Questions And Answers
History & Science
Is There A Difference Between A Throwstick, A Kylie And A Boomerang?
This is both a political question in the boomerang world, a historical question, and a question of conflicting popular modern word usage in varous regions of the world. As a result it's extremely difficult to communicate clearly on this topic.
In terms of popular usage, in Australia all flying sticks are generally called boomerangs. In fact this usage is so universal that many people around the world call all flying sticks boomerangs, regardless of where they originated, whether Egypt, India, etc...
The word boomerang is of Aboriginal origin and etymologically speaking, when the word boomerang first entered the english language, boomerangs were known as hunting sticks that did not return to the thrower. See the next question for more on this fact.
From a modern perspective one could say that the straight flying throwstick is the father of the modern returning sport boomerang. Historically, returning boomerangs were only used in some portions of Australia, mainly for amusement, distraction, or as a decoy for hunting, but straight flying boomerangs/throwsticks were used much more extensively, including on other continents.
Historically, returning boomerangs were generally lighter in weight and they were designed to fly a curved flight path and return to where they were thrown from. Straight flying boomerangs, by contrast, were generally heavier in weight and were designed to fly straight for long distances in order to take game through the delivery of a hard blow.
Returning boomerangs could also be used in hunting but not generally as an impact weapon but more as a distraction. Thus the term "hunting boomerang" is unclear. Despite this, the term "hunting boomerang" has become the popular term in modern usage for straight flying boomerangs. Returning boomerang hunting tactics were rare historically and even more rare today. The most effective way to hunt with a stick is with the straight flying variety.
This whole conversation becomes even more confusing when one thinks about what a throwstick is, historically. "Throwsticks" did not all fly, and some were used to throw spears, which are sticks themselves.... So the term throwstick is not necessarily the best term to describe straight flying hunting sticks either, although it does apply. We have chosen to use this term for the name of our company, despite this issue.
To many people in modern usage, the term "boomerang" tends to connotate the idea that the stick should return. The old joke goes, "What is a boomerang that doesn't come back?" Answer, "A stick." Most people are unaware that straight flying sticks even existed, let alone that they were the original boomerangs.
Then there is the term "kylie", which is the popular word used among sport boomerang throwers for to differentiate straight flying sticks, whether those be intended for hunting or not. Historically, this term and other forms of it were the most popular Aboriginal words used to describe various flying sticks that returned or didn't. The term did not differentiate, when the various regions it was used in are taken into account. This is a contrast with modern popular usage.
This discussion is a political one as much as a historical one and the questions are important and the perspectives all well meaning. I was mis-informed about this topic myself for many years and popularized the idea that throwsticks are not boomerangs. I have since done more in depth historical research and found out I was wrong.
Regardless of etymology, it is extremely important to differentiate between modern sport boomerangs which safely return to the thrower and are not dangerous weapons, and the weaponized origin of all straight flying sticks and some returning sticks.
It's also just as important to differentiate also between straight flying sticks which are not weapons and those which are. Light weight, thin kylies have bee used to play "kylie golf" at modern disc golf courses since the early 1990's. These types of kylies are not weapons and are designed to be relatively safe. Contrast this with thick, heavy sticks used for hunting. The different should be clear. It's the weight of the stick and not the type of flight that differentiates a weapon from a toy.
Regardless of this, any thrown object, whether a weapon or a toy, even if light in weight can cause an injury to an eye, at the very least, and care must be taken with all thrown objects, whether boomerangs, kylies, hunting sticks, discs, baseballs, etc....
See the next question for in depth information about the etymology of the term "boomerang," which forms the basis of the stance that Throwsticks.com takes towards this controversial issue.
What Types Of Game Can Be Taken With A Throwstick?
Historically deer, kangaroo, and emu have all been taken by large throwsticks with leg shots or headshots. Throwsticks were ideal for rabbits and smaller game but could also take coyotes on leg shots or headshots. They are particularly suited for fowl of varous sorts, including turkey, ducks and geese, whether in flight or on the ground. Lighter weight sticks can take fowl in the water without sinking. In Austrlia goanna lizards were hunted in the desert. The strength of the thrower, the weight of the throwstick, the type of environment and the placement of the shot were all factors in what game could be taken. Throwsticks can take game on the run, and they are very instinctive to use. Long range accuracy is difficult to achieve and group hunting increases the odds of a hit significantly. Hunter/gatherers were incredible hunting tacticians and did not use their weapons only in isolation but with effective strategies as a group.
Check hunting regulations before you hunt. Primitive hunting is not legal in many locations. We do not endorse the use of throwsticks for hunting large game except in survival situations.
How Well Did Hunting Boomerangs Stand The Test Of Time? Most Ranged Weapons Use Disposable Ammunition.
In warfare the concerns are completely different than in hunting and disposable ammo is a definite advantage in warfare and self defense. Generally speaking, throwing separates man from the animals and shooting separates men from each other.
Hunting boomerangs were used continuously for at least 20,000-30,000 years or more in Australia and elsewhere to put food on the fire. They were developed to a very high refinement and allowed for the efficient survival of humans during those times, such that they balanced well with their environments and each other.
In modern times it has become a common misconception that disposable ammo provides a superior method of survival hunting. But when disposable ammo is available, hunting is more often a luxury than a method of survival. Most have the choice to work in ammo factories for money, rather than to be forced to use it to put meat on the fire. We live in a unique and brief time in history in which the illusion exists that natural resources are disposable. By contrast with the 20,000+ year history of the boomerang, our disposable resource methods of survival have not yet begun to pass the test of time themselves, and have become so destructive that they seem likely to fail in the long term.
Other than the modern bullets we use today at $1 a shot, hunting projectiles have never truly been disposable. Even modern ammo has an expiration date and requires modern industry, the cooperation of modern laws, as well as a stable market. In hunting, only one shot is usually available on a target before it escapes or is taken. Thus the main concern for the true survival hunter is whether his non-disposable projectile could be re-collected and used again or not.
While the sling uses disposable ammo, it was never too much of a hunting weapon due to accuracy and rapid or stealth deployment issues. It could be used in a pinch and definitely was, but it could only kill on a head shot against large game, and historically it was used primarily by agricultural societies to guard crops and animals. It was also practical for ranged warfare against an army. The bola is an exception to this in many ways, but is not considered disposable.
Good quality (accurate) arrows more than bows and even throwsticks were always the most difficult ranged weapons item to source and construct properly in all regions of the world. Even assuming suitable materials were available in a given region, a single arrow could take a huge amount of work to produce correctly, let alone a quiver full of arrows with matched spines and weights. Arrows were thus not particularly disposable items, despite their fragility. Shots had to be carefully chosen or costs would be high. This is one drawback that primitive peoples had to deal with whenever they released a bowstring. Bowstrings themselves were fragile as well, and generally needed dry weather conditions to be effective until they eventually would break and need replacing with specialized materials.
