20 November, 2013

Hula Hoop Review: Play "Perfect" Hoop.

*Warning, gushy boring descriptive love letter to my hoops formed at the beginning of this post, please scroll down for the actual review.*

My first hoop was made for me by the wonderful Elly Clibbens. It was your standard homemade MDPE water pipe hoop, a nice sturdy heavy hoop used by beginners all over the world. Purple and sparkly gold. I thought it was beautiful and I loved it. However, in time, we outgrew each other. I found I was more often throwing a strop or rolling on the floor crying, after dropping it on my toes, than actually progressing. Sometime later I got the chance to try some of Elly's performance hoops (taped witzigs). Immediately I fell in love. I had heard lighter hoops are much harder to use but I could do everything I wanted with them. They were super flexible, super light and they felt so freeing.

So, I asked her to make me two. I had another burst of hoop love and spent hours spinning around my room with them. They are hoops I use a lot. In fact most of the time and I absolutely love them but I still had my eye on the "ultimate" hoop - the polypro. Anyone who knows anything about hooping knows that the polypro is seen as the hoop for hoop dance/flow/breaks&reversal styles (not so much circus style but I knew I had my lovely witzigs for that). 

I just couldn't seem to find my "flow" with the taped hoops. Looking online it seemed very difficult to get hold of a polypro in the UK to my liking. I did find one shop with reasonable prices and nice looking hoops but unfortunately they were "on holiday" at the time I was originally looking. Then, after a suggestion from a fellow tumblr-ite (thank you whomever you were!) I checked out the Oddballs website. One particular hoop caught my eye; the play "perfect" hoop. I read the reviews, all positive, and asked my dear friend Elly, who said she'd heard good things. I umm-ed and ahh-ed for a while and then one weekend I made a trip to London to visit my mum and realised...why not go check it out myself? So on my arrival I got on the tube and headed to Camden.

I tried the hoop in store and wasn't entirely sure but ended up buying two anyways at £15.99 each (fairly reasonable for a hoop). At my mums I had a little play but again wasn't overly excited. When I finally arrived home at the end of the weekend I put a song on, even though it was gone 10pm by the time I got back and sorted myself out, and just started to play. WOW. What a hoop! 

The Review.

1. Handmade MDPE hoop, 36"
2. Taped witzig hoop, around 35"
3. Play "Perfect" hoop, 86cm/34"

As you can see the play perfect hoop is much thinner than the MDPE hoop but thicker than the witzig. In terms of flexibility the MDPE is quite rigid. Whilst the witzig is super flexible. I believe I could probably flatten it with a bit of effort. The play perfect is in between. It has got a nice level of flexibility but is rigid enough that breaks and reversals are a breeze. The MDPE hoop was too heavy to do a lot of b&r but the witzig was too flexible and tended to bounce off in random directions. In regards to the size they're all very close. Whilst there is a note-able difference it is nothing dramatic and I actually quite favor the smaller size. It is important to note that the play perfect hoop also comes in a 100cm/39" size but most people will find that way too big.

As for the lack of tape - I definitely find hooping on the body a lot harder and moving from waist to chest or knee to waist is a mission, sometimes impossible. If I am not spinning with the hoop it likely won't happen. If I am in shorts and a crop top this isn't much of an issue though so it'll be a nice hoop to use in the summer and it's also amazing for off body tricks and isolations. It feels so smooth in my hands and sometimes I can't put it down. It doesn't even need to go on my body.

Plus it is important to note that there is a decorated or taped variety for sale for those not ready to part with the tape. That or you could always add your own!

 One mdpe, two witzigs and two play perfect hoops.

 According to one site the hoop is made from HDPE pipe. Now, how that differs to MDPE or poly-pro I have no freaking idea. However, Oddballs website claims it is the only hoop ever made specifically designed for hooping. I take this to mean that they tested a bunch of piping and decided which worked best - whereas most hoops are handmade. I've yet to get my hands on a polypro, two of my students have them so I might have to ask for a go, but out of the three hoops I have tried so far I definitely think the HDPE is superior. 

Another great thing about this hoop is that it is a travel hoop. Making it really easy to carry around. I simply fold it down around my bag straps so it can hang there as I move about. I carried both hoops attached to my bag from Camden down to South London on tube and train with no issues. It is very very stiff and I find I almost break a nail getting it open and then back together again. I hope it'll loosen off with use but if you're not planning to travel a lot it probably won't be much of an issue. 

All of the sites claim this hoop quickly returns to shape with a little bit of hooping. Unfortunately I find this to not be the case. The hoop is not perfectly round. However, as I am not using it for performance, this isn't an issue for me and it has no affect on my hooping.

Verdict: LOVE IT. I really hate when hoopers say "oh MAN IT'S SO RESPONSIVE" but.....seriously....it is SO responsive. And for only £15.99 it is definitely worth getting yourself one!

If you've had the chance to use, or own, both a play perfect and polypro hoop then please leave a comment with some of your thoughts.

- Bex