Contest Divisions are the core of a yo-yo contest, often they are dependent on how many people are anticipated or the size of a contest. They are usually split based on some of the many different styles of yo-yo play and not age dependent usually. Except maybe sometimes for a high turnout in an amateur division like sport ladder. There are currently six divisions at World YoYo Contest with five at American Nationals that get crowned their respective yoyo titles. Many local contests using an open category that combines everything but 1A. Contests have been around for a long time with divisions changing throughout the years.
Common Contest Divisions
Also known as single A or A.
String tricks with a single yo-yo. The yo-yo tends to be unresponsive (at advanced levels of play) to allow complicated string tricks to be performed.
Single A is what most people think of when you talk about yo-yoing. This style is also almost always the first style yo-yoers learn due to it being the most well-known and the easiest to start.
Also known as Double A, AA, and two-handed looping
A style based on the use of two looping yo-yos, one in each hand. High-level AA play consists of various series of continuous regenerations, such as loops, hops, moons, punches, stalls, etc. Also performed are hundreds of different forms of around-the-worlds and other circular motions with the yo-yo. While combining loops and continuous circles, wraps can be done. Another growing part of AA (also possible in AAA) is based on the tangler trick, where the strings of the yo-yo cross, spin around the "knot", and are then uncrossed.
Generally the yo-yos used for AA are based on either a Modified or a Classic shape. Those yo-yos used among popular players consist of the Yomega Raider and Fireball (usually modified), the YoYoJam Sunset Trajectory series,the Duncan Speed Beetle, the Team Losi Da Bomb, the Duncan Ballistic and the Relic, as well as many others from various other manufacturers.
Also known as Triple A or AAA.
String (A.K.A. Long Spin) tricks with two yo-yos. Popularized and pioneered by Mark McBride, the first modern Triple A trick appeared in Fiend Magazine and was called the Velvet Rolls. The different mounts are referred to as houses (e.g. "Kink House").
Photos from as early as the late 1950's show early yo-yo demonstrators performing very basic Triple A tricks, such as a Sleeper with one hand, and a Trapeze with the other. While Triple A as a concept had existed for many years, it was not until the advent of the Velvet Rolls that development began on what is currently considered Triple A.
Also known as Offstring and OS.
Where the yo-yo is not attached to the string, but the string is tied to the finger. See the offstring article.
Also known as Freehand (FH), or Counterweight (CW)
Where a weight (typically a casino die or small ball) is attached to the end of the yo-yo string that would otherwise be attached to the finger. The yo-yo itself is attached to the string in the normal manner. Developed in 1999 by Steve Brown, freehand is considered to be the fastest-growing style of yo-yo play, as well as one of the most exciting to watch, due mainly to the wide diversity of styles from one 5A player to the next.
Manufacturing of a yo-yo with a fixed or sliding counterweight is covered under United States Patent #6,371,824.
Also known as AP
Artistic Performance is a style yo-yoing that uses any type of yo-yo or other prop in order to perform an artistic freestyle. This style is based mostly on performance of the player over the sheer number or complexity of tricks that they execute. Choreography, use of music, creative use of the stage, movement and performance is among the important aspects of this style of play. However yo-yo incorporation into said routines is a primary source of the performance. This division allows for the use of Teams of people to compete on stage together and several teams have won world titles in this division.
In the 2000s during the World Yo-Yo Contest the panel of judges would just pick a single world champion with 2nd and 3rd. In more recent years of the mid 2010s. There would be several reward categories, with the Grand Prix award winner receiving the title of World Champion.
Also known as CB,or Combined Division
A World Title Crowning division from 2006-2009 at the World Yo-Yo Contest, Combined is a division that has a yo-yoer compete in the major divisions of yo-yoing. Each contestant must participate in choosing either "Aerial", which is 4A and 5A combined, or "Dual" which is 2A and 3A combined, the second round qualified players must compete in the leftover category. Then, the highest qualifiers of the last two rounds added together compete in the finals, which is straight-up 1A. The winner is whoever has the greatest sum of scores across all three rounds. The great part of this division, is that the winners are more likely to be a great all-around player.
The World Champion of this Division all 4 years it was organized was Shinji Saito.
Also known as X Division or Y Division
The Open Division is a freestyle division including any style of play other than 1A. This division is most common at small competitions where there are fewer Competitors.
Sometimes X Division was used to denote that entrants could use only 3A, 4A, and 5A, then Y division would allow for all divisions like Open. Back when the 1A and 2A styles were most popular and the other three styles were starting to gain popularity this division was a viable option. Notably this was the division was used at the World Yo-Yo Contest from 2000-2002, then 2003 and later X division would be split into 3A, 4A, and 5A. Later years contests would call X divisions synonymously as Y or Open Division.
Also known as Trick ladder, SL1,and SLl2
The sport ladder is a common category at many modern contests. The list of tricks performed is ordered in a steadily increasing difficulty. They often have a 1A (SL1) and a 2A (SL2) sport ladder. Trick ladders are intended for less experienced yo-yoers to allow them the experience of a good old fashioned yo-yo contest. Most contests now do not allow people to compete in both the trick ladder and the main event.
World Title Divisions By Year
The World Yo-Yo Contest would crown multiple World Titles each year based on division. It is considered that the Modern World Yo-Yo Contest began in 1998 when it first separated from IJA (International Jugglers Association Event) and became a stand alone event. There were other yoyo events contests, & divisions at the contest but shown below is what was considered a World Champion Title division organized each year.
As seen, the division list grew as 3A, 4A, and 5A play styles were discovered in the late 90s and developed into the early 2000s. The X division was for 3A, 4A, and 5A, and then made the split in 2003.
The 2020/21/22 World Yo-Yo Contests were not held due to the Pandemic.