Paul Kerbel is a great player from Mexico who is sponsored by YoYoFactory and was recently crowned the EYYC 2014 1A Open champion. A well-known name in the community, Paul agreed to do an interview and I knew we had to talk his EYYC 2014 win, his beginnings in yoyoing, his upcoming signature yoyo, and more!
Paul, as the recent champion of the 1A Open division at EYYC 2014 and a name that a lot of yoyoers will instantly recognize, how did you start yoyoing in the first place?
When I saw a close friend named Ariel Cohen in school doing the beginner’s tricks I really liked it, so we went to free yoyo classes in Mexico with Isaac Kanarek. Then, I saw modern yoyoing and I liked it very much so I went every weekend for years to take the classes. Now, I still go to the meetings/classes and I teach or I just hang out with my friends of the Mexican Yoyo Association.
That’s so awesome, I think it’s really cool that yoyo clubs and classes are available in so many different places.
Who were some of your favorite players early on?
Hmm, its a huge list of players:
Fash, Paul Han, Yuuki Spencer, Simon Welch, Ando, Hank Freeman, Drew Tetz, Steve Brown, Hiroyuki Suzuki, Shinya Kido, and many many more
What were some of your favorite tricks to learn when you first started?
I don’t really have any favorite tricks, I just like variety in yoyoing.
I totally agree. When did you decide to compete, and what was your first contest?
Since the beginning, since we had small contests I wanted all of the prizes! But, I started to compete at Mexican Nationals in 2007 where I got 2nd place in Mexico.
How long did it take for you to get good at yoyoing in your opinion?
I became good after the WYYC 2010, with Horizontal Circular Eli Hops.
Those do take a lot of skill, I wish I could do those without looking like I was trying to break something in my house on purpose. Was it through winning contests that you got recognized by YoYoFactory?
I got into YYF very early in my yoyo life, I was 13 in 2008 and I entered on the junior team. But, I think after that freestyle in 2010 at WYYC in winning 10th place and taking it more serious they recognized me more and entered me in the contest team
Is there anyone you like competing against?
I love competing against everybody! I wish I could see more freestyles at contests, but I practice too much so I can’t see many of them.
That’s good though, the hard work definitely pays off. Did you expect to take the 1A Open title at EYYC this year?
I knew I could get in the top 3, but after knowing that Tatsuya Fujisaka, Iori Yamaki and Marcus Koh were going I knew it was going to be harder than expected.
Definitely, I would be intimidated to compete in the same contest as any of them. What’s your process like when it comes to making up tricks for your freestyles?
I just chill with some music and yoyo to make up tricks, I try not to be forced to invent new stuff. Then, I choose some good tricks and try to fit them with my freestyle music. I might change songs that I find nice fitting with the tricks, and I even edit the songs and practice until I find ugly parts and start working on them. I edited the song 3 or 4 times before getting on stage at EYYC 2014.
Wow, I think all of that editing and hard work really makes for a great freestyle in the end. Aside from competing, what are some of your other favorite parts about yoyoing?
The yoyo community is great, and competing its amazing. The creativity and coordination I’ve gained is great too.
What are some of your favorite elements to put into tricks?
My favorite elements are those that make the crowd/people just go crazy, so bangers in general!
As a watcher of freestyles, I definitely have to say that those are some if my favorites too.
Steve Brown told me that you have a new signature yoyo coming soon from YoYoFactory, is there anything you can share about that?
Hmmm, I can say I made the first design with a friend in Mexico. It will have a different shape than normal yoyos, but we made that shape that way so it would make horizontal tricks easier. It will be oversized.
That sounds good, I’m personally a big fan of oversized yoyos too. Do you have any advice for any aspiring yoyoers out there?
And what can we expect to see from you in the future?
From me, I don’t know. I’m aiming for the World Title and I also want to make the first Israeli yoyo contest happen. I’m actually living in Israel right now, so I want the yoyo community here to grow.
Wow, that’s interesting. I hope you can achieve both. Seeing yoyoing being spread to new places is great. Thanks for doing this Paul!