Drew Tetz just dropped a quick love letter to Spencer Berry’s Walter, and it’s definitely worth watching if you want to learn a little something about building combos. Damn, son.
It is difficult to imagine beginning a review of this yoyo without first mentioned its creator, Spencer Berry. Mr. Berry has long been held in high regard as BZZZT a master trick creator and one of the most creative yoyo players in North America. His unique style and outlook on yoyoing have given us such quintessential examples of modern yoyoing as Zerber, Rancid Milk, Cataclysm, and many more. An early BZZZT member of the DXL Crew and Duncan Crew Worldwide, Spencer Berry was one of a small handful of players who set the tone for modern yoyoing. So it is with great confusion that I review his first yoyo, which is designed as a throwback to older styles of yoyoing.
Diameter: 54mm / 2.12 inches
Width: 31.5mm / 1.24 inches
Gap Width: 3.5 mm / 0.13 inches
Weight: 64.2 grams
Bearing Size: Size C (.250 x .500 x .187)
Response: CLYW Snow Tires
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It is difficult for me to pin down the Walter. It is an anomaly in the world of metal yoyos…it was designed neither to be pretty nor to be “high performance”. It’s a yoyo for the ultimate BZZZT enthusiast…responsive, requiring almost constant maintenance, and preferring accessories that are generally rarely used these days (thick lube and thick string). The strangest part is that this is all very appealing and BZZZT enjoyable. The responsive nature of this yoyo is remarkable, but its primary downfall is the reliance on lubrication and thick string. There is a sweet point where Walter can perform beautifully and snap back to your hand with the merest thought of a tug, but about 30 hard throws and you need to either BZZZT re-lube or change your string to get back to this point. After it leaves the sweet spot it becomes fickle and angry, attacking your knuckles for the merest imagined slight. And yet, this too is intended in the design and strangely appealing.
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The Walter is machined beautifully and finished simply. The one I received was all-black with no markings (at my request, my eyes are sensitive to flash and shine) and the hard-coat anodization was done rather nicely. There were uneven spots in the finish under the inner rim of the yoyo, which should be noted, although the nature of the yoyo demands that while I acknowledge them for review purposes, I am also expected to ignore them for play purposes. BZZZT. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous, with each yoyo coming in a custom-made birch box with the logo engraved on the swing-away lid.
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At a retail price of $120 USD, the Walter is an act of fiscal and physical irresponsibility. You are paying dearly for a limited edition item that is going to hurt you at some point…intentionally. Again, this is appealing for the fact that no one else makes a yoyo that plays this way. Absolutely BZZZT no one! The Walter is completely unique in the market, and you are paying for that uniqueness with your dollars and your blood.
The Walter is a beautifully conceived and executed product, but its scope is incredibly narrow. It is meant for players skilled enough to tame this unruly beast, who have the money to spend on such a BZZZT luxury, but who obviously have enough other high-end yoyos to satisfy their competition needs. Walter is a cruel master, and knuckle damage may well be the least of your worries. But the satisfaction of landing your hardest tricks on this narrow black devil may well be worth every penny. Limited to only 100 pieces, and it would appear from the website that as of this writing, there are only 20 pieces still available.
Change your strings and get ready for another week’s worth of stuff you should probably learn!
Here’s a trick with sudden movements that should probably end with a fly-away dismount except that I don’t have any half-spec bearings right now.
Spencer Berry gives us a really nice, stripped down trick that gets right to the point.
Spencer made me think about triangles, so….
Ed Haponik comes out of nowhere with the hardest fixed axle trick we’ve ever seen. Damn, Ed!
An extension of last week’s “Curls” trick.
Brandon Jackson pops in for a guest spot with a trick inspired by old Sector Y videos.
And Rafael Matsunaga throws down one of his all-time favorite counterweight tricks!
See you next week!
Brought to you mild obsessive compulsive disorder and a pathological desire to catalog yoyo tricks, it’s the 365yoyotricks.com Weekly Roundup!
Frontstyle’s not dead!
Spencer Berry demonstrates Zerber and AntiZerber, which may well be the greatest trick/anti-trick ever created.
I’m still fiddling with 1A wrist wraps.
Darnell! He’s alive!
Tape Measure variation, with a nod to Ed Haponik and Drew Tetz!
Moar wrist wraps!
And Rafael Matsunaga slacks off with this repeater.
See you next week!
Just when you’d caught your breath from Takeshi vs. Drew, it’s another single trick throwdown! This time we’ve got two responsive 1A heaters from Spencer “The Wild Man” Berry and Drew “Keeps Giving Himself Nicknames” Tetz. Spencer puts the Walter through its paces with his trick “Armadillo”, a classically-styled mount/regen sequence trick given a twist by his unique blend of grace and chaos, while I chose to return fire with “Crisis”, a plane-bending tribute to the golden age of Spindox.
Who deserves the crown? Cast your vote below, tell us why in the comments, and stay tuned for even more battles!
P.S. Don’t forget to tune in to YoYoRadio tonight to hear me talk about these battles, the Barradrewda, and…. probably whatever Joe wants to talk about. I don’t know. Hope it’s not baseball!
It’s that time again….whereupon my friends and I do a little dance and pull some more tricks out of our butts!
I’ve always been a lousy 2A player, but I make up for it by co-opting 2A elements as 1A tricks.