For large game hunting where the cost of an arrow was worth less than the game it would take, the bow was an effective choice for large game at ranges below about 20-35 meters max. But the valuable arrow was rarely worth the risk of a long shot that would probably miss, or a rabbit, even at close range. Even a heart shot on a large animal might still not take the game fast enough to guarantee it wouldn't run away and die in a hidden place. The Hopi Indians knew these things and used throwsticks on rabbits at ranges out to 50 meters or more, where even if they missed they just picked up their stick and kept trying. The American Indians did hunt large game at close range with the bow to some degree, but they also used numerous other clever methods which were more effective, including traps, etc....
The atlatl is an excellent survival weapon but it required suitable dart material, which is not available everywhere. The high skill level needed to make matched spine darts for accurate shots is similar to that of matched spine arrows, meaning that individual darts are not truly disposable and a hunter may come to rely upon an individual dart to achieve maximal accuracy. Atlatl darts are also fragile and may break off in game.
The spear thrower was more crude than the atlatl and had shorter ranges than many other ranged weapons, but was deadly within its maximum range. The spears were collected again after each use. Manufacture of spears is relatively fast and easy, even if broken. Thus, the spear thrower is a great sustainable hunting weapon, yet it requires a specialized environment to allow for a close concealed stalk up on game, yet without numerous trees in the way which could tangle with the spears.
The Australian continent was isolated from the rest of the world and the ancient Aboriginal cultures presumably did not have access to or knowledge of primitive ranged weapons other than the boomerang and the spear thrower. I am unsure as to whether they had access to suitable archery components anywhere on the Australian continent, whether they knew they did or not. Like the unique animals on their continent, they used unique weapons. They developed their throwsticks to the height of technological development found anywhere in the world, particularly in the central desert region of Australia where very long range shots were sometimes necessary, since close stalking was impossible to do in the open. Very dense local hardwoods such as desert mulga provided a durable and deadly construction material which makes most oak feel light in weight by comparison.
Over ages the Aboriginal craftsmen refined and passed on very advanced information on the proper making and tuning of long range hunting boomerangs. This practical development eventually gave them flight ranges beyond 100 meters. Where the bow shoots on an arched trajectory with a limited effective range, the boomerang flies straight and has an effective range at least 2 to 4 times longer, making close stalking skills less important. It is also a multi tool. It could thus be effectively argued that the boomerang is a more effective desert hunting and survival tool than the bow and arrow would have been in these particular environments.
Of all the hunting weapons mentioned above, none had ammo that was truly disposable, but only three had ammo that was truly durable. The bola, the spear thrower and the boomerang. In a survival hunting scenario where one is not being backed up by the manufacturing capabilities of an empire, or at least a village, unless one has the skills to manufacture good arrows and darts, the bow and atlatl are poor weapons to use. But the throwstick never runs out of arrows/bullets and can be retrieved again after a hunt is over. This makes the throwstick an ideal survival weapon against a variety of game, large and small which wouldn't be even attempted with a bow. It stood the test of time for long generations until it encountered the firearm.
Up until the 1950's and to a limited degree beyond, there were still Australian Aboriginal peoples in the central part of Australia who were uncontacted still using their ancient weapons to put meat on their fires. The boomerang and spear throwers provided them with ample food supply until they were defeated and removed from their hunter/gatherer anarchic lifestyle by the European colonists who used firearms. The boomerang is a great long range desert hunting tool but a poor weapon for lethal warfare. The Aboriginal peoples rapidly lost the fight against guns. Their boomerang technology was put onto the walls of Australian homesteads as decorations, and eventually into museums as another culture became dominant through the use of more lethal technology. The ancient throwsticks that remain are now sometimes valued at thousands of dollars a piece depending on the quality and age. Relics of an old way of life now vanished. To the Aboriginal peoples they were not valued in terms of dollars but in terms of the food they provided.
Firearms will always be dominant in hand to hand warfare until something even more lethal is invented and refined (like the sub-sonic spinning steel blade gun..., based in hunting boomerang technology). Yet when the ammo is expired or all gone, too heavy to carry with where one is going, or not possible to acquire..., then boomerangs will come back again as a hunting tool of choice.
Why Did Throwstick Usage Die Out In Most Parts Of The World Other Than Australia?
In answer to this question there are numerous theories which anthropologists, historians and sociologists discuss.
In ancient times, different people groups and regions of the world would specialize in different weapons at different times and in different places. This was due to several reasons, such as the needs of their particular society, whether hunter/gatherer or agrarian, anarchic or imperial, peaceful or violent. Availability of natural resources suitable for manufacture of particular weapons was another determining factor, as was the exposure during peace or war to various technological breakthroughs achieved in other regions. Geography, flora and fauna, climate, etc..., were all factors.
Like the throwstick or boomerang, the ancient sling is an example of an isolated weapon (when considered in the context of the Andes mountains). The Inca were an advanced agricultural empire who used the sling extensively. The abundance of suitable llama wool to manufacture slings, and the abundance of stones to use as projectiles were driving forces behind their choice of this weapon. On the other hand, they did not use bows and arrows because of their lack of supply of suitable wood for manufacture in their region. They developed sling braiding to a breathtaking complexity and beauty unparalleled in the modern world, and they became deadly shots, as recorded by their conquistador invaders who claimed to have seen sling stones break swords and kill horses.
The history of the world and human cultures is also the history of weapons technological development and its eventual results. Since weapons technology gave an edge in warfare as well as in hunting, an "arms race" which came through the threat and reality of violence was inevitable globally, as it still is today. This is particularly true wherever early states formed, whatever the cause for that might be in various regions. Certain weapons were so powerful and refined that they tended to actually work towards empowering empires, and empires in turn produced these weapons as a means to further their empires.... One empire would tend to rule until the next used superior weapon's technology or tactics to conquer it and rule in its stead.
Bows and arrows were a high level weapon technology for ancient man. Ancient empires could divide labor, import materials, enforce slavery, and specialize in making high quality arrows, bows, and strings the way global empires specialize in fighter jets and nukes today.... Lone hunters and tribal peoples were generally not as good at this in most places of the world, and thus their ways of life tended towards being wiped out by the nearby empires which possessed superior ranged firepower. This is certainly not the only factor at play, but the bow attained warfare weapons dominance in most parts of the world due to its high velocity, range, organ piercing power, repeat shot capacity, and easy adaptability to horseback. On the other hand, the bow and arrow doesn't go hand in hand with hunter/gatherer cultures and their diets as much as we sometimes perceive that they do. Although there are exceptions, including the modern Hadza, they were used in a well developed form much more by agriculturally based empires than by hunter/gather groups who wanted more multi-purposed tools.
