Welcome to Boomtown!

aLAcrity Boomerangs is a group of boomerang enthusiasts from Los Angeles. At the moment, it is comprised of three people: Manny (a.k.a. v12aero), phnxhawk and Charles (a.k.a. hey_kuya).

Manny and I (phnxhawk) started this blog to share our interest in boomerangs--throwing and tuning, making our own rangs, as well as unraveling the science behind them. As we continue our journey into the world of boomerangs, we hope to make new friends and to expand our horizons. In this blog, we will post such things as videos from our regular throwing sessions, musings and lessons learned from throwing, and thoughts on making our own rangs.

Manny and I started throwing boomerangs since Spring 2009. It has been a long road as we developed a semblance of technique for throwing 'rangs. Nevertheless, after many a bruised hand or windy day, our fascination with these returning throwing sticks remains undimmed. We most certainly have more to learn about boomerangs, but we'll keep at it as long as we continue to have many happy returns.


Friday, December 31, 2010

New Camera for Video

--by phnxhawk--

Manny and I recently switched over to a new camera for taking video while out throwing. We had previously been using our personal point-and-shoot cameras, which were capable of taking video at 640x480 and (at least in my case) at 20 frames per second.

Well, we both grew tired of getting sand in what were otherwise great photo-taking cameras. (Sand has a way of finding its way into everything, even if were to leave the cameras in our bags.) A couple months back, we came across a sale on woot.com for the Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD1 pocket HD camera.

We did some quick checking and decided to take a chance on buying a pair of these cameras to replace our point-and-shoots in this capacity. This week, I uploaded our first video using footage from our new cameras. I recorded it in 1280x720 at 60 frames per second. A link to the Youtube version is included below:

As for immediate reactions, I am satisfied with the result overall. On the extreme left and right, I feel as if the picture is somehow...distorted or blurry. Playing back the original footage also gives me a sense that the video is "too smooth." Manny described it as the feeling that the video is playing back at too fast of a speed. Whether this is a problem, we're not sure.

On the bright side, the video does seem to have better quality. Details are less blurry, and we hope that our boomerangs will be a little more visible in flight in future videos. (Of course, if we have difficulty seeing them with our human eyes, we don't expect the video to offer a much better experience.)

We'll keep working out the kinks with this new tool, but we hope you enjoy the upgrade. Now you can view all our imperfections in glorious HD.

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

First Look: Colorado E-Rang

--by phnxhawk--

Boomerang: E-Rang
Manufacturer: Colorado Boomerangs

It is known among my friends that I am an avid fan of Colorado Boomerangs. So, among my Christmas gifts was a donation to my collection of booms from that great brand: the E-Rang. As I was eager to see whether the central stub produced the hovering center dot, I took the E-Rang out for a test drive earlier this week.

Overview & Physical Characteristics

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

An offering from the late Colorado Boomerang brand, the E-Rang is advertised as a beginner-intermediate 'rang with a range of about 30 yards. I expect that it is made from the Finnish birch plywood from which other Colorado 'rangs are said to have been made. I weighed it in at 72 grams, the same weight as my Phoenix.

It is a bit of a bell-omega hybrid in planform shape. (Please do let me know if you have a better or more official descriptor). In fact, it is strikingly similar to my Adirondack. Note in the photo below how well they seem to match with one laid atop the other. There are, of course, differences between the two, but other than the central arm and the extra area to fair it in, the deviations are subtle.

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

The Throw & Flight

Owing to their similarity, I throw the E-Rang in similar fashion to how I throw the Adirondack. I tend to throw about 60 to 80 degrees off the wind. I also give it a light to medium toss with a good amount of spin. So far, I tend to throw it a bit above eye level (say, 10-15 degrees) and with a little layover (5 to 10 degrees). This is a little higher than I throw the Adirondack (which I try to release at eye level or just a hair above it), but I prefer the higher release to attain a more level flight path as it whips around and back. In terms of preferred wind strength, I would say a breeze to a light wind would be quite welcome, but a medium wind is still manageable without resorting to extravagant field modifications.

Overall, I found it easy to adjust to throwing this 'rang. That is, I did not have to make any exaggerated changes to my established technique to achieve some great returns. So, I expect that the novice to intermediate thrower will adapt quickly.

I was throwing on a pretty windy day (maybe 10 to 12 mph), so I did not need to apply as much power as I normally might. I did need to ensure that I was giving it enough spin, however.

I found that the E-Rang likes to fly a little higher than the Adirondack. If I attempt to give the E-Rang a level release, it makes a steep climb as it starts to turn back. I also found that its flight path is more teardrop/elliptical in shape, in contrast to the level and round flight I like to see with my Adirondack. As for flight range, I would estimate it goes out between 30 and 35 yards (based purely on experience with other 'rangs in my collection). If Manny and I obtain some data for this 'rang in the future, I will try to make an update to include it.

As for the stationary "center dot," it is quite visible in person; I don't think the video really represents it very well. It appears as a yellow-orange blur about which the rest of the boomerang seems to spin. It's distinctive, but it doesn't jump out at me. So, I am as prone to losing sight of the 'rang as I might be with many others in my collection. Still, I do enjoy throwing this 'rang to make use of this fun feature.

In the flight, the E-Rang climbs high, but drops in on the return. Given the wind in which I was testing it, it was difficult to discern a pronounced hover. I wouldn't describe my Adirondack as having a long hover, so I suspect that the E-Rang is not much different, with a brief hover at the very end. So, do be wary of going for a catch while the 'rang still has some speed on it, but it shouldn't be too difficult to have the 'rang dropping at one's feet, either. I did find that the central arm provided some extra area to grab when making catches. I had initially worried that the little arm would be the cause of some painful missed attempts at the catch, but I don't recall that being the case.


