Augie Fash x Luftverk - The Exos

by Jeffrey Pang June 27, 2023

Augie Fash x Luftverk - The Exos

This one will interesting - since mine and Augie's relationship go a far distance back. Its also kind of a weird story of how like minded free sprits will seemingly eventually cross roads no matter how unlikely that is.

Growing up in what I like to call the golden area of 1A yoyoing I was blessed to be inspired by yoyoers with so much unique style. These players helped me stay interested in yoyoing and I often wonder if I would have even stuck with it without them. Players like Yuuki Spenser, John Ando, Eric Koloski, Paul Han, Shinji Saito and of course Augie Fash were some of my favourites. Before there was a yoyo "meta" all these yoyoers had their own iconic 1A style which is why I think fondly of this era.

So Augie was a bit of a celebrity to me. I can't actually remember when we formally met since we attended so many of the same contests. But I vividly remember being at EYYC 2016 wondering what the heck he was doing there. I filmed one of his tricks for my EYYC video where you can really see how unique his yoyoing is. Funny enough, a few weeks after that I left Europe to work on the Skyva project in China. I posted up a photo of me in Hong Kong and Augie messaged me saying he was there too - it was such a funny coincidence. I didn't have many photos of us at the time but below is a photo of Augie and Ian Loh when we met up in Hong Kong to film a Duncan video. 

Augie Fash Titanium Yoyo
A while after that Augie ended up visiting Toronto where we had dinner together with my sister and a few yoyo players. It was a very wholesome experience. We shared stories of our insane travel days, both being so inspired by Jason Lee. After this meet up both of our lives got so busy. We would catch up whenever we could through a text here and there. It would be until the summer of 2022 that we would call and chat about our lives all over again. He mentioned that he had settled down in California and had an itch for designing some yoyos and build his own brand - but he didn't know where to start. Casually I brought up how cool it would be to work on something together for Luftverk first, like a collaboration to get some yoyo release experience under his belt. It was such a casual comment i didn't think much about it.

It started snowballing into months of back and fourth over text, talking about his favorite yoyo designs that he's tried. He was actually one of the first people to buy an Evora RSP back in the day and said it was one of his favourite yo-yos at the time. He found a very rare 2022 Evora used on the BST later on as well. He talked about the elements he loved about that yoyo, about the lines and unique brutalist design elements. I think the only thing it lacked was the performance aspect for Augie’s high stress competition string tricks. The concept direction we decided to go in with was a chopsticks monster that was a slightly more organic, much more powerful version of the original Evora. This meant a slightly smaller diameter at 54mm, comfortable in the hand but much more rim weighted than the Evora.

The hub of the yoyo went on a severe diet. The axle post was reduced in size as were the slopes near the hub. There are unique elements such as an inverted lip that protrudes slightly outwards which gives it a feel of a dual ridge type yoyo. After testing out our prototype, it was clear Augie’s suggestion of basing it off the original Evora was an insanely smart idea. The yo-yo has this flavour of the Evora but the entire yoyo feels so much more modern, even compared to the 2020 version. The weight distribution feels so perfect.
During our many calls, we chatted about the weekend road trips he had been doing. Both being the adventurous type, we both really wanted to find a way to incorporate this element of adventure into the Exos. Really it was a big excuse to just do a fun road trip together, but I came up with this funny idea to take Polaroids and include them with each yoyo. It creates this analog connection with our trip which we both really resonate with. With this idea in mind I flew out to California with a backpack full of my stuff and Augie picked me up from Palm Springs California in his Mazda Miata. The most random place ever with the smallest road trip car lol.

Augie Fash and Jeffrey Pang Luftverk Exos
Augie picked me up from the airport, and after grabbing some food in Palm Springs, we headed immediately to Slab City. For those of you that don’t know, Slab City is described as "an unincorporated, off-the-grid alternative lifestyle community”. Its kind of sketchy lol. Salvation Mountain was actually featured in a few yoyo videos from a while ago so seeing it in person was kind of surreal. We explored the city carefully in his Miata. It was pretty quiet when we drove through so it seemed less scary than I expected. Looking back it was probably a bad idea to drive through with a soft top Miata.

We left and headed towards our main destination the Salton Sea. I had watched a Veritasium Youtube vid about this place years back - and it was just as grand as the video made it seem. It was created in 1905 when an engineer tried to divert some of the Colorado's flow into a canal and failed. The overflow created this massive lake and overtime became so salty it killed everything in it. It’s kind of a depressing story but definitely a sight to see. We parked our car near this star structure and walked around for a bit of course taking Polaroids wherever we went. At this point we were pretty exhausted so we headed to our little motel in Borrego Springs

We arrived in Borrego Springs and got some food and well needed rest. We slept well considering all the driving we did and in the morning we packed the car full. The view in the morning didn't disappoint.

