit up Gentry for some tips.  

 

“ok, first get some Gentrystein mural action shot shutter Wide Angle giveaway 😎” (details in photo)

 where to eat?

“Gordon burrito taco truck... bomb”

“Sierra Nevada brewery, great meals”

“Sicilian cafe if the parents want to get fancy“

to eascape without going too far? 

Bear hole upper bidwell park

a bit further? 

Table mountain. A bit of an adventure.

 

Good spot to film Yoyo tricks? 

"Love" mural at Lulus. 

 

 

“Enjoy Chico! “

—— 

 

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Mic Check

Headed to Chico. 

The trip to the USA nationals can be the biggest of adventures or the biggest drag. It can be an epic cross country road trip, or flight panics, missed connections and lost bags. Do it enough you are bound to experience it all. We have.

To get some perspective we went to Hans Van Dan Elzen, aka YoHans, aka mr YoYofactory who has been going to Chico for Nationals since, well, it began.

when was your first nationals? 

1993 it might have been the first nationals. Prior to that it was California State Contest.  

 

Has it ever been easy to get to Chico?

Back when you could fly into Chico it was ok but you still needed to connect and by the time you check in and transfer and the inevitable delays it took just maybe longer than to fly in to Sacramento and drive. 

Has Chico changed much since 93? 

Not too much. Lots of fresh faces, the way Yoyo play has evolved is probably there greatest difference.

Who are some of the people you still see?

Bob and Thad obviously, the grand masters, Richie Nye.... just us old dudes. 

Most memorable Freestyles (of the past 24years)?  

there are at least 2. 

Mark Sitton. It wasn’t formally a freestyle but the way he played on a no-jive. His flow and style was unmatched. He use to play on the metal shafts, no wooden sleeve. Amazing.

Alex Garcia 1996. The first competitive Freestyles at the contest and he set the tone for everything that has come since.

 

Any traditions? Anything you do every year or don’t miss?  

Visit Bird in Hand. See what’s news, check out any new additions in the museum. typically get dragged along to Madison Bear Garden for at least a meal.... and always a late night meal at Denny’s.

Just wanted to add I’m excited to be back in Chico especially to watch the Futures contest Sunday to see the next generation!

 

 

 

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