Kendama USA

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Battle at the Border 2020 Recap!

Battle at the Border 2020 was the best yet. The turnout, venue, and obviously Kendama made this weekend an absolute dream.  My BATB weekend started off with a rainy car ride up to Nashville from Atlanta. Despite the weather, I was excited to see all my friends that I haven’t hung out with since NAKO! Riding with me were Bryan Scagline and Logan Tosta. Jamming out to Scags’ playlist and talking dama made the 3.5hr trip a breeze and I was in great company. Once we arrived safely in Nashville, we met up with Daunyé and Wes and checked in to our rooms for the weekend. Later that night, Dwesty, Mags, and Wyatt made their way to Nashville as well.  After hanging out with everyone that night, I went to sleep a little early to get a good start to the competition the next day!

I woke up a little earlier than most, and made my way to Rocketown; the event venue, with Scags to set up the Kendama USA booth.
We debuted our new Kaizen Super Stick Half Splits coming out later this quarter, and also the birchwood #DWESTYMOD available now.  The start of the competition was great and I was surprised at the number of entries. I was also excited to see the video releases and product launches at the event. The first video to pop off was Tribe member Zach Magnuson’s POV Edit 3 which will be released soon. So many unimaginable tricks were laced in this edit, and the setting was perfect.

Shout out to the new Quill Flow Team, new Sweets members Bjorn Sorenson and Jacob Eames, and the newest Sol Kendamas Pro Alex Mitchell. All of the videos at the event were amazing, congratulations to all these players this weekend.

The first day of freestyle competition began after all the videos were premiered. The freestyle competition was intense! It was amazing to watch my teammates and friends compete at the event. After the first couple of rounds of competing, the day ended came to an end and before I knew it, day 2 was underway.

The KUSA team made it to the venue in time for the competition. The competition flew by, and soon, the final four freestyle competitors stood on the stage. I was so excited to be battling for one of the top spots, along with me Kendama USA Pro Dylan Westmoreland, Tribe Team Member Logan Tosta, and Sol Pro Liam Rauter. The battle for first was amazing, and seeing Logan win first place was momentous. Congratulations to Liam Rauter for placing second, and Dylan Westmoreland for placing third! Having three Kendama USA players place in the top four for freestyle was incredible! Great job to everyone who competed in freestyle, and congratulations again to Logan Tosta for placing first.

Click HERE to check out Logan’s winning setup!

Freestyle Top 3

The rest of the day switched to the Pro Open division. Three matches were held on stage at the same time, and the bracket began to begin to narrow down to the top four competitors Dylan Westmoreland, Alex Mitchell, Kevin DeSoto, and Jacob Trebil. The battle for first was intense, with Kendama USA Pro Dylan Westmoreland and Sol Pro Alex Mitchell moving on to the finals! The match was intense and Alex Mitchell was able to clutch out the win! Congrats to Jacob for taking third, Dylan for taking second, and Alex for 1st place! I was so proud to see Kendama USA podium in both Open and Freestyle and can’t wait to see the things Kendama USA will do in this new year.

Open Top 3!

After the competition, during the awards ceremony, Kendama Cares took the stage with an amazing gift for the Kendama USA family. A shadow box for Dave was gifted to us, along with a purple candle in the shape of a hand making a peace symbol, and a quartz crystal dedicated to Dave. Thank you so much to Kendama Cares, and especially Arque for putting together this amazing memorial for Dave. Dave will forever be remembered in our lives. We miss you, Dave.

The final day of Battle at the Border 2020 was a nice day to unwind and chill. Everyone met at the Parthenon and jammed dama while people began slowly making their own ways. Tricks were filmed, people hung out, it was a great time. But like everything, this weekend had to come to an end. As we drove back to Atlanta that evening, I couldn’t be more happy with how this weekend went. Thank you again to Sol Kendamas for hosting this event! Kendama USA can’t wait to come back next year for Battle 2021. Make sure to check out last year’s recap of Battle at the Border HERE!

Until next time, keep shredding everyone!

