I recently got a question from a customer that I thought deserved a longer response. I am using this question as a launching off point for the greater discussion of the differences between PolyPro and HDPE. Here is the question:
“I was wondering how responsive are your eco-friendly hoops compared to Poly-pro (ex; shoulder hooping and tricks). I am very interested in finding an environmentally friendly hoop and creating my own from safe materials.”
The EcoHoop™ (HDPE) is equally as responsive as polypro, they just respond differently. How can this be, you ask? Let me explain. First I’d like to dispel a popular myth, polypro and HDPE are mere fractions of an ounce apart in weight in the same tubing size. Shocked? It’s true! I know because I weighed and measured them… like a mad scientist. Ha! So the difference is NOT one of weight, but of FEEL. Which is a highly personal thing, but lets try to pick it apart a bit. I am using the term “responsive” as a starting point because it is the most used to describe the feel of the hoop by many.
You hear it all the time…. “I LOVE Polypro because its just so RESPONSIVE.” Responsive and polypro have begun to go hand in hand in conversation. The funny thing is I have heard the same word used to describe HDPE. Weird, right? It’s not that one is responsive and the other is less so, It just comes down to what KIND of response do you like from your hoop? Do you want it to spring into action for super fast off body and lightening fast breaks? Or do you want your hoop to be dependable like HDPE and able to take the full range of motion of your body for high-octane dance, clean breaks and silky smooth body rolls? The size of the hoop is also a factor. A larger size will naturally respond a little slower, or be more "solid" in both tubing types and a smaller will respond a little quicker, or be more "springy".
People who like the feel of polypro, and in this example, most especially in smaller diameters, usually do mostly off body and consider the “spring” that polypro has as “responsive”. To people who like the feel of HDPE* this feels more like “reactive” than responsive. HDPE people usually like to body rock and ALSO do off body and super power tricks. To an HDPE person, responsiveness is knowing your hoop will stay where you put it with minimum input, so your body can be free to dance to the fullest. With HDPE there is also a more defined give and take between body and hoop. To Polypro people this might translate as more “stiff” than responsive. Obviously this is all very subtle and hard to put into language.
I am definitely partial to my EcoHoop™. I love how it responds with a steady feel that I can trust. I love that I can pour all my power into the hoop without it flitting away like a butterfly. In short, I like a hoop that can take it rough. Ha! I also love how HDPE causes me to move. It requires that I maintain a yielding quality with my body that leads to my version of the most liquidy flow I can muster. In the right size for your body, and with proper training in a larger hoop first, HDPE makes an awesome “do everything” hoop. The other benefit is that it won’t shatter in the cold and is less susceptible to heat warping as its earlier predecessor (polyethylene). And OF COURSE, I have to say the most awesome feeling in the world is knowing that you are keeping plastic out of the waste stream and even planting trees (10 trees per hoop sold) in impoverished countries, all while blissfully spinning away! OK, shameless plug for the EcoHoop™ over, I am not trying to hate on Polypro, in fact I am actively looking for a source of post consumer recycled polypro to make The Polypro EcoHoop™ to satisfy those that like that springy butterfly feeling. Don’t hold your breath, it is proving very hard to find for many reasons I won’t get into here… But I AM trying!
Ultimately, it comes down to what YOUR body likes, what YOUR ethics dictate and YOUR individual style. So, the best thing is try them all and let your body tell you! Just make sure you are using two hoops that are the same exact size both in diameter and tubing size or you won’t get a proper feel. And maybe we can begin to use more subtle and definitive words to describe the feel that we like, perhaps “springy” for Polypro and “solid” for HDPE? Hmmmm :)
I hope this helps and please feel free to ask more questions and give me your input. I am always learning and growing!
Anah aka Hoopalicious
**For the discussion above I am referencing hoops in the 3/4 OD tubing size. In the 7/8 OD size there is little difference in feel between polypro and HDPE.
In this video I am using a 36 inch, 3/4 EcoHoop :)