The E-Rang makes for a fun sports boomerang to add to one's collection. Acquiring a consistent throw is not difficult. The "center dot" does appear in flight, giving the sense that the spinning disc of the 'rang is stationary in the center as it whips back to the thrower. I would estimate this 'rang has a range between 30 and 35 yards. A breeze or light wind is preferable, but a medium wind (~12 mph) is still manageable. Overall, the E-Rang is a welcome addition to my boomerang bag!

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Boomerang Treats!!

by Manny Olivares

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to share with everyone one of my favorite early Christmas presents that I received this year.  My girlfriend was very creative and decided to imprint one of my favorite hobbies on delicious M&Ms as one of my presents.  That's right, I have my very own M&Ms with little boomerangs on them!

Check them out!

From Boomerang M&M's

From Boomerang M&M's

Want some personalized M&Ms of your own?  You can create them at this site:  My M&M's.
(And no, we are not being compensated for this plug lol)

From everyone at Alacrity Boomerangs:  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A World Standing Still: The Making of "Boomerang Activity"

--by phnxhawk--

Following up on Manny's "Boomerang Activity" video, I thought it would be fun to show what his production looked like from a "third person," non-nauseating perspective.

Unfortunately, since Manny was concentrating on completing his series of first-person video clips, he was not focused on staying comfortably in view of the stationary camera. So, he does walk out of frame several times.

Nevertheless, you can match some of his hoots and hollers in my video to what you heard in the original "Boomerang Activity." Manny's form suffered quite a bit from having to awkwardly hold the camera while executing his boomerang throws. He also had the added challenge of forcing some one-handed catches. Fortunately for him, he had "practiced" his technique in the weeks leading up to this grand (and spontaneous) project.

What I find most amusing about his video is that one can see his outstretched hand in the video, as if one is playing a video game with really choppy video, as well as a dire need for better camera programming and more intuitive controls.

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Boomerang Activity" - The Boomerang Witch Project

by Manny Olivares

Hello again!

This post today is courtesy of video that I took quite a while ago but had neglected to compile until now.  I had an idea one day to see if I could take video from a first-person perspective while I threw my boomerangs.  This way I could try to immerse the viewer in the experience of throwing.  The following video is the result of that experiment.

My initial experience was that it was very awkward trying to throw with one hand while the other held the camera.  I had to compensate by using more force with my right arm and it felt very awkward.  It took some practice but I did manage to make a few one-handed catches as you will see. The boomerang highlighted in the video is the "Yanaki" by Colorado Boomerangs.

It was phnxhawk's clever idea to title it after that famous "Blair Witch" movie due to the style of the footage. He also took some footage of me filming myself so hopefully in the future you can see the behind the scenes of this video.

Thanks for watching!

"Boomerangs: Frequent Flyers to the Perfect Tune"

Ninja Tactics!!


Manny and I were sifting through our footage from November, and we came across a couple of fun moments. Unfortunately, we were a tad too lazy to convert the video, cut the clips and upload them. So, instead, we spent the same amount of time doing more work! We took screen captures of the key moments and made animated gifs of them.

The theme of the day: jumping catches:
  • Manny's epic, one-handed jumping catch of his brand-new Georgi Dimantchev Diabolino. Photobucket Link. Great effort on his part, going up to reel in a 'rang that would have swept overhead. On a tough day with strong winds, it's play-making like that that will keep him in the game.
  • phnxhawk's so-called "ninja catch" with his Colorado Phoenix. Photobucket Link. Manny had declared that he would bounce a 'rang off his foot to make a catch (which continues to elude him now). That day, I set the tone by starting off the boomeranging with a jumping catch.
Manny and I often find a way to horse around like that. I have even been known to try to box him out to pick off an imminent return of one of his 'rangs. Of course, I try not to do that too often, since we're out there to have fun, and these antics of ours break up what might otherwise be a routine day.

(In case you're wondering how we made our gifs, to facilitate the effort, we used this website: http://www.makeagif.com.)

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Introducing a New Contributor

--by phnxhawk--

Perhaps some of you who are still sticking with us noticed already, but we have added a new contributor to the aLAcrity blog!

His user handle is hey_kuya. We met him in November after being introduced by Rich Harrison, the Boomerang Man. We've met up a couple times since then to throw boomerangs together. Manny used to say that I have a substantial collection, but hey_kuya definitely puts mine to shame. He has a terrific collection of 'rangs and a solid base of experience in throwing. He seems to be a swell guy, and we're looking forward to having some great boomerang-throwing fun together. Perhaps we will also see some content from him in the future.

Soyez le bienvenu!

In other news, Manny and I have some content in the pipeline, so please look forward to posts from us in the near future! As often happens, progress happens in fits and starts. So, please bear with us.

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In the Spotlight: Aspen

--by phnxhawk--

Boomerang: Aspen
Manufacturer / Brand: Colorado Boomerangs

Firstly, I apologize for the dearth of posting in November on my end. Now, on to the main course...

Overview & Physical Characteristics

In my "Return 2 Blogging" post, I'm putting up a highlight of a boomerang model I've had in my collection for a while now: the Aspen by Colorado Boomerangs. Actually, I have two Aspens (PCN#18 and PCN#19), both purchased from theboomerangman.com earlier in 2010. Both of these make for good introductory 'rangs, especially for kids, but also for adults making their first throws.

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

The Aspen is of a modern V planform and is advertised to have a range of about 30 yards with a round flight pattern. It is manufactured of plywood, except slimmer than my other Colorado 'rangs. I think this ties into how flexible the arms of my Aspens seem to be. They can very visibly deflect when the tips are bent up or down. My Aspens weigh about 43 g (compared to 39 g for my Aussie Hornets, another 'rang geared toward youth throwers). Compared to the Hornets, the Aspens are a little bigger and more representative in size of your typical sport 'rang. My Aspens also came in the bright green paint scheme depicted above, which turns out to be very visible in the day.

