Sweets in Japan | Day 2
The Red Bull Catch and Flow event was one of the most professional looking events I have ever been a part of. All of the large sponsors helped make the event feel like something much larger than it was. They had a stage that was perfect for kendama. It was a large round stage that could be accessed from every side. The stage itself had the logo of the comp on it and it looked very cool when you were up there competing. It also made for great photo opportunities on stage since the logo was always visible.
There were 80 competitors split into 4 groups of 20. Each player had one and a half minutes to do the craziest tricks they could. They were judged on a point scale by three judges. The top sixteen players advanced to the finals where they went head to head in a march madness type tournament where each player got 45 seconds to do some tricks then the other player got 45 seconds also. This happened 2 times. The judges then each picked one player who they thought won the battle.
1st place went to Thorkild May of Krom/Denmark. 2nd Place went to Tiger, a Japanese player, and 2rd place went to Kris Bosch of Kendama Co/USA.
Some of the best Japanese kids that competed were using matte marbles! It was really cool seeing random kids relying on our kendamas to help win them the competition.
The Red Bull employees I had the chance to talk to all had a lot of positive things to say about Kendama and the industry in general. They can’t wait to get started planning the event for next year!
Sweets in Japan | Day 1
Today marked our first full day in Japan. We spent most of the morning hanging out at the apartment and honing in on our dama skills. We took a train out to shibuya to see the first ever Gloken pop-up shop. It is located in mall right outside the largest train station in Japan. We went up there and were met by the Gloken crew and Homegrown team mebmer Taku Hatinaka. We had a solid jam session that lasted a few hours. We spent a lot of time talking and teaching kendama to the local mall goers. After all the fun at the mall our next stop was Nobo’s Decade 430 shop. We got on another train and headed over. When we arrived at the Decade shop we were met by another one of our good friends Akimoto - san. We jammed at the decade shop for a little while and got ready to go to the Kendama art show. Before we left Yuka pulled out a mystery box of kendamas and showed us the next two colors of Musous!!!!! Lets just say if you have been holding out to buy a really special colored Musou the time has come.
When we got to the event there was already a solid amount of people checking out all the amazing art. Being a kendama painter I was really excited to see what kind of crazy stuff they would come up with. Needless to say I was blown away. There were more abstract pieces than normal ones. I saw kendamas covered in moss, glass, woodchips, clothes, everything. All the dama pros put on some demos for the people attending the event. We had a mini freestlye battle in the middle of the art gallery. The winner took home a brand new G-Shock watch ( a sponsor of the event ). After all was said and done Philip Eldridge of Krom/Kendama DK took down the prize and title of freestyle pre game winner.
2014 Battle in Seattle Recap
This past weekend we got to head out to Seattle, Washington for the 2014 Battle in Seattle. Luckily a lot of our team members live in the Seattle area, so we had pretty good representation from the Sweets team. Matt, Chaz Edwards, Max Norcross, Jason Major, Cooper Eddy, Brandon Meyer, and the Gallagher twins all got to compete.
As usual, the BIS was held in a beautiful waterfront location with great views and good weather (It rained at the beginning of the event, but cleared up for a spectacular afternoon/evening).
The turnout was great, lots of locals came out and many travelled from out of town/state to make it to the Battle.
We want to give a huge shout-out to Jacob Trebil, who travelled to Seattle from Minnesota to compete, and ended up winning 1st place in Advanced! Jacob’s 1st place finish allowed him to move on into the Pro Division to compete with Pros from all over the country.
The Pro Division was very competitive and offered many very close match-ups to watch. Four Sweets team members made it into the top eight: Brandon, Cooper, and both Nick and Zack.
Brandon and Nick made it to the final four, but Ken CO team members Sam Cannon and Kris Bosch took home the 1st and 2nd spots.
Congrats to Sam and Kris, as well as the rest of the finalist and all those who came out to compete on Saturday.
The Sweets Crew also had the chance to hang out for a couple days and film. We’re going to try to get a BIS edit put together soon, so keep an eye out!
"The Kendama Is Not a Screen"
Sweets Kendamas got a nice little write-up in Mpls.St.Paul Mag!!
