Poi Swivels – An Analysis.
Let’s talk about the ball bearing poi swivels on the handles of poi. As well as their functionality as it relates to different tricks. So I felt it would be good to offer you a more clear perspective on my experiences. With this small but significant piece of hardware for the favorite flow prop of so many flow artists today.
I started practicing poi, like most, with a basic pair of sock poi made of tennis balls in used tube socks. This functioned well enough for a bit to get the basics, but soon I knew that it was not at all the right feel, or look, and I knew I had to have a legitimate pair of contact poi that all the other advanced flowmies were using.
At this point, swivels were not even on my radar and I had a friend of mine, Josh Tempest, create for me a pair of red poi, with standard rope tethers and ball grips. I was not about to begin too many tangle tricks yet, but I began to dabble and really struggled at it. Doing everything right with my orbitals but they would only rotate for a few seconds and then stop. I found my poi to be uncomfortable and not as smooth flowing as I would like.
After my second time at the Pacific Fire Gathering flow arts festival, I walked away with a new pair of green contact poi with ball bearing swivels in the ball grips and ultra tethers to boot! Needless to say I was in heaven.
Poi Swivels and Learning Moves
Poi swivels help with doing orbitals 1000%. Once I got the muscle memory down, I could hold an orbital for 10, 20, maybe even 30 seconds or more. I never felt like I would spin anything but poi with ball bearing swivels ever again, but I was wrong.
Later on, I received a request to do a hyperloops tutorial and I decided to take it on. I had not yet mastered the trick, but I told him I would in the following weeks. While practicing, I realized that it was too easy, making it more difficult to get the tethers to grip and flow around each other with my hands moving (as opposed to my hands staying stable in the orbital).
So I decided to practice the hyperloops with my original red poi without the swivels. To my amazement, doing the trick was significant easier without having the ease of flow from the swivels. Often, they would help with prematurely slipping out, which may also be due to the smoother ultra tethers as well. It gave me more grip which enabled me to perform the trick with greater control.
Some time after I took on the air wrap tutorial and I feel about 60/40 on having swivels to not, as I like a more fluid feeling air wrap, though not having swivels truly works just as well as it’s a quick in and out trick. In the video I showed an example using each set of poi.
All in all, I think that I will always prefer having swivels to not as the majority of tricks, most notably the crowd-pleasing orbitals, are significantly easier to perform and feel a lot more relaxed in their application.
What do you think? Do you like to have swivels or no? What tricks do you think swivels make more difficult? Let us know in the comments below!
Yours in flow,