A unique feature of this boomerang is derived from the way the wood was cut. The top and bottom are relatively flat, and the leading and trailing edges are chamfered to create a rough airfoil (which is still, more or less, a flat plate). According to
theboomerangman.com, the cuts are also made such that the boomerang can be thrown successfully with either the painted or the unpainted side toward the thrower. I put that to the test this morning, actually. The Aspen works quite well, either way; I would not have been able to tell the difference if the paint had not been applied to one side.

The Throw

The Aspen is remarkably easy to throw. Even in a calm, it needs only a light toss and a moderate amount of spin coupled with moderate layover (say, 10-15 deg, at most) to coax it to return. In terms of preferred wind, I like throwing the Aspen in a light breeze. It seems to me that the flight path is a little more rounded in that condition, and the throws feel quite effortless.

Since I am accustomed to throwing hard with a lot of flick, my biggest problem when switching to the Aspen is shifting down in gear enough to have it land at my feet or at catching height. I typically use a little layover (about 5 deg). I also aim to throw the Aspen 70-90 degrees to the right of the wind and a little above eye level (5-10 deg).

While out at the beach, I have invited a few spectators to try their hand at throwing a boomerang by starting them with the Aspen. It has worked very well with children and older adults. As I said, even small amounts of flick and a light throw should be enough to get the characteristic motions of the boomerang in flight. Small improvements from there tend to be very noticeable, aiding the new thrower in refining his or her coordination in the throw.

The Flight

The Aspen has a level, round flight, the kind you expect from a typical V. On the final leg of the return, it drops in with only minimal hover (if any at all). Manny and I have not yet taken the time to mark the range, but I would guess mine go out to about 25 yards. It's definitely not very far, and my sense is that my Rainier goes out further. Since not much power or spin is required to achieve a successful return, my Aspens tend to return softly and with a relatively slow rotation. Overall, it is a very pleasant and relaxing boomerang to throw.

Incidentally, as Manny noted in a prior post, the flat top and bottom of this boomerang lend the Aspen to doubling. The two 'rangs stack without any problems, but my technique for throwing the doubled pair differs from Manny's. Manny, as he said, prefers to tune the individual boomerangs differently to alter the returns as desired. My preference (at least, before Manny changed the tuning on my Aspens) is to "choke up" on one boomerang. That is, I grip one boomerang further up along the arm than the other. My thinking is that I want to bring one of the 'rangs down more quickly, so I reduce the spin imparted during the throw by gripping higher along the arm. Typically, I try to do this with the boomerang "on top" as depicted below:

From phnxhawk Miscellaneous

Now that I'm thinking about it, I suppose I should ask myself, "Is this a legitimate technique, or am I hacking the system?" I guess I'm bending the rules a bit...but no one told me I couldn't do it, either!

In Summary

The Aspen makes for an excellent introductory 'rang for anyone making his or her first throw. It does not require much effort to throw. So, it is especially useful for young throwers and much older ones to get a sense for the body motions necessary for throwing successfully. The ease of the throw and catch also could make the Aspen a decent warm-up 'rang with calm or light wind.


As it turns out, Aspens are still available for purchase from a few vendors. If you'd like to find out more about this fun, little guy, check out these links:

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dual Aspen Catch

by Manny

A long, long time ago (less than two years) in a beach far, far away (Dockweiler State Beach near LAX) two enthusiastic engineers (Gerard and Manny) had an ambitious dream.....

As hinted to in the opening above, one of the goals Gerard and I set after we learned to throw boomerangs was to successfully throw and catch two Aspens by Colorado Boomerangs simultaneously.

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

Seen above, the Aspen is a beginner boomerang by Colorado Boomerangs made out of plywood.  It is light in weight and has a relatively short range.

We managed to accomplish this a while ago but we quickly forgot about practicing the skill and moved on to other things.   Recently we revisited this feat and decided to try and record it on video. Fortunately we succeeded and we have the video to share.  This video only shows my dual Aspen catch but Gerard shall post his video sometime in the future.

It is important to point out that I did not complete the catch on my first try (that would have been way cool!). Completing the dual catch required tuning of the boomerangs.  After a few throws I realized that the boomerang placed behind the first always ended up returning first.   I ended up using this to my advantage by tuning the front boomerang to fly a longer distance by decreasing the angle of attack.  Additionally, I tuned the  rear boomerang to have a shorter range by increasing the angle of attack.   Decreasing the dihedral on both boomerangs helped as well by lowering their altitude in flight.  After a while of practicing and tuning I was able to get them to fly how I wanted, and with a good throw I was able to catch them both!

Keep checking back as I shall be posting a review of the "Tiger" boomerang by Roger Perry of Spinback Boomerangs soon!  Get a preview of the "Tiger" on the following website:

"Boomerangs: Frequent Flyers to the Perfect Tune"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Not-So-Serious Boomerang Catching Video...

by Manny

Hello and Happy Halloween!

I made this playful video recently as something to mix things up.  It's obviously not to be taken seriously but I think it's pretty fun.  Check it out below.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Boomerang Review: Ayr by Adam Carroll

--by phnxhawk--

Boomerang: Ayr
Manufacturer / Brand: Adam Carroll (realboomerangs.com)

Overview & Physical Characteristics

On stage tonight we have the Ayr, designed by Adam Carroll of realboomerangs.com.  It is advertised to have a range of about 50 meters (54.7 yards) and is handcrafted from high density phenolic plastic.  In addition, the two units I received were supplied with a small lead weight that was duct-taped onto the bottom side of the leading arm's tip.  According to Adam's website, this is a great choice for an Aussie Round boomerang and was employed by Tim Lendrum for his 2008 world Aussie Round record.