Check out the article here: http://mspmag.com/Blogs/Juice-Box/September-2014/The-Kendama-Is-Not-a-Screen/
Sweets Kendamas // Hawaii Pro Edit
The Sweets Kendamas team spent the first week of their summer out on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii for the Mililani Kendama Open. The event was a great success thanks to Morning Glory and all of the other sponsors at the event. We were fortunate to spend the rest of the week enjoying the overwhelming hospitality of all of our great friends on the island as well as experiencing the breathtaking landscapes. Enjoy our new edit featuring some incredible Sweets Kendamas players, tricks, and locations!
Major props out to Morning Glory of Mililani, HNL Kendama, and Tamahawk Holsters for the support during our travels!
Filmed and Edited by Thibaut Arcos
Welcome to the team!
We are extremely excited to officially announce the newest members of the Sweets Kendamas team: Taku Hatanaka, Zack Gallagher, and Nick Gallagher. Taku, Zack and Nick will now be representing Sweets Kendamas through our Homegrown Team, which is replacing the Cross Kens Gang. The existing CKG is now part of the Homegrown Team. Stay tuned for more details and updates about the Homegrown Team and why we decided to leave behind the CKG.
Taku has been one of our biggest supporters and favorite players in Japan for quite some time now, and we are honored to have him as part of the Sweets team. Taku’s high level of consistency and clean style make him one of our favorite players to watch. Taku is with the Sweets team in Japan this week competing at the Gloken Cup, if you’re at the Cup be sure to say hi and and congratulate Taku!
If you spend much time in the online Kendama community, you probably know a little something about the Gallagher twins. Nick and Zach hail from the great state of Washington (it should probably just be called the Kendama state by now) and these up and comers have been consistently improving their skills and are constantly sharing with the community. Catch Nick and Zack landing insane bangers in the Dama Dare group on Facebook, you’ll probabaly have a pretty hard time stumping them
Sweets in Oahu | Day One | North Shore
Aloha Oahu! On to the next stop of our island hopping adventure. Driving through the land of immense Jurassic Park esque plants, windy mountainous roads, beautiful coastline views and amazing weather was a great welcoming to our Oahu adventure. We checked into our room at Turtle Bay Resort and had a few hours to catch up on some work, so Matt enjoyed the view from our room while getting some necessary work done.
We met up with our good friend Linda Kress and she escorted us over to our first North Shore jam session at the Country Rides & Grinds. When we showed up the thing that stuck out the most was the sign out front that said “SWEETS KENDAMA PRO’S AT 2:00 TODAY”. The shop has a homey feel to it, one part of it is a surf/water sport/bike shop, the other part has a sort of lounge/cafe/diner vibe to it. Very cool place to chill, they even sell Sweets Kendamas there! The kids were stoked to jam with the pro’s and we brought a couple prizes to give away so we started playing some fun mini games. Since we had a few youngins we played everyone’s favorite; the unicorn game! Had a couple spike offs as well and then spent the rest of the time teaching new tricks and showing off our skills to the keiki (kids).
Our first day in the north shore was a success, we ended our night relaxing and talking stories with old friends while making new friends. The Sweets life is far from ordinary but at the end of our days we reflect on the incredible experiences we get to have and appreciate the positive impact we have on the lives we come in contact with.
Matt “Sweets” & Max Norcross
Sweets in Maui | Day 3 | Chill/Jam Session
We started our morning early again and had some breakfast down by the water. The beautiful resort we were at was full of positive vibes so it was hard not to wake up with a smile on our faces. While we were grubbing some delicious fruit, we spotted this gnarly lizard on the rocks next to us! So we had a little lizard photo shoot until we got the perfect shot of it fully extending its colorful neck. The morning continued with some bird feeding on our back porch and enjoying a couple cups of coffee to get ready for our jam session/autograph signing at Kaleidoscope.
The store was packed with kids as we showed up! Before we could start jamming with everybody we had an hour of signing. We signed damas, hats, phones, shirts, shoes, backpacks, and pro mod boxes. These guys had us sign everything we could, it was pretty awesome.
