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 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

--by phnxhawk--

In the spirit of ringing in the new calendar year, I thought it would be nice to go back to our roots and post another "fun with boomerangs" type of video. In fact, it is not unlike the "Dual Diabolino" video with which we started our 2011 run. It would have been awesome if we three were throwing Eric Darnell Tri Flys so that I would have an excuse for a "punny" title, but this will simply have to do. On our last throwing session of the year, Charles, Manny and I decided to go back to basics and break out the Eric Darnell Pro Flys. Of course, in our case, old boomerangs simply beget fresh antics. For some of our thoughts on the Pro Fly, check out our first Ask aLAcrity.

Happy holidays, everyone!

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ask aLAcrity #3: Gloves of the Thrower

--by phnxhawk--

Question: Do you use gloves when throwing boomerangs, and what kind do you use?

One of the questions I am often asked when I first mention that I throw boomerangs is: "Doesn't it hurt to catch the boomerang?" When Manny and I first started throwing, we asked ourselves the same question. After suffering the occasional nick on the finger or bruised palm, our answer was, "Well, yes, it sometimes does." In an attempt to address this concern, we decided to try wearing gloves while throwing. (I believe Manny first suggested this to me when he bought his Spinback 55 and read a review that said something to the effect of "Do wear gloves with this boomerang.")

Since then, we have had time to evaluate the wisdom of our choice in gloves and revisit the decision to wear them. To begin the discussion, here are the gloves we bought and currently still use.

Our Gloves

Firm Grip Utility Gloves (Manny)

Firm Grip All Purpose Gloves (Gerard)

American football receiver's gloves (Charles), similar to below:

The Method to Our Madness

Manny and I were initially drawn to gloves that offered some form of padding over the palm, as we have occasionally returned home with some bruises in that area owing to some overly aggressive catch attempts. We were also interested in covering the fingers to guard against the occasional cut from our then-new carbon and paxolin boomerangs. Of course, we desired that this protection come without excessive restriction to mobility of the fingers and hand overall. So, we decided to try the work gloves shown above, and for the most part, they have met our needs.

On the throwing field, we found that the gloves provided the desired protection against cuts. However, any pipe dreams of recklessly arresting a fast-moving boomerang were dashed. We found that catching either very heavy booms or booms that had not slowed toward the end of the return still could leave the occasional bruise. I would hazard a guess that any benefit we derived from the palm padding was more of a placebo; we were more willing to risk making those catches--and justify any lack of bruises, whether by luck or skill--if we felt we were protected against harm.

One might expect that work gloves would unduly hinder the movement of the hand, as that style of glove tends to be bulky rather than form-fitting. I tried on a few gloves at the store to find a pair that seemed to provide a reasonable compromise between a good fit, some degree of palm padding and adequate grip between the thumb and forefinger. So far, I have not found the bulkiness of the gloves to be problematic. I hardly notice the fit of the glove on the off hand (left) during a throwing session. On the throwing hand, I do notice where the excess finger material bunches up while forming the standard pinch grip with that glove worn. It feels somewhat strange at first, but other than that sensation of awkwardness and the lack of direct contact between the skin and boomerang, the glove does not hinder the throw.

Why did Manny and I ultimately choose work gloves instead of another type? We considered cycling and workout gloves--both the fingered and fingerless kinds. These gloves would be more form fitting, and the cycling gloves would probably provide the desired level of protection (except, perhaps, in the case of fingerless gloves for obvious reasons). Ultimately, we were swayed by the desire to try the palm padding advertised in the description of the work gloves. More realistically, though, it probably came down to our driving by the local Home Depot before Big 5 Sporting Goods on the way home from the workplace. The plan was to try one kind of glove; if it turned out to be a complete flop, we would try something else. So, one could say the call on what glove to pick was essentially made by the flip of a coin.

Charles, as mentioned before, opted for a pair of receiver's gloves, essentially taking the road Manny and I did not take. Fortunately, he conveniently already had them lying around the house from past sporting activities. (Convenience certainly seems to weigh heavily in our choice of gloves.)

Gloves Revisited

Since we first started using gloves, we have had ample time to revisit the questions of whether we require gloves and what we would want in a replacement pair.

Charles told me he recently that he has weaned himself off throwing with gloves. I still use mine, but primarily when throwing certain boomerangs or on windy days, when all my boomerangs return with a fair bit of speed. In particular, I feel compelled to don them whenever I throw the Spinback 55 or any of my paxolin or G12 boomerangs from Volker Behrens. My paxolin and G12 boomerangs are all thin with "sharp" edges--well, they definitely seem sharp when trying to catch one on a hot return. In particular, cuts and a cracked fingernail from my Mini Marathon convinced me to keep at least one glove on when throwing those boomerangs.

Ah, but why one glove? I prefer to have the direct contact between my hand and the boomerang during the throw, as I feel it helps me better time my movements for the release. With the glove on that hand, I tend to feel as if I need to pay more attention to the throw. For that reason, I eventually dropped the glove on the throwing hand, but retained the glove on the off hand to provide some protection during catches. Since that leaves one hand without any sort of covering, I sometimes wonder how meaningful it is to continue using it. However, most of my "injuries" during catches have been sustained to my off hand, so I continue to feel more pressure to wear a glove for that hand. Incidentally, I found that Larry, who predominantly throws Volker's rangs and whom I have seen regularly make one-handed catches of fast-moving Mini Marathons and Sussex Hooks, adopted the same habit independently.

