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. These divisions are based on some of the many different styles of yo-yo play. There are currently seven divisions at worlds with five at American Nationals, with 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 yo-yoing
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, counterweight and FH.
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.
Also known as CB,or Combined Division
Combined is a division that has a yo-yoer compete in the major divisions of yo-yoing. Each contestant must participate in "Aerial", which is 4A and 5A combined, then "Dual" which is 2A and 3A combined. Then, the highest qualifiers compete in the finals, which is straight-up 1A. The great part of this division, is that the winner is more likely to be a great all-around player.
Also known as X 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.
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 do not allow people to compete in both the trick ladder and the main event, in order to keep the playing fields relatively even.