We know famous yoyo players primarily from yoyo videos, sometimes from their instagram or facebook feeds but that’s it. What if they’re a bunch of maniacs who seek to wipe out the entire population of ant eaters and they just happen to be good at yoyo? I decided to talk to those yoyo superstars and make it a regular blog feature for 2015. I guess it’s best to start with someone light weight… like a world champion. Gentry Stein (18, USA) is a Yoyofactory team member who started to get everyones attention after winning the US Nationals. Since then he managed win his most prestigious title yet – the 2014 World YoYo Champion (freestyle is at the end of this article). What does he think of the current yoyo scene and what’s he up to lately – Korda asked him exactly that:
Hey! So Gentry, what are you up to these days?
Wudup! Just enjoying life, working on a lot of amazing things for 2015!
What do you think about the current situation in competitive yoyoing?
I would like to see more strict scores in the Evaluation categories at contests.
If you had to chose three milestones in yoyo and trick development, what would they be?
I want to win Worlds in Europe, Japan, and the US. Two more to go.
Do you think that the rivalry between yoyo companies and stores is created by the community rather than the businesses themselves?
I don’t really know of any rivalries. I think if a player is worried about rivalry, that player should take more time worrying about himself. Leave the Business to the businesses.
Where do you look for inspiration for your new tricks? Is it other yoyo players, other skill activities or somewhere completely different?
I get inspiration from everything including players, other skill activities, and largely music.
What was your first yoyo and why did you decide to get one?
First yoyo was a Christmas gift from my family when was 8 years old. Yoyofactory Fast 201.
How long before a contest you start preparing your freestyle? And what would be your advice for players who are struggling with theirs?
Depends on the contest, but usually about 3 months prior. Worlds is a different story. I started preparing in October for worlds 2014, and my routine for 2015 is in the works now.
Are you trying to understand the judging rules and build your freestyle around them or you just go for it?
I think as a competitor in any sport it is extremely important to understand the rules.
The thing is, our judging system is just an outline of all aspects in a routine, so really, “playing to the system” just means having a good balance of skill.
What else, apart from yoyoing, do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my family and girlfriend, playing basketball, art, and going to the gym is how I spend my time away from school most of the time.
What changed in your life after you won the WYYC title?
Now instead of practicing for the title, I’m practicing to defend it.
Are you sometimes fed up or not in the mood to yoyo?
Definitely. A lot of the time I’m not in the mood to yoyo, so I do something else. That being said, a lot of the time I am in the mood to yoyo too.
What would be your advice to a player who learned the basics but is struggling to come up with his own stuff?
Don’t try so hard to come up with your own tricks. Just learn more tricks overall, and you will eventually create your own.
What keeps you motivated?
All I need to stay motivated in anything is a love for what I am doing.
I know you travel quite a lot these days, so which country did you like the best so far?
I have traveled to Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Czech Republic. Each country is amazing in its own way.
What title / success do you cherish the most and why?
Easily becoming World Champion. I put so much hard work into it, and everything about the experience felt like it was meant to happen.
One of the most asked questions that we get is “how do i get sponsored” (i bet you get these as well) so what would be your advice for players who desperately want to get sponsorship and how did you get into your current team?Yoyofactory approached me after I proved I was worthy by consistently placing well. Practice hard until you prove yourself, until then, practice harder.
Do you think that the current competition system (one minute prelims, 3 minute finals) is the best one can come up with or would you rather do it differently?
I think it is great the way it is. Competition system, judging format, everything. We just need more organizers and judges to be involved.
Do you enjoy shooting yoyo videos?
Yes and no. It is fun but can get monotonous.
Are you a Mac or a PC guy?
Mac. I value design.
What would be your message to yoyo players everywhere?
Practice, get on stage as much as possible, have fun.
Any last words?
I have some pretty exciting stuff coming. 2015 is going to be an awesome year! Also, Good luck to all players competing at EYYC!