Location

Snoqualmie, Washington

Accolades

2015

• Tacoma Takeover 2 - 1st Place

• Grip New Year's Edit Contest-1st place

• Van Jam 2-2nd place

2016

• MKO Open 2016-1st place

• KWC 2016-12th place

• Catch and Flow 2017-3rd place

2017

• KWC 2017-5th place

• Terra Rasta Week Video Contest-1st place

• MKO 2017 Freestyle-1st place

• Catch and Flow 2017-3rd place

2018

• Sakura Classic Open 2018 - 1st Place

• Sakura Classic Freestyle - 1st Place

• Sakura Classic Speed Ladder - 1st Place

• Tacoma Takeover 24 - 1st Place

• Dama In The D - 1st Place

• JKA Festa Speed Ladder - 1st Place

• 👑 KWC 2018 - 1st Place 👑

• Van Jam 5 - 1st Place

• European Kendama Open Freestyle - 1st Place

• European Kendama Open Gloken Cup - 1st Place

• EuropeanKendama Open - 2nd Place

• Catch and Flow 2018 - 2nd Place

Nick Gallagher

Age, what year were you born?

I am 19 years old. I was born on April 15, 2000.

Where are you from and describe where you grew up

I am from Snoqualmie, Washington, a small town about 45 minutes away from Seattle. It's actually labeled as one of the safest places to live in the entire country, so I got lucky! Snoqualmie reminds me of a place that always wants to keep up with the trends but also embodies somewhat of a hick environment. It has a mix because of what it is surrounded by.

Where are you currently living?

I am currently studying abroad in Chiba, Japan and I'll be here until August. I'm about an hour away from Tokyo. As for when I return, I go to the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, so I will be living there.

What are you currently studying in college?

I’m a freshman at University of Washington and currently I’m undecided. Although, I really want to do something that involves Japanese one day. I might go into International Studies, Linguistics... we’ll see. I’ve got time to decide!When were you first introduced to kendama

I was first introduced to kendama in 6th grade by some of my best friends. It became a trend at my middle school and although I thought it was dumb first, I was hooked once I got big cup. I'm pretty sure this story is similar to how it usually goes for most people. Kendama is always popping up in different places as the biggest trend.

How were you introduced to Sweets?

I was introduced to Sweets through the Sweets Kendamas youtube channel. When I first started, all I would do when I got home from school was either play kendama or watch kendama edits, and Sweets Kendamas was dropping a lot of videos at the time. Pretty soon, after three months, I bought my first Sweets kendama, a UV pink focus.

What players did you look up to / inspired you at the beginning and now.

When I first started I looked up to Colin Sander and Christian Fraser the most. Colin's pro model was yellow (which is my favorite color) and the way he moved when playing kendama just made every trick look so cool. Christian was one of the only left-handed players I knew at the time, and since I'm left-handed as well he became my favorite player. I actually won his pro model at Battle in Seattle 2012 when I got 2nd in the intermediate ladder. I was so stoked!

Now, I'd say some of my main inspirations are Zack Gallagher and Christian Fraser. I really could go on and on about who inspires me but these two always are the ones I think about first.

Zack is my brother and I don't know if I would be playing if it wasn't for him. Christian has been playing for 10 years and not only is still super involved but he keeps up with the style of play that is forever becoming more distant compared to the OG days. He also is just a busy person that still makes time for kendama. I respect that.

Who are currently your favorite players?

This one is hard. I feel like I would give a different answer depending on the day.

Yukie Yao-She always does stall tricks, and so do I. My favorite trick is stilt and her favorite trick is stilt, too, so I really like watching her play. Her tricks remind me of my own. Always fun to play KEN with, too, for the same reasons. She's a great competitor, too! The amount of stall tricks she's able to do under pressure is super impressive.

Nobu Nori-Dude pops off, I mean what else do I have to say. I've seen him go from a random kid to one of the best players in the world, and he's still getting better. He does a lot of tricks that require fast movements and is super fun to jam with. He's just a really kind person in general and I'm happy we're friends. 

Nonoka Kyodo-She's really dedicated to kendama and I really respect her. She's been playing for 11 years, I think? That's insane. She did 28trickslater two years in a row and is always doing her best to rep Sweets. Like I said, she just loves kendama. She is easily one of my closest friends here in Japan. I met her at KWC 2016 and now she's my teammate. Also, she can do like, any handlestall trick.

