World Famous without a World Record
Although there is no doubt when it comes to how amazing our sign spinners are, our own Jose “Joey” Castanon noticed that sign spinning lacked an official Guinness World Record. In an effort to change that, he submitted an application to set the world record for the most water wheel spins of a full AArrow sign in 1 minute.
Over the last 20 years, the AArrow Sign Spinners have established themselves as THE authority in world-class sign spinning. Through the hundreds of thousands of hours spun in the most iconic cities around the world, and the 15 years of fierce competition at the World Sign Spinning Championships, AArrow has successfully made sign spinning world famous without a world record.
Competitive Sign Spinning meets Minimalist Art
Castanon says the trick he chose to set the record with was inspired by the spirit of competition. Competing for the highest number of consecutive flips or spins is typical sign spinner behavior, especially in groups. Ask any spinner and they’ll tell you about the highest toss they’ve ever seen, or the most no-handy’s they can do. Ask Castanon, and he’ll tell you about how many water wheels he can do.
Castanon’s exploration of minimalism introduced him to the most basic units of art, in particular, the square. In the eyes of Castanon, a 180 degree rotation along either the x or y axis was the smallest unit of sign spinning one could execute and still consider it a trick. Enter the water wheel; a trick that repeats the smallest unit of spinning indefinitely.
The unification of competition and art is captured in Yumi Janairo Roth’s Spin (after Sol LeWitt), and sets the perfect stage to set the record for the most water wheels in 1 minute.
The World Record Attempt
Working with the likes of Yumi Janairo Roth and Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana has presented Castanon with a series of unique opportunities. His first collaboration with the art space produced a one-of-a-kind episode of The SPINdustry Podcast. Later, “Floor Drawings,” an improvisational score directed by Jessica Kondrath, enabled sign spinners and dancers to explore how their ideas of motion interact. Finally, the opportunity to set a first world record, in the first exhibit to point at and proclaim sign spinning as art, manifested itself 5 years after submitting the application to Guinness.
From left: Brandon Walters, Joey Castanon, Max Durovic, and Michael Kenny. Photo courtesy of Yumi Janairo Roth.
Professional timekeepers Brandon Walters and Renee Wierz of Gemini Timing ensured the stopwatches were accurate, and notified Castanon of his temporal start and finish. The number of water wheels executed was counted by the most senior authorities in sign spinning, Clint Hartman, and the founders themselves, Max Durovic and Michael Kenny.
On the evening of Saturday July 2, 2022, Jose “Joey” Castanon set the world record for most water wheels in 1 minute with 213 rotations. Castanon entered the minute sprinting at an astounding rate of 4 rotations per second. “Fatigue is going to set in no matter how hard I’ve trained,” says Castanon. “[I] might as well get in as many as I can before the inevitable happens. After that, it’s all about pushing through the pain and finishing what you started.”
The host of The SPINdustry Podcast can also be quoted in his own words, “You do anything for 5 hours a day, you don’t get worse.” With only 1 sign spinning world record, it makes you wonder how many other incredible acts of greatness these sign spinners are capable of. Castanon says he hopes to inspire the greater sign spinning community to set more records, and show the world we are “officially amazing.”
• This record is for the most water wheel spins of a full arrow sign in one minute.
• This record is to be attempted by an individual.
• This record is measured by the number of successful spins within the time frame.
• A full arrow sign is a long horizontal sign with an arrowed edge used for promotional purposes. Often held and spun by an employee.
• For the purpose of this record, a water wheel spin is defined as flipping a sign one half rotation while alternating hands each flip it horizontally.
AArrow Sign Spinners
Grand Central Art Center
Yumi Janairo Roth