On the 29th of October, the 9th edtition of Spikedama was held in Rotterdam; a city in The Netherlands. During the event, the Open Dutch Championship went down and our TRIBE team member Joris Schweppe took home 1st place. Competing against the former champion, Jeffrey Italiaander, Joris was all but defeated at 0-2 in Italiaander’s favor. Despite the mounted pressure, Joris stayed focused and managed to come back and win the final round with a 3-2 win.
It was one of the biggest turnouts of SpikeDama so far. The attendants came from all over Europe, it was the most international SpikeDama to say the least.
Joris won the competition on his Craft 2.0 Ash Kendama, which was released the same day at MKO In Minnesota.
Joris’ thoughts on the new Kendama: ”Its my new favorite Kendama. I learned new tricks incredibly fast while playing it. The shape is so refined that when I picked it up, I knew I had to use it for the competition.”
The SpikeDama crew is planning to blast out another event early 2017, This will be the 10th edition so hopefully it will be a big one!
MKO is around the corner and everyone is getting prepared for the contest. Each year the freestyle contest gets more and more intense as overall skill and creativity evolves in the Kendama world. The finals is without a doubt one of the most hype moments during the contest. This year we are very excited to have our very own Jake Wiens on stage not as an MC or a competitor but as a DJ! Jake has been producing mixes catered to Kendama play and is taking his skills LIVE to the main stage to provide the beats to fuel the freestyle gladiators as they put their skills to the test.
Jake has put together a live recording of his “SESH” mixtape that features a taste of whats to come during the freestyle contest. Make sure to download the mix for free, grab some homies, and SESH!
Jake Wiens got a chance to catch up with Wyatt about their trip to Japan for Catch & Flow 2016:
Jake: Yo Wyatt! We are back in the states after an epic trip for Catch & Flow. You were all over the place. From late night sessions to the podium on the main stage at Catch & Flow. Lets talk about your trip. How many times have you been to Japan now? It seems like you are a regular.
Wyatt: Wassup Jake. Yeah this trip to Japan was epic. As of this trip it has been my 4th time to Japan now, I swear each trip seems to get better and better. Once you start to understand how to ride the train, order your dinner, and find the venue it’s a lot easier to feel less like a tourist and more at home haha!
Jake: What makes Japan trips so epic for you?
Wyatt: Everything! Most of the time you are there you don’t get to just hangout. Each day the crew mobs to different places. Some days I would just find sick film spots and grind, others with the whole KUSA crew checking out the city (sometimes shopping with Weins&Fuegz), playing ken with Nobu, clubbing with the GT Crew, being there with the COTK team, climbing roofs with Bonz, Competing etc. Almost everything you do there is just so insane haha! You are always on your feet, always moving. It’s a lot at first yeah, but Japan really is the most epic place for a kendama player.
Jake: What specifically is special about Catch & Flow?
Wyatt: Catch & Flow is a very special and unique freestyle event. Its not world cup, it’s the gritty, cutthroat, do or die world championships. You give it all you got and hope to come out on top, but sometimes you don’t. No one is telling you what tricks to do, or giving you a list to practice, you choose how you want to play kendama, you choose the tricks that you want to do and you choose how you want them to look. The next guy does the same thing and then the judges decide who was the dopest.
Jake: How was it battling Fish in the finals? I was on stage right next to you guys and I could hardly contain myself it was so epic.
Wyatt: Amazing! I love Fish, I have been playing with him for years now. It makes me really happy knowing that he is a great friend of mine. Going against him in the finals of Catch & Flow was so great! Both of us were pretty nervous, we both wanted to give a great performance and show whoever watched the finals how sick kendama is. I think we both laced hard and gave a good show for everyone. So knowing that, it was just sick to be up on that stage experiencing that with such a close friend of mine.
Jake: I have never seen you so stoked during a contest. What made your stoke level 11 during this battle?
Wyatt: Haha I dunno! I guess I was just really stoked that I was lacing all my tricks. It’s a lot of pressure being on stage and its hard sometimes to really focus in and land the tricks that I want to. But during this comp I dunno, I just felt good, like I was in my natural habitat. I took all my nerves and tried to use them as fuel. Instead of being so nervous it just got me more excited I was able to stay positive . After that all the pressure lifted and I felt comfortable to go for what I wanted to and what I thought was fun.
Jake: What was the craziest thing you saw this trip to Japan?
Wyatt: The Underground BMX Battle at Club Asia was pretty insane. Nobu hopped on the mic and started MCing it! Then after words when we hopped on stage and started lacing! That was so wild!
Jake: What are your plans for next years Catch & Flow?
Wyatt: Stay Hungry!
Jake: Give the kids one piece of advise on how to never be soft.
Wyatt: Always play kendama how you want to. And work hard, forward moons ain’t easy!
Everyone’s Kendama story is different, as is what it means to them. Haley Bishoff, Kendama USA Tribute Team Member, explains what Kendama means to her, its benefits, and the positive impacts it’s had on her life.
What is Kendama to you? Tell us in the comments section below!
This year marked the 30th anniversary of JapanFest Atlanta. Kendama USA had the pleasure of participating in the event for the 3rd year in a row. Going to JapanFest is always an amazing time for us to experience the culture from which our favorite toy comes originates. It also allows us to meet new people and get them excited to try out Kendama. There is so much to do at JapanFest from drum shows, sumo matches, Kabuki Shows, and even eating some amazing authentic Japanese food. It also provides the opportunity to pick up merchandise from your favorite animes while getting to know new people and trying new things. This year, Jake Kopanski and Ryan Plourd were holding it down for KUSA, putting on 2 shows and a workshop to teach Kendama to everyone who was interested. It was great teaching new people how magical Kendama is and we hope to see you there again next year!
We’d also like to give a special shout out to NANA, a company we had collaboration with during the weekend. You can check out their app by clicking here.
Thank you to all of the local players that came out and helped with the event. Damafam is strong!
We got a few minutes with Haley Bishoff this past weekend so we decided to do a Rapid Fire Q&A to help get to know Haley a little better.
Haley what was the…?
Last books you read:
- Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
- Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum
Last food you ate:
- Some veggie stir fry
Last song you listened to:
- Tallest Man on Earth’s new song – Rivers
Last edit you watched:
- The new Epic Drone edit feat. B Meyer!
Last store you were in:
- Fred Meyer…I’m in there like at least 3 times a day for some reason
Last ice cream you tried:
- So Delicious cashew milk snickerdoodle. It tastes like Christmas
Last state you visited:
- Last state I was in was California for Let’s Dama 2!
Last time you picked your nose:
- Casual pick like 30 minutes ago, no shame.
- #noregrets #liveontheedge #yolo #lol
Last dama set up:
- I have been jamming an Orange Kaizen A LOT lately…glued spike & mashed cups, of course.
Last things you drank:
- Iced coffee with some hazelnut creamer
- A ponderosa pine tree at the bottom of my leg near my ankle. Represents home in Central Oregon
Last dream you remember:
- I had a super strange dream last night that my neighbor Chris was in my parents house and threw up everywhere…why? I don’t know.
Last movies you watched:
- Soaked in Bleach, a Netflix documentary about Kurt Cobain’s life
Last bone you broke:
- Strangely I have never broken a bone to the point of having a cast, but I have fractured a few things. Last thing was a small fracture in my left knee when I was in high school. I was sliding down a huge patch of ice on my snowboard on my butt and caught at edge, flew forward and landed right on my knee. I actually didn’t even find out it was fractured for days, oops.
Playing KEN with your friends is one of the best ways to get better as a kendama player. It drives you and your friends to do better. TJ and Dylan got together and filmed one of their games of KEN. Who do you think will win?
We are so proud to announce that Nobu Nori is the newest member added to our Tribe team. Nobu is our first Japanese team member and has always impressed us with his incredible Kendama play, style, and positivity.