We headed towards Joshua Tree National park, which was a somewhat short drive. We checked into this place called “Hicksville Trailer Palace” were apparently a few celebrities have stayed. It’s this super weird quirky trailer park that is often used for music videos and video shoots - kind of a kitchy place but has enough Americana stuff to be cool. It was very empty which made it feel a bit like the beginning of a horror film - and we were in a zombie apocalypse themed room which didn’t help.

We checked in and spent most of the day driving around the Joshua tree park. Ive never seen a Joshua Tree before in my life. They kind of look ugly - but apparently it’s one of the only places in the world where they live.

We took more photos and walked around some of the rock fixtures in the park. It was a bit colder than I expected but the views were beautiful.

Our third day was probably one of the roughest - we both knew it would be a super long drive to LA so I caught up on a bunch of work in the morning at a coffee shop. We set off from Joshua Tree at noon and took turns driving. We started running into some rain which was super unusual for California. We realized it would turn into a snow storm going up the mountains. We pulled over and noticed there was a massive snow warning in the mountains all over the news so we decided to take a super long detour around the mountains to get to our place for the night.

In the end I was glad we did. Even driving around the mountains there was heavy rain and hail. It was crazy - something that almost never happens in California. We reached our place safely, parked up and enjoyed an easy night at a comfortable hotel using Augie's credit card points. I think at this point it was needed. I started to wonder how I did these longer road trips when I was younger. Maybe my age is finally showing. 

For our last day we drove north out of LA early in the morning to some incredible driving roads in the Malibu Canyons. Augie originally mentioned these roads months back so it was super cool to finally see them in person. We spent the day driving through some of these incredible winding mountain roads in his Miata. The tiny car really came alive through these tight roads. The tight steering made these roads feel like a race track. We ended the day by visiting Ojai, a city known for its Pixie tangerine farms. We visited this sandwich shop were funny enough we sat next to Jason Segal. It was all a very Californian experience.

After this we finally reached Augie's home. The rest of the week was spent in San Louis Obispo at Augie's place where we sorted through the pile of Polaroids we took throughout the trip. We talked about the history of yo-yoing which of course Augie was an absolute wealth of knowledge for. He showed me these magazines from the yoyo boom and some of the ads were so funny - it was incredible to see how big yo-yoing was in the past. He had entire books just on yoyo types, how they were made, ect. It was super facinating.

It made me realize how big the interest for a simple toy could be. It was interesting since all that happened just before I started yo-yoing, and almost none of it is on the internet.

We talked about the Exos and how we wanted to release it. Augie came up with the idea to include exact coordinates on the back of each unique photo for customers to search up. I suggested using tape on the back of each to not mark up the Polaroid, and to give it a certain hand written feel. Augie spent time writing each one out while I signed the certificates. We wanted customers to feel like they were part of this trip - and to include something that was genuinely one of one.

Augie ended up picking out the best photos from the trip. It was super fun catching up and looking back at our trip.  During this Augie mentioned again how he was working on his own line of yo-yos under his own brand that he is calling "OKYOYO". It was really inspiring - since he was one of my main inspirations growing up and the ideas he had for products were genuinely unique. We decided to split the profits of the Exos to help out with funding Augies first few models under his new brand - so please take that into consideration when supporting us and the slightly higher price point of the Exos. You can follow the secret IG on @OKYOYOS. We spent so much time talking about life and his new found excitement for yoyoing, both him and his fiance's hospitality was greatly appreciated.

I took the photo set above after I received the production units. You can really see the surface quality difference between the prototype and the final run. For the Exos, a finishing polish stage was added to increase the sheen of the yoyo. It's not a mirror polish but it brightens up the yoyo significantly. This processing also really accentuates the lines of the yoyo, specifically the reverse rake of the wall. The included paperwork is signed by both myself and Augie, creating a really cool document that adds an element of our history, and as mentioned a unique Polaroid from our trip. 

I know this blog was a bit different since it focuses less on the technical yoyo stuff so if you’ve made it this far thank you for hearing me ramble and talk about how insane this adventure was. It’s really crazy the places this toy has taken me. I really wanted this project to feel different though - maybe as a representation of mine and Augie’s wild friendship in places all over the world. Thank you everyone for the constant support since it makes projects like this happen. As you can tell, I am releasing less and less titanium projects these days but when I do I really want it to feel like we put in the effort and time. This project was nearly a year in the making - something both me and Augie are very proud of.

50pcs were completed but some are reserved for Augie to deservingly keep. His kindness also made sure his family friends were gifted some. And I of course kept one as well. Due to this, it is a very limited product that won't be released again.

Luftverk x Augie Fash EXOS will be available on Sunday July 2nd, 2023 10:00pm EST.

Luftverk EXOS
Diameter: 54.2mm
Width: 45.3mm
Weight: 66.1g
Price: $400 USD
Limited Units: 50 pcs

Jeffrey Pang
Jeffrey Pang


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