Charles, Manny and I once discussed what our ideal boomerang glove might be. Based on comments much like those I have given so far, Charles suggested that we were essentially looking for his receiver's gloves with some palm padding similar to what we currently have in our work gloves, but with the thumb and index fingers on the throwing hand cut off for that direct contact when using the pinch grip. I myself have not yet seen fit to purchase a pair of gloves for that type of custom "tailoring," but I might try it one of these days.

My Recommendation

Are throwing gloves right for you? Well, they certainly are useful for guarding against the occasional nick or cut, especially when catching boomerangs that are still moving quickly or with much rotation.

What should you be looking for? I would focus primarily on the fit and the grip. I would recommend starting the search with gloves that have a snug fit, similar to the receiver's gloves Charles has used. Those will probably feel most comfortable and natural to wear. Glove materials that would not impact your grip on the throwing hand are also desirable. So, while out shopping, run your fingers over the material, especially where your throwing hand would normally contact the boomerang during a throw. Try to make an estimation in your mind of how well it would grip a painted boomerang during a throw. If you have trouble tracking down sports gloves that you feel would work well, you may need to also look at work gloves like Manny's and mine. They will likely have a looser fit, but might be easier to find.

Be sure to try the gloves on before you make a decision. Check for a comfortable fit and decent gripping ability of the material. Also try wearing the gloves and making the motions for a throw and catch to investigate whether you are comfortable with how the glove material bunches up at the joints in your fingers. Ultimately, though, you will simply need to do the obvious, and just buy a pair to try out on the field.

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trick Catch Part 2

Merry Winter Season!

As promised, here are the remaining trick catches from the trick catch portion of official boomerang competitions.  In the first post, Trick Catch Part 1,  we showed you these catches:

  • Right-Hand Catch
  • Left-Hand Catch
  • Eagle Catch - A catch made from above the boomerang using only one hand
  • Behind the Back Catch (Two-Handed)
  • Tunnel Catch - Both of your feet on the ground and one hand passing between your legs to catch the boomerang
  • Foot Catch

In this second post, cleverly titled Trick Catch Part 2, we show you the remaining four trick catches, for a total of 10 in all.  They are the following:

  • One-Handed Back Catch
  • Hackey Catch
  • Two-Handed Under the Leg Catch
  • One-Handed Under the Leg Catch

Here is the video:

Now that we have managed to successfully complete all the single boomerang trick catches, the next step is the doubling portion of trick catch.  This will be much more of a challenge.  We hope to share the successes of that endeavor when we achieve it.  That might take a few months of practice though so keep that at the back of your mind for now.

As for me, my next post will be another boomerang review as we haven't done one of those in a while.  What boomerang will I be reviewing you may be wondering?  Not one boomerang but two: a set of Turbo doublers that I ordered from Kendall Davis.

You can see the Turbo here:  www.kendalldavis.us
Click on the "Advanced" tab on the left and scroll down to see the Turbo boomerang.

Once again, thanks for reading our blog and have a safe holiday season!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

[Early] Season's Greetings!

--by phnxhawk--

After a month of inclement weekend weather in normally sunny Southern California and various other distractions, Manny and I have finally found our way back out to the throwing field. However, we do have content that we will be publishing in the next month. Here is some of what we will be posting soon:
  • Another edition of "Ask aLAcrity" discussing our current choice of boomerang throwing gloves.
  • More trick catch practice videos.
  • A look at phnxhawk's first attempts to carve his own boomerangs.
  • Long overdue updates to phnxhawk's boomerang collection list.
While you are waiting for those updates, though, here is something to whet your appetite....

Sometimes, the most memorable moments on the field are not those awesome catches and ridiculously low throws, but those fleeting moments of inspiration (or silliness, perhaps) that exemplify how much fun you are having there. While we three were going retro, throwing copies of the Eric Darnell Pro Fly, Charles pointed out some of the lesser known features of that model. All that for the low, low price of...the contents of one full Giant's Wallet from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

[EDIT: After watching some of my favorite infomercials from the past several years, all I have to say is: Here's to you, Billy Mays!]

Incidentally, in case you were wondering what could possibly have kept us away from throwing sticks...

For my part, I have been distracted by a most epic video game: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

From December 11, 2011

If pressed, I might try to argue for Skyrim's relevance to wind-related activities by noting the presence of dragons and the use of shouting as a tool and weapon. On second thought, that could simply suggest I am blowing hot air.

Well, if nothing else, our distractions have not been completely unrelated to boomerangs. For instance, Manny and I have been replaying The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And what is one of the gadgets the protagonist Link uses in the game?

From December 11, 2011

Young Link seems to employ a fair amount of layover--not to mention that he is a Southpaw--but at least he is not throwing it like a frisbee. Perhaps his dependence on layover might be due to his limited strength at his age. Not to mention that I have never used a boomerang to grab distant items and return them to me. And--well, it is probably best not to dwell on these details, but instead focus on how awesome it is to play a video game with a boomerang in it!

So, as always, thank you for your patience! And we hope you will look forward to our future posts about boomerangs!

..."Putting my spin on boomerangs"