Product Info and Stories

Rain City Skills "Loonie" - American Edition

In February we released a micro yoyo called the Loonie. I thought this would be a fun little release that would catch little attention. Instead it sold out right away. I would have left it at that, but Andre at Yoyoexpert asked if he could carry them, so a 2nd run was in order. I took the opportunity to upgrade the design. Since it’s named after the Canadian Dollar and it costs $1.30 Canadian to purchase an American dollar, I thought we’d do an American version that was 30% wider!

The Loonie is a tiny throw that packs a big punch! Small enough to fit in the pocket, stable enough to work on precision training your combos.

The Loonie was inspired by a YoYo from 10 years ago called the “Littles”. It was a pocket throw that played big. We took that idea and refined it with a unique design modern play requires. We’ve tested through 3 variations to get to this version and we think it’s fantastic!

The Loonie plays best with a thinner string, but works fine with your favourite brand of bulk string.

We like to have fun at Rain City Skills, so the hub of the Yoyo is designed to be Lego compatible. This allows you to throw on some small decorative pieces or bigger pieces to adjust the weight. Each Loonie comes with a pair of lego plates that are great for fingerspins!

Each Loonie comes packed in a small zip up coin pouch including:

-1 Loonie YoYo
-1 foil-wrapped chocolate Canadian Dollar coin
-An assortment of Rain City Skills stickers
-A random selection of Mryoyothrower trading cards
-a few Rain City Skills thin strings.

Release date is June 20th at 6PM Pacific Time!
You can find the Loonie: American Edition at
www.raincityskills.com
www.yoyoexpert.com
www.yoyosam.com
www.yoyostorerewind.com


May- 12 Months 12 Throws - The SETI

The Rain City Skills “SETI” started life a year ago as a random design inspired by a yoyo Jensen Kimmet handed me to try at Worlds. I came home and messaged Justin to say “We need something with a really big diameter. He sent me a design and I threw it at a new shop to see if they were worth working with. They weren't, the YoYo came back with a bearing seat too narrow. We had an oversized, responsive slimline!

While I didn’t use that shop again, I did throw some old Yoyojam Shims in the prototype and try it out. I was stunned. I was expecting a half-decent, silly YoYo. What I got was a really, really good silly YoYo. It went on the list while we tried to work out a theme.

My first idea was to call it the cereal bowl. Theme it around Saturday morning cartoons. I’d get some custom packaging made in the fashion of old single-serve cereal boxes (the kind you could actually use as a bowl). Perhaps even include a compostable plastic spoon!

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I waited too long and another company released a YoYo called “The Bowl”. I sat on it for a bit. While waiting for just the right theme to appear I sent it off to another shop to test and it came back perfect.

At some point Waylon Crase and I were chatting and he suggested the name SETI, since the shape also resembled a satellite dish. It was perfect! I’d get some alien lego figures, and have some fun with the colourways!

I can’t recall when I had the idea for the engravings, but I suspect it came out of my frustration with anodizers. A far too large percentage of each run of yo-yos ended up b-grades because of anodizing flaws. Solid colours and engravings avoided that issue.

When it came time for packaging Waylon scored again with the ridiculous, almost origami boxes. They’ve been a pain to ship, and I can’t package up the run and shelve it because the boxes are too big! I instead have to assemble the package for each YoYo as it ships out. But they are really cool, so it’s’ 100% worth the extra time!

I’ll leave play and performance up to the reviewers, suffice to say it’s definitely not the YoYo you will win the world championship with. But it is one you’ll have a really good time playing with.

Specs:
Width: 40.5mm
Diameter: 67.8mm
Weight: 67.8g
Groove Concave Bearing

What's in the Box?

2x Rain City Skills Thin String
1x SETI sticker
1x Lego compatible Alien Figure
A grab bag of assorted lego pieces to customize your throw!

You can get yours exclusively at www.raincityskills.com, just follow the link below.

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list to be the first to get updates and sneak peeks, as well as deals and give-always!


April - 12 Months 12 Throws - The Metalhead

IMG_0025.jpeg

The Metalhead. Last year Magic Yoyo released Dylan Kowalski’s signature YoYo, the Hotdiggidy. Within a week Thomas Velto and I were chatting and decided he needed a signature YoYo as well! The Metalhead was born. I left Thomas to create the basic design. Joey Serrano of 2Sick Yo-yos lent a hand to draw up Thomas’s design. We talked about a nice big, wide performance YoYo.

