I’ve always had a difficult relationship with undersized yo-yo’s. No matter how much I like yo-yos on the smaller side, they are odd for me. As someone who is not small, I stand at 6’4”, so to look in the mirror and watch myself play with a smaller yo-yo, it seems to feel like nothing more than a quaint little experience that looks awkward at best.
For the 5 or so years that competition yo-yoing focused on full-sized designs, it worked out well for me, as I didn’t have to struggle with that awkward feeling at using a yo-yo that I dwarfed with my stature.
That is, until worlds this year. I picked up a Haymaker at the Duncan booth in Cleveland the first morning of the contest to take some photos. As I walked around the city, between the bursts of camera shots, I would put on a string and play with this small little yo-yo. Over the course of the day, hanging out with friends and casually playing, slight amusement turned into genuine enjoyment. Soon I was handing it to my friends around me going, “You need to try this.” As they threw it a few times and started to get a feel for it, I could see their eyes light up in surprise as they realized not just how fun it was, but just how good it was too.
It’s an understated yo-yo. There’s no artwork. The shape is organic and natural. There are no strong cuts or divots that make you stare at the profile, curious as to the purpose of the design. The stainless steel rings fit into the yo-yo as if it were meant to be a part of it. If the rings were the same color as the aluminum of the yo-yo they sat on, you would not even suspect that they were there, as they seamlessly flow into the design, completely unobtrusive.
After worlds ended, the Haymaker was all I played for two weeks. It was so refreshing, to play with this small, nimble version of what had dominated my time over the past several years. The small shape allowed the weight to feel a bit more concentrated, yet the bimetal design made it feel like it floated and glided in between tricks, and it still had so much momentum that it rarely ever ran out of spin time as I went through tricks old and new. The genuine enjoyment I had gotten playing with the Haymaker at the World Yo-Yo Contest blossomed into an affinity as it became what I took in my pocket on trips out and about. I contemplated competing with it. And then, at SEC this year, I took it up with me for prelims and enjoyed myself on stage for my short performance and never once felt awkward about myself being a bit of a giant at times, playing with this small, fun, addicting yo-yo.