Tag Archive for Philo Hagen

Hooping Idol 5: The Pop Music Week Results Show

Pop Music Week Results Show on Hooping Idol 5 The results of Hooping Idol 5: Pop Music Week are in and Hooping.org would like to congratulate all of our contenders moving on to the next round – and we have nothing but love for each and every one of those who are making their departure from the competition. Who will be leaving us following Pop Music Week and who will be moving forward in our quest to find the next great hooper star? It’s time to find out.

Hooping Idol 5: Disney Week Results Show

Hooping Idol 5: Disney Week Results Show The results of Hooping Idol 5: Disney Week are in and Hooping.org would like to congratulate all of our contenders moving on to the next round – and we have nothing but love for each and every one of those who are departure the competition. Who will be leaving us following Disney Week and who will be moving forward in our quest to find the next great hooper star? It’s time to find out.

Hooping.org’s very own Philo Hagen is your host for the Hooping Idol 5: Disney Week Results Show. With huge thanks to all five of our contestants whose journey ends here, thank you so much for being a part of our fifth exciting season. We’d also like to thank our esteemed judges, our incredible prize sponsors for their amazing generosity, and a really big thank you to each and every one of you for tuning in and casting your votes. Thanks for being a part of Hooping Idol. And without any further ado, here’s Philo – and if you can’t see him where you live, try watching on Vimeo.

Hooping Idol 5 Spins Pop Music Week What’s next for our Top Ten Hooping Idol 5 contenders? While their skills and creativity have allowed each of them to make it this far, it’s time for our Top Ten to take it to the next level. That’s why we want to see them put their very own unique spin on songs we all know, right here in the here and now, staking their claim as a hooping pop icon of their own. With a theme like Pop Music Week, anything is possible, and we’re expecting each of them to bring it. Think outside the box. Uncover even more of your creativity. Put calls out for support if need be. Let your imaginations run wild. We want to see that you’re truly a Hooping Idol and we want you to surprise us.

Here’s what our TOP 10 remaining contenders must do: 1) Choose a Pop Music soundtrack for this week. 2) Claim that song via email to hoopingidol@gmail.com. If the song you’ve selected has already been claimed by another hooper, you will be notified of the need to choose again. 3) Read Hooping.org’s Ten Easy Ways to Improve Your Hooping Video one more time. Seriously. Some of the issues mentioned by our judges this week were covered in this. Do NOT make that mistake two weeks in a row. 4) Create your next Hooping Idol video inspired by our theme for the week – Pop Music! 5) Post your video on YouTube and Vimeo on or before Sunday, April 26th, at 11:59pm PST. Be aware that videos do take time to upload so don’t wait until the last minute. 6) Copy your YouTube and your Vimeo video link urls and email them to hoopingidol@gmail.com. That’s it!

Have fun Hooping Idol contenders, but remember to make it count. At the end of Pop Music Week three more of you will be heading home. Happy hooping everybody!

Hooping Idol 5: New Wave Week Results Show

Hooping-Idol-5 The results of Hooping Idol 5: New Wave Week are in and Hooping.org would like to congratulate all of our contenders that are moving on to the next round – and we have nothing but love for each and every one of those who are leaving the stage at this point. Who will be leaving us following New Wave Week and who will be moving forward in our quest to find the next great hooper star? It’s time to find out.

Hooping.org’s very own Philo Hagen is your host for the Hooping Idol 5: New Wave Week Results Show. With huge thanks to all six of our contestants that will be leaving us for being a part of our fifth exciting season, we’d also like to thank our esteemed judges, our prize sponsors for their generosity, and a really big thank you to each and everyone of you for tuning in and casting your votes. So without any further ado, here’s Philo!

disneyweek What’s next for our 15 remaining Hooping Idol 5 finalists? We’ve been thinking about this challenge for a very long time, have wanted to do it for even longer, and thanks to a certain company lightening up on their YouTube copyright restrictions – we’ve decided to finally give it a go this year. Yes, Hooping Idol is finally having Disney Week and with a theme this magical, anything is possible! Think outside the box. Be creative. Let your imaginations run wild. Surprise us!

Here’s what our 15 remaining contestants will need to do: 1) Choose a Disney soundtrack for your video, 2) claim that song via email to hoopingidol@gmail.com. If the song you’ve selected is already claimed by another hooper, you will be notified to choose another one. 3) Read Hooping.org’s Ten Easy Ways to Improve Your Hooping Video again. Seriously. Some of the issues you’ve had and some of the things mentioned by our judges this week were already covered in there. Do NOT make that mistake two weeks in a row. 4) Create your next Hooping Idol video inspired by our theme for the week – Disney Week! 4) Post your video on YouTube and Vimeo on or before Sunday, April 19th, at 11:59pm PST. Be aware that videos do take time to upload and post so don’t wait until the last minute. 5) Copy your YouTube and your Vimeo video link urls and email them to hoopingidol@gmail.com. That’s it!

Have fun Hooping Idol contenders, but remember – make it count. At the end of Disney Week five more of you will be heading home. Happy hooping everybody!

It’s Time For More Hoop Love In Our Community

Hoop Love by Philo Hagen

We’ve been having an ongoing conversation in the staff lounge here at Hooping.org about the current state of the hooping community for awhile now. We’ve seen things that have disturbed us, and we weren’t really sure what to do about them. We’ve heard even more that have kind of made our skin crawl too. We’re not the only ones. Sharna Rose recently shared on Facebook, “Hoop life on the Internet is starting to repulse me. I sound old, but I remember a time when it was beautiful. I watch debates rise and fall, childish arguments escalate, more sex and money than love. Its becoming like false Gods causing wars between factions. It’s just a plastic circle. Oh dear how blasphemous I am.”

We love Sharna Rose, and we remember a time when it was beautiful too. And yes – it is just a plastic circle, but then again, it’s so much more. Back in April of 2003 when hooping.org began, there was very little about this thing called hooping online. I’d attended a party in the San Francisco Bay Area where Jason Strauss had handed me a large adult-sized hoop. Giving it a spin, I was transported out of my head and into my body. Being fully present inside the center of my own rotation was exhilarating! Once home, I scoured the web for information. I found out Hoopalicious was teaching classes down in Los Angeles. I also found Betty Hoops, who was teaching in New York City and sharing about some of the amazing benefits. That was essentially all that was out there though. Knowing that the world needed to know more about this super cool thing called hooping, a few of us got together and hooping.org was born. We arrived before Facebook, YouTube, even MySpace, and we’ve been keeping things spinning ever since.

When the site began we had community forums that not only proved to be invaluable, it’s where we all initially found each other. Baxter, Spiral and Stefan came rolling in. Anna, Babz, Bunny, Caroleeena, Christabel, Diana, Kandice, Kara, Lara, Rayna, Sass and many more spun in as well, and it really was a beautiful time. We were all in one place and we were so excited to find other people who loved this hooping thing as much as we did!

Hoop Love Now let’s talk a little more about this hoop love thing, shall we? You gotta remember that the roots of the modern hooping movement all trace to The String Cheese Incident, a bluegrass meets rock and electronica hippie jam band from Colorado. They began tossing these large adult-sized hoops out into the audience at their concerts in the mid to late 1990’s. Some of our hooping luminaries mentioned above discovered hooping at one of their shows, and once hooping.org’s forums launched a community began. Some of those same awesome hoops and hoopers started showing up at raves too, and at places like Burning Man, which in turn inspired more to step inside the circle. Whether we were hippies or ravers or burners, however, we all had one thing in common. We were all very liberal and pretty much rooted in a place of love, something that simply came along with our love for the hoop and our fellow hoopers. The Hoop Love was pretty much a given, it’s who we all were.

Two years later, hooping.org’s forums were hacked and everything was deleted. It was a sad day when we discovered our hosting company had never made those promised weekly back ups either, so we relocated our hooping community to Tribe.net. Many who were around back then will recall that time as the true renaissance of the modern hooping movement. And yes, my dearest hula hoopers, hula hoops were still something your grandma played with back then. Hooping was something new and different, and our dropping the word “hula” brought a language that helped conveyed that. Hula Hoop trademark lawsuits tossed at some by Wham-o really helped cement that philosophy too, even if we did end up falling in love with all of our hula hooping friends along the way too.

The Tribe years were golden, loving and supportive. We were still all in one place. The community was small enough too that if you saw someone at an event with a hoop, you either already knew them online, or you had six friends in common. Everything was going so well, until Tribe.net started collapsing. There were major outages, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. They’d gone from a staff of 35 down to a staff of 2 and when the second to last person handed in their resignation, I started working on bringing hooping.org’s community forums back, using an ill-fated software called Elgg. Meanwhile, SaFire and others started their own business rooted communities on Ning. Elgg was very cool, an entirely open source social networking package by the people for the people. It was all just so gosh darn politically wonderful, how could it go wrong? Well, it did, and after hooping.org’s Elgg forums folded back in 2010, we tried it again with a different software system that also ended up becoming problematic. We had to shut the second one down two years later as well.

Our hooping community on this brand new thing called Facebook, however, was growing by leaps and bounds. We thought we’d just stay there and at the height of it we had nearly 8,000 pretty active members – and then we were thrown another curveball. Facebook decided to kill off all of their existing groups, forcing everyone to move over to something new they’d developed – Pages. Tired and a little defeated at the time, I personally came to the conclusion that maybe hooping.org just needed to forget about the whole community thing. It was our third strike, even if it was through no fault of our own. Maybe enough was enough.

Since that time Ning too fell out of fashion. Pinterest and Instagram rose. Newer Facebook groups have tried making something happen in an effort to serve up a yummy slice of community. Some have been more successful than others. As for the community as a whole, however, we’ve really been all over the place – and the end result has been leaving a rather bitter taste in our mouth. We mean nobody any harm or discouragement in saying so though. In fact, we whole heartedly salute everyone out there who has been trying to make something happen. We have nothing but applause for all of them because we know first hand just how much work it can involve. It’s the primary reason we’ve been hesitant to step back into the community circle with a solution as well – until now.

hooplove In light of recent events we’ve all come to an agreement that it’s time to help bring the community norm of hoop love back, before we see it disappear once and for all. It’s been such an important dynamic within our community, and it’s one we here at hooping.org do not want to lose. We all deserve to be treated with love and respect, to receive support and encouragement in our hooping journey, to be lifted up on our path. That’s why we lined up the launch of our new Facebook community group with the stars themselves to help guide us along the way. Whether you’re astrologically inclined or not, humor us.

Uranus and Pluto have been battling things out over the last few years. There’s been a lot of struggle and disharmony as a result. They had their final tense battle on March 16th. Today, however, is not only the first day of Spring, a day of perfect balance between light and dark that promises more light in our lives in the months to come, it is also a new moon that brings with it a total solar eclipse. This eclipse in Pisces is one to purge hearts of sorrow and welcome greater happiness back into our lives. They’re calling it an 11:11 Portal, and what can we say – we do love our portals! That’s why we’re inviting you all today to step on through and join us in resetting the hoop love norm in our brand new space on Facebook, and everywhere else that you are currently spinning things up online and off. Our new Facebook group is an inclusive hoop love space for all, a place to grow and meet and become friends and hoop it up. It’s also a place where we can lovingly let people know that what may be okay somewhere else, really isn’t here, so can collectively celebrate this thing we all love so much. Our entire staff is stepping up to help admin the group because we collectively saw that this was something that really needed to happen. So won’t you join us? We’d be happy to have you in the mix.

10712384_791402534255830_4499347307863003240_o

Having been at the helm of hooping.org for so long, I know that I see and hear things that most never know about. With that sometimes comes a unique perspective, and a rather paternal one. I care about this movement, how it started, where we’ve been, and I really care about where we are going. Let’s have that be a place that everyone who finds the circle will want to step into and really be a part of.

———————————————————–

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Roller Hooping Aims To Be The New Summer Hit!

marawatheamazing1 by Rachel Conlisk

Roller skating and hooping. Definitely not two things I would have ever thought I would do at the same time. Yet last Saturday, I found myself inside of a big sports hall on a pair of four wheel roller skates, hoop in hand, trying to pull off every trick I knew while skating forwards, backwards and spinning around in circles. It’s not only possible, but it is huge amounts of fun! If you can imagine all the fun of roller skating, then imagine all the fun that of hooping, then add them together and times it by a million, that’s almost it!

Not having roller skated since I was a kid, I expected the worst. After putting on a helmet, along with knee, elbow and wrist pads, I was ready to try and stand upright and with the help of an awesome teacher I was soon on my way. Valerie Hamilton, who is a Roller Derby skater, quickly taught me how to fall safely, and this is most important! If you drop you’re hoop while on wheels, you may very well take a tumble. Before long I was able to go forwards on my roller skates while looking reasonably in control most of the time, go backwards, and even spin and turn. Then we added a hoop into the mix.

Hoop Like a Child

Hoop Like a Child by Philo Hagen

The other evening I brought my hoop to a neighborhood park and a family that was walking by stopped to watch me. The daughter, Marta, was particularly wide-eyed and engaged. When Mom explained that her little girl had just started hula hooping herself, it made even more sense. Rolling a nearby kid-sized hoop in her direction, she soon joined me in the important business of spinning things up. She asked how I did this move, and then she asked how I did that one. The really interesting thing about it though, was that she picked up every lesson I threw in her direction in no time flat. As soon as I’d finish explaining how to make something happen, she’d respond with a big smile on her face and a confidant, “Got it, I can do that!” And then she proceeded to prove just that. She really did, time and time again.

Heading home I was talking to a friend about my new hooping prodigy, musing that either I had just discovered the next great hooping star, or I was an even better teacher than I’d been giving myself credit for. My friend, however, wisely responded, “Not that you’re not a great instructor, but maybe it’s just that she’s a kid, y’know?” I did know, but somewhere along the way I’d forgotten all about the kid factor.

Since then I’ve found myself musing on just what it is about children that allows them to pick up a hoop and instantly start working their magic with it. Meanwhile, adults I routinely encounter, are typically quite the opposite. “Oh no, I simply can’t do it,” they explain to me as if they’re testifying in court. “I can’t. Honest! No sense in even trying!” Then they rattle off a list of reasons why it’ll never happen and throw in the towel, quitting the game before it even begins. The truth is the hoop will most likely fall to the ground, and it will do so probably numerous times before I’m able to fine tune my new student’s particular set of issues and get them happily spinning it up. So it’s been my experience time and time again that many an initial personal assessment of what we can and can’t do is quite wrong.

As someone who has proven to hundreds of naysayers over the years that their beliefs about themselves and their abilities are in fact incorrect, I’ve been thinking that we all can benefit from thinking like a child. We can all benefit from setting aside whatever it is we think we know in order to have a new experience.

For The Price of a Hoop

For The Price of a Hoop

by Philo Hagen

The other day I was listening to a hooper rant that all hoops should be free for everyone, that those who make and sell them for $40 are ripping people off. It’s not the first time I’ve heard such a thing. While my first hoop was given to me for fun and for free by a happy hooping hippie on a hoop love spreading mission, not all of us can afford to be so financially feckless with our favorite avocation, at least for the long term. After making and giving away scores and scores of hoops myself in my attempt to pay it forward, it dawned on me one day that gifting hoops was making quite a serious dent in my already thin wallet.

Inevitably I decided, as so many of us do, that perhaps hoop making itself could be a smart way to supplement my otherwise meager income. I was making hoops anyway, why not get paid for it? And I thought of a sure fire way to get a jump on the competition too. I would sell my hoops for less. After all, who doesn’t want to spend less? The thing I never really took into consideration though was how much it actually costs to make a hoop.

While there are those out there, like my ranting friend, who figure the cost of a hoop to be somewhere around a buck, the real price tag for making a hoop can be quite a different story. For starters, standard polyethylene tubing comes in cumbersome and rather heavy 100 foot rolls, or larger. You have to get somewhere that you can buy the stuff to begin with, and you need to pull into the parking lot in a roomy enough vehicle to bring a few of those routinely dirty rolls back with you, or the price of the gas it took to get there is hardly worth it.

During my brief stint as a hoop making entrepreneur I regularly drove 45 miles each way, from San Francisco to Livermore, just to scores some pipe. Chances are you’re going to have to travel too since most cities don’t make a habit of selling farming irrigation tubing where there aren’t, y’know, farms. And while you might be able to score a roll online for $30, if you wind up paying $35 to have it shipped to you, that’s hardly a bargain either. While connectors aren’t terribly expensive, a sander to grind off the edges can be. A good PVC pipe cutter will also set you back another $20. Anyone who has ever purchased hoop tape knows how quickly a few rolls can really add up there too. If you want to have a good selection of colors and styles and sparkles for people to choose from, then you’re definitely making an investment – and you haven’t even started selling them yet.

2014: The Greatest Hooping Hits of the Year

The Year in Hooping by Philo Hagen

While most web sites and publications seem to do their big Year End Wrap Up at the beginning of December, our inclination has always been to wait until the year is actually over and the new one has officially begun. For starters, some really cool stuff can still roll our way during those final weeks of the year, right? Then, of course, we also have our annual Hoopie Awards celebration to consider. The Hoopies are, in fact, something pretty special. They enlist hooping community input every step of the way. There’s something very cool when you’re being acknowledged by your peers. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily infallible though.

Sometimes things we really think should have been more popular aren’t. Sometimes once things are quite popular they’re met with a certain ambivalence. Does that mean their popularity shouldn’t be acknowledged though? Absolutely not! So every year at about this time we step inside our hoops, spin ’em in reverse and rewind the clock for a look back at the hooping year that was, the greatest hits, and we take another look at some very cool stuff we found to be worthy of more recognition than it received.

Shoshin Hooping for a Happier New Year

2015shoshin by Philo Hagen

When you’re brand new to hooping it can be very exciting. I personally found myself wanting to hoop every day, all the time. When I wasn’t hooping, I was most likely thinking about it. It really didn’t take long for my hoop love passion to color the rest of my world too. Songs on the radio began being listened to as potential hooping soundtracks. Driving across town I started seeing all the parks and places I could bring my hoop, places I’d never even noticed before. I was pretty much hooked and loving every minute of it with a great big smile on my face.

Finding that level of joy and excitement in the hoop more than a decade later, however, can be something of a challenge. It’s been my experience too, and something I’ve confirmed over the years in my independent, casual, and random surveys of hoopers from all over, that the biggest obstacle to getting there has little to do with the hoop, and everything to do with the mind. That’s why Shoshin hooping is so helpful and such a great way to start the new year too.

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “Beginner’s Mind” and it refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts, which is why I think it relates so well to my hooping practice too. Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, author of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Do you see how much room can open up in our lives simply by knowing less?

Saadat A. Khan suggested that “Beginner’s mind embodies the highest emotional qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, and optimism. If the reader reflects briefly on the opposites of these qualities, it is clear to see that quality of life requires living with beginner’s mind. With beginner’s mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth.”

Sure, there are times as the guy behind Hooping.org that I need to put on my “expert hat”, at least for a little while. A phone interview about the benefits of hooping required me to do so just the other day. If we are teaching a class or performing for an audience, perhaps we all need to wear the expert hat for a little while, but when it comes to our own hooping practice, our individual hooping journey, ego, competition, fear and expectations can become our own most formidable foes.

The mind, typically thinking it is doing us a favor by protecting us and/or motivating us, likes to serve up a smorgasbord of musts and fears and limits, things that often have little to do with actual reality in the world in which we hoop. Shoshin hooping, however, spins us into a place that is boundless and limitless. In order to get there, it’s really all about the art of laughter and forgetting. In fact, you’re all cordially invited to join me in forgetting everything we think we know about hooping, so we can once again be open to the joy and wonder of it in our lives. Just think how much happier 2015 will be!

A friend of mine in the recovery community shared a prayer with me once called “The Set Aside Prayer” and I adapted it for my hooping life and address it to a higher power of my own understanding. Perhaps you have one or a concept that works for you as well. I’ve spun it into a prayer that goes something like this:

God, please help me set aside anything I think I know about myself, about the hoop, about hoop dance, technique, flow, the hooping community and the people in it so that I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things. Amen.”

In Shoshin Hooping we have no preconceptions of what we’re supposed to be doing or be able to do. There are no expectations of ourselves or others. We step into the hoop as it is, in the moment and in present time. And rather than thinking about where we should be with our hooping, we find ourselves in the center of our own circle in a pretty powerful way. If the present moment truly is a gift, it can only be unwrapped when you’re in it. Shoshin hooping helps turn off the ego, turn off the mind, and reconnect us with not only the here and now, but with our inner child as well, a child chock full of curiosity, play and amazement.

While hooping is fundamentally a physical activity, what we think about it – at any given point in our hooping life – can profoundly effect our experience. With terms like “expert” and “master” being spun into the hooping world more and more, I’ve personally found that if I want to continue to love hooping just as much as I always have, I always want to be able to spin from a place where there’s so much more to learn and discover. In my hooping practice over the years the hoop and my hoop dance have continually revealed more and more to me in my personal revolution inside the hoop. Shoshin Hooping allows us to hoop from a place without limits, and be open to our hoop dance and our flow in ways we never would’ve expected for and from ourselves. What does the hoop have in store for you this new year? The possibilities, dear hooper, are truly endless.

——————————————–

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Shipping Hula Hoops: How to Mail a Hula Hoop 101

hulahoopmail by Amanda Townsell and Philo Hagen

So you want to ship a hoop to California, Canada, Colombia or Cardyff and you don’t have a clue where to start? It turns out a lot of folks are struggling with shipping hoops these days and we are here to help! If you’ve got a hoop and you want it to go somewhere else, here are some time saving informational tips to help you better navigate the system in several countries. After all, it really shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

Just a few years ago in America, it wasn’t. You simply wrapped a hoop in brown paper with a little tape, wrote an address on it, and off it went. Then new fees and shipping policies came along and changed all that. The United States Postal Service (USPS) instituted a balloon fee for items over a certain size and though it really wasn’t about singling out our beloved hoops, they certainly got caught in the crossfire. USPS now charges a very expensive fee today to ship any item over 1728 cubic inches (L x W x H). United Parcel Service does as well, so the tricky part is making sure the length x width x height of your parcel is under 5184 inches. If you’re not good at math, we can tell you that a good sized adult dance hoop most likely is. So, how have hoopers been shipping hoops for fun and profit with these kind of restrictions going around? They got creative about it, of course.

We questioned several folks in the industry who do a lot of hoop shipping on what to do and what not to do when mailing a hoop today, and we got some interesting tips and tricks to share with you as well. The process can be a little different depending on the size of your hoop, the type of plastic you’re using, and, of course, where in the world you might be living.

synergy When a friend of ours told us just how they’re new fire hoop from SynergyFlow Arts came in the mail, we contacted them to see if the rumor was true. Able Jones let us in on the secret behind Synergy’s shipping success and it’s simple: pizza boxes! That’s right, they ship all of their hoops in a cardboard container normally reserved for pepperoni with extra cheese. They special order large 24” boxes to make it happen for their customers, but if you can get your hoop coiled down to 20” or smaller you can try to get a free box from your local pizza parlor.

Keep in mind that the average depth of a pizza box is 2” so this method will accommodate hoops made from polypropylene, HDPE, and even 100 psi ¾” polyethylene. If you can’t find a pizza box, you can always sandwich the hoop between two large pieces of cardboard and tape them together too. And the super nice folks at Astral Hoops shared similar advice with us as well, recommending that people use a 20” X 20” X 2” box for 5/8” and smaller hoops, 24” x 24” X 2” box for ¾” sized hoops, or 30” x 24” x 5” box for larger hoops. So as you can see, the beauty is in the size of your box.

Over at Mood Hoops, they coil down their polypro hoops and secure them with zip ties to allow the hoop to maintain shape, before putting them inside a shipping box. Jennifer Flores at Hipster Hoops switched to making her polyethylene hoops with two connectors so they could fold down inside a box for shipping, and many selling their hoops online these days are doing that as well. Hoop Mamas collapses their hoops too, but rather than using a box for shipping they wrap them in bubble wrap, tape it all up and add some stickers. Not all of the larger hoops are now collapsable and being folded down though. Superhooper coils their down with a little screw that you put in place upon arrival, so as you can see, with a little creativity when it comes to shipping hoops there are many ways to make it work.

If you’re using a box, it is important to fill it with “stuffing” of some sort – like craft paper, bubble wrap, newspaper… You do want to keep the hoop from bouncing around and lessen the risk of it getting crushed or warped during shipping. You also want to be sure to insure your hoop shipment and to include your full name and return shipping address not only on the box, but put a second copy inside of it just in case the label falls off along the way.

The United States Postal Service was the number one recommendation for shipping in the United States with the experts that we spoke with. Why? USPS not only has the cheapest rates, they will even come pick it up at your doorstep for free if you schedule a pickup the day before. You can create and print shipping labels from their website too and USPS also offers a parcel select shipping option which takes 3-11 days that is even cheaper than using priority mail and covers packages that weigh more than 13 oz. It can cost between $7 and $14 for priority mail shipping in the United States depending on where it is going. Other shipping companies tend to be more expensive and some have more fees specifically for shipping hoops too.

What if you’ve got a really big hoop to ship? Jess Wagstrom of Jess Hoops told us, “The largest hoops I ship are 48″, not QUITE as large as I’d like, but it’s the sweet spot I’ve found that the post office will accept without incurring the balloon charge. There’s only one of my local postal attendants who will actually measure, so she keeps me legal. BUT the further it has to go, the more picky the system is. Since I live right in the middle of the country, I have a pretty even keel to most places, but it gets dicey shipping to California. For example, sending a 50″ hoop to Oklahoma is okay, but it gets hit with the balloon fee if I try to send it to California, hence why I trimmed down to 48″.” And just in case you were wondering, she’s doing it with fold down collapsibles as well and she only wraps them in bubble wrap. “I make sure they’re thoroughly taped up,” she told us, “but I’ve never had any problems with straight bubble wrap, plus it looks cool to see the hoop in the package as soon as they get it!”