The throwstick or boomerang was never much of a weapons advantage for warfare and people who used it may use it violently but more rarely in a lethal way. In hunting it was an amazing tool which could take game on the run, but in warfare it was easy to dodge unless kept in hand and used as a club. Similar things could be said about the Australian spear thrower. Thus the highest refinements of weapons technology available in Australia left that continent at a relatively basic warfare technology stalemate among the different groups. The rise of empire was not bolstered and encouraged by the bow and arrow as it was elsewhere in the world, nor by the horse.
This self limiting technological development, whether geographical, due to cultural preference, or availability of natural resources, preserved a more ancient and enduring way of life among the Aboriginals which was passed down for thousands of years and worked to prevent the formation of centralized empire and their resultant accelerated arms race and conquest. The throwstick was certainly not the only factor, just one ingredient in a list of them which transported the ancient Aboriginal cultures into the 20th century in ancient form, and into their eventual and bloody conflict with European colonization and the deadly modern weapons that came with that.
Perhaps somewhat beyond the scope of this website, a brief summary of how different types of societies were formed and later came into conflict can be undertaken below.
Human socieities come in many forms but the earliest forms were hunter/gatherer. When family units and individuals compete with each other for natural resources in an uncoerced market of individual personalities and small, self forming and self loyal groups, then violence tends to distribute, counterproductive and self limiting. Cooperation tends to increase as the best overall strategy for success in survival and harmony within the group and with the world around, including other groups. Conflict is avoided as much as possible and sharing is the norm among hunter gatherer peoples because those who don't share don't survive. In harsher environments males tend to dominate more and in gentler environments a more egalitarian culture tends to arise. Yet in all cases, the need for weapons which efficiently kill other humans is relatively limited and warfare is often more a show of force and scary masks than an actual large scale bloody conflict. This is all that is necessary to establish territorial boundaries between differing cultures and peoples, and when these guidelines are not followed, increasing violence tends to self correct in time on smaller scales. Violence is a part of all animal and human life to one degree or another.
The formation of the earliest states was a departure from small group forms of early human cultures and represent a move towards coercion for the benefits it provided those who were able to coerce. This move created compromises with health, liberty, labor, and increasing violence, but it created the benefits to some of being able to reap the rewards of other people's labor and thus the incentive for state formation. The formation of early states was seemingly bolstered by religious or superstitious loyalty as well as availability of new weapons technology, certain aspects of geography, domestication of horses, values of controlling various natural resources in a given region, etc....
Coercive forms of human society which base themselves on slavery, conquest and forced labor and taxation, tend to create boom and bust cycles of expansion and collapse. Empires and those who support them rise and fall in their cyclical attempts to dominate as far as possible beyond the limits of harmony while maintaining it as much as possible at the same time. While violence and warfare of one level of intensity or another is common to most all human cultures, those cultures which set their sites on conquest are of an opposite survival strategy of those who aim at harmony. Their respective technologies are different to each other as well, even if both fall into the weapons category. Conquest has costs and limits just as harmony does, and it always drives more and more conquest because it must in order to maintain a competitive empire against those who don't want to join or who in turn form competing empires in order to defend themselves against the former. Yet when empire grows to its limits and the coercion needed to maintain it are too much for humans to bear further, it naturally falls. This boom and bust cycle in turn, re-seeds the future empires which arise in the place of the previous ones, out of the ashes of their cultures and basic values. In each generation of boom and bust the technology, values and tactics are passed on and increase in efficiency. They are resurrected under a new structure which rekindles human hope and loyalty and starts the cycle again. The eventual end of coercive, non-harmonized culture is the exploitation of all things available to exploit, until no resources are left for survival.
By contrast with this, non-coercive societies maximize natural resources and exclude the conquest values of empire and the huge costs of slave labor. The dying out of throwsticks was the dying out of a world in which simple tools were all that was needed to live in exchange for a world in which technology would form an arms race that lead to the potential for the destruction of all natural resources everywhere.
Regardless as to the answers to any debate on these subjects, the Aboriginal boomerang truly is a brilliant and fascinating relic. It stands as a symbol of personal independence and a more simple world and time. Ironically, though something of "primitive" origin, it actually exhibits flight characteristics which make it seemingly defy the laws of gravity. Modern physicists cannot decode all of its secrets and only a few people on the planet have learned how to properly tune them. So the throwstick's true brilliance and complexities, passed down through the generations from father to son are a reminder that "primitive peoples" were not really primitive at all. In fact it was the primitive thinking which classified them as "primitives" which led to their murder and even their being stuffed and placed in museums along side their throwsticks. They were advanced thinkers who were set in different circumstances from the dominant ones of more recent history. Throwsticks are now a great way to connect with the outdoors, and with the ways of life and skills of the past.
You Are A White Guy Making Tribal Weapons. What's Your Stance On Cultural Appropriation?
When products are marketed as Aboriginal when they aren't, that's fraud. Aside from that practice, which is happening with indigenous products and which we oppose, I believe that imitation is the surest form of flattery and that cultures must be appropriated by new generations and peoples if they are to live on as cultures at all and not die with the past. If it matters, sadly, the cultures and craftsmanwhip we celebrate with our products are largely now extinct. We'd like to change that and help thse past voices speak again to future generations.
What Meaning Can Ancient Sticks Have In A Modern World? What Do They Mean To You Personally?
Let me ask a few questions of my own. How would an ancient craftsman develop or learn this tool? How would he use it? What does its development and use say about ancient cultures and peoples? How do these things relate to the present day as the ancestors of ancient peoples who carry the instincts and genetics of ancient peoples in ourselves? I have been walking through these questions, developing my vision through them for almost a decade, and asking similar questions throughout my life. So bear with me if this gets a bit abstract here.
I've been on walkabout with my throwsticks in hand, so to speak.... "Walkabout" as I mean it, is the place where a person journeys towards balance and personal, responsible survival. A place where he learns wisdom which later can benefit the group through the skills obtained from his individual journey in the wilderness. To do this one must extract themselves from the crowd and seek bearings as a single individual who will interact and survive on their own terms and ways, learning who they are and what they have to offer in the process. We are each unique. I think that only as individuals in balance are we able to bring our single and unique harmonious note back to any group. The note that only that individual can vibrate in the time and place where he or she must, among so many others.
