We are honored and excited to announce Wyatt Bray as the newest member of the Kendama USA Pro Team. Wyatt’s contagious positivity, energy and love for the sport has made a significant impact across the Kendama community. His disruptive style and mind-blowing trick combinations have influenced freestyle play by not only raising the bar but also growing the community at home and abroad. From organizing local jams, demonstrating at schools, touring the country for various events, participation in tutorial videos, edits, etc… we’ve watched Wyatt grow; not only as a player but also as a contributing member of the Kendama community. Wyatt has used his platform as both a world champion and a member of our team to share and spread Kendama worldwide.
Wyatt continues to challenge not only his own limits, but also the laws of physics in general when playing Kendama. He pushes those around him to reach for new heights and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next.
Please join us in welcoming Wyatt Bray to the Kendama USA Pro Team.
This year’s COTK Halloween Battle; Stumptown 4, showed that the Pacific Northwest Kendama scene is alive and well. The hype factor of the legend himself, Tamotsu Kubota brought even more people to this year’s’ event, making it COTK’s biggest yet! Sol Kendamas Pro Kevin Desoto also made his way up to Portland to compete and kick it with the squad for the second Halloween in a row. Tons of Oregon pros such as Matt Rice, Two Bears, and KUSAs own Haley Bishoff came out to shred as well.
We were lucky to have a warm sunny day for the battle and everyone was honed. As is Halloween tradition, we were having players lace a trick for a treat. There were people doing tricks like double whirlwinds and triple J sticks left and right for a piece of candy. Mini games were had, prizes were won, and tricks were laced. This was a special event in the sense that this was the first time and COTK merchandise was available to the public. COTK, with the help of Portland local Colin Cathy, made and sold a limited run of 20 COTK Halloween posters.
Grain Theory’s Eli Cory ended up taking 1st in the Pro bracket over Sweets’ Luke Ford. Shout out the the local shredder Josh Marine for snagging 3rd over Kevin Desoto and multiple other pros in the bracket. I’m always so hyped to see how quickly the local kids are improving. They’re some of the next generation of pros and it’s cool to see them get to that point.
Overall, this year’s battle was a huge success.The brackets ran super smoothly, the prizes were amazing, and the turnout was better than ever. It was so great to have guests like Tamotsu and Kevin fly out and I hope next year is even better!
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!
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.
“I never want to stop creating. I hope I get to spend every day being an artist.” – Madison Morabito aka Painted Bluu
Madison Morabito aka “Painted Bluu” just dropped her newest custom “The Kaleidoscope”. We took some time to talk about her life as an artist and to get to know her a little bit better.
What inspired you want to paint this design on a tama?
Painted Bluu: As an artist I’ve always tried to expand the surfaces I’ve worked on and to me a tama was the perfect challenge. Whether it be painting, drawing, wood burning. I wanted to apply my medium to this less common surface.
How many different designs have you done on damas?
Painted Bluu: I’ve done about 10 design lines since I started painting kendamas about 2 years ago, and I’ve painted countless customs!
How did you begin painting?
Painted Bluu: As a child I watched my father painting comic book strips, his talent made me want to be an artist. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I picked up a paint brush and it’s been my passion since.
Are you in school?
Painted Bluu: I’m currently a printmaking major at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR.
What drives you to create paintings, drawings, and tattoos?
Painted Bluu: The endless possibilities. As an artist your job never stops. Everyday I am inspired to create something new, something better. While I do paint and draw nearly everyday, I’m excited to begin my tattooing journey! Lately I’ve found my biggest inspirations in tattoo artist John Larsons work, and some of my favorite printmakers. I’ve been very into American Traditional style tattoo work, learning how to convert everything to that style. I also am heavily influenced by middle eastern art, I use a lot of organic shapes in my mandala works.
What’s the craziest thing you painted on?
Painted Bluu: The craziest thing I’ve painted on is either a saw or a skate deck, both were crazy sick to do! I love painting on unique surfaces!
Do you have a muse?
Painted Bluu: Right now what’s pushing me to be my best is so rise above and beyond in the tattoo community, I want to hone in on my painting skills and be able to produce perfect flash pieces.
What has to be going on while your creating?
Painted Bluu: Music for sure! Brand new and Tiny Moving Parts all day, nothing pushes me more than that!
How would you define your style?
Painted Bluu: Id say currently my style is aimed towards the American Traditional tattoo style, but overall I’ve always had a very middle eastern art style to my work. Creating mandalas are a huge passion for me. The symmetry is comforting.