For this initial review, I will actually be making use of two examples of the Ayr: "Broken Ayr" and "Fresh Ayr."  Pictured below is Broken Ayr laid next to my Phoenix, a Colorado Boomerangs model with about a 40-yard range, followed by Fresh Ayr with a 12-inch plastic ruler.  (Why have these names?  "Broken Ayr" is the first Ayr I received; this is the one I broke while working in some tuning, as mentioned here.  "Fresh Ayr" is the replacement Ayr, which I bought in the event that Broken Ayr could not be ressurected.  So far, Fresh Ayr remains intact.)

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

As you can see, the Ayr has the general features of an omega planform--in particular, the outward flare of the tips.  Note the strip of duct tape on the leading wing's tip; on the underside, a small, flat lead weight has been taped into place.  The two units I received came in the neat abstract paint schemes shown.  Between the two paint schemes, I think I prefer the light blue background of Fresh Ayr for purely aesthetic reasons.  In the air, the two are equally easy (or hard, as the case might be) to see; the dark colors tend to create enough contrast against the daytime sky for me to easily pick out the 'rang in flight.  So, I have not found the colors to be a discriminator in that regard.

Manny mentioned in his initial review of the Kickass that one of the first things we noticed about these two 'rangs was their size compared to our wooden boomerangs of comparable range.  This is shown very well in the comparison image above of the Ayr and Phoenix.  In terms of simple width, tip-to-tip, the Phoenix is two inches "wider."  In addition, Fresh Ayr weighs 48 grams (1.7 ounces).  For comparison, the Phoenix weighs in at 72 grams (2.5 ounces).  Between the Fresh Ayr and Kickass, the Ayr feels heavier.  Until Manny puts his Kickass on the scale, though, you'll have to take my word for it.  At any rate, I think the difference in weight shows up in the differences between the two boomerangs' flight characteristics.  I'll get to that in a minute.

I said in a previous post that the first Ayr I received was promptly broken during my attempts to tune the 'rang.  I'm guessing that this high density phenolic material does not like to be bent to large deflections (read: bent a lot, all at once).  If tuning is required, I now work it in with smaller bends, bit by bit, instead of all at once, which had been my habit with my older wooden rangs.

The Flight

Unfortunately, most of the flights with Broken Ayr were had after the fracture occurred.  So, I will focus mostly on Fresh Ayr in this discussion.

For its size, the Ayr--both my Broken Ayr and Fresh Ayr--goes a long way.  We were marking Broken Ayr at our 36-yard marker a couple weeks ago.  The other day, in much windier conditions (12 to 16 mph, as we read on the weather reports before arriving at the beach), we were marking Fresh Ayr at our 48-yard marker.  This is a tad short of the advertised range, but it is enough of a surprise that the difference hardly matters to us.  In fact, it is entirely possible that the difference is, in part, due to some tuning I had worked in to facilitate a complete return on a less windy day. 

Manny said in his Kickass review that we were marking that 'rang between 32 and 38 yards; this was without the lead weight on the tip.  Since then, he has taped the weight to the leading wing's tip, just as he had received that 'rang.  I would guess that has put a few extra yards into his range, taking it up to, perhaps, 36-42 yards.  In any case, we both agree that my Fresh Ayr goes further out than his Kickass as they are presently tuned.

When thrown well, the Ayr has a terrific, fairly rounded flight.  However, the extra distance afforded by the Ayr seems to come at the price of increased demand on the thrower for throwing power and consistent technique.  I noticed immediately that Fresh Ayr wanted to be thrown hard and with a lot of spin.  I found that, for best results, the Ayr needs a light wind (say, perhaps, 4 to 8 mph).  The breeze tends to make it a little easier for me to build consistency between throws.  I worry a little less about balancing multiple aspects of my technique and can focus mostly on angles for release.  I have generally been throwing Fresh Ayr with a fair amount of layover, even in a light wind--perhaps about 15 to 25 degrees--and roughly 70 to 90 degrees to the right of the wind direction.  I now also make a point of throwing the Ayr from the trailing arm to avoid disturbing the tape on the leading arm.

In addition, I have been trying to ensure that I throw only a few degrees above the horizon.  Too low, and the Ayr will climb too high as it's turning back.  Too high, and the Ayr's flight will bobble down and then up.  I am generally looking for that sweet spot at which the boomerang stays pretty level until it slows for descent.  Achieving consistency is one aspect in which the increased skill of the thrower can play a role, as this boomerang isn't quite as forgiving as some of my boomerangs intended for those of "beginner" and "intermediate" skill level (e.g. Phoenix, Pro-Fly, Rainier).  This is, of course, not that surprising, as the Ayr is listed under the "Expert" section of realboomerangs.com and was described as being intended for competition throwing.  (And of course, I am definitely not of contest caliber.)

The return and catch are fairly ordinary.  With the way I tend to and the conditions in which I prefer to throw, the Ayr maintains a low to medium height in flight.  The 'rang loses speed like most of my other boomerangs and drops into the hands.  Since I do like to have a noticeable breeze for throwing the Ayr, the 'rang does tend to come in a little faster and hotter than, say, Manny's Stéphane Marguerite.  In these cases, the Ayr does not have a pronounced hover.  Fortunately, the Ayr is light enough and thick enough that painless catches can easily be had without gloves.  The wind also tends to help in creating the rounded trajectory I associate with my Ayrs.