By contrast, many groups throughout recent history have been well known to vibrate together out of key, as the individual members are only resonating only off each other rather than obtaining an objective "attunement" from outside their immediate gang's perspective. A gang provides overwhelming power collectively, regardless of the wisdom of its individual members or overarching collective identity. It fosters its survival through being a gang and putting the gang first. A group of bloodthirsty thugs can survive together for a time through pillage and coercion. Thus groups can be formed around almost any concept imaginable, whether racist, or the common purpose of committing crimes. That doesn't make every group bad, but it does mean we should realize that a group can become a mob.
Thus the need for walkabout is the need to quest for more than what the crowd may offer, in order to bring back to it something more than it understands. It's the quest for true leadership and depth. If the whole crowd does this responsibly, and in turn, they cease to become a crowd and instead become a true gathering of leaders, empowered to form meaningful and creative community together and overcome the limits of their collective identity and thus expand it into something truly living. Am I saying that we only can form absolute community through absolute individualism? No, rather I am saying that the best community is composed only of individuals who are developed and integrated alone in themselves with the purpose of bringing meaning back to the group. This involves much more than blindly following of the crowd or loyalty to a gang. Gangs are mechanisms of cowardice, as each member is able to "go along" without bearing sole responsibility for the group's actions. The members hide behind each other's figurative skirts.
Throwsticks are nomadic tools and I have always been an intellectual nomad myself. I guess that's why these tools appeal to me so much and also why I was able to crack their code. It was out of this nomadic place where I learned this skill, now turned business. And it's been in this place where I've continued to grow the business, to market, to do whatever it takes to survive. I learned to make and tune hunting boomerangs while on "walkabout," through thousands of experiments I conducted myself as the sky silently moved above me, day by day. This place of observation, of reluctance to theorize before seeing all the data, of delight in elemental things..., and then of piecing them together into something with purpose.... This is what the human mind does well if given time and space. It took me time and space and still does. I believe this is true science as opposed to scientism; empirical inquiry as opposed to empiricism. It's only on "walkabout" where I can observe, find my bearings, and know where I have come from and where I am aiming. The biggest thing that held me back early on was my reluctance to trust what I was seeing. Instead of observing, I was trusting peer reviewed scientific theories formed by others which my experiments were proving were incorrect. This leads to a healthy skepticism towards "experts" and a sense of independence which we all desperately need in these times, I think. The realization that we don't owe any loyalty to the world and it certainly won't act as if it owes anything to us, regardless. The proof is in surviving the walkabout and bringing back something valuable in the end. Nobody can take that away from a man once he has it.
Part of my reflection is on the irony of technology, on where human beings have come from and where we are going. As I find meaning in my work, I reflect on human work in general. Humans are unique creatures with skilled hands and the ability to create. We define and either ennoble ourselves through our tools and techniques, or degrade ourselves through them. We do this through personal and community construction or destruction.... We make tools which help and those which hurt. Sometimes it is more about context than the tool itself. We aren't always good at telling the differences and consequences until after we are done. History tells the story. The gatling gun was invented with the intention to save lives. For another example look into the journey of the inventor of agent orange. Ancients and moderns live at different ends of this technological spectrum. This irony strikes at the core of Throwsticks.com, where I am using modern tools and materials to make survival weapons with ancient roots.
I think at least part of the meaning for me of all of this is that on so many levels modern technological development has changed our lives into something which brings into question the value and role of our biologically grounded purposes. Hunting boomerang technology assists man with throwing long distances even into old age. On the other hand more modern technology has put man into a position where he doesn't fully need his teeth because of modern food processing, muscles because of modern machines, our courage because of modern remote control weapons, brains because of modern computers, face to face social skills because of modern social media, or our reproductive relationships because of internet pornography. Since we lose what we don't use, we lose ourselves degree by degree and piece by piece in this process of "progress." Most modern people would be horrified to face the degree to which this is a fact. Epigenetic downgrades are now the most prominent aspects of our modern lives. See Weston Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneraton for picture examples of this.
Both psychologically and physically, to hold onto ourselves we have to pay loyalty to our biological past by running in place on treadmills or riding on stationary bikes; by lifting weights for the sake of the lifting and throwing sticks for the sake of the throwing. These activities in turn reward us by reforming us back towards our more functional forms from the past and the re-acquiring of some of the original skills which defined us during those times. By and large these exercises have lost their full original necessity to replacement level technology, and are now just "sports." They form a healthful accessory to everyday life but not its core essence. Despite that, they may be among the things we value the most in life. They form archetypal templates which we need to fit into in order to fully smile. For in essence our everyday life has perhaps often become rather unhealthful. Health is often relegated to the realm of luxury, if we have time, energy or money left over for it, and only after we adapt to the technological work we do to actually acquire the currency required to survive.
When reflecting off of these exercise machine analogies we have to ask ourselves whether in our newest technology we are truly going anywhere on our treadmills, or are we like mice in a wheel? Is there joy in slowly losing our own biological purpose or are we creating our own disability in the name of overcoming it? Has technique unhinged itself from intelligent/purposeful functionality? Are we truly dopamine addicted to noises our phones make? Do we know what our purpose is or believe we can achieve it in a world like this?
Am I arguing against technology as a whole on a technological platform? That irony would certainly undercut my own argument. No, I'm not a luddite. Rather what I am saying is that technology's consequences must be evaluated before it is launched, personally or collectively, the way I look before I throw a flying stick at the horizon. "Know your target, its surroundings and beyond." Humans are intelligent enough to strategize about their lives. Not all technology is helpful and if we are to rule technology we must not let it rule us.
As I said above, money isn't everything. The "evil scientist" is a real thing. Even if he doesn't always sport a monobrow on his forehead, his collective eyesight still functions that way with 1D vision, obsessed with his own power to unhinge from reality through technique. Perhaps he could be all of us as we make our daily decisions to deploy technology to harm rather than help. We have a choice to make as creators and users of technique, as human beings, whether ancient or modern.
Thus I think we are rightly finding purpose in sometimes "unplugging" and going back to our ancestral roots. These are the folks who used sticks to get us through 20k years to the present age, after all. They must know something and that something must still be more strongly aligned in our blood than whatever it is that has come later in only these final decades. For me, the further I go back the more the joy of life I find. The more I have ancient conversations, even if just in my own head, the more I find that the roots of modern conversations are truly rooted in these ancient ones. The closer I get to the earth the more wisdom I find she has for me to soak in so I can aim at the stars.
