Isthmus or cenote?

Has anyone been lucky enough to try the isthmus and the cenote from turner return tops? I’m trying to decide which one to get and they both look pretty dope.

Thanks for your input!


Or if you have tried either and can speak to what you like/dislike about them, that would be helpful too.

I picked up the Cenote. It’s my first Turner Return Tops throw, so I don’t have any experience with the Isthmus.

I just picked the hobby back up after a break of nearly 25 years, so I’m fairly new, don’t have a deep bag of tricks, and can’t really articulate exactly what is good or bad about a throw in an absolute sense. Going back to when I first started playing, rock the baby was the height of tricks for me. So getting into it again in my mid-30’s, I’m learning string tricks and stuff for the first time.

All that said, I’ve gravitated toward throws that are “harder” to play with for whatever reason. I’ve just really fallen in love with organics and slim designs and just haven’t found much joy in the more modern shapes. It’s very satisfying landing string tricks on throws that don’t make it easy for you, at least to me. And of my growing collection, the Cenote is probably the toughest one of the bunch. It has a decent gap, but design-wise, there’s really nothing there that helps funnel the string into the gap. You have to be pretty much dead on accurate. Because of that, I’ve been having a ton of fun challenging myself with it and I’m getting better and more accurate every day.

Since it showed up Monday, it has been the throw I’ve played most and is the first one I pick up when I get home every afternoon. As far as what I like and don’t like goes:

What I like:
I love the size, shape, and look
I love how it feels in-hand
I love the challenge of landing string tricks with it
It’s very smooth (on good throws)

What I don’t like:
Being new and still learning to be consistent on my throws, I get a LOT of bad throws. It’s pretty punishing on less than perfect throws.
Despite the fact that I really do enjoy the challenge that its design presents, it’s probably still an overall negative performance-wise given what’s possible with modern throws. Being so slim and having pretty high walls, it demands perfection on string tricks. If you aren’t completely dead on square, there’s a lot of surface area there for the string to contact and it dies out very quickly. As an example, with me being not so accurate right now, I can only get about halfway through a trick like cold fusion before I kill the spin most of the time.


A human after my own heart.

Your story is very similar to mine, although I got bit by the bug at the beginning of the pandemic. I too have fallen in love with organic/“harder” throws. If that’s what you’re into, we have a club! Yoyo Boomers Club and we’re having some throws designed by g2 jake himself with input from the club. You should check it out if you haven’t yet.

Thanks for the write up! I’m on the fence. If I could get one of the blue cenotes it would be an easy choice but it looks like the micro arc is the only thing left. I know people love the isthmus too. Such a hard choice. Probably want both eventually but which one first :thinking::thinking::thinking:


I’m not gonna lie, I jumped in at drop time and grabbed one of the blue Cenotes because the pull of limited stuff is just too strong for me, but I actually think the Sugar Sand (or whatever they’re calling that white finish) looks better :rofl:

I do think the artwork is super cool, but that white just looks sooooo clean and sleek.


Sugar sand! I couldn’t remember what it was called. I do like the look but I’ve heard it feels like actual sand paper on some throws and I didn’t want to risk buying a 75 dollar string cutter. Haha

The Sugar Sand is more like chalk-y texture, definitely not as rough as sand paper.

It’s not impossible that it won’t be a string cutter either though. We had report of one Buoy! (Out of 30) in that same coating that cut strings.

You can rub the yoyo surface with a piece of denim to smooth it out if it is a little rough.

I could never choose one over the other. Tl;dr: Isthmus is a bit more serious with weight focused to the rim, while Cenote is more playful with a lighter overall weight and more even distribution. Both are great :grin:


I would add one more to the Buoy string cutter account :grin: Not a big deal to me just grabbed the jeans. Also, ordered a Cenote but your post office in Florida obviously doesn’t like me. :grin:

I can tell by looking at these beauties that they are both great. I know everyone loved their isthmus. I’m certain everyone will love the cenote. Maybe I’ll just do both. I need to sell some yo-yos soon :joy:


Yea the post is like that somtimes. I noticed it doesnt like to update as often. :face_exhaling: I can also say that the Sugar Sand feels way different than the moon rock. Much softer and smooth.


Good to hear, thanks

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I went ahead and pulled the trigger on both. I couldn’t believe I found the isthmus in stock somewhere! (Pm if you’re curious) How could I pass it up?

I’ll try to update this thread with my thoughts, once they arrive, for anyone thats curious in the future.


I definitely like the isthmus a lot, moreso than the cenote for me, has more weight and heft, more presence on the string. Cenote is muchh more chill though.


The way everyone is describing them makes me think I made the right decision getting both. Could you possibly compare them to a pano/diorama, end 2, sudo/parlay or anything along those lines? Is there anything out there that is similar to either that you can think of?


Cenote definitely gives me parlay vibes. Plays a bit heavier and has some more presence, but definitely invokes that feel.

I think the Isthmus is closest to the diorama out of that list, though it performs better than all of them in my own opinion. It’s got more stability due to the walls not being as high. Maybe a bit closer to the Dressel Designs Kanto? The Isthmus is my favorite TRT release.


Awesome! Thanks so much for your input :slightly_smiling_face: I’m so very excited for both. I really need to start thinking about selling some stuff though. Haha. If only I could convince myself to take some pictures and make a post :rofl::rofl::rofl:

One of these days, when adhd allows.


I’ve had lots of time with both the isthmus and the Cenote at this point. I said I’d update this with my thoughts, and I’m finally getting around to it.

Best advice I can give: GET BOTH!!!

Thank you everyone who gave input. Everyone was exactly right. Isthmus is more serious, rim weight, powerful, spins for days and is unbelievably stable for a yo-yo this (not) wide. It can fingerspin/dna like a champ which leads me to believe you could even do horizontal on it (I can’t do zontals). I think I prefer the isthmus slightly to the Cenote but this could simply be because of the finish. As far as the Cenote goes, I probably play it more than the isthmus even though I like the isthmus more. The sugar sand finish on the Cenote is a little rough and definitely eats through strings quicker than most throws. I rubbed it with some denim and some leather and it knocked it down a little but it still ultimately ends up eating the string, albeit slightly slower now. The Cenote is very fun. I think, if I got one in regular ano, I would like it more than the isthmus. The sugar sand also tends to grab the string in the catch zone on certain tricks, which can really slow down the spin and throw it off plane very quickly. It is very comfortable in the hand and definitely has that nostalgic, early 2000s feel. I love it.

Final thoughts:
Cenote plays like a dream and is very fun/nostalgic and fits very well in a pocket.
Isthmus is a stable powerhouse that spins for days and fits comfortably in your pocket.
If you’re after a good throw that you can take anywhere and have endless fun, do your self a favor, get both!

Thanks for reading!
Endless love,