Nic Stodd-One of my best friends. I really don't think I need to say much because you all already know how good he is. Super supportive and values kendama very highly. He's also one of the funniest people I've met and it helps because we have the same sense of humor. It's dark. 

Willy P-Inspired me from the beginning and still does today. He’s been able to stay in the game for so long while honestly exceeding at life in general if that makes sense. He’s a reminder that you can accomplish a lot of you work hard.

Favorite competition?

This is going to sound obvious but I really liked KWC 2018. I know I won, but that was my best trip to Japan yet for other reasons as well. I stayed there for three weeks instead of two and I got to not only stay busy with the sweets squad but have my own free time as well. It was a great combination and I was able to do so many different things during my time there. This competition as well as Catch and Flow 2018 actually inspired me to come and study abroad here.

Describe what it was like to have an undefeated season of comeptition, being the world champ?

2018 was definitely the best year I’ve ever had with kendama. I placed in at least one type of competition in every event I attended. I managed to win 10 of them! That’s just so insane to think about. Honestly I think it’s partly luck.

Although it wasn’t totally undefeated, I guess it was close. I don’t even really know how to feel about it. 10 in one year was more than double of what I had won previously so it really does seem too good to be true. Every time before a competition I’m like “Well, it would be cool to do good at this one” and then this last year I just ended up going a lot farther than I thought at all of them. I played Bonz in 6 finals last year, which in itself is crazy. The odds of that happening is really just so small. I don’t know, everything just aligned in 2018.

Being the world champion is still something I feel weird saying out loud. It took me until 4 months after the competition for it to really hit me and ever since I’ve just been trying to play kendama consistently every day. I don’t want to let this slip!  Sometimes I think about when I was 12 which was when I first started playing and just think about what’s happened since then. I’m sure if someone told me I’d be world champion one day I’d laugh. 

Whats your favorite style of play? Casual, the grind for a banger, freestyle, competition?

I love freestyle because I can just play how I normally play in my room. The freedom of doing whatever you want is satisfying. I always do stall tricks and incorporate those a lot during freestyle competitions.  Although, when I film a trick, I always find myself doing single tricks and never doing combos.

What trick was the most satisfying grind? / took the longest to lace and film

I'm not sure... It's been a while since I've grinded for a while on one single trick. Not sure if this is the most satisfying but I filmed Around Wing Juggle to Penguin Wing back in June 2018. I got it 7 times. I think I tried doing some flashy ender and missed spike four times, and then two times after that I wasn't satisfied with the framing of the trick. So it took me until the 7th time to finally get it right. I think this one took me 3-4 hours.

Favorite edits?

This one is hard. Of course, I like Nick and Zack-A Kendama Documentary because every time I watch that it brings back so many memories of my childhood and all of what happened in 2018. Little bias there but who doesn't love their own edits.

Another edit I love is Sweets Kendamas & Friends // One Day in Seattle. Again, the memories that come with this one are really fun to look back on. Such a great time of kendama.

Favorite wood type?

Maple. Simple as that.

Cushion or sticky clear?

Cushion! The more you play cushion the softer it gets and that really does affect its playability. It makes it good for every trick.

I don't even know. I'd say I own 100 by myself right now but I gave so many away. Combined with Zack, though, I swear we had 400+ at one point... we're still both trying to get rid of the ones we don't play anymore.

What has been your favorite kendama trip?

This is so hard. I know I said KWC 2018 was the best trip yet but if I had to go back and relive one event all over again for the experience, it'd be KWC 2016, when I first attended the Kendama World Cup. That was the first time I had been to Japan, too. Everything was so new to me and I felt like I was living in a different world.

Bad habits?

I think I forget things too quickly when being introduced to them for the first time... I swear it takes me two times to match a name to face and just memorizing names in general can take me up to two encounters, too.

What are some of your other passions besides kendama?

I like playing Spikeball in the summer with my friends and kicking the soccer ball around is always fun. I really got into Japanese at the beginning of the school year so I'd say that is my main passion besides kendama right now. Although it is really challenging I genuinely enjoy studying it and speaking to my Japanese friends. I want to improve every day.