In Summary

The Ayr is advertised as a high-performing competition-level boomerang for the Aussie Round event.  Although I cannot accurately speak to its suitability for that contest, I can say that the Ayr would make for a great sports boomerang for the experienced thrower.  It has an impressive range for its size.  With a little practice, every flight can be an exhilarating experience.  After it leaves the hand, the Ayr lumbers its way around the track as the seconds seem to stretch into minutes.  Ayr likes a hard throw, so do warm up with another rang first to build confidence and consistency.  All in all, this is a great addition to my boomerang bag!


Ayr caught your eye?  Check these links out:

Manny's Rangs - Part 1

by Manny

Hello all,

It's been a slow past couple of weeks due to rainy weather here in usually sunny Los Angeles.  There is no reason to worry however as we were able to get in a couple throwing sessions recently.  Phnxhawk will also be posting his review of Ayr by Adam Carroll soon.

I thought it would be nice to write a short paragraph on each of my boomerangs in order to show my collection. Basically a short paragraph kind of like those descriptions you see when you are about to purchase a boomerang  on any site.

I'll be posting these in parts so that one post doesn't become too long.  Keep in mind that these will be rather short and only mentioning key points of each boomerang.  We will be doing full reviews for some of our boomerangs in the future if anyone is interested.


Yanaki by Colorado Boomerangs

From Manny's Boomerangs

Yanaki is a very easy beginner boomerang with a great hover at the end of the flight.  It doesn't require much force to throw and likes to be thrown in light winds.  Unfortunately, I don't think that the Yanaki is being manufactured anymore so if you can get your hands on one, DO. 

I usually release the Yanaki slightly above parallel to the ground and with little layover (about 10 degrees).  It likes to climb quickly and flies in a roundish teardrop pattern.   Upon release it climbs up high but with a rather slow rotation rate and then drops back down towards you.  It does have a lot of hover so if you miss the catch prepare to go after it.  The range is on the order of 25-30 yards.

The flight is very nice to look at due to its slow rotation rate.  It looks just like its hovering along leisurely at its own pace, without a care in the world.    While I initially had problems with my Yanaki, some very helpful advice from The Boomerang Man got me tuning this boomerang right into shape!


Alpine by Colorado Boomerangs

From Manny's Boomerangs

Alpine is another great boomerang from Colorado Boomerangs.  Once again, I don't think Alpine is made anymore so if you happen across one you should make it your own (legally of course).   Alpine does require slightly bit more strength to throw but is generally an easy rang to use.  It has a pretty round flight and looks gorgeous in mid-air.  

The Alpine has a slow rotation rate like the Yanaki but with a longer range at about 40 yards.  The paint job on this rang works wonderfully in flight because of the circle that forms in flight due to its circular pattern paint job.  Alpine can handle light-medium winds but a bit of wind does help as it makes the throw a little easier on the arm.  

The flight is at medium height as it does not climb high like other boomerangs but does not stay extremely low either.  It comes in with some hover but drops in for an easy catch.  Alpine was one of my original two boomerangs (Alpine and Yanaki were my first two) and it is definitely one of my favorites due to its beautiful flight.

More to come later...

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Manny's First Returning Throw

by Manny

I watched the boomerang intently as it left my hand, anxiously anticipating yet another failed throw.  My previous five attempts had been mildly demoralizing, watching time after time as my boomerang skipped across the sand or simply flew way off course as if avoiding me.  I had seen phnxhawk throw effortlessly with a full return, and all I hoped was for a return to call my own. 
The boomerang sailed away from me in a flight parallel to the ground.  “Yes!” I thought.  "At least this time I didn't throw the boomerang straight into the ground."  As I continued to track it, the boomerang turned to the left.  “Ooh, I think that’s what it’s supposed to do,” I exclaimed to myself.  It continued to rise as it followed an elliptical pattern in the air, hitting its zenith.  The descent shortly followed, and the boomerang still continued on its flight, ever so slowly turning towards me.  Seconds seemed like minutes as the silhouette of the boomerang soared across the sky, its shadow bold against the murky sky that served as the backdrop.
It was coming towards me!  The boomerang was actually coming my way!  My pulse quickened as a rush of adrenaline ran through my body.  I had to be ready to catch it.  I couldn’t let this prime opportunity get away from me.  The rang decreased in altitude much like a plane on its approach to the runway, except this rang didn’t seem to have any braking mechanism of its own.   Still, it came, falling ever faster straight towards me.  A bull's-eye seemed to be painted on my chest.
“Catch it!” screamed a voice to my left.  It was phnxhawk.  He had taken note of my successful throw and was cheering me on, prodding me to complete my throw with a catch.  This could be my very first catch!
It was only several meters away now, but its speed was unwaning.   A feeling of apprehension sparked inside me as I timidly prepared for the catch.  My dread increased ever sharply as the gap between the boomerang and I disappeared. 
“Oh no!!”
It was the sound of my voice.  I broke down with the boomerang only two meters away flying at full speed straight towards my chest.  The fight or flight instinct took over, and I found myself choosing the less heroic of the two options.  In a split second, I dove to my left, falling to the sand for protection from the runaway boomerang that seemed so intent to find its target.  I heard it whizz by as I hit the beach floor.  Sand flew into my face as my body landed with a thud. 
I lay there silent as a flood of relief came over me.  That feeling was soon replaced by embarrassment.  I looked up to find phnxhawk staring at me, and a second later, we found ourselves laughing hysterically at the event that had just transpired.
My first successful returning throw was accomplished.  Catching it, however...that was another matter entirely.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ayr Under Repair

Well, I mentioned in my last post that technical difficulties were encountered during the initial testing of the AyrManny also took care to mention that the high density phenolic from which the Ayr and Kickass have been fashioned might not be as flexible as materials used for other 'rangs in our collection. 

Not long into the weekend throwing session, a sharp crack sounded from where phnxhawk was standing.  Manny wheeled about, turning to his throwing partner to inquire as to the nature of the sound.  He saw phnxhawk frozen in time, stricken and dumbfounded, his normally stoic mask now twisted in shock.  Manny called out to him.  phnxhawk remained motionless, still staring intently at the boomerang in his hands.  "Don't tell me...you broke your Ayr?!" Manny asked, incredulous. 

phnxhawk blinked twice and slowly looked up.  Suddenly, his shoulders sagged, and his arms fell to his sides, each hand clutching a piece of what was once a single boomerang, the recently acquired Ayr.  It did not need to be said, but both throwers knew for certain that the problem lay not with the boomerang and its flight, but with the wielder and his impatience.

Anyway.  Enough with the histrionics.  In light of Saturday's incident, I brought the Ayr in for repair.  It did not take long to remove all the duct tape I had wrapped around the fracture on Saturday (so that I could continue throwing the boomerang).  I initially attempted to use common household superglue to set the pieces together.  Unfortunately, the pieces would not stick and very easily slid apart during handling.  However, I happen to keep a healthy supply of Pacer foam-safe CA and accelerator for my flat plate foamie RC airplane projects.  I decided to give that combination a try next.  To my surprise, the three pieces held together better.

I then decided to borrow a technique I employed in college to repair a fractured carbon fiber spar.  I cut a generous amount of dental floss and, having tied one end to the Ayr, wrapped the line up and down the break several times.  I then tucked the loose end under one of the loops.  Lastly, I coated the break--floss and all--in CA and sprayed the mess with kicker.  The last step, after wiping it down, was to re-wrap the break in duct tape.

Here are a couple photos showing the status of the boomerang just before I applied the duct tape:

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

And here is a photo of the "Broken Ayr" reborn:

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

How well will this work?  We'll find out on Saturday.  I expect to also receive a new, un-broken Ayr later this week.  Depending on how the throwing goes, we'll see which one receives the honor of being my starting Ayr in the future.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Boomerang Review: Stéphane Marguerite

--by phnxhawk--

Due to technical difficulties encountered when taking the Ayr for a test drive, I will be postponing my complete review until next weekend at the earliest.  (You'll see what I mean.)  In the meantime, without further ado, here's the Marguerite!

Boomerang: Stéphane Marguerite
Manufacturer / Brand: LMI Fox


From Rangs

The Stéphane Marguerite is a great little boomerang produced by LMI Fox and designed by its Canadian French namesake.  It is advertised to have a range of about 40 yards (35-40 meters) and a weight of about 2 ounces (55 grams).  This model is made from a composite material of polypropylene plastic and carbon fiber.  Manny's Marguerite (pictured above) comes with a simple, quiet paint scheme of red and yellow shapes and featuring the model name emblazoned on the trailing arm.

In terms of physical size, it is on the same order as the Ayr and Kickass, two Adam Carroll boomerangs we acquired recently.  Compared to those, the Marguerite has a shallower elbow and wings of slightly larger chord.  As Manny pointed out in his post for the Kickass, the boomerang was smaller than we expected.  We knew the length advertised by the manufacturer and The Boomerang Man, from whom Manny purchased his Marguerite.  However, it wasn't until we set it down next to our other boomerangs that we noticed how "small" those three were relative to the rest of our collection.  The ever popular notion that "size is not all that matters" comes to mind, of course.  So, how much flight does the Marguerite have in it?

The Flight

As you can probably tell from the video, Manny's Marguerite can be difficult to see, even on a clear day.  It's thin and small compared to our host of plywood 'rangs.  In addition, with the boomerang spinning, the colors on the painted side don't stand out particularly well, even when the painted side is in clear view (say, as it starts turning back to the thrower).  It is certainly advisable to keep one's eyes on the Marguerite from start to finish.  I suppose one might call the Marguerite a stealth boomerang, its shaping and size ensuring that it presents a low profile to me--that is, until it closes for the kill.

At any rate, the Marguerite has a great flight.  We marked the Marguerite near our 32-yard marker; theboomerangman.com reports a range of 35 yards.  I would say it has a fairly elliptical flight path.  Out of the box, Manny's tends to be a high flyer.  I found that it likes a "soft" to "medium" toss with lots of spin and a little layover (say, 10-15 degrees).  In fact, it reminds me a lot of my Rainier in how I throw it.  There is a small notch in the lead arm.  I suppose it is intended to aid the thrower in imparting extra spin to the 'rang when using a pencil or pistol grip.  I myself never made use of this feature, as I felt the pinch grip was more comfortable for this size of boomerang.  (With larger, thicker and heavier boomerangs, on the other hand, I sometimes switch to a pencil or full grip--the Marguerite's big brother, Spinback 55, for example.)

For best results, I would guess that the Marguerite also likes a "breeze" or "light wind"; at the time we usually throw, the wind tends to be blowing somewhere around 5 mph.  In the video linked above, my throws led to a high flight with the Marguerite dropping into my hands fairly quickly from high and to the left.  It was in this descending phase that the Marguerite returns to being easy to track, and its light weight facilitated soft and fairly painless catches.  All this considered, I would say the Marguerite would make for a great warm-up boomerang or a fun, easy sports 'rang.
In Summary

Marguerite is small compared to our host of wooden boomerangs and is comparable in size to the Adam Carroll rangs we have purchased recently.  It likes a relatively soft or medium throw in a light wind.  Manny's Marguerite flies high and drops into the hands at the end for a soft and easy catch.  I would liken it to my Rainier.  With its easy throw and soft catch, it would probably make for a good warm-up 'rang or a fun sports 'rang.  The only downside we have found is that it can be difficult to see whenever the boomerang presents a more edge-on profile.  Otherwise, it's an awesome addition to our collection.


