Awwww, thanks for the intro!
I'm proud to be a part of this, and I hope I can help you players take this skill toy to the next level.
Some history - Jon Gates taught me how to throw tops somewhere around 1998, and I could do most of the basic stuff by the time How To Be A Player Vol. II was shot. I always felt a little guilty that I was a novice spin top player on a spin top instructional video. My yo yo career went into a coma around 2001, and when I went to Worlds in 2009 to check up on things, I was speechless at the level and number of yo-yo players now. I expected to come home and yo-yo my fingers off, but while at Worlds, I met Jorge Alcoz, host of iTopSpin.com, and after browsing the status of spin tops, well that's really all I do with my free time
. Since October of 2009, I've learned regenerations, invented new tricks, acquired and played with all the tops I could get my hands on, started making my own string, and now I make my own tops. I got second overall at 2010 Worlds and 2010 Nationals, lost to Darren Kim both times (i'm gonna get you, sucka!).
I am very proud to be on the Italian spin top team Strummol8 (S8). Please know that my affiliation with S8 will not effect my objectivity, but I won't shy away from pointing out what makes a top good or bad. The other manufacturers have some catching up to do, and when they do, it will make me and the Owner of Strummol8 very happy. We're here to take it to the next level.
So yeah, let's throw some tops!