We continue our interview segment with a pleasant chat about Italy, inspiration and video making by talking to one and only, Riccardo Fraolini. One of the most popular instagram #trickcircle players, member of the CLYW team and all around super-nice guy. If you don’t know who we’re talking about you should definetly check out Blablanchard’s instagram acount and watch the videos which we embedded into the interview. After we finished the exchange of questions and answers Riccardo asked me to correct his english because he’s not sure about it’s qualities. I made some slight corrections in a couple of places but these were mostly just grammatical errors, rest of Riccardos answers are untouched and are actually a nice insight into his world.

Hey! So Riccardo what are you up to these days?  

Hi Korda! At the  moment in my spare time I’m learning how to make simple beats and I’m rearranging and cleaning my old tricks with a view to shooting some tutorials soon 🙂

What do you actually do in real life? I always wondered…

I’m an employee in pharmaceutical industry; I make reservations for medical examinations and blood tests

Can you give us some details on the Italian yoyo scene? From my point of view it seems to be growing and Italy is producing some great, original players. Why is that?

Sadly I don’t think Italian yoyo scene is growing; my first national contest (on 2009) was with more than 30 contestants, in 2014 there was  less than 15 of us… We slowly had less initiative and attention around the yoyo was dwindling…but with 2015 we are trying to be more active promoting yo-yoing

We ship to Italy sometimes and the places where some players live look amazing! Where would you recommend people to go if they would like to visit? What are your personal favourites?

I agree, Italy is such a beautiful place! It may seem obvious that my favourite place to visit is Rome, but even if you go in one of the countless little cities it will be hard to be disappointed! You’ll aways find an interesting spot full of history (and, if you are lucky, well preserved too 🙂 )

Your Instagram account must be one of the most popular ones in our community, your tricks are very, very appealing to a lot of people. Can you tell us why we don’t see you on stage as much as others? I kind of like to think that you like yo-yoing because of the joy that brings it, not because of winning contests…

Haha I try to compete and I always do prelims, but it’s not my choice if I can’t get to finals: my tricks don’t score well, and I always make mistakes on stage…anyway it isn’t a big loss if you don’t see me doing a final; I don’t like pressure or practicing hours the same routine, so consider yourself lucky if you don’t see a poorly constructed freestyle from me 😉

What do you think about the current situation in competitive yoyoing? Why do you think that we now see less European players?

Well, competition level is really high, and in most important contests you have to be super clean to reach top places! I love it, it’s great to see people dedicated to this! I think there are still lacks in scoring system, but it’s almost unavoidable when we try to find standard evaluation criteria to judge a creative skill toy 😉

European situation is complex; opposed to an amazing growing scene in Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria I can see decreasing interest in Italy, France, Spain and Greece…I don’t know why, probably is due to an excessive sun exposure?

Do you think the old concept of USA x Japan still exist or are other countries getting into the top league?

USA and Japan certainly still have a leading position, and Japan probably is on another level (just look at the average level of any regional contest they make); in addition to aforementioned European countries I always take a look at other asian countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Russia

If you had to chose three milestones in yoyo and trick development, what would they be?

I’ll go with 3 game changing freestyles:  Worlds of John Ando (2008), Jensen Kimmit (2010) and Janos Karancz (2013)

Do you think that the rivalry between yoyo companies and stores is created by the community rather than the businesses themselves?

That’s a silly question, because the last time I was in Prague I had a nice lunch with you and a co-owner of the other Prague yoyo shop…so I think that rivalry is perceived more from who is not really into yo-yoing

Where do you look for inspiration for your new tricks? Is it other yoyo players, other skill activities or somewhere completely different? 

I’m fascinated by any activity that involves creativity and coordination ( like juggling, skate, football, freesbee, breaking performances)

Every time is different, but often I try to watch as much yoyo videos as possible and, when I find an interesting movement I try to do something similar in front of a camera. Obviously most of the time I can’t do the same (I suck at learning tricks!) so, working on the mistakes just filmed, I try to turn them into something good, even if is a single move

What was your first yoyo and why did you decided to get one?

My first yoyo was a pink Henry’s Viper. I found it in a juggling shop in Paris, when I was looking for unusual skill toys…I’m glad that foot bags were sold out! 🙂

Our slogan is “There’s no drama like a yoyo drama” – what do you think about these batrachomyomachias that we often see in a yoyo community?

I don’t care too much about these and I try to avoid them, but we are a very small community and I think is counterproductive don’t act like a close-knit group

Are you following the current political and cultural affairs? 

Yes, obviously is important to be informed on the world we live…even if most of the time those news don’t put me in a good mood

What are your top 3 yoyos if you exclude the ones from your sponsor? 

Aoda Miracle, YoyoFactory Genesis and YoyoJam Classic

What do you like to do apart from yoyoing?

I play drums from more than 15 years and recently I started producing my own music (I’m still a newbie, but I’m having a lot of fun)

What does yo-yoing mean to you?

It’s a way to express yourself, to have fun and to meet new and amazing people

Are you sometimes fed up or not in the mood to yoyo? 

Yes, and it’s normal; if that happens, I just focus on something else

What would be your advice to a player who learned the basics but is struggling to come up with his own stuff?

Learn (or watch) almost every yoyo trick and video ever done and try to meet more players possible: even few throws with another player can help more than one year spent playing alone (and is funnier too 🙂 )

What keeps you motivated? 

I’m playing with a toy that give me infinite possibilities to create and discover new stuff and at the same time is the best excuse to travel and meet tons of new people from all around the globe: having this in mind I think it’s easy being motivated 😉

What success do you cherish the most and why?

The best reward for me is when I hear that someone find inspiration in something I made

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

Desperatley wanting a sponsorship can be deleterious, both for the player (it can kill the fun) and for a company owner ( it can be hard to reply at hundreds of messages asking for the same thing!)

Try to see sponsorship not as a goal and try to have a good reply to the question “what can I offer to a yoyo company?”

I always loved CLYW products, philosophy and team, full of some of my favourite players…so asking Chris to work together was a natural step

Do you enjoy shooting yoyo videos? 

Yes, a lot, It’s always funny! Especially shooting with Paolo (the bearded and super old looking guy in my videos) it’s hard to keep a straight face…but probably that’s why we always have many ideas

Paolo (left) & Riccardo being hustle at this years EYYC…

What social network do you use the most and why? 

I use both Instagram and Facebook; the first is cleaner and less chaotic, but with the second you can reach more people

Are you a Mac or a PC guy? 

After 20 years with Windows I recently purchased a MacBook Pro (mainly for music production) and I love it, but I’m still using both systems

What would be your message to yoyo players everywhere? 

Change your string often, don’t wear white t-shirts and have fun!

Any last words?

Thank you, sorry for my bad english, and I look forward to coming back soon in Prague!


Jan Kordovsky is the owner of the YOYO STORE, Czech national master in 5A, founding member of the International YoYo Federation & the Czech YoYo Asociation and die-hard yoyo player since 2003. He devotes 100% of his time to the store and all things around it. He's also involved in things around various (international) yoyo contests.

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