Thoughts on the fast-paced history of modern yoyo

There is a dense rich history of yoyo that I find kind of fascinating and mind blowing. There are all of these Legends who aren’t really super active in the community anymore that built a lot of the tricks and elements that we see and use today.

I’m only two years deep into this hobby, and I have been following a lot of the newer members of this community on social media and whatnot, but it just recently occurred to me that there is a lot of history that I have taken for granted up until this point.

It’s easy to see how far modern yoyo has become as a newcomer, but what’s crazy to me is seeing how technical things were even as far back as 19 years ago. For some reason, I had it fixed in my mind that things have only gotten crazy technical in the past five to ten years or so, but sifting through some of these older competition videos has surprised me.

People were killing it on modified Duncan free hands and other yo-yos that I would never think about shredding.

It has made me aware that there is a a rich dense history of Yoyo that I know very little about, but it seems to influence me as a player anyway.

It’s kind of fascinating.


It can be fun to dive into the history of modern yoyo and try and learn it anyway if you’re newer. It gives you a cool look at the sort of “trick DNA” in players tricks today. It’s cool to trace back a kind of lineage to certain play styles.


Good topic. The speed and rate in which growth is pushed further.

Players - the guys and gals just crushing it pushing the bounds of what the equipment can handle.

Tool/(yo-yo technology advancement) - the companies working to advance technology as well as refinement of the breakthroughs.

Living in the balance of it is what amazes me, and keeps me focused on now. The classical refinement into technique into rudiments. I like watching the trick advancement and the fads.


What’s really sad is just how much information has been lost as old forums have died. I remember absolutely poring over the forum archives (especially the stuff from before I’d really started learning - my favorite was the initial backlash against ball bearings by guys like Steve Brown, David Cappuro, Jason Tracy, Chuck Short…). Every significant US player was on there sharing tips and content in a time well-before the standards of trick construction or yo-yo design had become established. That site (and to a lesser, but still significant extent, Dave’s Skill Toys, ExtremeSpin, and theYo) were not just nurseries for the late 00’s best players, they were libraries of discoveries and a window into a unique time in yo-yo.

It’s also amazing to read the old 1980’s/early 90’s newsletters (the Noble Disk by Bill Alton and the Yo-Yo Times by Stu Crump) to give you an idea of what the yo-yo scene and trick sharing/evolution was like in the days before the internet as we know it. In a lot of ways, it’s more amazing to me how SIMILAR things are, as opposed to all the obvious differences. Our approach to yo-yo’s can seem really refined today, but there’s still a LOT of deep understanding to be mined from history.

Whether by reading/research or seeking out older demonstrators, I feel like if you have any interest in representing yo-yo in the present or future, you have an obligation to understand its past.


This is kind of what I’m talking about, it’s one of those things that you don’t know if you don’t know. Even with the old heads in this community, like you and Mo and Andre, your perspective is so much different than mine.

It seems like there is a high turnover rate in this community, whereas even 5 years ago things were pretty different than they are now. Different Pros on the competition scene, different dynamics of Yoyo design, etc.

I feel like I take a lot of this stuff for granted, in the current state of things in the yoyo universe, that is.


Man you touched on a lot but keep going. Share and preserve what you’ve learned and been taught from the best places by the best people. Great post Ed.

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This is a big reason why I started the project. Fully open source, free to the world.

Let’s all thank @AaronW here as well :bowing_man:


This is awesome. Thank you :pray:


It is fascinating to me because of the explosion of creativity that happened after decades of people mostly playing the same old tricks. I always liked yo-yos, but I hadn’t followed closely what was going on in the late 90’s. Getting back into throwing then was so much fun, and it was wide open, you could throw fixed axle, trans axle, or bearing, and just try to keep up with anything, because the tricks were all new territory.
Yo-yos haven’t changed nearly as much as the people playing them.


jake bullock is still king!!!



It’s like Alex honnald the free solo climber crushing half dome and el cap when 5 years ago it took guys at the top of their game 2 weeks, Alex does it in under four hours. The mountain didn’t change, the people did


Whether or not the forum software was open source had nothing to do with the demise of those forums. Like yye those forums were sponsored by online stores that closed for one reason or another (owner lost interest, died, had enough etc). Once the stores closed the forums went too. Open source doesn’t keep the servers running.


That was not at all the point of my statement. Most forum software you have to pay money for, few are open source and free to the world.

(And the handful of older forum software that is open source is not generally competitive in features or design with Twitter, Facebook, etc so you will bleed users.)


All of those forums pretty much died before facebook and twitter were popular. Theyo basically was on life support after Mike died, as he was an integral part of it and his family didn’t grasp that and let it flounder. Dave’s closed when he got tired of it. Same with extreme spin. had personal issues, as did yoyonation. The format had very little if anything to do with their demise.


True, if the top-level sponsorship dies off, the forum generally will as well. However, I think that’s true of all fields of human endeavor though.

Those may have died off before Facebook (2011-ish) and Instagram (2014-ish) became big things. Still, the stats here were quite dire:

old yye forum stats

I am actually sympathetic to the argument that Instagram is a pretty good fit for yo-yoing because it’s so lightweight, visual and supports short video clip upload natively, as well as pictures, of course. In my mind that’s the #1 competition as of the current date. Ask teenagers you know! :wink:


Regardless, your original comment implies that those forum’s demise was due to their format, which is totally untrue.


My point was that if they had updated to modern software they would be less likely to die, but I agree with you that if their high level sponsorship is gone they are basically doomed no matter what.

It is possible with open source software for the community to take over the forum hosting… but they still need an export of all the data to get started which would be impossible if the owners have washed their hands of the site completely.


Internet communities have always been ephemeral. If I have learned one thing since being on the net all the way back to the late 90s is that communities swell and die in ways that cant be predicted. Most forums ive seen die happen because the host goes AWOL due to a stagnant community. Ive seen forums swap ownership and subsist, but inevitably suffer the same fate. You can extol the virtues of archiving if you like, but the main attraction of a forum is interaction and active discussion. People will either gravitate towards a new platform, or they wont. The modern state of the internet still may not be capable of changing this trend.


But one still needs funding for servers to host it. I don’t see people clamoring to do that.

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That is true but the server costs have declined dramatically in the last 10 years. Plus there’s stuff like Patreon and crowdfunding to cover, say, $50 per month in hosting which would cover a really huge community these days! Even for $20/month you could do quite well on hosting these days… and if a community can’t collectively come up with $240/year amongst all its members … sheesh.

The reason this matters is because a world of de-facto Facebook and Instagram company towns isn’t … great. :confused:

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