I made an interview to Hadrien Bennaceur for my blog (todoyoyo.com), but it’s a spanish blog and many people can’t read spanish. I find it very interesting, so decided to publish it here in english, so anyone can read it easier. Hope you like it!
Todoyoyo: After EYYC you left Caribou Team to join HSpin Network. You said it was an oportunity you couldnt miss. What about that?
Hadrien: As some of you know, I’m a student in mechanical and industrial engineering, that involves a lot of physics and a lot of calculus. Also I learnt how to draw and how to use cad software. That’s how I started drawing yoyos for myself, eventhough I was not a great player, I enjoyed using my knowledge in yoyoing.
One of the dreams I had while playing yoyo was making my own yoyo and I was able to achieve that goal in 2008 at my school, where I programmed and set the lathe to make a first, very basic but very playable yoyo. Then I had to change school, and I found myself with no way to make yoyos again, so I just looked around but couldn’t find any machinist motivated enough to start a big yoyo project.
I had the chance to join CLYW at WYYC 2009.Playing for them was an honor and I’m sad I didn’t spent more time with them, but what Hspin offered me couldn’t be refused. After EYYC is was disappointed by the results and judging system, i felt like i was not rewarded for the tricks i did on stage
and so i thought “why compete if it s for nothing…” Then I had a conversation with Christopher Kayatz, about what yoyoing means to me, about my dreams and ideas. From that talk emerged something big for me. Something that no other could give me, something that, as a engineer student and yoyo enthousiast I could never say no to.
When he called me over the phone 2 weeks later, he told me he wanted to give me the responsability to draw for Hspin
to make the 2D plans for the machinist. I just stayed on the phone, mute… I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I had a snowboarding week to think about it, but it was more about how to announce that to the CLYW team, who first trusted me. Chris Mikulin is an amazing and proud person, very shy, but very talented. When I told him what HSpin was offering me, he understood as well that I could not refuse. So everything went smoothly and the transition was good for everyone.
I was now on hspin, and I was already drawing yoyos for them.
Todoyoyo: You are a very special part of the french comunity and have won french nationals many times. Now you seem you want to focus on yoyo design. Will you compete in the future or tournaments are over?
Hadrien: Competing for CLYW was super awesome, now I’m sure I want to play for HSpin before I “retire” from competing! I’m still young and have some tricks to show! Nevertheless, this year will be my last French National YoYo Contest, and maybe my last WYYC. But I plan on coming back to European Contest. I just want to let the french stage to a new
Todoyoyo: I’ve seen cad pics from your designs and they look different. What do you expect from them?
Hadrien: When you design a yoyo you follow different steps. A hand sketch on paper, a 2D profile on the computer, 3D yoyos, and finally you make the plans. After I’m done with the 3D yoyo I can generate some pictures. I can take pictures of my living room and incorporate the yoyo in it. Or I can generate one already created yoyo to compare both virtually.
But you are never satisfied until you get the final product! I can just imagine how it will play and feel and I’m getting better and better at anticipating a yoyo behaviour. I expect all my yoyos to be as good looking and playable as they look in my head and on my computer screen! But sometimes you still get surprise
Todoyoyo: Many of us dream about designing and making our own yoyo. What do you need to know? Computer programming, physics, maths… maybe all of them?
Hadrien: First I think you should ask you “what is a good yoyo to me?”, " Which of the yoyo I own do I like the most and why?", “What makes it so good?” Because drawing and learning how to use softwares is pretty simple, it’s learning how to draw a good yoyo the hard part. Gor that you need physics of course, and some machining tips you’ll get by trying, but if you have already asked yourself the first questions and truly understood them, a lot is already made.
Todoyoyo: Well… you have a design in your head, build it into a cad program and send it to the machinist. What do you feel first time you have the final result in your hand?
Hadrien: You feel pride, satisfaction, and finally you can make the link between theorical and physical object. At the end you feel that your work is worth something!
Todoyoyo: After EYYC I came back home thinking about how difficult is winning a contest. I wonder about Worlds… Do you think the yoyo scene is getting more and more pro?
Hadrien: I think the scene is definitely getting more and more pro. But we can see how it changes from time to time. For example, for 5 years we would reward people really technical, now it seems that the wave is to surprise the judges and the audience with tricks that are not so complicated. I feel like people want to see more “happy players” than “stressed players” and these are good news for the yoyo image.
Todoyoyo: Before you make your own signature yoyo, I’m sure you have tried all the HSpin models. Which is your favorite and why?
Hadrien: My very first metal yoyo was a Pyro n#180 that I still have and enjoy playing with. But before getting it, I played for 1 year and waited until I thought I was good enough to enjoy a metal yoyo. During all that waiting time, I was only dreaming about one yoyo: the Good & Evil 2. I looked at it every day on the extremespin website wondering myself if one day I could have it.
I never had a G&E2, but I now own 2 G&E4, with the 4mm bearing and a good pad, this yoyo is definitely one of my favorites. Not for competing, I would rather go with the NVX, but the G&E4 is unique, smooth, spins forever and good classy looking, that most of the yoyos nowadays don’t have (in my opinion).
Todoyoyo: The FNYYC is coming, and you said you were gonna compete. How did you feel battling your last title? Do you have new challengers this year? Will you use your signature yoyo?
Hadrien: I have competed at the FNYYC 4 times and won it 4 times. I competed against a lot of people, whether it was for only once or people that i would compete against again.
Alex (aka Xela) has a very strong influence in France, he is always there for beginners, making tutorials, and he has always been competing for the title. But I have observed a lack of concentration in the training for Alex, he knows it and this has taken him a lot of reward over the last contest. This year he might not come so i fear more other players.
Paul is a young and very talented player from my region. He has a very tech and artistic style, and he won the last Paris YoYo Contest, where i was a judge.
Clement is also very young and very talented. He missed the qualification at EYYC this year by 0.3 points, and I truly think he was better than a lot of people who qualified. Fast and technical, he has the kind of style that people love.
One of those two players will be the next french national champion. But I don’t think it will happen this year, since I still have more experience on the stage than they. But they will blow a lot of player’s mind in the coming years.
And finally, there are 3 yoyos from HSpin that I would like to use at the FNYYC: my signature yoyo of course, but we still need to adjust a bit of the design, Plamek’s yoyo, the Phoenix, and the new Pyro. I helped designing all those 3 yoyos, and I just can’t decide yet which one I will use! All of them are just incredible and perfect for the scene!
Todoyoyo: Ok Hadrien, thanks a lot for your time and hope to see you again soon!
Hadrien: Thank you too! I was really happy to make this interview, it was great taking some time to think about myself, where I am now. And I want to thank all the people that helped me to reach this position, whether it’s a world class yoyoer, or a designer.
Now I would love doing more for Todoyoyo and the Spanish National Yoyo Association. Who knows, I might meet you guys in Spain someday?