Yo-yo tricks of increasing complexity

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/31/yo-yo-tricks-of-increasing-complexity.html

Saw that last week. I’m always impressed with string tricks… mostly due to my inability to properly and consistently to perform a bind haha (yes, I mostly stick to looping stuff).

Level 12 was about as far as I got as a teenager in the 90s. I remember having a collection of Duncans, Yomegas, and ProYos that ranged from cheap to insanely expensive (well, for a 14 year old with an allowance anyway).

Every so often I go online and look at how far the technology has come. Off the string tricks weren’t a thing I was aware of until recently and it all blows my mind.

Edit: this Turbo Bumble Bee was my favorite, followed by the Yomega Wing Force. The wing force didn’t have any pads in it and if you threw it hard enough and immediately brought it back you could easily hurt your hand.

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In 3rd grade and a few years after, I was hooked on yo-yos with a friend. Even sent away for the Duncan trick book.

Tommy Smothers was my idol for a bit. haha.

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Add me to the list of teens who had a yo-yo phase. A few of us in our juniour high got really into it, but I never made it past Level 4 on this list. I didn’t have the talent of some of my friends (one of whom went on to a minor juggling career). I loved being able to do Around The World and Rock The Baby though. They felt like “real” tricks and are enough to impress bystanders a little :grinning:

What’s interesting is that the skills stick. Just before the pandemic someone showed up at work with a crappy promotional yo-yo from somewhere. I did my Rock The Baby on the second attempt with it, after not practicing for 30 years. The stuff the pros do though, I can’t even wrap my head around.


I recommend the Netflix series “We are the Champions” – short films (30 min) about various niche competitions - the Yoyo one is terrific, and there are ones about Calaveras frog jumping, and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling race.


Oh, that looks great! A companion to their series Losers maybe? The curling segment of the latter was my favorite. It was basically the story of Pat Ryan who looked at a casual pub game that people often played drunk and asked, “hey, what if we tried to actually be really good at this?”. For a long time he was hated because he competed in something nobody else took very seriously. He was a hero of my mom’s and he was the first step in making curling a real sport. Sorry, that was a very off topic rambling. Back to yo-yos.


I never did yo-yos, but I saw a lot of overlap with my hacking obsession (as in hackey-sack, a word we never used) from my teens and twenties. the hackers from the North I met were very into having the hack under total control and very technical tricks. my Nashville style was from the skater scene over at Hillsboro High which was about getting high and freestyling similar to what he described at the end of the video. lots of body rolls and reacting to the flow.
I got really good but not anything like the northern guys. I can reach up with my foot to the hack, stall it out on my toes, and continue that line backward, behind my body, point my toe to release, and the hack will shoot back up, arcing forward over my head. like the video, I can also do it horizontally; leg parallel to the ground and pivot on my standing foot to release on the other side of my body left-to right or right-to-left – both feet. so yeah, this video pushed my hack button.

totally. it’s not part of my life anymore but every couple of years I’ll come across my hack and give it a test, it’s all still there. my DJ cuts, too. I haven’t touched decks in years but recently I was testing a music stand to see if it was stable enough for turntables and all my difficult scratches were still there.

Just got to say I was happy to see one of my tricks, Skin The Gerbil, featured in the bunch. It’s still so funny to me that the trick with the goofiest name is the one that became my most popular.

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