The first prototype played great, but had too many sharp edges and cuts. It lacked a refined feel. So We worked a little more to round out the edges without compromising the play. The decision to use a traditional hub instead of a Lego hub was actually something of an oversight. I legitimately forgot to add he design feature. When we got the 2nd prototype I brought it up with Thomas. We agreed that we didn’t want to mess with how great the throw played, so we left it. As it turns out that was the right decision, we accidentally ended up with a really good finger spin cup!

The theme. I’ve been wanting to make “The Metalhead” for a while, but didn’t have a YoYo to go with the design. One of the local Yoyoers in Vancouver, Joey Hockin, is also a growing force in the BC heavy metal community. I wanted to make a YoYo he could sell at shows. When Thomas and I started talking, it clicked into place!

I asked Joey if I could share his story, here it is!

My first experience with yo-yoing was in the summer of 2001 when I was 12 years old. There was a booth set up at the Calgary Stampede sponsored by Duncan. It featured future world champion Jensen Kimmitt. I became instantly addicted and spent that whole summer practicing in my backyard. A few years later, around 2008, we had the first Alberta Yoyo club (YORAD) meeting with myself, Jensen, Steve from SPYY, Chris from CLYW and Michael Witteman. I was introduced to the unresponsive style of play and the competitive side of yo-yoing. Over the next couple of year, I placed top 10 at a couple of competitions including western regionals and nationals. I decided to step back from competitions and treat yo-yoing as more of a creative endeavour than a competitive one. This is where I’ve always found the most joy in yo-yoing anyways, as the creative aspects of it align more with my interests. This brings me to the other big hobby in my life, METAL!

I started out like most metalheads my age, listening to Linkin Park, Sum 41 and the like back in 2001. I worked my way through every style of heavy music you can imagine until I found my love for European styles of metal. In September of 2009 I was lucky enough to see Edguy, Stratovarius, Dragonforce, Sonata Arctica, Epicurean, Luna Mortis, Viathyn and Kobra and the Lotus all within a week. Since then I couldn’t get enough of that feeling and my life has pretty much revolved around metal since.

Every single year I’ve managed to make it to at least a couple of festivals. My travels have taken me to a dozen different countries to see epic shows and be more a part of this global metal community. After trying to get my own band off the ground I decided it was time to make the move to Vancouver where the metal scene is much more alive. I finally formed my band, Apprentice, and started playing shows in early 2015.

In 2016 I started Journeyman Productions (a logical name to follow Apprentice) and started promoting metal shows in Vancouver. Now we have a small team of people that are dedicated to fostering the growing metal scene. We enjoy every second we spend making sure bands have opportunities to grow and get to play in front of a larger audience. In late 2018 Apprentice finally released our first album “The Strength of Mortality” which is the culmination of the work of most of my adult life. If you get a chance we’d really appreciate you checking us out online at any of our social media. Give our album a listen on pretty much any major platform where you can find music!

I’m unbelievably stoked to have in my hands a toy that brings together 2 of my life’s biggest passions in a high quality package. This will definitely be my main throw. I look forward to introducing yo-yoing to members of the metal community as well as metal to members of the yo-yo community. The similarities between the 2 might surprise you as they both involve a lot of creativity and personal style! So get on your favourite band’s shirt, throw on our album and give the Metalhead a spin!“

Joey gave me a discount on downloads of “Strength of Mortality” so I could include it with the Apprentice engraved edition of the metal head for half price. If you choose a different colour, you can still pick up the album and their merch at

Apprentice - Bandcamp

If you are looking to score a metal head, click the “Buy Now” button below to take you to the Rain City Skills store.

Yoyo Accesories Brands - Sochi

Luckey Yulin Li is a 4 time Canadian 1A Champion. That’s a heck of an accomplishment. So when he told me he was starting a yoyo accessories brand, Sochi, he had my attention. Sochi sells high-quality bearings, pads, string and axles. To be honest I wasn’t initially sure how successful he’d be.  I mean, bearings and strings are cheap and plentyful. And who buys new axles unless they lose them? But it turns out people are tired of cleaning seized up bearings, fighting with poorly made string, and missing binds becuase of cheap pads.

Luckey is from China originally but has spent much of his life in Canada. He’s travelled the world competing in, and winning contest. He’s tied in to the global competition yoyo scene. In 2018 he organized the first ever Chinese National Yoyo Contest that wasn’t run as an exclusive event by a company. He has worked for years designing yoyos for a number of different brands. He started Sochi because he saw something missing. He sourced out high-quality gear and purchased in large enough quantity to keep the price affordable. I am not a competitor and am a rank amateur in comparison to Luckey, but I can still see the value of a quality upgrade.