What is your Pokémon go team?
Painted Bluu: MYSTIC FOR LIFE, in my free time I run every gym I encounter. Often with P0WAH0USE
When your not Painting or drawing, what are you up to?
Painted Bluu: Inmy free time I am hiking. I love being submerged in nature.
Painted Bluu: My favorite kendama players… Stephanie Lussier, she’s my favorite person on earth, Wyatt of course, and my DKT boys ❤️
What’s next for Painted Bluu?
Painted Bluu: I never want to stop creating. I hope I get to spend everyday being an artist.
When Tribute team member, Haley Bishoff, isn’t playing Kendama, you’ll usually find her rock climbing or somewhere outside!
Though she is a passionate climber, it doesn’t stop her from bringing a Kendama wherever she goes.
Haley recently met up with a friend who she met last summer at a campsite in Leavenworth, WA. Both her and Nelson Klein were enjoying world renowned boulder problems, swimming in the Wenatchee river and meeting new people as the summer passed by. Such an awesome part of both the dama and climbing community is that new people are always being welcomed, friends are constantly being made and having connections spread across the country allows for new memories when passing through on trips.
Nelson and Haley spent some time climbing at Smith Rock in Terrebonne, OR, a small town just North of where Haley grew up. Smith is one of the most iconic sport climbing areas in the world and is home some of the first ever sport routes and through extensive pioneering since the 60s, now contains over 1,500 climbs on beautiful tuff and basalt rock.
Bringing a Kendama on a climbing trip is always a good call. Getting to play while waiting to climb and even attaching it to the gear loops on your harness for some casual play at the top of the wall never fails.
If you’re ever taking a trip to Smith Rock, don’t get fooled that Monkey Face is the only place worth seeing. Take at least a couple days to explore this gorgeous area in Central Oregon, take a walk up the heinous Misery Ridge and don’t forget to pack lots of water.
To follow more of Haley’s adventures and Nelson’s travel & climbing photography follow: @hbishhh and @ne1son.klein on instagram!
All Photos: Nelson Klein
Kendama used: Zebrano kaizen x Grey and Seafoam Half Split
Shout outs: KendamaUSA, all the belaytionships and Smith Rock for letting us climb your walls : )
This is a collection of some of my favorite places I’ve traveled to. From mountains in Oregon to half way across the world in Japan, Kendama can always be apart of adventures. Get outside, explore and play kendama!
Smith Rock Bend, Oregon
Broken Top Mountain, Three Sisters Wilderness
No Name Lake, Three Sisters Wilderness
Miyajima Island, Japan
Mt. Fuji Summit, Japan
“This project highlights each of Kendama USA’s players and the specific kendama set ups they chose to use for the KWC while also adding my own style into the mix. Every photo was taken with instant-print cameras (Polaroid OneStep SX-70 and Fujifilm Instax 210) and every word written by hand. I like taking the foreign route in todays technology era and crafting things by hand. Having a limited amount of film for the cameras also added a surprise/suspense element to it all because each shot was a make-or-break on whether or not it would come out in focus or not. I really want to thank Jero, Cecilia Chow, Luke Evans, and the K-USA team for their contributions on making this come together ”
For the next 4 days straight we will release one of the players pages so be on the look out so you can see what set ups some of your favorite pro players are choosing to jam these days.
Haley Bishoff and Tribe member Wyatt Bray were up in Portland, Oregon for the KidFest Northwest event this past weekend. Tons of local shredders from Portland and various places around Oregon traveled up to jam with the KendamaUSA crew. The Portland Expo center was filled with tons of toy booths and even a real baby lion exhibit! Needless to say, we had a blast. Huge thanks to KendamaUSA and everyone who came out to play dama with us!
Kendama USA TRIBE team member Wyatt Bray unleashes more of his signature slayage on Kendama USA’s new full-purpleheart setup. Watch as Wyatt plays the conditions on a rainy day, laying down tons of never-before-seeen combos.
It’s really exciting to see how much the Kendama is spreading in Oregon. This past weekend, COTK members Wyatt Bray, Chris June, Gregorio Ramirez and many more hosted a dama battle in Eugene, OR. So many killer players made the trip out from all over Oregon to compete in the ladders and jam for the day.
With the help of Kendama USA, Sweets Kendamas, Kendama Co., Grain Theory and One Drop Yoyos, we were able to send almost everyone home with something new. Stay tuned for more Kendama events in the pacific northwest!