Now it was time to jam! After playing about a million games of DAMA against the locals we had a couple kendamas to give away provided by Kaleidoscope. So of course we had to play a couple mini games to decide the winner of these damas. We had a spike off for the first one and there was a kid who didn’t want to play at first until Max finally convinced him to join in the fun, even though he didn’t win that guy ended up being one of the final two kids left! Last but not least we played one of our favorites, because anyone can be apart of the unicorn game. Sweets was the unicorn master on this one, after tons of hilarious moves the kids had to do it finally ended with a local shredder named Gabe who took the title as Unicorn Master of Maui.
This wont be the last time we see Maui i can guarantee that. Keep killin’ it out there because we see a lot of talent and potential in you guys.
Until next time,
Matt & Max
Sweets in Maui | Day Two | Competition Day
The day had finally come where we met the shredders of Maui. The mall was filled with anticipation. Kids were waiting hours before the comp even started, practicing the ladders and playing games of K.E.N. We arrived an hour early to help set up. Kerry really did an amazing job with the color coordinating on mine and max’s behalf. The balloons were spot on!
The day started with Max and I jamming with the kids.Well actually playing game after game of K.E.N. from a relentless line of oncoming challengers.
The Kalidescope owners Dane and Kerry Han really put toghether a good schedule for the event. It was filled with with tons of mini games in between all the crazy battle action. There were 4 different divisions. 5&6 Year old, 7-9 Year old, 10-11 Year old, and 12 - Adult. Everyone that competed really did an amazing job and blew us away with there kendama skills. The most impressive division was the 12 - adult division. We hadn’t seen or heard much from the Maui kendama community ever, so we had no idea what to expect. Lets just say we were very impressed. Especially with a very cool and talented young lady named Earlie. She blow away the competition and took 2nd place against her teamates on team Kendama Riot. Not only that but in one of her qualifying rounds we saw her first try every trick in the ladder to advance in the competition! Her cousin and opponent in the final round Ken took first place. He also was the winner in the Freestyle division. He was landing lunars and spacewalk combos like there was no one watching! Mad props to him for coming out and taking home the win!
Many memories to cherish from that day, we just want to thank the entire Maui community including Dane and Kerry from Kaleidoscope for helping us have that unforgettable experience. We certainly felt the love from everyone when we saw how many kids had Sweets Kendamas around their necks or in their hands!
Keep shredding guys, we see a lot of talent from Maui and were stoked to get the chance to jam with you guys!
Thank you Maui,
Matt Sweets & Max Norcross
Sweets in Maui | Day One
Hello or Aloha to everyone from Max and Sweets. We have had a lot of non stop fun while here in Maui. We finally have enough time here before we board the next flight to decompress a little and reflect on all the cool things we’ve done and people we’ve met. So here is a little recap of first day on Maui.
The day started out with a good ole fashion IHop breakfast with our wonderful host’s Dane and Kerry Han and their son Trevor from Kaleidoscope. We had to gear up for our huge hike up the Haleakalā volcano also known as “House of the Sun”. Haleakalā is actually the highest point on Maui. At it’s highest elevation it is over 10,000 feet. So instead of hiking we decided to take a car. On the way up we made a couple stops, the first one was to the very scenic Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm that consists approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender. Aside from the lavender plants we saw a unique wide variety of exotic plants and fruits, had our kendamas blessed by big Buddha statues, and had an amazing view overlooking towards the head of Maui.
Once we finally reached the top of the volcano we got to see the crater of this massive thing that was 19-square-miles and 2,720 feet deep. The last explosion was over 500 years ago. Needless to say what we saw was gnarly, red mountains and black lava rocks everywhere and preserved Silversword’s that are rare plants that only grow on the slopes of Haleakalā.
We had a little down time in our hotel to relax before attending an obon festival that we would end up performing to start it off. Once we arrived we saw a few local shredders having a jam session so we decided to get to know some of the kids and joined in. Not long after getting warmed up we were being introduced and asked to present our talents and explain what a kendama is. After lacing some tricks and getting the crowd hyped up on kendamas we gave our respects and enjoyed ourselves watching the Bon Dance and the rest of the festivities. We had a nice final Dinner at Da Kitchen with the Han family and then we made sure to get good rest because event day was the following morning.