Sochi currently sells

Pair of pads: Blue $2.50, Pink $2.99

String: 3 thicknesses, available in 10, 25, 50 or 100 packs. With a 100 pack at only 18.99 it’s easy enough to buy a bundle to try out. The quality is solid and it holds up well.

Axles: Titanium.

Bearings: Concave or Center Track for $11.99.

The bearings are noticeably better. I really drilled him on what justifies the price and he stressed the difference in the quality of the materials. A cheaper bearing material is going to contain flaws and isn’t going to be as smooth and balanced. When it comes to string, there is a difference between types of polyester and blending the right types at just the right tension makes a big difference.

So I’ve decided to stock Sochi accessories at raincityskills.com. Luckey gave me a deal on a sample pack priced at $15 that will give you a chance to test out his gear.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for weekly info, release notes, sneak peeks and deals!

12 Months 12 Throws - March - The Retro Rocket

2019 is the year of Maddness at Rain City Skills. 12 Months, 12 yoyos. January was the long awaited production run of The Ducc. February brought the instant hit, The Loonie. Now we have the Retro Rocket.

Over a year ago Daniel Kessler approached me with an idea for a yo-yo collab. My only criteria was that we come up with something unique, something no one else has done. We ended up close, something that, from what I could tell at the teme, no one but me had done (King Yo Star Morpheus was my previous throw with that shape).

The Retro Rocket is an undersized powerhouse. It’s got full size performance in a pocket friendly package.

We tossed around a whole lot of names and themes, but when we stumbled on “The Kessler Run” I knew we nailed it. From there the Retro Rocket theme assembled itself. Daniel drew up a delightfully simple design logo.

We went with 3 colourways based on our favourite shows. The Kessler Run for Star Wars, The Redshirt for Star Trek and the DHD for Stargate!

You can get yours direct at Raincityskills.com

as well as Yoyoexpert.com and Yoyosam.com

Below you can watch a couple reviews and check out one of my latest tutorials!

The Duck: How to Make Them Pay - A guide to the coming Duckpocalypse

So this is only peripherally yoyo related, except in that it's part of the saga of me learning how to publish for my upcoming yoyo book. so if it needs to be deleted let me know.

TL;DR I engaged in amazon book publishing trollery. Buy it if you want, or not. It's mostly there to amuse me.

So it started with this book (https://amzn.to/2T2jpRb) that appears to be a 100+ year old book on how to raise and sell ducks. The review on this was what made it for me.

"Not the Duck Specific revenge manual I was hoping for"

I get a lot of Duck related funny things sent to me (thank you all for the laughs) and this has turned out to be one of the best.

This would not do. I hated the idea of someone so disappointed by a book! So on a whim I started writing the Duck specific revenge manual my new friend (Amazon user eoin) clearly needed.

I got sucked in. It ended up being really over the top. I did a fair bit of reading things on the internet so I could pay lip service to reality. I ended up writing a farcical guidebook/manifesto/conspiracy theory about 20 pages long. It took me far longer than I’ll admit, but it was a hilarious romp to write.

Then it occured to me. I needed to learn how to publish a book independently, so why not do a practice run while waiting for the yoyo book back from my editor (which I received today!)

In any event. If you are interested in reading my little adventure in creative writing and publishing it's now available in print and kindle format. I think I get 30 cents per kindle purchase and about $1.50 per book, so this 100% isn't a push to buy it. It's me sharing a laugh.

Print Edition

Kindle Edition

Closing Down Return Top Shop

Life is Change. 3 years ago I took a leap and decided to start an online store. In the beginning the intent was to provide access to yoyos for kids in Vancouver at affordable Canadian prices, without having to deal with shipping from the USA. The store quickly grew as people across Canada got excited about having a Canadian store. As I branched out and got some interesting different brands into the store, people outside of Canada started buying from RTS. The business grew to the point where it is mostly breaking even. The problem is time. It takes a lot of my time to manage inventory, promotion, shipping and accounting. Time for which the only compensation is the enjoyment I get from interacting with customers who are excited about what they get.

