I found a Germanhoopshop that sells Tape and Tube too:
I got my tubing and connectors from Mitre 10 Mega. I don't have any professional hoops to compare with but these are pretty light, larger hoops made from this won't work well for breaks and reversals, but otherwise its working pretty well for me.
Read all the details here: http://spinmatsuri.com/2012/02/01/hoop-supplies-in-japan/
1/2″ recycled black polyethylene is soft and flexible. Good for springy hoops no larger than 90cm. This is the pipe was are using to make charity hoops for Tohoku and the Peace Boat. It’s economical, only 9000 yen/120m roll, but you must buy two rolls or more. http://www.omn.ne.jp/~do/per.html PER-12 内径16.1ｍｍ×120m
is stiffer than PE, so it makes good hoops for off-body, breaks, and larger size hoops. There are several Japanese manufacturers, including ONDA and Sekisui. The standard sizes we use are 13A (17mm OD) and 16A (22mm OD). 100m of 13A costs about 15,000 yen. http://www.meguro-seiwa.com/shop/25.html
What a great topic! I just bought a hoop and pair of minis but now I realised I absolutely need more hoops (of course...) so I'm trying to save up and get myself some basic equipment to make hoops. This thread is so useful!
We have an array of DIY stores in Prague, all the ones that originated in Germany in fact: Hornbach, OBI, Baumax, Bauhaus...
The best tubing that I've found I usually get at Hornbach, but I've seen it at some of the other stores. It's irrigation tubing and found in the Gardening section. Here's a link to the product. They have a stiffer, thicker one that comes in about 50 m sections, and is fairly cheap. I've worked with the thinner one as well, and made some decent, if springy, minis from that.
Connectors, though, are an entirely different story. There USED to be the perfect (well, as near perfect as could be) connectors for the thicker tubing. But as we all know, makers of irrigation systems don't create connectors with Hula Hoopers in mind (think outside the tube, people, please! ;) ) So, long story short, I can't find those connectors anymore. Someone else in this forum posted photos on how to cut scrap of the same size tubing for a connector. I prefer to use scrap bits of a slightly smaller tubing and bulk it up w/ duct tape. This seems to give me a solid connection, and I also tape the seam with a bit of duct tape, to be sure. And believe me, I'm no graceful princess when it comes to my hoops. I drop them all over the place, on all manner of hard surfaces. I lean on them, kick them when missing my timing on jumps, and in general BEAT THE LIVING HELL OUT OF THEM! So far, so good, I'm happy to say :)
I also want to add that I bought my first hoop from an online shop in the UK that (at the time) had decent prices and the shipping wasn't so bad. http://flamesngames.co.uk/
Tape, well, whenever I see electrical tape on sale (Lidl, of all places), I stock up on it. Duct tape and electrical tape can be found at the aforementioned DIY stores. I also picked up something that I like to call contact paper (also at Lidl). It's a whole sheet of decorated plastic w/ adhesive backing. It's fairly similar to glitter tape. It just comes in a big, rolled sheet. So if one had a tape slitter or blade from Fancy tapes, one could easily cut this into strips and pretend it's really a roll of glitter tape. I also got some with zebra stripes! And I like that there are other possibilities with such material, for instance cutting out shapes (I'm partial to the Jolly Roger ), and these could be used to create even more interesting hoop designs....
Thanks again to Eternal Voyageur for starting this thread!