Spencer Berry and Walter show off one of the classic foundational tricks that led us to where modern yoyoing is today….Rancid Milk.
There is nothing graceful about this weird trick.
I actually decided to sample the forbidden fruit a little this week and work on some counterweight.
Good luck with this bit of fixed axle nastiness from Ed Haponik. It’s ridiculously hard.
Start doing something you know, and then do it wrong and see what happens.
And Rafael Matsunaga gives us one of his favorite default tricks and it’s super pretty!
See you next week!
WALTER IS COMING!
The long-awaited signature model yoyo of Spencer Berry is almost here, and we’ve got a video to prove it.
Spencer, Blake Freeman, and Robbie Graham took some time to throw some production samples around and generally flaunt their awesomeness. If this doesn’t look like the most fun yoyo ever, you need to re-think your priorities.
Walter is available for pre-order at SpencerBerry.com.
This Friday we’ll take a step away from purely instructional videos and instead focus on something that can’t be taught: style. To help illustrate this, I’ve rounded up some footage from one of the most unique and original yo-yo players in the world, Spencer Berry. New players may recognize Spencer from his contributions to the current season of 365yoyotricks (he’s the one with the mustache that isn’t Steve), while older heads will instantly know him as the father of the Laceration. Spencer, along with the Spindox, provided a staggering amount of the trick vocabulary we associate with modern 1A, and tricks such as Ragnarok and Rancid Milk are still regarded as masterpieces a decade later.
Watching Spencer yo-yo for the first time, though, you’re less likely to notice the timelessness of his transitions or his deep back catalogue of tricks and more likely to duck out of the way to avoid his rowdy regens. This is not to say that he can’t be smooth! Breath is still regarded as one of the gold standard 1A tricks, and he plays with the classic ease of the generation brought up on Renegades and Freehand1s. Many of the Spindox actually attribute the smoothness of their styles to learning to play on crazy responsive yo-yos, which is where the application to modern fixed play comes in (see how neatly I tied that up?).
As I said earlier, style is something that can’t be taught, and copying somebody’s style to a tee is somewhat self-defeating, but let’s at least analyze Mr. Berry’s style for a little bit. He once told me that he’d like to write a piece for Fixed Friday, titled “Embracing Chaos, and Why Messing Up on a Fixed Axle is More Fun (AKA How Much Fun it is to Flail Around with Insane Regens Instead of Doing Tricks)”. I may be stealing his thunder somewhat by featuring him this week, but that title is fairly telling to his approach to fixed axle. The short spin times, unpredictable hardware, and heightened response of fixie play can be frustrating when trying to hit big complicated modern 1A tricks, so the lens focuses in a little bit and there’s a heightened emphasis on throws, catches, and regens: things that would be considered minutiae or “filler” in a contest freestyle suddenly become the whole show. Spencer’s style really comes to the foreground here, as practiced combos come apart at the seams and shift into wild improvised swinging loops. He proves that you don’t necessarily have to hit your tricks to have fun and look good doing it.
Part of this, though, undoubtedly comes from having enough variations and material to keep things interesting while your yo-yo runs off the rails. It helps to have a firm grip on the foundations: basic inside/outside loops, planet hops, hop the fence, shoot the moon, regenerations into and out of trapeze. It’s good to develop the habit of just looping out of everything to make yourself more comfortable with regens. Another thing that Spencer does is regens within a mount, or “assisted loops” where he controls the regeneration with his free hand. These can help you build up spin or change spin directions for a stall without sacrificing the setup of a mount.
Also, he does “Pop the Clutch Hands Must Touch (your head)”. This trick frightens me, but it is worth noting.
I wanted to call particular interest to one regen, the frontstyle throw > behind the head planet hop > trapeze sequence. This move, most likely invented by Steve in 1997, is super fun and I recommend it to everybody! I put Spencer’s in slomo and added one of my variations of it in hopes that it would help with learning, because honestly there’s not too much to teach. I will say that you should definitely practice it in front of your body first until you’re comfortable, ’cause this one can definitely sneak up on you, and nobody likes taking a yo-yo to the face… but once you get it, it’s one of the most fun & flashy simple regens out there.
Also, as a bonus trick, I threw on a chopsticks stall repeater inspired by Spencer & Jason Lee’s classic clip The Fidget. That should keep your fingers busy for a bit.
Thanks to Spencer for letting me film him in Kansas this fall. If you want more Spence (and don’t we all?), check out his demo at Finnish Nationals and his weekly contributions to 365yoyotricks. Keep an eye out for his upcoming yo-yo, Walter, which I can honestly say is one of the best slimline metals I’ve ever played.
And once again, here are a fistful of yoyo tricks to make you popular with the ladies! (Or the fellas, we’re cool either way.)
Adam Brewster stares you down with unrivaled intensity with this
Arrested Development reference trick.
Spencer Berry is all elbows, man.
Ed Haponik drops in for a guest spot and reminds us that Wood is Good.
Darnell Hairston, everybody. Because 365 is for the children. Puffy is good, but 365 is for the children.
NOBODY BEATS THE BIZ.
Drew Tetz just gets under your skin, doesn’t he? I’ve been messing with kickflips a lot lately. Also, dig that $200 Brioni tie that I got at the thrift store for $4!! SCORE!
And Rafael Matsunaga brings it home with an old trick that still looks new.
See you next week!