I’ve come to a point where I want to do other things with that time. The yoyo market has been changing. When I started yoyoing 10 years ago, the only real options for buying yoyos were yoyonation.com and yoyoexpert.com with a few smaller retailers. Beginners couldn’t just grab something off amazon or eBay, they had to go to a Yoyo retailer. Now there are a lot more options for online retail as well as the option to buy directly from manufacturers. This means competition, and I don’t have the cash flow to put into the advertising needed. There are more brands than ever before, so the ability to stock enough variety that will sell through is challenging. Brands are selling direct, which means that not only do I compete with the other online retailers, but with the brands themselves. This isn’t a complaint, as with Rain City Skills I understand the other side of the equation, but it’s an additional challenge. What it really boils down to is where I want to put my time.

Rain City Skills has been more successful than I expected, and I want to see where that goes. I’ve got other yoyo world projects I want to explore, like more writing, starting a podcast, making T-shirts, yoyo fundraisers with schools and a long list of other things. So it’s time for Return Top Shop to go. What I will be doing is shifting a very limited selection of products to mryoyothrower.com, mostly so I have options for the local Vancouver community as was my original intention. Rain City Skills products will still be available through yoyoexpert.com and yoyosam.com, as well as now through the raincityskills.com website directly. Thank you to everyone over the years who have supported the store, I’d been a fun ride and I appreciated all of you!

The Sk8r - Rain City Skills x Oh Yes Yo

The Sk8r will be available at yoyoexpert.com, yoyosam.com and returntopshop.com for $64.99.  I’ll also be selling extra colouring books at Returntopshop for a limited time, just in case you wanted one to keep as a collectable.  Or give to a friend. Or if you wanted to colour a 2nd one yourself ;)

The Sk8r comes in red, white or black with either purple or black hubs.

Specs:
Diameter 52.95mm
Width 42.2mm
Gap 4.2mm
Weight 62.4g
Bearing Size C Flat
Material Delrin

The Story

Rain City Skills x Oh Yes Yo

      When I approached Coffin Nachtmahr Of Oh Yes Yo with the idea to do a collaboration called the skater, he was 100% on board right away.  His first suggestion was that the name needed to be spelled Sk8r.  From there, designing the yoyo to look like a skateboard wheel was a given.  Justin Scott Larson went to work taking Coffin and My ideas and giving them shape.  The design he came up with was nearly perfect, as always!  What wasn’t a given was finding the right machine shop.  This is the most prototyped yoyo I’ve ever made.  We started this process in the beginning of 2018.


     We started with one shop that I’d worked with before for begleri.  We sent them 2 variations, one 59g, one 63g.  They did a good job of the body, but were unable to make the hardware properly (the hub wasn’t snug against the body, so it tended to slip instead of screwing together tightly).  It did give us the opportunity to bring the prototypes to PNWR in Seattle where we learned that the yoyo community was of no help making decisions.  We had 2 weights options and we left the contest with pretty much a 50-50 split between people that liked one or the other!


     Onto a 2nd machine shop.  This time I used the same shop that made the Rain City Skills ‘Showgirl’.  Again, we tested 2 variations to make sure the hub design would work.  This time they nailed it, fantastic!  Except in the time between ordering the prototypes and actually getting them the shop seems to have run into some trouble.  As soon as I got the prototypes my contact stopped responding.


      Finally we ended up at Yoyoempire.  I really should have started with them, they have made more Delrin yoyos than just about any other brand on the market and have the experience needed to get it right.  So a 5th prototype was made to make sure they had the design right and bam, ready to go!


      In the interim between the various prototypes I was busy crafting the unboxing experience.  This is where Coffin had his chance to shine.  He is a professional artist.  He makes his living with his art and yoyo sales.  He drew up the sticker logo, blending the 2 brands and the skateboard concept.  I hunted and found lego skateboards and paired them with an assortment of mostly horror or science fiction villain themed Minifigures.  There are about 50 varieties spread amongst the 150 Sk8rs made.  Jack from “Nightmare Before Xmas” makes an appearance, the Scream guy, Donald Trump, various mad scientists, there may even be a Sith or two in there.


      The idea for the big ‘enxtra’ came at USA nationals in 2018.  Coffin was drawing up label cards for the Boutique Yoyo Collective table and we came up with the idea to include a yoyo colouring book!  I sent him home with a list of yoyo words (bind, whip, slack, etc) to outline in graffiti format.  So each Sk8r comes with a collectable colouring book that even has a drawing of a Coffin and I!


      The finishing touch was packaging.  Coffin sent me a photo of skateboard wheels shrink-wrapped and pointed out that this was do-able at home.  I popped onto amazon, got some shrink wrap and tested it.  You can do it at home with a hair dryer, but it’s not super effective.  So next stop was the hardware store for a heat sealer and heat gun.  I then spent most of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend splitting my time between packing to move and shrink wrapping yoyos.  As you can see in the images below, I added in a basic fingerboard that makes a perfect display stand!


