2018 in review

January wasn’t a a vacation.

Paul Kerbel was in Chile, Vashek took an adventure in the Faroe and Gentry, Yohans and Ann hit the UK. the BOOST dropped with the goal of giving Alex Hattori his own design to win his 6th USA Nationals title. Later in the year, a goal he would achieve.

Nate Dailey had a stellar year, kicked off by a win at PNWR… and every other major west coast contest he attended. PNWR has risen to be the premier Contest on the West Coast dethroning a flagging BAC. The organizers do a great job in a premier venue and players have responded by turning up and bringing the heat.

Evan Nagao started the year holding the US Champion Title. It wasn’t an epic nationals win, Nate snapped a string, not everyone turned up and it was a short year with Nationals moving again. Would this ‘little’ Nationals win be the biggest crown Evan would wear in his career? Then he started showing new tricks. New snippets from freestyles. He went to Japan in April to put in some work. We showed belief by dropping his next signature yo-yo, the polycarbonate Wedge and later in the year we would all see where in ended up.

It was a slow start to the year. We were playing catchup and the distractions of 2017 hadn’t launched 2018 like it should.

By June we finally caught up. The stuff we make for us is some of our best. Trickshot string wasn’t requested by anyone outside of our office, but now its out there, lots of people are enjoying it. Dark Matter Lube, same deal. Its a winner. and yes, that Confusion. Such a hit we got to expand the line throughout the year. Wedge, ND, Arrow, a new Czechpoint, Alta, Kui were in or close to being in store. From a Mystery Box came an equally Mysterious yoyo for a player named Polo who hadn’t won or placed high in an international contest. The slow start in terms of product and the heavy weighting of big contests at the end of the year made the clock ticking over to July 1 feel like we had finally turned a corner. Things were looking good. 2018 was going to be epic.

July 1. Evan Nagao defends his US National title in a super competitive contest many would look back on as the best contest of 2018. He would now head to Shanghai as the USA seed and Nate Dailey and Gentry Stein with a freshly rebuilt freestyle would all be contenders. First YoYoFactory 1A sweep EVER at USA Nationals. Some of the GREAT teams we have had at the past couldn’t fill the top 3… it was amazing.

Evan dropped a YoyoExpert Mystery Box after his win. Talk about timing. The second Confusion drops and the GT becomes the pocket throw of the summer.

The Marco comes to stores and BOOM, Polo WINS AP. Drop the mic. It capped off an amazing run for Horizon Team who stacked national titles in Uk (Marcus Osborne) Mexico (Paul Kerbel) and Malaysia (Julian Chee).

We were on a roll.

Evan built more momentum to Shanghai Worlds with some banging videos and announcing he will compete with an all new model at the contest. The legend of Edge Beyond is born.

There we are, in Shanghai. The Contest has avoided all catastrophes, the weight of Chinese wildcards hasn’t crushed it and everyone is playing at the highest level. IYYF had pulled it off. So did Evan Nagao, and Shu Takada and almost Alex Hattori…. Nate, Gentry, Polo, Akira also shone bright in finals. Our best result at worlds in a long time.

Evan did a bunch promoting after his win including a month long trip through Asia including YJyoyo festival with Shu, Orient Express style SE Asia and a return to Shanghai. Monster Edge dropped in here and has become a cult classic.

The end of the season wound down with Michael Malik showing he is Europe’s #1 and Shus’ domination of 44 Clash. A contest he is truly meant for.

We dropped a pretty diverse and fun glow collection just in time for the holidays and the year ran out on auto-pilot. Dope new 720 colors, MONSTER restocking for the final drop of the year.

2018 was the most bi-metal models we had released ALTA, MARCO, TurnTable 2.0, Edge Beyond and Singularity. It’s fun but it’s not the only answer to high performance and in 2019 we want explore both sides of this more.

We did ‘different’ better in 2018 and it’s something we will continue working on.

In 2019 we will see where Gentry takes yoyoing next, what Evan will do from the top of the world, how far Shu can put himself on another level, where the limits are for Polo and how great is Nate?

Lots of high points but sadness too. We miss you Andrei.

So what’s coming up?

MVP 3 is it retro or still futuristic?

Loop 2020 will finally arrive.

We want to give every beginner a better start.

There will be a new Pivot. It won’t be a Monster :-P

Some super small runs are planned. Allowing us to experiment 144 pieces at a time. We lost some agility trying to do things bigger, now we get to do it just right.

Look for some retro love coming for DNA, signature drops for Betty, Michael Malik a new Vashek yoyo and the Nate yo-yo (game changer?). Evan has been teasing his POLY Edge so expect to see it real soon.

Apart from that, we are back in the lab. Testing some BIG new concepts, production techniques and ideas. We have had a pretty big influence on the yo-yos almost every yo-yo player is throwing and some of these ideas may just change what you are throwing this time next year.

Awards time!

Team player of the year: Hyperrr_yyf (Andrei Conag Aliser)

Contest of the Year: USA Nationals (Chicago) morning

Who to watch in 2019: Nate, Hunter, Polo 👀

Bring it on!