The current era of Yoyoing

So here’s a question for the old-timers here who have witnessed yoyo eras past and present. How does the current era compare to past eras in terms of health of the hobby/industry, creativity in design and play, and size of the community?

Three things that I can think of off the top of my head that I presume (but could be wrong about) make the current era markedly different from past eras are:

  • The rise of the Internet, with the global yoyo community migrating online and becoming far less isolated and fractured.
  • The proliferation of boutique manufacturers putting out high-end, and often highly innovative, throws.
  • Chinese manufacturing improving dramatically, driving quality up and prices down.

In his 2018 “Year in Review” video, Nate Martsolf describes right now as “the best time to be into yoyo” in at least the last ten years. Does everyone agree? Does anyone disagree?


It’s different, I don’t think we’re in a boom. The 90’s boom yoyos were everywhere. Seemed like everyone had yoyos, there were yoyo stores and yoyo mall carts all over. I don’t see that today. I’ve seen kids yoyo and when I talk to them they say they’re one of just a couple or so that yoyo in their school. It wasn’t like that during the last boom. Yoyo seems to be pretty big now, with the numbers being sold, but I don’t thinks it’s anywhere near the size of the last boom, BUT maybe more are sticking with it.

@unklesteve May have some insights on this, as he’s worked in the industry from the last boom until now.


I feel like yoyo is on the rise right now. Just in the short time I’ve been on these forums they have gotten way more active with a lot people even newer than me. I also think we’re in a golden age of machining and yoyo technology, which is a big part of what drew me into it so much (I currently work as a machinist). I’ve been seeing more and more yoyo related videos on non yoyo channels with people like Evan Nagao and Gentry Stein.
So I don’t think we’re quite in a boom, but I think it’s on the way.


It’s certainly easier to learn. I remember pondering the 2D illustrations at Sector Y, and wanting more from Ken’s World on a string.

There wasn’t much out there to learn, but I owned Dennis Mcbrides the “Art of Yo-Yo Play,” Cosmic’s Yo-Yo Dvd, and later “Yomega Mania.”

Now it’s all on the web, just like learning anything the learning curve has been shortened a lot. The current era has benefited from increased online content. Maybe too much of a good thing, so many choices!


I love my Yomega Mania DVD!


Definitely way easier to learn now. I remember trying to learn tricks from the little booklets that would come with a yoyo, and after all these years, when I learned brain twister, I’m fairly certain younger me was not doing it correctly lol.


I feel the internet has put yo-yoing on a much more even keel; not so many ups and downs! :grin:

If we didn’t have the internet, there would probably be more yo-yos in stores, but there would be so fewer choices. There’d probably be some catalogs with more boutique choices, but still nothing like we have today.

My belief is that the internet has kept the hobby healthy, if not growing exponentially, and definitely facilitated us having many more choices available.

The learning aspect has been pointed out already, and of course forums like this have been great for the heath of our community.

On the flip side, without these digital interactions, there might be more club activity, where people actually get together to yo-yo. So, let’s all try to work on getting together in real life!


I wish there was an annual yoyo and yoyo accessories catalogue! Like 200 pages of glorious photos and descriptions along with misc. yoyo history factoids, interviews, etc.


Things kids these days will never experience, learning tricks from 2D drawings, and Sector Y & KWOAS.


The hobby itself is doing great, the industry is kind of in the crapper. The rise in access to machine shops means everyone who has ever wanted to make a yoyo is now currently making a yoyo or about to make a yoyo. I wouldn’t necessarily call these “companies” since most of them aren’t much more than hobbyist level, but supply has well outstripped demand and since most of them are selling most or all of their stock direct, it has caused a tremendous imbalance. They are large enough to make a couple small runs of yoyos here and there and sell them direct, but not large enough to sponsor contests at a high enough level to offset the lack of money coming in from the larger companies whose sales they’ve bit into.

Great time to be a player, possibly the best since 1995 when I started throwing. Possibly the worst time to be a retailer since 2000, when everything crashed hard. Not as bad as then, but definitely a really challenging time. And a really difficult time for contest organizers, who have plenty of players who want a high-quality experience but fewer sponsors who are willing/able to pay for it.

The punk rock kid in me is hella stoked. The guy trying to feed his kids and run CLYW is not. It’s a weird time.

But to address the other comments, this is not a boom. Booms are short-term gain and in my past experience have done more harm than good. Slow, steady growth is what we want…booms bring in the carpetbaggers and quality drops tremendously, and all it takes is one wrong step during a boom to annihilate an entire company (see: Playmaxx).

What we need right now is for all these tiny companies to work towards creating new players, instead of just capitalizing on a market that someone else created for them. Anyone can make yoyos, what we need are companies to make players.


That was an excellently-written post! Thought provoking and a pleasure to read. I’m not being sarcastic either. I’m 52 and grew up on rock magazines and this post makes me wish there was a fat quarterly yoyo magazine with articles like this that would be accompanied by responses from industry insiders.


Interesting read.

This actually makes a lot of since…

If I can draw an analogy from the logging industry: Trees take a long time to mature to an age where the wood is mature and stable when harvested. The forest is comparable to the market and community; It is a complex ecosystem built on years of history and effort towards ‘building players’ and honing yoyo design.

These boutique companies are more or less coming in and clear cutting sizable chunks of forest instead of selectively harvesting and simultaneously replanting in order to maintain the structure of the forest, or even make it better. They did not plant the forest, but they are reaping the rewards of it without considering the long term game plan or how long it took for the trees to mature.

In other words, their business practices are not sustainable and damage the overall health of the community. Is this a helpful analogy?


I think that’s fairly accurate, although I want to stress that I don’t think any of this behavior is malicious in any way. It’s just one of the side effects of the young coming in to replace what came before it. My generation has a surplus of experience and perspective, but the new generation is where the fresh ideas and forward momentum will come from. The trick at any moment is finding the point of harmony where those two generations can cooperate for the overall health of the industry. Since yoyoing is so decentralized, there is no single organization looking out for the overall health of the industry, or serving as a primary info point for the industry, so everything is up to individuals to sort out on their own. Which never really works out all that well.


Ah, gotcha. It is a complex issue, that’s for sure. Should the yoyo community unionize? (lol)


I don’t disagree with anyone of you but there also can not be a semi-monopoly for the sake of the industry. Yoyo Factory did not invent yoyos, they just built upon and innovated what was already there and maybe one day they will be reduced to boutique status and a one-time boutique company will get big money backers and rule the yoyo world. I think at the end of the day, most people, myself included, don’t really worry (or care) about the industry in general or how boutique companies effect it, they just want a few great yoyos that are reasonably affordable and fun to throw around.


It really depends. You either need

  • Millions of new yo-yoers that are all buying one yo-yo each


  • Thousands of Ye Olde Timey yo-yoers who buy many yo-yos per year, every year

Ideally both of course … but this is partly why it’s good for the yoyo community to embrace the idea that it’s not just cool but encouraged to own, say, a dozen yo-yos (or even many dozens) instead of being all hardcore on the minimalist concept that “real” yo-yoers don’t need to own more than one or two yo-yos, and if you do, you’re selling out.

Also working against all this is the fact that a modern metal yo-yo will last a LOOOOOONG time, certainly far longer than a plastic or wood yoyo.


Agreed. Yoyos for everyone! Yoyos everywhere! :heart:


Hey, I did my part in 2018… :sunglasses:


When is the new CLYW @unklesteve signature coming out? I need to buy another yoyo. :sunglasses:


Wood yoyos can last many years.