One of the most well known names in all of 5A, Jonathan Robinson (AKA JonRob) is an extremely skilled 5A player and the kind of yoyoer that really has an aura around him that lets you know that he knows what he’s doing. A member of the YoyoFactory Contest Team, JonRob has competed in numerous contests and had numerous signature yoyos as well. Aside from winning Trick Innovator of the Year in 2007, JonRob also helped popularize some of the most well-known terminology in yoyoing. I had the chance to chat with JonRob and learn more about him, and immediately was excited to learn more about this 5A legend!
JonRob, you’re definitely a very well known name in both 5A and yoyoing in general. How did you first pick up a yoyo?
Thanks, I actually was exposed to “new school” yoyoing (at the time) in Spanish class in high school… Around 1998.
Yeah, that was definitely around the “boom” of the late ’90s. What were some of the trends/popular tricks in yoyoing you remember from back then?
Well… I wasn’t really in the scene back then. I learned as many tricks as I could from the old school Yomega DVD with Jen Baybrook in it. I played with stock Raiders that I would buy from the mall. I then fell in love with a trans-green RBII that I threw for the next five or so years. I did the same few tricks over and over again. Moving to Delaware changed my life.
What happened in Delaware?
After living in Delaware for some years I found out about Mitchell’s Toys Trains & Hobbies. Then, I went to my first contest and the first real yoyoer I ever met was André Boulay. Since I already had some basic fundamentals, André was able to teach me like five tricks in 30 minutes. After that I was hooked and started going to yoyo club twice a week. At the time, AJ Kirk was in charge of club so after learning most of the easy ladder tricks I began to learn 5A tricks from AJ. Around the same time Tyler Severance and his brother Danny began showing up as well. Next thing you know Tyler and decided that we wanted to take over 5A… and we did.
That’s really awesome, so you were basically learning tricks in a one-on-one way back then? Around what year was that going on? I remember seeing you throw some great 5A in Save Deth Volume 2 which Danny and Tyler both also had parts in.
Like 2005/06 I think. Yeah, it was of a group of us. After Tyler and I learned all the tricks we could from AJ we began to try and find our own and show up to club the next week with bigger and better stuff. We pushed each other from the beginning. It was a great time in yoyoing for me. I was hungry and I wanted to be great so I would yoyo 4, 5, 6 hours a day every single day.
That dedication definitely paid off! Some may not know, but your first sponsor was Anti-Yo. How did you get hooked up with them?
It was at 2007 World Yoyo Contest when I first met Kiya and he offered to fly me out to Chico for Nationals that same year. After arriving in Cali he asked if wanted to be on the team. It was hard to say no to the guy who just flew you out to the west coast for the first time and you were sleeping at his house. It was a good look for a while.
You were also sponsored by SPYY for a while. How did that come about?
A lot like Anti-Yo… you get to know people, talk to them and build relationships. SPYY was a real good ride. Steve gave me the yoyo of my dreams! I made a little bit of money and he made a little bit of money. At the end of the day it wasn’t a 100% comfortable fit for me at that time so I decided to do my own thing for a while.
Now you’re with YoYoFactory, right?
Yeah… YYF was probably where I should have been from the start. The yoyos they make fit me, when I’m with the team it feels like family and they are the most professional yoyo company in the business… hands down.
Being involved in a lot of different aspects of yoyoing, what would you say your favorite is between contests, videos, tricks, etc.?
I’ve always felt like a competitive yoyo player first. I played sports my whole life and I like the competitive aspect of yoyoing, even if I’m not that good at it anymore. The tricks are next only because you need those to compete, then the videos cause they help build hype and get your name out there. I could care less about trick innovation and videos. I just want to win one big contest before I stop competing.
All in all, what would you say your favorite moment out of your whole yoyo career would be?
WOW! That’s a good question…
I’d probably have to say my 2008 World YoYo Contest performance. It was hella dirty, but the song, swag and outfit were on point! 2010 BAC was another one of my favorite moments. The original 5AMay movement was at that contest. I had a good freestyle, a great song and I had on some fresh ass Jays that day!
Winning Trick Innovator of the Year award could have been one of those moments, but it has been surrounded by bullsh*t since the year Jake and I won it. I still feel some type of way about sharing that award and everything that has happened with it since then. It’s a joke now.
Yeah, I can’t say I disagree with you there. What would be your advice for any aspiring 5A player out there?
As far as advice, the best thing would probably be to learn all of the basic/fundamental tricks that are out there, then learn some tricks that a few of your favorite players do, then just stop watching 5A players or yoyo players for inspiration and just be creative. Having a solid foundation if tricks is key, though.
Do you think getting good at 5A requires a different approach than 1A?
I don’t even have an approach to 1A, it’s just something I do in between 5a tricks when I’m not thinking. I suck at 1A.
One more question: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I wouldn’t expect much… lol. It gets harder and harder to stay motivated every year. If I could have just one perfect freestyle I would hang it up. Until then, I’ll probably just keep trying to find new tricks to score more points with. My number one goal right now is to keep my wife happy and my kids on point!
Right! I definitely feel you there. You have a great attitude towards yoyoing, thanks for doing this!
Yup, no problem. Thanks for doing what you do!