Sunday, August 2, 2009

yo-yo #51: anti-yo eetzilla

51 is not actually prime (3x17). don't front, i know you were thinking it was.

i finally arrive at an anti-yo, which has made several of my favorite yo-yo's. when i started getting into "forum-culture", the anti-yo fluchs was just hitting. i'm always amazed when yo-yo's that have a serious design issue really resonate with the community anyhow. despite a prone-to-wobble axle/bearing design, the fluchs was the kindling that later enabled a twin-inferno in the form of the eetsit and bapezilla.

the eetsit came out on valentine's day of 06 and, hotly anticipated as it was, sold out abruptly. almost as soon as it hit peoples hands, however, the reports of a flaw started rolling in. although the eetsit was roundly held to play brilliantly and look delicious (it WAS named after a tasty snack, after all), its bearing seat was just a little too high for its inner wall. as such, much of the disappointed populace was experiencing a newly-named phenomenon that would resound like a death knell to virtually any other company: "slippage". almost overnight, all the boards were alive with theories as to what the culprit was, and whether a solution was possible. it's funny to look back and remember how confused everyone was about it. oke rosgana had a complicated theory that the eetsits shipped with a batch of konkave bearings that had a microscopically tapered edge, which caused the issue. myriad others blamed the stock baz pads, and plans to make thicker ones were made. however, when some illuminated individual (as far as i can recall/research it was mOoN in georgia) sanded down his eetsit's bearing seat, everyone seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief. true, it was "yo-yo surgery", and true, such things shouldn't be necessary after plunking down $85... but to make a beautiful beast of a yo-yo manifest its full potential? so worth it.

the eetsit was such a curious release. almost everyone who bought it seemed to LOVE it (despite that whole "unplayable due to slippage" thing). i really do think that any other yo-yo company would have been dead in the water. but kiya and sonny always represented their product so well, and for a few years, it really seemed as though they were the only force out there conning us into the belief that yo-yoing could actually be "something cool people do". i didn't actually play one for about a year, when at an nc "easily amused" meet, i tried samm scott's and fell in love. fortunately for me, samm goes on these kicks where he only plays one kind of yo-yo, and he gets a ton of em. when i first met him, he was all up on hyperwarp heavy wings, but he also went through a dark magic period, a freehand period, and an anti-yo period. at this time though, samm was deep in a 401k period, and he was more than willing to trade joey fleshman's old, all-brown eetsit for my beat, gray 401 (good call, samm!). joey had fixed the bearing seat, so i was all in. i had acquired the first half of this eetzilla.

the second half had been forged in the fires of mount doom (or machined in some shop) later in 06. the bapezilla was the inevitable "fixed" version of the genreally-adored eetsit. kiya/sonny basically just gave it a new, outlandish colorway, a flat bearing, and a new name. it played like a million bucks, and when it was covered in gold as its third incarnation, "the gouda", it could have sold for about as much. the gap was a little on the thin side for some people, but by and large, it was recognized that anti-yo had released something truly wonderful, and the bapes sold like wildfire. i bought one from the nation, and the day i received it, drove :30 to my pal dave wilmot's (he was good, but i don't think he yo-yo's anymore), and we traded halves. i got all blue; he took all green. about a week later, he let me know that he had dinged it on his floor, and unable to deal with the ding... had satin-finished the whole effing outside. i was shocked and appalled. the bapezilla had one of, if not the most beautiful finishes ever, and i was momentarily dismayed at having exchanged with him if he was going to use it so sinfully. later that week, i banked my own blue bape off of my ray bans (which were in my shirt pocket, not on my head). the 2 mm white mark the collision left upon the yo-yo felt like a blemish on my soul, but after that first one, the floodgates were opened, and i recognized that a scarred yo-yo that had experienced the world is no less beautiful than a pristine one. since then, i've had no compunction with dinging the hell out of my yo-yo's. i don't do it needlessly or artificially, mind you, like some skatepark grom rubbing his shiny new board on a rail to make it look skated. but, every gouge tells its own story, and all of them collectively construct a kind of autobiography (after all, what are WE, apart from our own loss and pain - the flat plane of our love and joy are brought to life by our own "dings"). the satin one that david had later became a total "yo-yo skank", and made its way into and out of dozens of collections. eventually, it came back to me, until i traded it to dave poyzer... for a black phi and a gold 201 (i shit you not - this momentary lapse in judgment can only have been karma for having taken advantage of samm)! in true dave fashion, he polished that sucker to perfection and later sold it for a mint.

