Zach Gormley (18) is a multiple US National yoyo champion and one of the most innovative yoyo players today. He’s currently living in Colorado (USA) and he’s a member of the CLYW team. And from my personal experience he’s one of the most modest yoyo players i have ever met. I asked him a couple of questions recently and as promised last week with Gentry, here’s another interview with a famous yoyo player:
Hey! So Zach what are you up to these days?
Hey Korda! Currently I am just attending school and playing yoyo in between class time! I’ve also been getting into competitive smash bros melee haha.
What do you think about the current situation in competitive yoyoing?
Competitive yoyoing is in a unique place right now. Never have there been so many good yoyoers all competing at the same time, however, no one has yet proved to be perfect. It seems as of now contenders fall on a spectrum where they may have a very high technical score and a slightly lower performance score or a higher performance score and a slightly lower tech score. I think we will continue seeing quite randomized contest results until a contender arises and perfects competing within this relatively new judging system. A contender who can master every aspect of the system. There is no one undisputed king in competitive yoyoing right now. For example, I got 5th in Worlds and then beat the top 3 finishers within 3 months. The actual act of judging also needs to be better standardized but that is a topic for another day.
If you had to chose three milestones in yoyo and trick development, what would they be?
I think my first milestone was in 2009. I got sponsored by CLYW and from this became motivated. I created a lot of new concepts I still use and see people using today. Secondly would have to be 2011/2012. Like 2009 I was just sorta hit with some new ideas for tricks and changed some parts of yoyoing. I also won nationals in 2012 and at this point wanted to become much more of a contender. The third milestone I think has yet to come… Currently I’m working a lot on presentation and am trying to make my performances and tricks look much more professional. I think this could help play a role.
Where do you look for inspiration for your new tricks? Is it other yoyo players, other skill activities or somewhere completely different?
Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. In the beginning I was more often inspired by other yoyo players. I would learn a lot of tricks and try to make variations. While I still do this I am also sometimes inspired by music or tv series. I once talked to Sebastion Brock a while back on how yoyo tricks should be organized in a narrative way. A trick should have a beginning, middle, and end. So sometimes if I see a really cool series that has a good plot it’ll make me want to create a well composed trick. Music can be inspiring as low tempo, more relaxed music can get me motivated to create a smoother and more natural feeling trick.
What was your first yoyo and why did you decided to get one?
My first yoyo was the yomega brain. I bought one because I got back from my friends house just before and he had a few yoyos that got me interested. Eventually it broke and I didn’t yoyo again until I got one as a party favor. It was another yomega brain. I guess that’s kind of like fate haha.
How long before a contest you start preparing your freestyle? And what would be your advice for players who are struggling with theirs?
I used to prepare a freestyle typically a month before the contest but lately I’ve been trying to prepare them a few months before. In fact I’m already working on my worlds routine. My advice for younger players is to always be on the look out for new music. If you already have a song prepared it’ll be much easier to create a freestyle. You should also try to have fun on stage!
What title / success do you cherish the most and why?
Originally I cherished my first Nationals win the most. But lately I’ve been really liking the title of trick innovator. In some ways I almost feel like winning trick innovator is harder than winning nationals. It’s a very cool title to have and it’s also cool seeing the impact your yoyoing had on others. I see so many of my ideas in other yoyoers now. It’s pretty crazy to think about.
Probably the best known video of Zach yoyoing. Not from his production, shot for a Devin Super Tramp channel but currently at two and three quarter million views makes it one of the most watched yoyo vids of all time.
What would be your advice to a player who learned the basics but is struggling to come up with his own stuff?
Trying to come off with your own stuff is really difficult. If you are having trouble I would first try to make a variation of other peoples’ tricks you like. Once you create one variation then make many more. Having a place to start from makes it easier to branch out and work some new ideas.
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?
I would tell these players not to worry so much about becoming sponsored but to worry more about becoming a better yoyoer. Because if you make that your goal and become a better yoyoer then a company will be more likely to want to sponsor you. A company will not sponsor you just because you want to become sponsored.
Are you sometimes fed up or not in the mood to yoyo?
Of course. I think this can happen to everyone. Sometimes if I practice for too long or think too much about the competitive scene in yoyoing I feel exhausted. A lot of yoyo related drama on facebook, instagram, etc. can kill the joy of yoyoing so I often try to avoid it.
What keeps you motivated?
A few things. Worlds being one of them. Another being all the younger players who come up to me and tell me they enjoy my yoyoing. Lastly is just the fun that can come from yoyoing.
What else, apart from yoyoing, do you enjoy doing?
I also enjoy photography/film, video games, and tennis.
Any last words?
Zachs 1A USA Nationals 2014 freestyle which got him to the first place
And the same two years before that. It’s interesting to see his style evolve…
And a bonus for those who finished reading and stayed with us all the way to the bottom. Zachs 2010 FS from Bay Area Classic: