Hula hoop

Hula hoop

A hula hoop is a toy hoop, usually made of plastic, that is twirled around the waist, limbs, or neck.

Although the exact origins of hula hoops are unknown, children around the world have played with hoops, twirling, rolling and throwing them throughout history. Hula hoops generally measure approximately 28 inches in diameter. Traditional materials for hoops include willow, rattan (a flexible and strong vine), grapevines and stiff grasses. Today, they are often made of plastic tubing. [ [ How hula hoop is made - Background, History, Raw materials, Design, The manufacturing process of hula hoop, Byproducts/waste, Quality control ] ]


Throughout history, the hula hoop has been used in various cultures for a number of purposes. In ancient Greece, citizens used the hula hoop as a form of exercise. In Egypt around 3,000 years ago, hoops made out of grape vines were propelled around the ground with sticks. Native Americans used hoops as a target for teaching accuracy for hunting. The word "hula" was added in the early 18th century as sailors who visited Hawaii noticed the similarity between hula dancing and tripping hoops.

Plastic hula hoops were first manufactured and sold in Australia. In 1957, Coles department store sold bamboo hoops, but the supplier couldn't produce enough to meet demand. So they invited Alex Tolmer, the founder of Toltoys, to produce plastic ones. Toltoys sold 400,000 plastic hoops in 1957. In 1958, Melin and Knerr of Wham-O started to market hula hoops in the USA, selling 100 million over that summer. The craze lasted from January to October, then suddenly died. In only four months, an estimated 80 to 100 million of them were sold in 1958. Hula Hoops became famous all over the world. In Indonesia, playing with a hoop in public was banned because in that culture it was not socially acceptable to shake one's hips in public. Later in 1965, WHAM-O developed hoops with several ball bearings trapped inside of the ring.

In 1957 the hula (also frequently spelled "hoola") hoop was reinvented by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin, founders of the Wham-O toy company. (The two had founded the company in a Los Angeles garage in 1948 to market the "Wham-O" slingshot, which was originally invented to shoot pieces of meat into the air, as a training device for falcons). The idea came from an Australian who had visited California who told Knerr and Melin about children twirling bamboo hoops around the waist in gym class. The new Hula Hoops were made possible by Marlex, a recently invented durable plastic.

Knerr and Medlin were unable to patent their vastly profitable "re-invention", as it had been in use for thousands of years; making the device out of a new material did not meet patent requirements of originality. They were largely able, however, to protect their invention by trademarking "Hula hoop".

After the hoop was released in 1958,Wham-O sold 25 million in the first four months and over 100 million in its first year. As the fad ran its course, Wham-O again struck lucky with the release of their Frisbee.

To relaunch the Hula Hoop in the late 1960s, Wham-O staged a national competition in the US in conjunction with the National Parks & Recreation Network. The National Hula Hoop Contest (subsequently re-named the World Hula Hoop Championships) grew in scope from 500 U. S. cities in 1968 to over 2,000 cities in 1980, with two million participants. Competitors were judged on their performance of compulsory maneuvers (Knee Knocker, Stork, Hula Hop, Wrap the Mummy, Alley Oop) as well as freestyle routines set to music, establishing the roots of the contemporary freestyle Hula Hoop movement.

Winners of the national competitions during 1968 - 1981 were as follows:

*1968 - Marilou Jones;
*1969 - Melody Howe;
*1970 - Richard Low;
*1971 - Sandra Gaylord;
*1972 - David Williams;
*1973 - Lori Ray;
*1974 - DeAnn DeLuna;
*1975 - Mat Plendl;
*1976 - Joanne Barnes;
*1977 - Carl Cooke;
*1978 - Robert Lynn White;
*1979 - Mark Sforzini;
*1980 - Lori Hayes
*1981 - Demi Jo Carrillo

In 1983 Wham-O re-launched the Hula Hoop in western Europe, 25 years after the original worldwide craze, with national competitions staged in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The 1984 United Kingdom Championships was sponsored by KP who make Hula Hoop Crisps, and took place in Butlins holiday camps with the final at the Liverpool Garden Festival. It was won by Stephen Parkes of Nottingham.

World Records


An early duration record for the hula hoop was set by 11-year-olds Paulette Robinson, Charles Beard and Patsy Jo Grigby in Jackson, Mississippi lasting 11 hours and 34 minutes (August, 1960). The event was sponsored by radio station WOKJ. 8-year-old Mary Jane Freeze, won a hooping endurance contest on 19 August, 1976, by lasting 10 hours and 47 minutes. The current record is held by Roxann Rose of the USA, who went 90 hours between 2 April and 6 April, 1987. [ Hula Hoop World Records ] ]

Most Hula Hoops Twirled at Once

The record for the most hoops twirled simultaneously is 105, set by Jin Linlin, on October 28, 2007.

Hoop running

Records for running while twirling a hula hoop around the waist are:
*100 m: 13.84 seconds, by Roman Schedler (Austria), 16 July, 1994
*1 mile: 7:47, by Paul "Dizzy Hips" Blair (USA), date unknown
*10 km, men: 1:06:35, by Paul "Dizzy Hips" Blair (USA), date unknown
*10 km, women: 1:43:11, by Betty (Shurin) Hoops (USA), 30 May 2005 & listed in the Guinness World Records.

Other records

The largest hoop successfully twirled was 13.88 meters (45.55 ft) in circumference, by Ashrita Furman of the USA (September, 2005). The record for simultaneous hula-hooping (minimum time: 2 minutes) is for 2,290 participants at Chung Cheng Stadium in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) on 28 October, 2000.

In 2000, Roman Schedler spun a 53-pound tractor tire for 71 seconds at the 5th Saxonia Record Festival in Bregenz, Austria.

In April 2008, Team [ Hooprama] hula hooped the Music City Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) to raise awareness for [ Hooping for Hope] . [Johnson, Bonna. 2008-03-20. [ "Team creates hoopla about half-marathon"] , "The Tennessean". Transcluded from . Retrieved 2008-07-08.]

Today: Modern Hooping

The past few years have seen the re-emergence of hula hooping, generally referred to as either "hoopdance" or simply "hooping" to distinguish it from the children's playform. An International Holiday World Hoop Day has become the hula hoop holiday celebrating the circle around the world. Every year, in numerical sequence starting from July 7, 2007 7-7-07 and continuing through December 12, 2012 12-12-12 hoopers dance in every city and country to raise money and donate hoops to others who can't afford them. Modern hula-hoopers can be found among fans of jambands like The String Cheese Incident and participants of Burning Man. Many modern hoopers make their own hoops out of polyethylene tubing. They are much larger and heavier than hoops of the 1950s. These hoops may be covered in a fabric or plastic tape to ease the amount of work in keeping a hoop twirling around the dancer, and can be very colorful. Some use glow-in-the dark, patterned, or sparkling tape, and others are produced with clear tubing and filled with plastic balls, glitter, or even water to produce visual or audio effects when used. LED technology has also been introduced in the past few years allowing hoops to light up at the flick of a switch.

During the recent revitalization of the hula hoop, its uses have been extended to serve as an implement for fitness. A multitude of websites have spawned as a result of this revival. Many of which provide links to hooping clubs located throughout the United States, online retailers from which to buy specialized hula hoops and information on workout routines.

Within the past few years, some hoopers have taken up fire hooping, in which spokes are set into the outside of the hoop and tipped with kevlar wicks which are soaked in fuel and lit on fire.

Popular Culture

The hula hoop emerged in the world of circus in the 1960s. Russian and Chinese artists took the hula hoop to extremes. These influenced contemporary circus artists like Australian circus comedienne and hula hoop historian Judith Lanigan, who performs the Dying Swan — "a tragedy with hula hoops" — using 30 hula hoops. The Cirque du Soleil shows "Alegria" and "Zumanity" feature hula hoop acts involving contortion.

The sale of the 100-millionth hula hoop by Wham-O is referenced in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" as one of the most significant events of 1959.

A fictionalized version of the invention of the Hula Hoop is the core of the story of the Coen Brothers' 1994 film "The Hudsucker Proxy", where it is referred to as (among other things) an "Extruded Plastic Dingus".

Hula hoops are referenced in the Chipmunks song, "Christmas Don't Be Late". Wayout Toys, under licence to Emson, introduced the Alvin Hula Hoop Doll, which dances with his hula hoop and sings the song based on wanting his hula hoop.

Mat Plendl, a 25 year old actor, who is considered to be the world's best hula hooper has appeared three times on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. He has become a regular performer at the half time shows of National Basketball Association games.

Quoting Dan Rodick, director of sports promotion at Wham-O, "There is no other product that gives me as much fear and respect for the power of mass culture as the hula hoop." [ [ Hula Hoop Is Coming Around Again - New York Times ] ]


External links

* [ World Hoop Day] is a charity that gives hula hoops to children in need. They also celebrate the circle with an international holiday every year. July 7, 2007 (777) started was the 1st, August 8, 2008 (888) is the 2nd, September 9, 2009 (999), October 10, 2010 (101010), November 11, 2011 (111111) and December 12, 2012 (121212).
* [ Hyperloop Hoops] is a community driven hooping site based in the UK.
* [] is a website dedicated to hoop exercise for kids.
* [ Magazine] is a hooping-oriented magazine website.
* [ Hoopaholics Australia] Australia's comprehensive hooping resource.
* [ NPR: Hula Hooping Gets Groovy Again] (audio podcast)
* [ Hooping for Hope] provides weighted hoops & fitness classes free of charge to women with breast cancer, or who have survived breast cancer.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hula-hoop — Enfants jouant au Hula hoop Le hula hoop est un cerceau en plastique. On le fait principalement tourner autour de la taille par un déhanchement rythmé. Toquade des années 1958 et 1959, le hula hoop a donné naissance à une danse, illustrée entre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hula Hoop — Enfants jouant au Hula hoop Le hula hoop est un cerceau en plastique. On le fait principalement tourner autour de la taille par un déhanchement rythmé. Toquade des années 1958 et 1959, le hula hoop a donné naissance à une danse, illustrée entre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hula hoop — UK [ˈhuːlə ˌhuːp] / US [ˈhulə ˌhup] or hula hoop UK / US Word forms Hula Hoop : singular Hula Hoop plural Hula Hoops Word forms hula hoop : singular hula hoop plural hula hoops trademark a very large ring that you try to keep spinning round your… …   English dictionary

  • Hula-Hoop — UK [ˈhuːlə ˌhuːp] / US [ˈhulə ˌhup] or hula hoop UK / US Word forms Hula Hoop : singular Hula Hoop plural Hula Hoops Word forms hula hoop : singular hula hoop plural hula hoops trademark a very large ring that you try to keep spinning round your… …   English dictionary

  • hula hoop — noun A light hoop used in the game of keeping the hoop in motion around the waist by a swinging movement of the hips • • • Main Entry: ↑hula hula * * * hula hoop f20 [hula hoop hula hoops] (US Hula Hoop™ …   Useful english dictionary

  • hula-hoop — [ ulaup] n. m. ÉTYM. 1958; mot angl. des États Unis, marque déposée; de hula, nom d une danse de Tahiti (1899, hula hula), et hoop « cerceau », par allus. à la jupe de paille des danseuses de hula (hula skirt). ❖ ♦ Anglic. Vx. Jeu consistant à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hula-Hoop™ — hula hoop f20 [hula hoop hula hoops] (US Hula Hoop™) [ˈhuːlə huːp] [ˈhuːlə huːp] noun a large pla …   Useful english dictionary

  • hula hoop — ☆ hula hoop n. a hoop like a Hula Hoop * * * …   Universalium

  • hula hoop — (also US trademark Hula Hoop) ► NOUN ▪ a large hoop spun round the body by gyrating the hips …   English terms dictionary

  • hula hoop — ☆ hula hoop n. a hoop like a Hula Hoop …   English World dictionary

  • Hula-Hoop — ☆ Hula Hoop [ho͞o′lə ho͞op′ ] [< HULA + HOOP] trademark for a light hoop twirled around the body in play or exercise by rotating the hips …   English World dictionary

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