speaking of cost, a few months after the bapezilla landed, someone sold one on ebay for $230. at least i think they did - there was some disagreement as to whether the transaction was actually finalized. the details were irrelevant though, as in the eyes of the "yo-yo market", the bapezilla was suddenly a commodity on the level of the oxy 4. $200+ prices became commonplace (even though the bape had retailed at $80), and with this new inflated clout to its price came a new (and largely undue) backlash. by the end of 06, several new high-tech yo-yo's were emerging (among them the saturn radian mk-ii, the first wave of clyw peaks and yyf g5), which totally reset the "smoothness standard". this freshly-weened generation of yo-yo's didn't necessarily render the bape obsolete, but it did get people talking (and complaining) about its design. since the bape's axle system doesn't actually "seat" the bearing, and uses a super-thick axle, on which the bearing rests, it's more prone to vibration than newer setups. as seems to happen with so many companies, anti-yo developed a tribe of haters that seemed no less zealous than their fanboys.

i've played anti-yo's though (like this one) that play as smooth as glass. i do think people should have high standards, and should look out for ways by which yo-yo design can move forward... but it's not necessarily good to be obsessive. as in all things, it's important to strike a balance. "water which is too pure has no fish." yeah, you want a smooth yo-yo, so that your spin times won't be negatively affected, but most of the yo-yo's we've seen these past 5 years though, anti-yo included, are capable of way more than YOU are (no offense). our technology has far outpaced our collective ability to utilize it, so deriding a product simply because it doesn't have a feature we perceive to be the best isn't always productive.

i brought my eetsit to worlds 07, and i hung out with sonny, who is without question one of the kindest, most interesting people i know. he was rocking an eetzilla the whole time; green and brown (i call the blue and white ones "bapesits", and almost never see blue/brown "sitzillas" or green/white "eetbapes" - ok i'm retarded). i determined to get one, partly because i thought the "earthy" look was rad, but more because i thought sonny was. lucky for me, one of my other pals, tyler koske, had a bapezilla, and he was cool with trading halves. i don't know how his ended up, but mine was immediately transformed. it just played flawlessly, and it has ever since. perhaps it's this perfection that's rendered me especially sympathetic to the hate anti-yo seems to sustain.

unfortunately, it felt as though anti-yo went from "en vogue" to "so last year" really quickly, and when they released another yo-yo with the same axle setup in "the business", they got as much grief as they did praise. i find it pretty depressing that kiya and sonny really weren't left with any great motivation to participate in the community thereafter. these guys were really driving "yo-yo style" forward, if nothing else, and when the tide turned on anti-yo, it turned pretty harshly. it's been said before, but when one posts something on a messageboard, one's perspective rarely recognizes the people involved as "people". it's always more convenient (in light of the grandiose points we wish to make concerning yo-yo inferiority) to operate under a shield of anonymity, and with the perspective that we're dealing with some "corporate" entity than it is to recognize that we're taking a dump on two dudes, and their efforts to make yo-yo's that they love, without raking in a ton for it.

anti-yo's latest yo-yo is (of course) called the ywet, which stands (of course) for "yo-yoers will eat themselves", a reference to the band "pop will eat itself". i've played two of them; they exist and are phenomenal. i have no idea if they will ever be dropped or were even meant to be. for a good long while, the forum-masses were pretty obsessed with their imminent release. i think the idea of a super-hyped yo-yo that is NEVER released is a nice way to highlight our rampant, materialistic nature (which most always values the acquisition more highly than the people behind it), and would certainly be aptly named.

sometimes i wonder why anyone posts on the fundamentally dehumanizing messageboards anyway. the bigger ones seem to serve as little more than gossip columns; perez hilton for yo-yo nerds (i only know what that is because of my wife - no really!). maybe they've always been that way, and i just wasn't paying attention. regardless, it remains the most convenient mode of communication available to us, and the participants would do well to find ways to appeal to each other's better nature, and to embrace those who continue to make yo-yoing feel like "something cool people do".


Alex said...

Good read ed.

nick. said...

good read, i want an eetzilla now.

Self Edge said...

Guess what?
We're back and the YWET is coming out November 10th. Check our site tomorrow. :)