Interested in picking up your own Marguerite?  Check these links out:

LMI Fox Stéphane Marguerite Product Page
The Boomerang Man's Product Page

"Kick Ass" Boomerang Review

by Manny Olivares

As promised, a review of three new boomerangs recently purchased: "Kick Ass" and "Ayr" by Adam Carroll and "Stephane Marguerite" by LMI&FOX.  I will be reviewing the "Kick Ass" and my partner phnxhawk will be reviewing the other two booms in other posts.

First things first, "Kick Ass" looks really great and has an awesome paint scheme. The first thing I noticed when I received my new "Kick Ass" was its size.  I expected it to be the size of my other boomerangs, such as my "Alpine" boomerang which can be seen on the "Rangs" link underneath the picture below. This boomerang is smaller in size and initially I didn't think that its range would be very big.  However, phnxhawk owns a "Bambino", a miniature boomerang, http://theboomerangman.com/cart/index.php?route=product/product&manufacturer_id=44&product_id=211, and that has a very good range.

From Rangs

I warmed up my arm a bit for this boom with my "Yanaki" and "Tassie Devil" booms because I thought this might require a stronger throw.  However, my first throw of "Kick Ass" had me pleasantly surprised.  It was a very easy throw, beautiful flight, and easy to catch!

As discussed in a previous blog, we set up some flags in order to gauge the range of the booms.  We set up flags at 24, 32, 40, 48 yards along the beach where we figured the apex of the flight of the boomerang would be.  We acknowledge that there is of course some error in estimating the range of the boomerangs.  It is very difficult to precisely determine how far out the boomerang goes, even when one of us is out there under it.  Additionally, the apex of the flight might not occur right over our flags so its possible that we could be under or overestimating its maximum range.

Now I'd like to point out that I removed a lead weight which was wrapped with duct tape around the leading edge of my boomerang.  While I have no problems with adding weight to my boomerangs I simply wanted to see the unweighted range of my rang.  In the future I'm sure I'll add the weight and tape back on to see how it affects the range.

With this in mind, we estimate the range of "Kick Ass" to be between 32 and 38 yards.  The high density phenolic material from which it is made of is certainly very stiff and not too flexible as phnxhawk can attest.  As such, it is important to be gentle in tuning these stiff phenolic rangs.

Even from the get-go I had no problems getting this rang to return to me properly.  Usually I have to find the proper throwing technique for each individual rang as they all have their own eccentricities.  "Kick Ass" likes to be thrown with minimal layover (about 15 degrees), slightly above shoulder level on release, about 45 degrees to the right of the wind, and with light-moderate force.  If you are familiar with the technique for throwing boomerangs you'll see that this isn't much different from how the majority of other boomerangs are thrown.  There are some cases where the rang likes to be thrown with lots of layover and a high release but this isn't the case here.

The "Kick Ass" has a very cool, low, round flight and quickly has become one of my favorite boomerangs.  Here is a video to showcase the "Kick Ass" in action.  I understand that sometimes it is difficult to see the boomerang in the air in the video, but as mentioned in previous blogs, filming the boomerangs in flight is difficult.

Thanks for watching and stay tuned for more!

Small World

--by phnxhawk--

A runner at the beach came up to have a chat with us about boomerangs yesterday.  A woman named Lisa, who, as it turns out, was a friend of the Jim Mayfield

A mini-bio on Jim (copied from the flight-toys.com page linked above):
Jim Mayfield became interested in the sport of boomerangs in the mid 1980s. He travelled to boomerang tournaments to compete and to collect boomerangs from other top competitors. Jim learned how to make his own boomerangs rather quickly. He began producing commercial boomerangs at his Gunnison Colorado home in the late 1980s. A few years after forming Colorado Boomerangs, Jim sold his company to Richard Pollock-Nelson. Jim worked with Richard after the sale to make sure that the quality of Colorado Boomerang products remained high after his departure. Jim Mayfield was critically injured in a motorcycle accident on 11 October 1999. He died two weeks later at the age of 48. Early examples of Jim's products are very collectable. Colorado Boomerang products made under the direction of Richard Pollock-Nelson are high quality replicas of the original Mayfield boomerangs.
Lisa was very nice.  We talked a little bit about how great Jim's boomerang designs are, from the brilliant paint schemes to the great flights.  She also told us a little about Jim.  She said that he had a passion for anything that flew; in that light, it seems somewhat fitting that a couple of young, driven aerospace engineers are thoroughly enjoying Jim's boomerang designs.  So, kudos to Jim Mayfield!  Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Post for a Rainier Day

--By phnxhawk--

The second new video we have features a set of clips focused on one boomerang, the Colorado Boomerangs Rainier.  When we consider buying a new boomerang, we typically search out videos of the boomerang in action in addition to reading written reviews.  Sometimes, however, those videos are unavailable or are not as revealing about the boomerang's flight qualities as we might like.  Well, we thought it would be helpful if we posted some videos zeroing in on the various boomerangs in our collection.  Granted, the Rainier is no longer in production...but if it was, wouldn't you want to buy it?

Rainier is a very easy boomerang to throw and catch.  It was produced in birch plywood by Colorado Boomerangs.  Range is relatively short--on the order of 30 to 35 yards.  Length, tip to tip, is roughly 12.75-in.  It feels fairly light in the hand, as well, coming in with a weight of 53 grams.  My Rainier tends to have a rounded, somewhat elliptical flight.  Under good conditions, I throw a little above eye level, producing a slight climb on the outbound leg of the flight.  It returns softly, ending with a modest hover, facilitating an easy catch. 

