Polypro, polypro, polypro. Everybody's talking about it.
In fact, hoopers are so enthralled with the stuff, you'd think it was made in a secret magical forest by fairies that fart pixie dust and eat glitter for breakfast.
So what IS polypro, anyway?
Is it really magical?
Is it just for "advanced hoopers" (whatever they are)?
Will you be laying on your death bed regretting that you never tried it?
No, the stakes aren't THAT dire. But I can see why you'd wonder.
And no, Polypro hoops aren't made by rainbow-colored unicorns. But the stuff IS pretty darned cool.
Let's break it down, so you can be all IN-THE-KNOW, okay?
Regular grownup hoops with tape on them are HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene).
That's the heavy black tubing that's technically used for irrigation. The stuff that the very first modern hoop dancers first transformed into hula hoops that grown folk can actually keep up.
A Little Background
Polypro is another kind of plastic - polypropylene. It's translucent and engineered for conducting all kinds of liquids in just about every industry. Several years ago, Carrboro NC hooper extraordinaire Spiral started playing around with it to see how it changed the feel of hooping.
But it was in January 2010 that Rich Porter first wrote about it and introduced the idea to the hooping world. He posted the first DIY instructions a month later. Looking for the "Hoop of the Future," his hope was that this new-to-hooping plastic would create cleaner, flatter planes.
Like so many really stellar ideas, Polypro hoops took off like a rocket.
They were beautifully translucent, didn't require elaborate taping, and provided a completely NOVEL experience to the hooper using them.
Here's the "Magic" Part.
It's true that Polypro is lighter than your regular hoop. But that's not what makes it desirable. You can go to a toy store and get a really light hoop, right?
The big deal about Polypro is that it is SUPER RESPONSIVE.
Okay. Now what in the world does that mean?
A regular, taped day hoop must be guided. It follows your movements, taking your lead. So, when we start out hooping, we have the impression that moving the hoop takes a good deal of force. That's how you end up with so many bruises in the beginning.
Slowly, the new hooper learns to ease off a bit. The brain stops barking orders at your limbs and muscle memory takes over. The bruises disappear
and the hoop DANCE begins.
Polypro is just a different animal altogether. The moves remain the same, yes. But the way that this plastic responds to those movements is so INTUITIVE that it can indeed feel like magic. It can seem as though the polypro hoop knows what you're going to do before your body tells it.
It seems that way because the response time for this particular material is so incredibly rapid, it's hard to perceive it.
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