Yet sometimes our capacity is limited or we are truly disabled by one thing or another. So if you can run on a trail then do that over a treadmill and be thankful for the invention. If you can carry and deploy a throwstick while running, then all the better for an adventure which goes into new places! But if you don't have access to these things for whatever reason, then run on a treadmill rather than not running at all.... And if you cannot run then walk! Because your legs have a purpose. And if you have no legs then use some technology to good end and roll! For humans need to go somewhere....
Elon Musk said famously that we are already cyborgs because we have smart phones in hand. He said further that the only way to survive AI is to join with it. It seems that the Terminator movies are losing the "fi" part of "sci-fi". It is argued by some that humans have always been transhuman, as human inadequacy has always driven the development of technology. That "transhuman" is integral to "human." Is that the case? I will ask another question. Is it any accident that war more than anything else drives technological development? Two of the three founders of Facebook have apologized or expressed regret for the sociological results of this platform. We have the ability as creators to recognize consequences and to determine where we are going and why. Do we have no choice in this matter? Can we still go on walkabout in an age like this? Of course we can!
Today on my smart phone there was a new podcast it advertised to me as available called "Should This Exist?" It's about how tech impacts humanity. What's ironic is not just that I have a smartphone on me while on my supposed proverbial "walkabout". What's ironic is that my smartphone is smart enough to know I am interested in the question about the validity of its existence. I do queston its validity, just as I queston the health and validity of a society in which such instruments are necessary for daily survival. I remember a society in which they weren't and I preferred it. In my experience, such a society is apparently coercive, anti-social, and primitive, not harmonious, friendly and advanced. An advanced society requires only a stick to survive in and maybe even less than that.
Humans went from carrying flying sticks at our sides to carrying smart phones. Now it seems we will go from carrying smartphones in our hands to implanting them into our skulls. We live in a brief and strange age, unparalleled in humanity's long history. As farmer and author Joel Salatin says, "this ain't normal folks." Yet those in power with a vested interest in technocracy have labeled what's not normal as "the new normal."
The "looking back" thing could be labeled as "conservative" while the transhumanist thing "progressive," but this is also an empty paradigm and I don't like it. I think that this question is not one of reluctance vs. eagerness, but of a "yes" or a "no." In a decade's time will humans have much of a choice given to them anyway? Of course they will. Everyone has a choice. It is the consequences alone which can be gamed, but the choice belongs to those who want it. We must remember that it isn't just the presence of a beating heart that makes someone alive, but the presence of the purpose for which it beats and the choice to follow that purpose. Only individuals can find that purpose for themselves and live it. Thus quality of life, freedom, love, genius and creativity only belong to those who prioritize them and are willing to do so at risk to the continued beating of their hearts. But what is the point of a heart which beats with no purpose?
Walkabout was always done in the wilderness and the choice to abstain from technology is always the choice to face the technological power of those who don't and who may use it violently against those who refuse it. Walkabout was always a test of the one alone on his quest, and never a question of certainty that he would return alive. Life is made to be risky and these are risky questions. Especially when there is no deep wilderness left.
So the question of a throwstick is in fact entangled with the quesiton of what does it mean to be human? Is it something we find more in journeying into the past as our ancestors developed the world's first wing and thus used it to put healthy (but tough to chew) food upon their fires? Food which made their teeth straight and jaws strong? Or is it something which is going to be realized in journeying into the future through cyborg tech and our own total merging with the very tools we have created until we become so frail that we don't in fact exist at all? A merging of man and technology such that our legs, our teeth or even our brains are no longer needed, and this not because they are disabled by tragic accident and being purposefully replaced..., but rather they are disabled because they are no-longer needed and so tragically being replaced.
Walkabout all these years has produced in me a growing realization and grasping that my work and my product is "political" or rather it's "anti-political." Its message can't be escaped and shouldn't be ignored by those who admire it. I am not just selling a product but giving away a message with them because they carried that message to me and I'm being faithful to it.
A boomerang's flight is not achieved through one mechanism alone but through a cooperation of many aspects of different sciences. From fluid mechanics, to ergonomics and of course the laws of motion. And that in turn is an analogy of this business and the whole world. All truth and knowledge interrelates and nothing stands or falls alone. Truth is not compartmentalized. Rather, its patterns form everywhere resulting in poetry, technological development and the continuing story of human survival and life. To me the modern throwstick represents a vision to continue to survive as human before the definition of human changes forever and is gone. The future is always uncertain and the story of what is to come is being written by all of us. Maybe it is not so unimaginable that the world which could arise from the loss of what was originally human, could bring that back all the more. Maybe Einstein was right about World War IV. You can find that quote on the top of our Survival Page.
I hope if you are interested in these ancient flying wings then you will join me in taking this walkabout. The more of us are thoughtful and reflective about where we are headed, the more we can vibrate those notes that we are each made to vibrate and thus find the purpose we all need to live well. Throwsticks are a particularly good way to learn and reflect on these things. That's what they mean to me.
What Is The Etymology Of The Word "Boomerang"?
Kylie, aly iripakerte, alye, karli, barikan, mangaburunya eraka, gaigai, gurrubadu, ilye, kwangenry, kali, kayle, kurrpartu, rilewe, ulperrenye, waridila, wiriki, belo, iringili, kaile, kaili, munartajartu, pirrkala, wallanu, warlanu, warraka..., and so on and so forth..., are all Aboriginal words from hundreds of Aboriginal dialects and used to describe what most modern people just call "boomerang." But what are the origins of the word "boomerang" itself? What did it first describe and why so much confusion about its meaning now?
To study the etymology of a word it is imperative that one go to the earliest original sources. The fun and infamous legend of Captain Cook’s discussion with the Australian Aboriginals about the fascinating object known as the boomerang is unfortunately not backed by historians. While reports of “scymetar” (scimitar) or crescent shaped wooden sword/club weapons carried by the Aboriginals were reported by European explorers back to the time of Captain Cook’s first contact, the Aboriginal word for these weapons was not given, nor a description as to whether they were flying missiles (of either the straight flying or returning design), or merely hand to hand combat styled clubs. It seems possible that these wooden swords were not designed to fly, since no description of that phenomenon is given at that time.
The first known European report of flying sticks dates from 1802 from the explorer Barralier (1975:15) who witnessed them in the mountains west of Sydney:
“the natives of this part of the country make use of a weapon which is not employed by, and is even unknown to, the natives of Sydney.”
Then again they were witnessed by many in 1804, and yet these implements were not named at that time either, but only described to be like wooden Turkish Scimitars. See The Sydney Gazette, Sunday 23 of December, 1804, for this story.
In 1813 and 1821 there are records of a flying stick called the “wamareen” or “wamering” which is clearly described as returning to the thrower. This is the first historical report of which I am aware, of a stick which returns to the thrower, and also the first report of one which is called by an Aboriginal word. This returning phenomenon was no doubt a remarkable thing to European eyes which they could not fail to note down in their descriptions, wherever they saw it. I am only including this information in passing since wamereen is an entirely different word than “boomerang.”
Regarding the word “boomerang,” it does not seem fully certain which Aboriginal dialect it initially came from. Neither does it seem fully certain that our spelling or pronunciation of this word is entirely correct to the way the Aboriginals spoke the term. As the Europeans adapted this word into their languages, there were several variants on spelling (and thus pronunciation) which occurred initially. That’s a possible sign that the sound of the word was perhaps difficult to capture for the Europeans. It is not a given that any English spelling could quite capture the proper sounds of this Aboriginal word from the dialect it originated from. Thankfully, the objects the term boomerang refers to seems far less doubtful.
July of 1821 seems to be the earliest recorded reference to what appears to possibly be something like the word “boomerang” but this is still unclear given the much different spelling. It is also unclear what the object is. Whatever it is, it accompanies a deceased Aboriginal named George into his grave.
“The corpse having been let down into the grave, they proceeded, as is their custom, to place his spears, waddie, booncooring, net, tin-pot, and, in short, all his worldly riches, by his side, the whole of which was then covered up with him” (The Australian Magazine 1.3(2 July 1821),91)
It seems the definition of this unique word may remain with George in his grave. Thankfully we have further examples with much closer spelling to rely upon.
The earliest reference to the term “boomering” appears two years later in 1823 “On the Aborigines of New Holland and Van Dieman’s Land”, page 187, published on September 1823 in the The London Medical and Physical Journal vol.50 no.295.
“The men never carry any thing but their arms, consisting of their spears, the waddie or club, and the boomering, a sort of wooden sword, much curved, which they throw with great force and surprising precision.”
Please note that the author had possible contact with Captain Phillip P. King, in London, and received this information directly from him, perhaps verbally. The spelling of the word here should be noted to be different from what King actually wrote himself. Perhaps Captain King pronounced the “a” in “boomerang” between an “a” and “ee” sound or passed over it rapidly in pronunciation? One can only speculate but this would make a lot of sense with the variant of spelling here and in other places as well.
In The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser vol.22 no. 1089 from 30 September 1824 there is an article on the natives north of Bathurst which gives some clue as to the flight and power of this implement.
“the natives followed, shouting and throwing their spears and boomer-rings, when one of the latter struck Chamberlane’s horse, and cut a piece out on the ribs; he immediately turned the horse round, and shot the man dead.”
This is a violent story. I dare say that if the native would have struck Chamberlane in the ribs instead of his horse, he may have escaped being shot by him altogether.
The first use of the precise spelling of the word “boomerang” as we spell it today, seems to be by Phillip P. King (mentioned earlier). “Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales” Captain Phillip P. King, 1825, Pg. 292
“Not thus dissimilar, however, are their weapons. The spear is universal, as is also the throwing-stick; the boomerang or woodah,--a short crescented weapon, which the natives of Port Jackson project with accurate aim into a rotary motion, which gives a precalculated bias to its forcible fall,--was also seen at Port Bowen on the east coast, and at Goulburn Island on the North.”
King’s further discussion continues in other sources below.
“Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia Performed between 1818 and 1822” vol.1 on page 355 and page 391 by Captain Phillip P. King. This book was announced for publication in 1824 and published on April 15, 1826.
Pg. 355 “The boomerang is a very formidable weapon; it is a short, curved piece of heavy wood, and is propelled through the air by the hand in so skillful a manner, that the thrower alone knows where it will fall. It is generally thrown against the wind, and takes a rapid rotary motion. It is used by the native with success in killing the kangaroo, and is, I believe, more a hunting than a war like weapon. The size varies from eighteen to thirty inches in length, and from two to three inches broad. The shape is that of an obtuse angle rather than a crescent: one in my possession is twenty-six inches long, its greatest breadth two inches and a half, thickness half an inch, and the angle formed from the centre is 140 degrees. Boomerang is the Port Jackson term for this weapon, and may be retained for want of a more descriptive name. There is a drawing of it by M. Lesuer in Plate XXII. (Fig. 6) of Peron’s Atlas; it is there described by the name of sabre a ricochet. This plate may, by the way, be referred to for drawings of the greater number of weapons used by the Port Jackson natives, all of which, excepting the identical boomerang, are very well delineated. M. Lesuer has, however, failed in his sabre a ricochet.”
Pg. 390-391 “...but this was carefully done before a boomerang whizzed past his head, and struck a tree close by with great force. Upon looking round towards the verge of the cliff, which was about twenty yards off, he saw several natives; who, upon finding they were discovered, set up a loud and savage yell, and threw another boomerang and several spears at him, all of which providentially missed…”
Here appaear to be the image of the plate in Peron’s Atlas which King (as well as the next reference below) refers to
Continuing to a French source we have “Voyage Autour De Monde” page 109, (published 1826 or 1828?) (Translated from French)
“They attack most often with a kind of curved saber, which Lesuer called ‘saber with ricochets’ (pl. 30, n 6, Atlas Of Peron), and which the natives of Sydney designate under the name of boumerang or tatanamang . This characteristic weapon is also widely used at Bowen Port and Goulburn Island: and the manner of using it is very remarkable; This is by giving it rotational movements in the air which they often strike at goal with pulses of forty steps.”
It seems clear from the above references that the word boomerang was taken into English in the mid 1820's and refered exclusively, at least at first, to weaponized, non returning sticks. It may or may not be a corruption of an Aboriginal word, sentence or grouping of words.
By the 1830's the term came in English to just generically refer to all flying sticks. It was around this time that in fact early toys were being sold in England with names like boomerang, and which were inspired by the Aboriginal returning sticks. Boomerang is perhaps more an English word than an Aboriginal one but its original meaning is pretty clear.
In the modern world the meaning of the term "boomerang" has become a controversial question, as straight flying sticks, once the most common type of boomerang became extremely rare, and the skill in making them was almost lost entirely. In their place the competitive modern sport of returning boomerang throwing became more popular in the USA and Europe than in Australia itself, where the suffering and loss of the Aboriginal cultures and lands depreciated everyone's interest in their weapons of war and hunting, except mainly for the tourist market. But times have changed and Throwsticks.com is repopularizing these ancient impliments. The time has come to understand their history better and that includes the etymology of the words used to describe them.
