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.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Colorado Boomerangs Are Coming Back

--by phnxhawk--

It would seem that the old pun continues to deliver.  The folks who picked up the Colorado Boomerangs brand have started re-releasing models from that classic line; in fact, these are the same people in charge of boomerangs.com.

The owners have been releasing new editions of some of the original Colorado line for "over a year," according to a post in the Boomerang_Talk Yahoo! group by Dana Larrabee of boomerangs.com.  Models currently for sale at boomerangs.com include: Yanaki, Rainier, Eagle, Condor, Seagull, Tri-Blader, Matterhorn, Aspen, Glacier, Delicate Arch Special Edition (SE) and Carlota (a Gel Girvin design).

Larrabee stated that the new editions are largely the same as the originals, with the most significant changes being related to the painting process.  In particular, he reiterated that the quality of their manufacture remains top-notch.

The new Colorados are still carved from "airplane grade plywood imported from Finland," he said.  (Most models are built from the 5 mm thick plywood.  The two exceptions are the 6 mm Condor and 4 mm Aspen.)  They also continue to use the same templates as well as most of the same routers and jigs as were used with the previous generation of models (ostensibly from the Richard Pollock-Nelson era).  They no longer use belt sanders, however, but instead sand each boomerang by hand.  He said the new process yields a product that seems to look more pleasing to the eye and that also seems to fly better.  Indeed, he said he finds their "wood cutting and sanding processes are right there with previous results if not better."  For the painting process, they now use an "airbrush system" instead of paint cans.  With the new process, Larrabee said they can achieve "smaller, more precise dot size with more artistic control in the art process."  He said the new paint looks better except in the case of the Delicate Arch SE, the art style of which has been difficult to replicate.

Fans of the Colorado brand can also look forward to the return of more classic models in the near future.  Phoenix, Alpine, Everest and Delicate Arch are expected to be re-released "later this month," according to Larrabee.

As I have recounted in previous posts, my first boomerangs were the Rainier and Phoenix.  They are such terrific and reliable performers that, despite their worn-down paint, I throw them almost every time I go out to throw sticks.  In the intervening time, I have filled out my collection with the remaining standard models from the Colorado line (except for the elusive "Fast Catch").  So, it would be an understatement to say that I am excited to see new editions of Colorado boomerangs on sale.  I suppose this means that I need to stop slacking with my Colorado retrospectives....

Boomerang_Talk (Post #10400)
boomerangs.com (Colorado brand listings)

"Putting my spin on boomerangs..."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Blue Day

--by phnxhawk--

A grim bit of news has been making its way through the boomerang community over the last week.  Volker Behrens, the man behind the Blue Star line of boomerangs, recently passed away.  I first saw mention of it in a notice from Ted Bailey regarding upcoming changes to his catalog.  Further discussion quickly followed in the Boomerang_Talk Yahoo! group (topic starting with message #10371).  I thought I would post this to the blog in case any of our readers have not yet heard.

Manny, Charles, Larry and I were quite saddened to hear the news.  Larry was particularly perturbed by his passing, as his favorite boomerangs are all Blue Star models.  According to his profile on the Blue Star website, Behrens was captain of the German Boomerang World Cup team and was a record holder for long distance throwing.  Of course, I know him best as "the guy who makes those paxolin and G12 boomerangs."

I started out this part of my post by trying to recall when I first heard tales of the Blue Star brand.  As it turns out, my memory of this is quite poor.  Fortunately, Manny and I both use G-chat, and enough of our idle chatter was recorded for me to piece together part of the story.  In late 2010, at what was arguably the height of our initial obsession with boomerangs, we were both still customers exclusively of The Boomerang Man and boomerangs.com.  By this time, we had picked up the majority of the remaining available models of Colorado brand boomerangs and were trying models from other brands that they carried.

Anyway, at the time, boomerangs.com's listings for the Blue Star line included several iterations of the Windeater with some glowing praise for the line. (Manny's Windeater 1 shown below.)

From Rangs

As I recall, we had several intense discussions attempting to justify the relatively high cost of one of these boomerangs.  (We were accustomed to picking up boomerangs for $20 to $30 instead of $50 to $60.)  Ultimately, we made the claim that we needed to fill out our higher-wind, medium-range boomerangs with some alternatives.  We went back and forth about these "paxolin" and "G12" boomerangs, wondering how these exotic materials would perform.

Manny was the first to bite the bullet, making several attempts to procure a Windeater 2...but eventually winding up with the aforementioned Windeater 1.  There was some...dissatisfaction with this boomerang, unfortunately.  (It tends to return fast, easily scaring me into hurling myself to the deck whenever it comes near.)  We simply chalked this up to the fact that it was not the Windeater 2 that had been the intended acquisition at the start of his adventure.

Nevertheless, the existence of the Blue Star brand was now planted in our mind.  About a month went by before one of us happened to expand our search for new boomerangs to other vendors--namely, the Blue Star website itself and Ted Bailey's Flight-Toys.com.  As we paged through their catalogs, we became enthralled by a new dream of having long-range sport boomerangs, soaring majestically over the sand against a backdrop of shimmering gold at sunset.  With Manny still recovering from his spending spree, I decided to pick up one representative boomerang for us to try.  I selected the Marathon Mini in paxolin for this task.  As I recall, it came down to a combination of descriptions recommending it for windy conditions and ranges in the 50- to 60-meter regime.

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

The Marathon Mini was initially a somewhat temperamental boomerang for me, but after sitting idle in my bag for a couple weeks, it took on a new character as an excellent, far-ranging sport boomerang.  Now I am consistently pleased with its range and hover on return.  (I suppose it might have serendipitously warped its way into great performance.)  It was about this time that I met Charles and Larry, who were then able to demonstrate what great-returning Windeaters and Marathon Minis look like.  In addition, Larry allowed me to try his G12 Sussex Hook.

From phnxhawk's Boomerang Collection

From then on, I was hooked (pun now intended, but not originally).  I picked up several Blue Star 'rangs in the year since then and have not regretted it in the least.  (Okay, there was that one time that Manny and I lost a couple of them to the briny depths...but I was disappointed in myself rather than in the boomerang.)

Volker Behrens' boomerangs are a thrill to throw and catch, and I consider myself lucky to have become interested in boomerangs at a time when he was still producing them.  Indeed, I cannot ignore how he continues even now to define my life, even indirectly, by having brought me into contact with others who enjoy his designs, which have served as a springboard for me to delve further into this wonderful world of boomerangs.

 "Putting my spin on boomerangs..."