Sophomore Hayden Brickman transferred from Mills to Burlingame this year; students would never guess that they now share a campus with the 17th ranked yo-yoer in the nation. Brickman started his yoyo career when he was only in fourth grade. On Christmas morning of 2012, he received his first yo-yo: a blue YoYoFactory Whip, after months of anticipation after he saw the son of a customer performing cool yo-yo tricks at his parent’s eyewear shop, Burlingame Optical.
“I could tell that [Hayden] was very interested [in yo-yo] in a way more than ‘that’s cool’ ... He was very interested in this,” Rachael Dominguez, Brickman’s mother, said. Beginning with the basics, Brickman immediately began learning as many tricks as possible.
“[My dad] taught me rock the baby,” Brickman said. Rock the baby is a beginner trick in which the yo-yoer forms a triangle with the yo-yo string and swings the yo-yo like a pendulum in the triangle. “It was the first trick I had ever learned.”
In May of 2013, Brickman and his mom decided to sign him up for his first yo-yo competition.
“My mom signed me up, and I really didn’t know how to compete; I didn’t know what the judging system was… and I did pretty bad,” Brickman said. “I probably got 88th place out of 90 players.”
Brickman did a few local contests in the Junior Division group, which is the yo-yo league for ages up to 13, and continued to learn and perfect tricks everyday before he started to get some attention for his skills.
“2015 was when I really started to get some of my popularity,” Brickman said. That year, he won his first Junior Division yoyo competition, as well as securing his first sponsorship by the small yo-yo company Tropic Spins.
“I met up with the owners… and he handed me the new Tropic Spins yo-yo and we released the sponsorship announcement about a week later,” Brickman said.
At that point, Dominguez began to create strong relations with the yo-yo community.
“For me, it’s just a very natural thing to support. It’s normal for me to go to as many contests as I can, and take [Hayden] to events where he can hang out and do his thing,” Dominguez said.
Not long after, Tropic Spins went out of business, for the young owners of the company had to go to college, leaving Brickman with no sponsorship for the next few years. During this time, he and his family traveled all the way from Utah to Iceland for yoyo competitions, with Brickman consistently improving. In February of 2018, a new opportunity arose for Brickman. A larger yoyo company, SF Yoyos, took interest in Brickman’s yoyo skills.
“[SF Yoyos] commented on some of my Instagram posts and stuff,” Brickman said. “I was excited, and I knew they were mysterious like that.”
After several months of the back and forth talk with the company, Brickman’s sponsorship was officiated in September of 2018, where the SF Yoyos Youtube channel publicized a video showcasing Brickman’s tricks, following with the announcement that he was joining the team. Brickman has since accumulated almost 1.7 thousand followers on his Instagram account, @haydenbslayin, and is currently ranked the 17th best yoyoer in the U.S.
“I’m just doing it for fun, and hopefully it will take me far,” Brickman said.