My Rainier likes a light breeze to round out the flight, but it can be thrown in a calm without much trouble.  It doesn't like strong winds, either; a strong wind (greater than, say, 10 mph) tends to make for a tough day.  It also doesn't need to be thrown very hard to obtain a decent-looking return.  The Colorado Boomerangs instruction manual suggests that it can be thrown hard with little layover or lightly with moderate layover.  I tend to give it a solid, moderate strength throw with layover somewhere between 5 and 20 degrees.  v12aero suggests that I usually also impart a fair amount of spin to my boomerangs when I throw, so it would be good to keep that in mind when throwing Rainier.

All in all, the Rainier makes for a great warm-up rang.  I avoid chucking it and save my strength for my heavier rangs.  It produces a great-looking flight and an easy catch, helping the thrower build confidence and consistency.  Those qualities enable it to prepare me--mind, spirit and body--for more challenging boomerangs later in a throwing session.

Incidentally, the Rainier was my first "legitimate" boomerang.  Technically, my first was one of those gimmicky ones that I picked up at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh in 2008.  It didn't fly all that well...but to be honest, it was hard to see how it was flying in the dead of night.  The same issue also made the boomerang difficult to find when my friend's throw wound up in the bushes.

So, I suppose I have the Carnegie Science Center to thank for my newfound hobby, but it was the Rainier that sealed the deal.   I had initially attempted to buy the Phoenix from Colorado Boomerangs / boomerangs.com not long after that Science Center souvenir was lost.  Unfortunately, they had recently exhausted their supply, but the customer service rep suggested the Rainier as an alternative.  After some hesitation (while I frantically looked it up on their website), I accepted their offer.  A few days later, I had the Rainier in hand--just in time for a trip to windy Tucson, Arizona.  It was there that I learned how to throw a boomerang of more reputable origins.  Two years later, despite visible signs of wear, the Rainier is still going strong for me.  There you have it: my entry into the world of boomeranging!

V12Aero's Boomerang Bag

by V12Aero

Hello to anyone reading!  I received my recently purchased messenger bag in the mail today and decided to post some pics.


From Rang Messenger Bag

Isn't it gorgeous?  (I can assure you that I do not work for CalPak)
You can click through the link on the bottom of the picture for other photos of the interior of the bag.

I was reading an article in the United States Boomerang Association's newsletter (http://www.usba.org/) on what kinds of items other boomerangers kept in their boom bag and I realized that I myself didn't have a legitimate "boom bag."  I embarked on an epic quest to find one to call my own (lots and lots of web surfing and online "window" shopping) and now days later here it is!

So what kinds of items will I keep in my boom bag?  Mostly boomerang accessories of course.  Scotch tape is necessary for attaching weights (mostly coins) to the arms of my booms for better wind resistance and range.  I put in several quarters, nickels, etc in there so I can see which type of coin works best.  An alternative to coins is rubber bands which I also have in there.

Rounding out the rest of my stuff is a boomerang tuning handbook I got with my purchases, my throwing gloves, a small microfiber towel, snacks, my water bottle, and of course my boomerangs.  Nothing too out of the ordinary yet though I plan to purchase an Aerobie ring, http://aerobie.com/, for whenever I feel like throwing something that doesn't come back ha ha.

Keep a look out for we will have some posts later this week on some new boomerangs my friend and I just purchased from "The Boomerang Man", a sort of boomerang review if you will.   Two of the boomerangs are by Adam Carroll and are made of some high density phenolic (a type of plastic).  The boomerangs are the "Kick Ass" (yes it is really called that) and Ayr (as in "air", get it?, har har har)  You can take a look of what they look like here: http://www.realboomerangs.com/catalog.html

There is also a third one manufactured by LMI&FOX called the Stephane Marguerite made out of poly+carbon material that will also be arriving and can be seen HERE.

We usually throw our rangs at Dockweiler Beach near LAX on weekends and that is where we will throw this weekend once more.  Our plan is to set up flags every 10 yards, starting at 30 yards out to about 60 yards to gauge the range of the boomerangs.  Their range is supposed to be about 50 meters which is a pretty good distance out.  Hopefully we can get some good video of the boomerangs in flight.  It can be challenging sometimes to follow the boom once its in the air with the small camera screen.

Happy Throwing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Practice Clips Video

--By phnxhawk--

It has been business as usual for aLAcrity.  The winds the past two weekends have been weaker and more finicky than in the summertime.  Weather in Los Angeles has been capricious lately: record highs one week, but damp and dreary the next.  Although this hasn't stopped us from throwing rangs, it has added some frustration, as it has been difficult to settle into a rhythm while out on the sand.

We have three new booms coming in this week, so stay tuned.  We'll probably post some initial thoughts once we've given them a test drive.

We also have a couple new videos posted on our Youtube channel, though.  The first is another compilation of miscellaneous clips taken from boomerang throwing outings the past couple weeks.

Stay tuned for the second video!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Welcome to Boomtown

Hello from aLAcrity Boomerangs!

aLAcrity Boomerangs is a group of boomerang enthusiasts from Los Angeles.  Actually, at the moment, it is comprised of only two people: v12aero and phnxhawk.  We started this blog to share our interest in boomerangs--throwing and tuning, making our own rangs, as well as unraveling the science behind them.  As we continue our journey into the world of boomerangs, we will post such things as videos from our regular throwing sessions, musings and lessons learned from throwing, and thoughts on making our own rangs.

We started throwing boomerangs about a year ago.  It has been a long road as we developed a semblance of technique for throwing rangs.  Nevertheless, a year later, our fascination with these returning throwing sticks remains undimmed.  We most certainly have more to learn about boomerangs, but we'll keep at it as long as we continue to have many happy returns.

More to come soon...