The HSPIN Antipodes is the new Hadrien Bennaceur’s yoyo signature. On the occasion of his upcoming release Hadrien tells the story of the Antipodes in homage to a character that marked his life.
In the following, I try to explain:
1. How I got into yoyo, both playing and designing
2. What my design principles were for the Antipodes
3. Where the name for that yoyo came from
1. Playing, and Designing :
A lot of players have known me for quite a long time; I started yo-yoing 6 years ago, when I was in high school. At that time, Extreme Spin was the coolest shop, Yoyonation didn’t even exist, but there were already some brands that were pushing the limits of yo-yoing further.
Hspin with the G&E2, Dif-e-yo with their difpads and concave bearing…I remember looking at those yoyo online thinking “one day I hope I will be good enough to play with a metal yoyo”. Anti-yo was also really popular, and I won my first French national champion title with one of their yoyos.
I remember the first metal yoyo I ever had, it was the Pyro from Hspin, that yoyo was just perfect, no vibe, recess response, good bearing seat, crazy laser work…and at that time I thought every metal yoyo were like this….HUGE MISTAKE!
The second metal yoyo I had was an Eetsit, I still have it and I still love it, but with the Eetsit I learnt about axle adjustment, bearing seat importance, so I learnt how to tune a yoyo, and later I got my hands on a Bapezilla. Not all the previous problem of the Eetsit had been corrected sufficiently in my eyes, which is when the importance of design became apparent to me. I love Anti-yo, and I hope I ll see Kiya again to discuss about all of this. At that time, I started to look more into design, understand what would make a yoyo good. What would be necessary to design a “perfect” yoyo. This is when I started to design yoyos. It was 4 years ago.
I started to design yoyos for different purposes, school project, friends, or just learning to use the different 3D softwares. But I never had the time to save enough money to start my own brand, also I had and I still have a lot of time taken by my studies, so I would have never had the time to start a brand…
So I stopped designing yoyos and focused on my player career, winning 4 national titles, going to different contest, hoping, as many players, to get sponsored by an awesome brand one day. I met a lot of amazing, crazy people; I had a lot of great times everywhere in Europe, but also in the USA or in Japan. And finally some brands wanted me in their team, 44recreation first, CLYW after this, I couldn’t dream of any other brand to play for. But I had not forgotten about my dream to design yoyos, and I could not reach these dreams with these brands…
However with CLYW, I found time and inspiration to design yoyos, and I made 3 different designs for my friend Chris Mikulin. But I understood that those 3 designs would probably never see the day as I was staying in CLYW. One of those designs later became the Antipodes.
After the first EYYC, I joined Hspin, however not to be a player, but a designer. So my dream had come true, I now had access to the machines, the experience, and awesome people to support me in my work. It was a new opportunity to me to give a second chance to one of my designs, as I was looking for making my own signature yoyo.
2. Reaching the Antipodes:
The first version was really light (58gr), too wide, had an awful oscillation, but still one could tune the yoyo and make it oscillation-free, and I could see the potential in my design. It was too extreme so I resolved myself to change it to a more conventional yet original shape.
I got the 2nd version prototypes at the WYYC 2010. I got 4 antipodes then, now I only have one left! One was given to Kengo Kido, an awesome friend and awesome designer; I just wanted to thank him for the work and energy he put in the yoyo world. So giving him one of the few antipodes in the world was natural to me. One was given to my friend Will Simmons, amazing photographer and graphic artist, he designed the antipodes artwork, it was a very long process, and I m really thankful to him, his spirit, and all the time he gave me for this yoyo, he made amazing shot of my antipodes that you can see on my facebook profile. One was exchanged to my friend and partner Plamek, who gave me a proto phoenix in exchange.
I know a lot of people back in Orlando who were hoping to get Antipodes, I m sorry I didn’t have more Antipodes at that time, sharing is something that I really want to do, and soon all of you will be able to get a part of my work, a work that represent all of my yo-yoing experience and yo-yoing life as a player and as a designer. This yoyo will be a 60$ range yoyo…
Designing the Antipodes was a real challenge, I wanted to have a unique design, comfortable, able to play fast or to play slow, and I wanted it to be wide, but also to have massive weight rims, which usually end up with an awful vibration problem. I have to say I m REALLY satisfied with the final version of the yoyo. Also the antipodes was the occasion for me to experience different gaps, different response settings, to finally find the perfect one, for any yoyo equipped with an Hspin sized bearing (5x11x5mm). When I play with the antipodes, it s unresponsive, it has really tight binds, a good 4.5mm gap, it feels really comfortable in my hand. Of course I play with a lot of different yoyos, but every time I take back my Antipodes I think “Oh yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhh…..” There is still one thing I haven’t mastered yet, but I will correct on both Shinya and Corli coming yoyos, is the axle setting. We now use M4 axles, they feel really great, but there is still a small axle adjustment on the Antipodes. It takes someone maybe 1 or 2 tries to get the axle correctly in place, and the yoyo is vibe less or wobble free, then is just a huuuuuuuuuge pleasure. I don’t want players to think that the yoyo is bad because of that, it s unique design, unique feel, I just want players to understand that this axle adjustment is a part of my learning as a young designer, that will be developed further.
The colors from the anodizer are just amazing. There will be 4 colors available, dark green and light green, dark blue and light blue. All of them have received our very own finish which makes the surface super shiny, I have never seen anything like this, it s a jewel as well as a tool, or a toy, see it your way.
3. Finding the Name :
I know have to talk about the name. This is also linked to the colors I chose for my yoyo, lagoon green, skye blue, and ocean blue. Antipodes is a word not very used, I m sure not everyone knows the meaning, so I recommend everyone to find out. I was having a lot of difficulty finding the name, and I finally found it when I went to Dubai to visit my uncle.
My uncle left his home at the age of 18, he sold his bike for a one-way ticket to the USA, to live the American dream, and he did a lot of small low level jobs, to finally start a car cleaner business. In the end he opened his first car garage to repair sport cars, and from then he just kept getting more and more important job. He has lived in the USA, in France, in Dubai; and now lives in Australia and works for a big Canadian company, focusing on training sales people. He also has a pilot license, bike license, and plane license, he did bike competitions when he was younger, car races, bike races in the canyons….there is also one part of his life, sharing a boat with a couple of friends, traveling the world. One of his biggest achievements was, he started in his boat from France, and he crossed the Atlantic to reach the US coasts by himself, alone. He went all around the world with his boat; the name of his boat was Antipodes.
As I probably will never be able to go all around the world on a boat, I want my signature yoyo to do that for me, and it s also a tribute to my uncle. The boat appearing on the laser artwork was drawn from a picture of my uncle’s boat. Also I have been to the Maldives islands; I will never forget those water colors, which I tried to give to my yoyo.
This is pretty much the whole story of the Antipodes, I know a lot of players are waiting for it to be released, I just can’t wait to see my yoyo hit the stores, also I hope, that like me at my very last time on stage at the WYYC 2010, players will use that yoyo on stage, it has happened in Europe, I trust it will happen in the whole World.
There will be a second run of antipodes, the first run uses Hspin sized bearing that I love, the second run will use a large metric bearing 6x13x5mm, I m sure players will love both versions, I m just really curious to compare them!
If you get an Antipodes, them I would be really happy to get feedback from you, whether it s through my facebook profile, or you can just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The next time players will be able to try it, will be AP2011, and soon after this contest the antipodes will be available through the Hspin store, and through the stores that will be willing to carry my yoyo.
Unofficial illustration inspired by the text original of Hadrien Bennaceur
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