     All in all this has been a really fun project.  At some point I’m sure I’ll run out of ideas for interesting themes and accessories, but I’m really digging the creativity that goes with it.  I’m looking forward to my next collaboration and where 2019 takes Rain City!


     Just for fun, The Sk8r drops on October 24th, my birthday!  So if you needed any more incentive to grab one, think of it as my birthday present! 


     

Rain City Skills Gamer - Round 2

Round 2 of the hugely popular “Gamer! The first run of themed ‘splash’ colourways sold out in a weekend, so by popular demand we did a second run!

I like to stay tuned in to the community online and one piece of feedback that was overwhelming was a desire to have a beadblasted finish, so we added that. I also opted for a slightly thicker but better quality carry case that should hold all your accessories.

For the second run we chose 3 new games and 1 repeat from the first run.

The repeat is the “Space Invader” colour. The first time around the anodizer forgot a colour, and I wanted it just right, so the 2nd run includes 3 colours of aliens!

The Hero in honour of The Legend of Zelda, another game which has occupied many, many hours of my life! 
It’s Dangerous to go alone! Take This!

The Plumber in honour of Nintendo’s flagship gaming franchise, the Super Mario Brothers! Yes, we’ve left out Luigi, but I was an only child growing up so all I played was player 1 ;)

Finally, I can’t take the credit for this one. This colourway came back from the anodizer differen’t than I’d originally planned, so I asked facebook. Overwhelmingly the response was for a World of Warcraft themed throw. Specifically...
Leeeeeeeeeerooooooooooy...Jaaaaaaaaannkiiiiiiiiins
Check out the video and if you have ever played the game seriously you’ll be face in hands sighing, becuase we’ve all raided with a Leroy.

If you missed the story of the Gamer yoyo and how it came aboutclick here to read up. The first run actually had 500 yoyos in it, most of which were earmarked for schools and a charity project Free Hinton of Eternal throw works with.

Since people seem to like their solid colours, I’ve decided to release a small quantity of what remained from the first 500 as mix/match colours. These are not bead blasted as they came from the first run. To the left is all the combos you can make with green!

Where to shop:
www.returntopshop.com
www.yoyoexpert.com
www.yoyosam.com

Rain City Skills 'Gamer' Round 3

The Gamer has been something of a phenomenon. When J. Free Hinton of Eternal Throw and I first envisioned this throw it was with the intention of making an affordable beginner yoyo that would fit well in kids hands and would be affordable enough for us to sell at contests to beginners. Free works with a charity Called “Bikers Against Child Abuse” that helps children that have been in abusive situations. He wanted yoyos that he could afford to give to this kids. I wanted them for use in the schools I work with.

The design came from the intent to have a beginner yoyo, combined with a desire to pay tribute to the Tom Khun SB2, the first serious metal ball bearing yoyo. Justin Scott Larson is the brain behind the technical side of the design, having wanted to make just this yoyo for years!

What ended up happening was fortunate timing. When the first run was released, slimline yoyos were in fashion and there was a demand from the yoyo community for more! We made 500 to start (that was the only way to keep the price down) and out of those 400 were solid colours earmarked for Free and I to use with kids. The other 100 were splash editions that I loaded up with extras to sell in stores. Those sold out immediatly. So we did a 2nd run of splash colours that moved almost as fast!

1 year later, 600 gamers are out in the world and demand is still there, so I bring you round 3 of the gamer! 4 new colours themed after video games, Megaman, Rampage, Pokemon, Super Mario and a fade colourway we decided to call ‘in game currency’.

Each package comes with the following:
1 gamer yoyo with an unresponsive ‘c’ bearing installed
1 hard shell zip up case
2 spare sets of Rain Pads
A slim bearing for responsive play
A pair of lego pieces that attach to the hubs
A bottle of thick lube to tweak your responsiveness, or to make the Full size bearing semi-responsive
A really cool keychain multi-tool/string cutter

This throw is a passion project, not a cash grab. It’s priced at a low $44.99 to make it accessible to everyone. I want every yoyoer to have this in their case, to enjoy and to share with any beginners they see. Walk the dog, shoot the moon, or throw an unresponsive bearing in and practice your toughest combo, I guarantee your tricks will clean up fast practicing with this throw!

The Gamer will be available September 20th at www.returntopshop.com, www.yoyoexpert.com and www.yoyosam.com!