A few weeks ago, I contacted a good friend of mine, Tal Mordoch, for an interview for the Scales Podcast. Unfortunately, due to sound issues, we were not able to release the final product through podcast format; instead, we've decided to release it as a blog post.
If you haven't heard of Tal before, he's quite the yo-yo player. Coming from Israel, Tal is a 3x 1A Champion in his home country, and the FIRST person to win EYYC 1A two times. Sponsored by Duncan, Tal is legendary.
Check out our interview with him below and let us know what you think!
Colin: Today I’m here with the 2016 and 2017 European Yo-Yo 1A Champion, Tal Mordoch! Tal, how are you doing today?
Tal: Pretty good!
Colin: Awesome. I wanted to start out your interview with your win at EYYC, if that’s cool with you. First off, how much did you prepare for this year’s event compared to last year?
Tal: I probably prepared about as much as I did last year, so I basically tried to rep my routine around 10 times a day. Sometimes more or less depending how busy I was. I don’t know if it’s a lot, but I feel like if you’re comfortable with your tricks, it’s more of a mental thing anyways.
Colin: 10 times a day seems like more than enough to me, and it definitely paid off! What was your goal for results this year, and what did you want your freestyle to show to the crowd?
Tal: For results, I obviously wanted to win. But, for a different reason than you think; nobody has been able to win the 1A division at EYYC two times, so I really wanted to be the first one to do it. I set my expectations lower because of this. For my freestyle, I wanted to focus more on performance since I usually don’t score as high as I want to in performance evals. This freestyle was also a “goodbye” routine for some of my tricks, as I feel like some score low and I want to add more tricks for worlds.
Colin: Sweet. I actually saw online that you described your freestyle to be like a story, could you elaborate on that for me?
Tal: Previously when I made my freestyles I didn’t really put much thought into it, so for this year, I wanted to do more. Each story has a beginning, middle and ending. The freestyle started off with a sort of slow song, and then transitioned to faster music as my amplitude increased. It was sort of like the theme of a video game.
Colin: It was super entertaining to watch, and judging by being there I know that the audience felt the same way. Compared to 2016, do you think you improved anywhere else besides performance?
Tal: I’m sure this freestyle scored higher than last year, and I also improved in cleanliness, execution and my tech score.
Colin: What were some of your other favorite freestyles?
Tal: Janos freestyle is like my all time favorite routine, as he sorta came back to the game if that makes sense. I also really liked Konstantin’s freestyle because of his performance with technical tricks. But, overall, I feel like the level was way higher than ever. I’ve watched freestyles like a million times already lol
Colin: Top 3 and all of finals were all so amazing to watch. I agree that the level is continuing to grow.
Colin: Compared to contests around the world, Europe contests are known for being the most fun. Usually videos show that there’s almost like a different atmosphere. Could you explain what you think of contests in Europe?
Tal: I’ve only been to one contest outside of Europe which was Cleveland Worlds, but I think EYYC is definitely a more energetic atmosphere. Everyone is super chill and has fun with each other even though they’re competing. I really like being on the stage because the crowd is super loud, it’s almost electrifying if that makes sense.
Colin: Haha, I felt the same exact way on stage. I loved EYYC and can’t wait to go back. Speaking of EYYC, EYYC being in Bratislava is a new thing; what’d you think about it?
Tal: I really liked the venue and thought the contest was super professional. Sadly, I couldn't really explore Bratislava, but I could tell it was a cool place for sure.
Colin: I also wish I was able to spend more time there! Contest was really cool and made me really hyped for Worlds in August!
Colin: Now that you're European Champion (for the 2nd time!), you are definitely one of the favorites for killing it in Iceland. What do you think iceland will be like as a competition for you?
Tal: I’ve never made Worlds finals so I don’t know how I score against others, but usually every time I aim for the win I eventually get it. I’m not sure if this will happen for Worlds and since it’s the biggest contest I’m trying to set my expectations lower, but I will definitely have new tricks. Overall, I want to make finals and have fun.
Colin: I’m excited to see what you plan for the event!
Colin: Recently, the IYYF has released a new short makeup of how the rules will be different for Iceland. What do you think of them?
Tal: I like the changes but getting rid of rareness kinda ruined it for me. I feel like unique or innovative players should be rewarded in some way in the judging system. Even though I don’t feel like it was judged super accurately, I feel like you could say that all evals aren't judged super accurately at times. I do think that the name changes and other fixes are a lot better, though.
Colin: I see. Moving on from IYYF rules I wanted to ask you about your home country. It seem as though Israel is one of the newer and smaller yo-yo countries, so what do you think of the community? Is it growing fast?
Tal: Currently, it’s not growing too fast, but I have a lot of free time coming soon since I’ll be on summer break. I plan to promote yo-yo in Israel with a lot of my friends and do demos. Also, since EYYC I’ve been interviewed a lot on the radio and TV, so every time one of my friends yo-yo, people say “Oh, did you know the EYYC Champion is from Israel?” haha. So, it’s kinda more well known here right now, but we can use it to grow a lot more too.
Colin: That’s really dope that you’re getting recognition for your win! Also, I believe that around EYYC, your signature yo-yo the Duncan Orbital just released. Could you explain your thought process for the design was to me?
Tal: So, I originally asked for a yo-yo that has a long spin time and is good for almost every type of tricks. I consider my style versatile so I wanted an all-around yo-yo. My main inspiration was the original Duncan Barracuda, as it used to be my favorite for almost 2 years.
Colin: I loved the Orbital when i tried it at EYYC and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who was interested in triyng it. Thank you for your time for this interview, Tal! See you in Iceland!!
Tal: See you there!