Author: Josh Kim
Photography: Kota Kagoshima

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[2019] North American Kendama Open (NAKO) Recap!

NAKO Recap!We had a blast hanging with the Kendama community at this year’s NAKO event; renamed from Minnesota Kendama Open (MKO).  Repping KUSA were Bryan Scagline, Zach Magnuson, Nobu Nori, Rui Sora, Josh Kim, Daunyé Synigal, Dylan Westmoreland, Oliver Malby, Haley Bishoff, Wyatt Bray, Logan Tosta and Alex Smith. Great job to all those that competed, especially Zach Magnuson who took third in open, Oliver Malby who took third in freestyle, Nobu Nori who took second in freestyle, and Josh Kim who won the Yank Spike Contest!

The competition this year was great! So many players coming from all over the country to play Kendama is always such an amazing and unique experience. And the new venue this year was amazing. The first two days in the hotel were perfect for jamming Kendama and watching the competition go down! And the last day in the Varsity Theater was incredible to see the finals take place! Good Kendama, awesome friends, and amazing weather on Sunday made this weekend unforgettable! Congratulations to Motty for taking first in Open, and Nick Gallagher for taking first in Freestyle! Kendama USA was proud to be able place on every podium this year! We can’t wait to see our players compete at other competitions and the next NAKO!

Post competition on Saturday, the Downspike awards were a huge success! Getting to award the community for all their hard work and creative genius is the best. Thank you to Alex Smith and the Sander Brothers for hosting! Make sure to get on Downspike at downspike.com, or download the mobile app on your phone to always be in the loop with Kendama! And that’s right, Colin Sander was at NAKO this year helping judge freestyle and host the Downspike Awards! Hopefully we will be seeing more of Colin in upcoming events. And of course, a special thank you to Sweets Kendamas and all of the gracious volunteers for hosting another great event!

Thank you again, until next year MN!

NAKO Podium Open

NAKO Podium Freestyle

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Daunyé Synigal is TRIBE!


Daunye Synigal, a 21-year-old Kendama whiz from Modesto, CA, has been playing Kendama for seven years and is now on Kendama USA’s Tribe Team! Daunye was introduced to Kendama in Vacaville by a friend at their middle-school bus stop.

“I remember some of the kids at the stop being super hyped on trying it out. I thought it was a super cool toy that he stole from his older brother who was in high school. He soon showed me videos of professional/highly-skilled kendama players and told me that he was a part of a kendama team called Balanced Kendama Team (check them out on Youtube). It really interested and amazed me that my friend was on a team, especially considering everyone else on that team was in high school while we were middle schoolers. Their Youtube Edit had over 1000 views (in 2012!) and that made it seem super legit.”

The same friend gave Daunye his first Kendama which was a natty Sunrise Kendama which he played for 3 months before buying his first Kendama from Kendama USA; a Black TK-16 Kendama.

BONUS: My next three kendamas were a sky blue ozora, a blue on black triple stripe KUSA Tribute, and a Zack Yourd 2012 Pro Model.

Daunye is an all-around Kendama player who has an appreciation for all tricks and styles. He was sponsored by Dave Mateo onto the Tribe team. Daunye met Dave for the first time at a Learning Express jam hosted by Dave, and Logan Tosta in Roseville CA.

That event was an amazing experience for me. I won second place at a mini game and there wasn’t a prize for second place so Dave took it upon himself to give me his personal Grain Theory kendama. I was stoked!

Daunye helps host kendama jams at Japan Town San Francisco every Friday from 5-9pm called KG Fridays.

We jam inside the Peace Pagoda in the center of Japan Town Plaza and when the weather is bad we jam near the Kinokuniya Book Store inside Japan Town Mall. These jams are a homage to KG Tuesdays that KUSA’s Jake Wiens hosted for years.

Kendama USA - KG Jam CA Japanville Peace Pagoda

Daunye’s current favorite setup is anything with a Shift shape and a long string. ;)

Help us in welcoming Daunye to the team! We hope to see Daunye continue to spread the game, push his limits and those around him.

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