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..."