Boomerang is the most internationally recognized term for flying sticks, whether they return or not. It's also the word first used by English speakers to describe the non returning sticks they encountered among the Aboriginals of Australia, and which were representative of similar sticks used by indigenous peoples around the world. It is still used in Australia to describe all flying sticks. In the interests of differentiating between returning and straight flying sticks, here at Throwsticks.com we use the terms "hunting boomerang," "throwstick" and "kylie" interchagably. But truth be told, what we are making are just plain "boomerangs" as well. They don't return to the thrower, but then the originals didn't either. They are Aboriginal long range flght technology. Hunting sticks that fly.
What Advantages And Disadvantages Does The Throwstick Have Over Other Survival Hunting Weapons?
As a long term sustainable survival hunting weapon which is not dependent on modern manufacturing to maintain its effectiveness, the throwstick has many advantages over the bow, as well as other possible survival weapon choices. In an open country scenario against a group of animals, it has a longer effective hunting range than the modern compound bow. It's much more durable than arrows and with the proper knowledge at hand and some basic tools, it's easier to make than to make a good arrow, even with stone tools. It offers long term usage unless it is abused and thus broken or lost. It is deployed much more rapidly than a bow, even against moving targets, and is easier to keep in ready position for long periods of time, making opportunistic shots possible and eliminating the need for a tree stand. It flies on a straight trajectory making range to target trajectory/holdover calculations irrelevant. It is able to break legs, making the escape of game impossible compared to a shot with an arrow which kills slowly, allowing possible escape. It has other uses than as a hunting weapon including digging, hand to hand fighting, clearing brush, tending fires, clearing trails, etc.... It has a shotgun like effect when thrown at a flock of birds, allowing the taking of multiple animals in one single shot at extreme ranges, and then retriving the stick and the game afterwards. On a single day's hunt with a throwstick it can be instantly deployed hundreds of times and retrieved afterwards. It is useful to hunt a variety of both small as well as large game. It is the last ditch weapon of opportunity when everything else has failed. It was one of a very few items the Aboriginal peoples of Australia carried to survive in some of the harshest environments on earth.
It has disadvantages too. It is difficult to develop and maintain accuracy. It is not good in thick brush where it gets hung up before it can even reach its target. It is only as powerful as the thrower can throw it to be. It is right or left hand specific. It can be lost if thrown in the wrong places and it does not float in water. It is..., primitive. It is not nearly as easy as hunting with a rifle. Yet even against the modern rifle, as a survival weapon, the throwstick has some advantages to speak of as well. It is silent and stealthy, not scaring away surrounding game or attracting unwanted attention. It never runs out of bullets. It has no moving parts to fail or to keep clean or dry. It is much lighter in weight than a gun. It can replace other tools one might carry such as a shovel or machete. It is more quickly deployed than a gun at close range targets.
Throwsticks have their place in a survival tool kit. In a modern and violent world I wouldn't expect to win a battle against a gang carrying AR-15's with a boomerang. But I'd keep both weapons handy for the appropriate time and place.
Is The Boomerang A Weapon? How Was It Used In Warfare?
Returning boomerangs were used only in a few regions of Australia, historically, and were made in a range of weights and types. Some were large, made from hard wood, and could cause minor injury if one was struck by them. Some were very light in weight, made from mangrove or bark, and could not cause injury. Those were used for sport and amusement only, and to train the youth safely.
Boomerang Vs. Bare Bow Advantages And Disadvantages?
Deployed well from cover
Deployed in heavy brush.
Accurate on stationary targets
Penetrates flesh, allowing for take down of large game
Relatively short lethal hunting range (only about 30 meters max in most cases)
Arrows difficult to match spine and weight to achieve consistent accuracy, and very fragile and easy to lose.
High level of accuracy needed to kill instead of maim game.
Bow and arrows are not multi-tools, having only one purpose.
Arrows can only take out one target at a time so not good against groups of animals.
Wounded game can escape and die while they bleed out.
Wet weather can make bow non-functional depending on string material.
Deployed from long ranges (60-100 meters hunting ranges possible)
Weapon readily available/deployed rapidly on targets one wouldn't even try to engage with a bow.
Good against running targets.
Good against groups of animals and capable of capturing multiple targets in a single throw.
A multi-tool useful for many other purposes in the field besides hunting and thus carried in hand constantly.
Breaks bones, often stopping game from escaping or killing more instantly than an arrow.
Accuracy depends on finesse of thrower and is more difficult to maintain than with a bow.
Not as reliably accurate or lethal on single stationary targets shot from cover as a bow.
Not deployed from cover very easily.
Gets caught up in heavy brush, limiting use in some terrains.
Deployment at close range can startle game due to thrower's movements.
Does not penetrate flesh and larger game must be taken through breaking the leg with the boomerang.
How Does Technological Development Reflect On Human Development?
Regional technology corresponds with regional resources and needs and not only the intellectual quality of their development. Thus the suspicion that those of "lower technology" are living in inferior ways is false. The reverse may actually be true. One needs a throwstick for hunting and a throwing axe for lethal warfare. Which culture is more savage? Boomerangs are not inferior technology compared to bows and arrows, axes, or even firearms, but rather, different and fitting technology for the regions, social situations and survival strategies where they were employed. Inferiority and superiority are questions of human values, not intelligence.
How Do I Properly Throw My Throwstick?
The above, brief video covers all the basics you need to know. We highly recommend the hammer grip over the extended grip for anyone wanting to achieve long ranges. A kylie must spin rapidly in order for its mechanism to operate properly and strong wrist force is beneficial. The Sidewinder Scout has been designed to use with the extended grip and can provide a more ergonomic feel for shorter range accuracy.
This spin should feel natural when one throws and snaps the kylie into a crisp release. A focus on forward velocity and throwing with the arm as one would do when skipping a rock across a lake, will not work with a kylie. Kylies are thrown with a rotation of the whoe torso, not with the arm alone. Throwing at high velocities at the expense of the spin on the kylie will inevitably be counterproductive to long range acheivements, no matter how much power one has. The kylie operates by a gyroscopic mechanism which must be activated.
Wrist alignment is also important. If the wrist isn't aligned at release, then the kylie will tend to jump up or down, experiencing a brief moment of significant drag right out of the gate until it corrects its attitude and continues flying. Maximal range will be limited somewhat by this error in alignment, but a well made kylie has a remarkable ability to compensate for user error and still keep on going. We've even see kylies keep flying to their target after clipping small branches on their journey there.
Breezy conditions may significantly affect your results depending on the model of throwstick you choose. Be aware of this if you are a target thrower or hunter. The Central Desert Hunter is presently the most wind tolerant model we carry. If you throw up wind your kylie may rise and climb slightly, and if downwind, it may lose altitude and significant range. You can compensate for this with practice, but do not expect your kylie to behave in the breeze as it would in still conditions. Kylies are at least somewhat airpeed dependent instruments.
