I could not find a regular review of this Yo-Yo anywhere on these forums, so I figured since YoYoExpert has quite a few Puffin 2’s left in stock right now, it might be good write one. Here goes nothing:
I’m going to start right off by saying I am a CLYW fan. Ever since I obtained a Campfire in 2010, they have been my go-to company for high end throws. The Bassalope and the Gnarwhal were my favorites. However, Yo-Yoing hasn’t really been a part of my daily routine for a couple years now, and during my hiatus from the hobby, CLYW has been busy.
They’ve released quite a few models that have come and gone, and from what I’ve heard, the company’s focus has shifted a little more towards providing Yo-Yos that are optimized for competition play. I assume this means a greater effort to achieve longer spin times, more stability and a wider profile when designing Yo-Yos. Of these “optimized for competition” return tops, I took notice of the Puffin 2, Palli’s current signature model. The size, shape and weight all looked appealing to me, so I figured I’d pick one up at the YYE store and see what CLYW is all about these days.
The Puffin 2 comes packaged in CLYW’s typical Yo-Yo sized carboard box, this time with a great illustration of the Puffin by Jason Week stamped on top. Inside, wrapped in a bit of brown paper, you’ll find a return top that just took a lot of your money, as well as a yellow polyester string. Mine also included a small CLYW button, which I’m assuming is now standard. Neato!
A Duncan Butterfly has a diameter of about 55 mm, so most consider this measurement the rough standard for a “full size throw”. At 53.3 mm, the Puffin 2 qualifies as slightly undersized. The width on the other hand, is fairly impressive — 44.3 mm. This makes it noticeably wider than the majority of the Yo-Yos I own, including my old CLYWs. The profile of the Puffin 2 is very smooth looking, with a V-shape catch zone that rounds off into the rims without any hard angles. A small step out from the gap for the response system also reduces friction caused by the string touching the sides of the Yo-Yo.
The cups are somewhat angular in design when compared to the rounded look of the profile, but I personally think this contrast looks good. The hubs are nearly flush with the inner face of the Yo-Yo, which I’ve heard helps Palli with his signature “grindwinder” fingerspin tricks. The finish appears to be the same super-smooth blast found on all of CLYW’s aluminum models, so it excels at any grinds that contact the surface of the Yo-Yo, however you’ll need a bit of tilt in your spin to pull off a thumb grind due to the complete lack of an IGR. On the solid color run of these, the face of the Yo-Yo also features a small laser-engraved Puffin.
At 65.7 grams, the Puffin 2 has what I’d call a fairly average weight for it’s size. It does not feel heavy on the string to me, but it does offer a nice solid feel. A great deal of the weight has been focused on the rims to maximize stability and spin time, and this is noticeable. I quickly discovered I just don’t need to throw the Yo-Yo that hard to get through my tricks on this thing, so I’m going to need longer combos than the ones I made with the Bassalope and Gnarwhal, previously my longest-spinning throws.
The response is CLYW’s current standard; the white Snow Tires. People seem to have mixed feelings about these compared to the Flowable Silicone that used to come stock in all their throws, but I personally haven’t had any troubles with this pad alternative. Break-in time seems to be non-existent (unless you hate somewhat grabby binds from fresh response pads), and I almost always get nice tight binds and clean unwind, provided I make sure to bring the Yo-Yo back before it gets right on the verge of ceasing to spin. I don’t do a lot of “risky” binds though, so perhaps these are where some have experienced troubles.
CLYW also offers “aqua” Snow Tires as an alternative that can be purchased seperately, but I have yet to see any consistent information about how these differ from the white ones. (EDIT: After trying these in the Puffin 2, I personally believe they feel a bit less eager to grab the string when you bind, like regular Snow Tires that have been worn down a little. I actually like this, and I may stick with Aqua Snow Tires in the future.) You can always put Flowable Silicone in the groove manually if you want that classic CLYW response, but in my personal experience the stock Snow Tires work just fine.
The Puffin 2 features CLYW’s now standard Center Trac Type X, or CTX, bearing. It is essentially just a Center Trac bearing with 10 balls instead of the typical 8, and I must say, it has really grown on me. The spin times are great, the Yo-Yo seems even less likely to fall off the string once it slows down noticeably towards the end of a long trick, and it is actually fairly quiet (though I’m guessing these bearings come with a tiny bit of thin lube in them). I ended up purchasing a few more CTX bearings on YYE just to put in some of my other Yo-Yos, and I’m really happy with them. I have heard people say they dislike these bearings, but I haven’t personally run into any downsides performance-wise, so the CTX gets a thumbs up from me.
This is the hardest part of a Yo-Yo review, since you have to rely largely on your own opinions… but I can say that I love how the Puffin 2 feels. It almost seems to encourage me to zip it along the string with a decent amount of speed, but I can move it slowly if I want, and it still performs. As I’ve said, both stability and spin times also appear to be phenomenal. I don’t have a giant Yo-Yo collection for making comparisons on those two things, but I can say that the Puffin 2 definitely beats my Campfire, Bassalope and Gnarwhal for long combos.
This also, to me, is a very maneuverable Yo-Yo. I find it very easy to hop this one through triangles and move it through techy tricks, which I’m guessing has something to do with it’s size. The width also seems to help me hit every string more consistently on all kinds of tricks, so that’s a plus. The Puffin 2 I have also seems to lack any natural vibe whatsoever. A sloppy throw will give it a bit of wobble initially, but it seems to fix itself after only a couple seconds of doing a trick. This factor plus the smoothness of the finish will make a palm grind feel almost like there isn’t really anything there.
Owning the Puffin 2 has given me a renewed interest in CLYW’s pricey catalog of return tops. It has become clear to me that they’ve been stepping up their game slowly over the years, and that underneath all the community hype surrounding this company, they really are putting out exceptional products. I may be a CLYW fan already, but I was fully prepared to get a Yo-Yo lacking any noticeable performance improvements over my older models, and I am pleased to say that this did not seem to be the case. If you are looking for a fun, maneuverable, ever-so-slightly undersized new throw, I’d say give the Puffin 2 a try.
• Diameter: 53.30 mm
• Width: 44.35 mm
• Gap: 4.50 mm
• Weight: 65.7 grams
• Response: Silicone (White Snow Tires)
• Bearing: Size C (Center Trac Type X)
Thanks for reading my review! I’ve also made a quick video featuring the Puffin 2 if you’re interested in checking that out: