KROM KENDAMAS BUYERS GUIDE
Thanks for visiting LNG Skilltoys, distributors of KROM Kendama in Australia. We've put together this page to help explain some of the different kendamas that we stock as well as hopefully answer any questions that you might have about buying your first kendama or choosing a fresh setup from our range. If we miss anything though, please do not hesitate to drop us a line. We're passionate about our community and if we can do anything to help bring new players to it, explain anything that you're unsure of, or even just have a chat about kendamas or skilltoy related stuff, we want to hear from you!
Ok so if you've found us, maybe you've met someone who has a kendama but even if you've never seen one before or are just curious, hopefully we'll be able to get you started on your kendama journey with the right gear. There are many different kinds of kendamas, both within our range and more broadly. We want to make sure you have the right gear for your budget and goals. In almost every case, if you're new to kendama and have the $35 to spend, we recommend the KROM Pop as the one to go for. It's an incredibly value packed model that comes in a bunch of colours, has a modern shape and all of the features you need to hit everything that can be done with a kendama today. A lot of our Pro Players dig it as much as some of our higher end models, and if you're short for time and just want to know what to get, KROM Pop is a great place to begin. Pick your favourite colour and shred!
If you haven't got the budget for a KROM Pop yet, we also stock a fantastic range of more affordable kendamas. They're cheaper because the shape isn't as new as some of the higher end models, but they still feature the insanely cool designs KROM have become renowned for, and in some cases, are tricked out with premium wood that is only found in higher end models. Here's a quick break down of each model and some information about them so that you can choose the right one for you and feel stoked about your first kendama.
These $20 kendamas are the cheapest in our range but they all feature unique, exotic wood, and really beautiful paint. KROM Deluxe are cheaper because the shape of them is a little bit more old school, more classic. The cups aren't as big as some of the other models we have and the paint is best once it's broken in a bit, unlike the Pop or the higher end models which are honed straight out of the box to hit everything. These are great kendamas for beginners on a budget, and when they were first released, typically cost upwards of what we sell our higher models for. If you have any doubts about whether or not these slay though, go check some of the KROM videos from when they were first released. The Deluxe still crush hard!
The Chari&Co come from a previous collabo with an NYC brand from a few years ago. They're similar to the deluxe in that they come with a really great price point because they don't feature the latest shape, but they're also a big step up as they feature KROM's awesome rubber paint which make it heaps easier to hit a ton of balance tricks as a beginner. The cups aren't as big as the Pop or the higher end models (they are bigger than the Deluxe), but the Chari&Co is a full maple kendama which is epic at this price point. We really fancy these as a budget beginner kendama as you get the best of both worlds with the maple, sticky paint, incredible price, and you can slay anything on these you could with our other range, you just might have to work a little harder for it, which isn't a bad thing at all as a beginner.
The Vikings are bigger kendamas. They're basically the same as the Deluxe; exotic wood, old school shape, insanely good value, but larger. These kendamas are great for adults or for anyone with larger hands or anyone who's shredded a normal sized dama who wants to try something different. Playability tends to be a little easier for older players on these, as the larger size slows everything down a little bit and because the cups are bigger to accomodate the larger tama, they are easier to play than the standard deluxe for beginners, but for kids we recommend the Chari&Co which is the same price.
The KROM Pop is perfect. It features modern geometry (known as the 'BL Shape') that is built with a slim spike, big cups, and comes honed straight out of the box with that KROM rubber paint for competitive play. If you have the $35 and are looking for a first kendama, this is the one you want. Loved by first timers and pros alike, the Pop is built out of solid beech wood, and come in an array of stock colours and limited edition releases. Pops are the bread and butter of our line up and we back them, shred them, and recommend them to everyone.
KROM X Tealer
Same as KROM Pop but limited edition collabo release with a French Streetwear brand. If you're on a budget cop the Pop. If you're not, cop the Tealer before they sell out! They're pretty rad and our crew's fallen in love with the custom sticker/seal, branding and alien vibes.
KROM XL RUBBER NOIA
We don't recommend these as a first kendama, but if you've slayed our standard shapes and are looking for a jumbo model, look no further. These are bigger than the already big Viking models, and are great for adults looking to get an advantage over the younger players in their family! The larger size is good for adult hands, and due to the weight, everything is a little bit slower and easier to get. They also make a great display piece for the office or workshop. The KROM XL come with a warning though! Make sure you're wearing shoes and practicing good safety awareness. We don't recommend shredding indoors near anything breakable for all of our models, but that goes doubly-so for these monsters!
The Strogo features the same solid beech BL Shape as the KROM Pop, with the major difference being the LOL Clear super sticky paint instead of rubber. The tama design is also created for ultimate tracking, and features the KROM Bulls Eye Scope around the hole, and markings on the top where the string comes out from, for advanced tricks. The LOL Clear paint is super, super sticky compared to the KROM Pop's or Chari&Co rubber. The Strogo also features a bearing instead of plastic bead to help the tama spin on the string.
KROM X 430 Trippers
The Trippers is a collaboration with Tokyo Kendama/Streetware brand FourThirty. It features a solid beech Slaydawg 2 shape, rubber paint, and bearing. The Slaydawg 2 body is a lot chunkier than the BL Shape and is a premium and much-loved geometry. The 430 collabo represents great value, as it's the first time this shape has been available at this price point, but this is a very limited dama. Like other beech kendamas, expect insane honability for stalls and stilts, these break in great and are basically like a super maxed out Pop. Everything you want, nothing you don't!
KROM Kollege B.W.
The Kollege is one of our most slept on models. Same proven BL Shape as the POP but full maple construction, base cup warp hole for insane lunarbility, and bearing. If you've shredded the Pop before and love the shape, this is definitely worth checking out. KROM used to have a previous model called the OK Beams which was almost identical but with a different design and less advanced base hole, and is still regarded by many as one of the best kendamas ever made. The Kollege is built to shred.
KROM x Jody Barton and KEERDTREPP
These kendamas are the latest from KROM and they all feature the new AK Shape by dama design prodigy, World Champ and all-round legend, Thorkild May. The AK's are wild. Seriously. Massive cups, full maple construction, and whether you cop a Jody Barton or KEERDTREPP, they all feature rad collabo designs and themes. The maple AKs are the bleeding-edge of kendama design and technology and represent many years of experience, knowledge and the desire to push the limits of the sport by KROM. If you're looking for your first kendama, we still recommend the KROM Pop as the AKs aren't as budget friendly. If you're not looking for your first kendama, you already know what these are about, and we don't really need to say anything else, except that they are limited.
KROM Headshots (Maple and Walnut)
The headshots feature the chunkier Slaydawg 2 shape (same as 430 Trippers) but in full maple or walnut with maple-striped tama. These are KROM's promods and each dama is themed around some of the best slayers in the world. The walnut Headshots are a particularly luxurious and beautiful addition to our line up and tend to generally feature a lighter weight compared to their full maple equivilent.
The 1% is thicker than the BL and AK shape but slimer than the Slaydog 2. They all feature gradient glittery, shimmery tamas that light up anyone fortunate enough to see one in person. The 1% represent some of the upper echolons of KROM's design and engineering, and are favoured by players and pros both in Australia and around the world. We really rate these kendamas and they tend to hit the perfect sweet spot between all of our shapes. Play em chill, play em aggressively, they deliver always and look great doing it. Full maple construction. Perfect geometry.
Slaydawg Da Gang
The KROM SDG's are decked-out Slaydawg 2s that combine the chunkier solid maple shape with the beautiful sparkle of the 1% tamas. These are tough but beautiful kendama built to shred hard. Top of our range include rad styling, premium everything.
Perhaps 70% of kendamas are made out of beech and that is a good thing because beech is an incredible wood. Beech is favoured in many industries including kendamas for it's hardiness, beautiful grain and it's availability as a sustainable wood. In kendamas, beech tends to hone in really quickly and well and is a little softer than maple or other exotic woods making it perfect for stalls and stilts. Don't let anyone tell you that beech is inferior to maple, it's a beautiful wood and it's choice for most kendamas and most lower priced kendamas is more of a reflection on cost vs availability at the manufacturing level than inferiority when compared to maple.
With that said though...
It isn't the only wood, and maybe 25% of kendamas are made from maple, and you'll see maple represented in a lot of our higher end kendamas. Maple is widely loved and respected by the kendama community for it's durability and playability. It plays a little harder than maple, so it takes a little more time to get it as honed for stalls and stilts but it's also harder wearing. Pros and kendama players who slay hard and often favour maple in their more expensive kendamas for it's longevity but it's important to consider the use case. For a new player, or for someone who doesn't have as much time to invest in slaying, it could be said that beech is a better choice as it allows the player to access a kendama for typically a more affordable price increasing accessiblity, but also, it allows players to work in their kendamas quicker. This makes stalls and stilts accessible quicker and encourages progression and enjoyment. For more advanced players or for anyone jamming their kendama hard and often, maple is a better choice as they're likely to get more value from it and won't mind working the kendama to a point where they can get the same broken in feel as beech will have, albeit quicker.
The other 5% of kendamas are made from a whole array of exotic woods which each have different advantages and personalities. Some favourites include walnut (dark and luxurious), ash (hard with huge porous grain), mahogany (rich and solid), ebony (heavy and beautiful), cherry (soft and traditional), birch (strong and flexible), and many, many more... Most of our range is in beech and maple but if you get the chance to get to know different woods whether it's though KROM or one of our competitors, we highly recommend trying and seeing what you enjoy yourself.
Buying a kendama is one of the few times in life where you're actively consuming a material good with the aim to utterly destroy it. Falling in love with the newest models, fancy features and latest shapes is good for business, but what we want more than anything is for you to slay your kendama. There is nothing more beautiful to us than an utterly shredded kendama that has had hundreds of hours thrown into it. Kendama originated from Japan, and has seen a global resurgence in modern times, but the appreciation of what the Japanese refer to as Wabi Sabi is large in our community. The beauty of a well-loved and used tool and the empathy of the ephmeral; a mutual understanding that nothing lasts forever and the recognition that this connects us all, is at the heart of our hobby. Whatever kendama you choose, whether it is your first or tenth, we hope that you enjoy it more as it breaks in and evolves with you. If you're disciplined enough to train with a kendama to the point where it becomes unplayable, please treasure it and celebrate it! No model that we release, design or sell, will ever be more wonderful than that. ✌️❤️
Words by Jack Gamble