Of course all of this works for shipping a hoop in the United States, but what if you’re trying to ship a hoop somewhere else, like Canada? Sadie Spins of Well Rounded Hoops uses Canada Post and she’s also gone collapsable. “The length plus girth (twice the sum of length and height) must be under 300cm,” she explained, “and that’s not big enough for a full size adult hoop. I came across this early in my business and only offer collapsible hoops for sale online because of it.” Canada Post also officially says that the item needs to be in opaque wrapping. Sadie, however, has always used bubble wrap and it’s always passed. She says the process sometimes goes something like this:

Canada Post: What is this?
Hoop Elf: A hula hoop.
Canada Post: Oh. It has to be in opaque wrapping so that it’s contents can’t be seen.
Hoop Elf: But you couldn’t tell what it was even with seeing it, so what’s the difference?
Canada Post: (grumbles and puts it in the outbox)

Carla Snow of Flowlab ships hoops in Canada as well and she added, “They have to be packaged in such a way that it can sit on their postal scale too. So, bubble wrapping your collapsible folded down hoop might seem like the most economical way to wrap it up, but the post office can and has refused it in that form, because they can’t get the package to sit properly on their scale because of the giant donut shape.” What does she recommend? Carla says, “Try using your own scale at home to weigh your item, print your own shipping labels either through Paypal or Canada Post Online, and then drop your package off at the Post Office. Anything else that I ship is able to fit in a box, like a sectional travel hoop.” Are there alternatives to the post office? We do know Canadians that have spoken of using Greyhound, but only to ship bundles of hoops that were too big for Canada Post.

shipit In the UK, we’ve been hearing from more and more hoopers that are using courier services to bypass the expensive shipping rates there. “You can post a hoop via Royal Mail,” Rachel Conlisk of Hoops Rock explained, “which is reliable but expensive, around £10-£15, or you can also try sending it by courier. It’s a lot cheaper, £3 – £6ish. Some couriers don’t have such a good reputation here, leaving items outside doors or taking a long time getting them there, but I’ve found it really easy. You can drop your parcel off at a local courier collection point, usually your local shop, so you don’t have to wait in line. I pay just £3.78 for a signed courier service to deliver a bubble wrapped adult hoop and a 40″ heavier hoop is fine for size and weight requirements.” She had one other piece of advice for UK shipping too – always protect your hoop from the elements. She explained, “I wrap them round and round in bubble wrap and tape the address onto the ring of bubble wrap and cover it with sellotape because of the endless British rain! So always seal all openings on the bubble wrapping carefully with tape to make sure water doesn’t get in.”

As you can see, hoopers are getting hoops from one place to another despite the obstacles that were put in our path. And while shipping a hoop has become increasingly complicated some places, there are still countries like Australia where it’s really all about the weight. It can be expensive, but at least it’s simple to figure out. Australia Post will charge you $10 for anything up to 5Kg, and $30 for anything 5Kg – 20Kg. Full size or folded down, it’s all about what it says on the scale. Easy, right? Want to make it even easier, here’s some more great advice.

Sadie says, “The most important tip I would give to someone new to shipping hoops is to leave LOTS of time for it. Approach the workers with calm, patience, and gratitude. It seems like the workers deal with lots of rushed people, and appreciate customers who aren’t rushing them, nor telling them how to do their job. Shipping hoops becomes much smoother when you have an ally (or at least a familiar face) behind the counter. Also, when someone from a distant-but-major city asks for a hoop, I direct them to a local hooper if I can. Supporting local means less money goes to fossil fuels and more connections are built in the nearby community.”

So whether you’re in one of the countries mentioned above or somewhere else, we hope this will help you get that hoop to happily arrive at it’s destination safely. Now you have some tips and guidelines to help you ship it, so let us know how it goes! Grab a pizza box or get one that’s the right size for your needs, find your tape measure and packing materials, and send that hoop on its way! And if you have any more tips or advice on the subject of shipping for where you live, we know others would love to hear about it too.

—————————————————

Amanda Townsell Hooping.org columnist Amanda Townsell brings her focus on the physical and mental health benefits of hooping. She works in child abuse prevention and social justice and hooping has been a part of her self care since 2012. Follow her blog at The Notorious Amanda T. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.