Yo yo yo, it's yo-yo madness. Yo.

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Did you have a yo-yo as a kid? Maybe learned a few tricks - walk the dog or whatever. Well, this guy's yo-yo could kick you and your yo-yo's dog's butt.

The guy is Jensen Kimmitt, a 20-year-old artist in Canada who can sling like you can't believe, which when you're talking yo-yoing is kinda like being king of the nerds a bit, but also something oddly cool to behold. He's been a Canadian National Yo-Yo Champion in 2001 and is gunning for the World Yo-Yo Championship in Orlando this year - there are world yo-yo championships? - to add to his string-hanging glory.

Hulk Smash from Jensen Kimmitt on Vimeo.

So how does one become a yo-yo slinger?

My Grandma bought me a yo-yo when I was nine, being the Canadian I am, I used it as a hockey puck. A year or so later I found a yo-yo in the school yard and it was all downhill from there. I was obsessed for seven years, doing nothing but yo-yoing. I went from talent shows to commercials to street performing. I got burned out after awhile and I quit for three years during high-school. In september 2007 I got a phone call from Chris Mikulin - who just so happened to be starting up a high end yo-yo company - Caribou Lodge Yo-Yo Works - www.cariboublog.com) in my home town of Edmonton. He gave me a spot on the team after I reluctantly agreed to meet. Since then, I have placed 5th at the 2008 International Yo-Yo Open in New York and 1st at The Pacific Northwest Regionals in Seattle, Washington.

OK, so being Mr. Bigtime slinger, about how log do you have to work at that to keep at the top of a heap that few people probably even knew existed?

Lahar from Jensen Kimmitt on Vimeo.

I throw anytime I can. I can get in five or ten minutes of practice waiting in line ups, or to cross the street. It all adds up. I probably yo-yo for a total of six hours a day. Some days it's more, some less, but generally I go hard when I want to win a contest.

The sight of a grown man playing with a yo-yo to hip hop music on a street corner could lead to some interesting reactions. How do people usually take it?

I always grab attention. I can gather a crowd anywhere there are people. Most people will stare in amazement. More than once I have seen people walk into doors/other objects while watching me yo-yo. There's always a few haters, but that goes without saying. Most of the time I get respect and complements.

You're also an artist. How does that fit in to your yo-yoing?

In the Blue Corner from Jensen Kimmitt on Vimeo.

I would say I'm more known for yo-yoing, but my drawing, designing and yo-yoing is art. I make up my own trick elements and compose them like a conductor. My strings are more than polyester, they are a visual cello, violin, bass or electric guitar. I draw in elements from yo-yoing and use them on paper to make my art. I generally stick to clean lines and images that people don't usually see, just like in modern yo-yoing. Music, art, life, anything and everything I do is expressed through my yo-yoing.

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    This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on April 2, 2009 11:02 PM.

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