A novelty knickknack in a kids party bag has ignited an old-school obsession for Bruce Goodridge, with the 12-year-old now hoping to launch a local yo-yo scene in Kiama with like-minded people.
Bruce picked up a yo-yo less than a year ago, but just seeing what could be done with a bit of plastic and string stirred something deep inside.
“I saw my dad’s tricks because he used to yo-yo,” Bruce said. “He could do all these really cool tricks on it and so I wanted to learn to do it.”
Once he’d mastered his dad’s go-to tricks like ‘Walk the Dog’, Bruce was determined to learn even more, so turned to YouTube to continue developing the craft and he became almost inseparable from his yo-yo.
“I spend a lot of time on it, on the weekends I spend at least an hour a day,” Bruce said.
When his family realised that it was more than just a fad, he upgraded from the plastic toy to something a bit more professional.
“It’s really expensive this one,” Bruce said. “It spins much longer and doesn’t come back to your hand unless you do a trick.”
But with that purchase came an opportunity to enter a yo-yo competition.
“I bought this yo-yo off the website and they sent an email out because the guy’s Australian and my mum told me and from the first time she told me, I really wanted to go,” Bruce said.
He competed against dozens of other yo-yoers and placed 13th and is already preparing to learn some new tricks and score even higher next year.
And one day he hopes to go the full distance and be the best in the world.
“I want to be a yo-yo champion,” Bruce said. “There’s a yo-yo championships usually held in Japan or America and you have to compete against others to win.”
His mum Janice is his biggest supporter.
“I love it, I love it, I love it,” she said. “I think it’s a great mix of old and new. Using YouTube to learn something old, I love that balance. I think it’s really good for his coordination, there’s so many positives.”
It’s not only the skill that she’s impressed with, but also the positive atmosphere at competitions.
“The whole room was packed and everyone was just cheering for these kids,” Janice said. “Even when they made a mistake the room would just cheer everything, so it was just a really, really positive experience.
“The yo-yo community is actually really positive and encouraging and we loved it, we had a great experience.”
The Goodridges are now trying to bring that community to Kiama, by starting the area’s first yo-yo group.
And when Janice shared a video of Bruce in action on social media with the call-out, hundreds of people reacted with many excited about the idea.
“It was an amazing reaction,” Janice said. “Lots of people reminiscing about their childhood and lots of people who are interested in coming along and doing a little meet-up so we’ll see if we can organise an afternoon and see who shows up.”