In summary the 4 rules are stated below.
Rule #1 A kylie must spin rapidly. Use a hammer grip applied to the edges of the stick, and a solid, forceful wrist. Throw at full force with your arm and full body. Do not baby the kylie. Throw it hard and snap your wrist to make it spin fast.
Rule #2 A kylie must slice the horizon/target. Throw the kylie directly at your target with proper wrist alignment to slice the horizon as precisely as possible. Do not lob the kylie into the air or throw above your target. Trust the kylie to fly straight to your target on a flat, straight and level trajectory. Keep the kylie aligned so that it doesn’t flap out of alignment after release. Slice the horizon!
Rule #3 A kylie must be thrown horizontally. Throw the kylie side arm at or very near to 3 o’clock (9 o’clock for lefties). If you throw at 2 o’clock the kylie will curve to the left in flight. If you dip the tip of the kylie down to 4 o’clock at release, then it will curve off to the right. The levelness of the kylie at the moment of release determines whether it will travel straight or not, so adjust your technique until it stays straight until the end of the flight.
Rule #4 A kylie must be thrown at optimal velocity (including a consideration of wind/breeze conditions). Throw your kylie at or near to your full strength. With practice your technique will become smooth. Be conscious of wind conditions. A headwind generally creates a slight gain in altitude, side winds create little effect other than drift, and a back wind is fatal to a kylie’s flight and will reduce flight ranges considerably. Generally, if you find your stick falling low then throw harder. If it flies high, then focus more on spin and/or lower throwing velocity slightly.
You can start out throwing slowly to get your form right, but keep going back to these four rules until you get success. It takes time to adjust technique and building up your muscle memory, just like any other sport. One additional tip is the use of grip chalk and sports tape to aid in grip, release, comfort, and easing finger soreness across a range of weather conditions or during long throwing sessions.
How Do I Care For My Throwstick?
Not much is required given how tough these things are. Polycarbonate is stable at a wide range of temperatures and can take a lot of abuse so don't worry too much.
Avoid leaving your boomerang on the dash of your car in high temperatures. It will probably be ok but it's best not to. Don't throw your throwstick at sharp or hard objects on purpose. Hardwood trees tend to be the most dangerous objects to strike, even more than boulders, since the bark traps the edge on impact. Polycarbonate can take a lot of abuse, generally, but it is never good for it and it can fail in time if thrown at hard and solid targets repeatedly. Throwsticks are designed to strike game and soft targets, not boulders, steel posts and hardwood tree trunks.
Don't aggressively try to warp or bend your throwstick or you may possibly change the tuning (unlikely). Moderate bending won't harm it at all, so no worries there.
If the edge develops a deep dent from a hard impact on a sharp/hard object, you may hammer this out to a degree on an anvil, if necessary, staying as minimal as possible in the area you affect. But avoid using a rasp or sandpaper on your kylie or you may change the tuning. Using fine grit sandpaper around the edges is ok, but on the surfaces will cause alterations in tuning if done over a large enough area. A small stone makes a great edge sander in a pinch, when small dings or scratches are formed, but be minimal with anything you do in order to avoid altering the tuning too much. Just use common sense and you should be good.
In sub freezing temperatures be all the more careful to not let your throwstick strike hard objects, as it is more prone to shattering at these temperatures. Polycarbonate is very tough and takes a lot of abuse over time. Because of this, \when it fails it does so in a surprising way. A stick not subject to abuse should generally last a very long time.
Polycarbonate is chemically sensitive. Various paints or other harsh chemicals may damage the material if exposed to them. We paint our sticks for our customers using acceptable paints. If one wishes to do their own dot art, this would not generally cause damage to the material, but it is good to be aware of this characteristic of polycarbonate.
How Do You Suggest I Acquire Accuracy?
Relax, use consistent and comfortable form, and throw where you are aiming. Use instinct more than technique. If you focus only on form but not your target, you won't do as well as if you focus on your target more than form. Feel the weight of the stick in your hand and learn the balance and feel. Stay warmed up and active while throwing.
Pay attention to your hands. If they are moist then something to give you a consistent slip will be helpful. If the throwstick hangs up in your hand, then you'll end up throwing to the left. This happens with new sticks where the paint has not yet worn off appropriately around the edges. After the first 100 throws the stick will present a smoother release.
Chalk can be used to enhance grip if needed, but do not over chalk your hands. You may experiment with choking up on the stick slightly if you release too early. Start with the basics and then practice. Practice goes much better if you have multiple sticks, so purchase a couple of the same model and you'll get more throws in before your walk. Enjoy yourself and relax. That's what's most important. Connect with the outdoors, your body and the laws of physics. Don't expect perfection and you will go far. This is not a pinpoint accurate weapon for most people, but it will do the job if used correctly. Even Michael Jordan missed a few baskets. Remember to warm up first.
The first throw of the day is usually a bad one for me, so I start off closer to my target and move back as I warm up. Practice, practice, practice. Have fun. Daily practice in small sessions is better than weekly practice in big sessions.
For hunting a weapon like this requires finesse and energy. That means that staying on the move and active, throwing frequently and loosely, even throwing on the move or on the run can all enhance your performance. It's difficult to throw well with a cold arm. If one's arms are cold it's best to hunt with a bow or gun. If using a stick with stalking then keep an energetic looseness to movements, even when done slowly.
Throwsticks are hunter/gatherer survival tools and best used in groups by cooperative groups of tactical hunters. The odds of a strike go up quickly when working as a team.
What Targets Do You Suggest?
Memphis Net And Twine sells excellent custom made sport nets for a good price. This is ideal if you want to get serious with throwsticks, and targets may be hung directly on the net. We like those thin disposable aluminum pie pans, but just about anything interesting can be a good target for a kylie.
Another fun option is to use large pliable plastic garbage cans or large soda bottles. These can be stacked on top of each other and are fun targets.
What is the difference between a hammer grip and an extended grip? How do I properly grip my throwstick?
A variety of grips are important to learn and differentiate for throwing hunting boomerangs.
Most of our models use a hammer grip, as pictured below. This grip allows for maximal delivery of force to the stick. It tends to feel more crude and less ergonomic with smaller sticks but more natural with bigger ones.
Grip, wrist alignment and the distance the throwing hand is out from the side of the body at release all have an impact on the alignment of the stick and the power and spin imparted to it. It can take practice and experimentation to find what best works for you. Remember that in the end what matters is the attitude, direction and energy imparted to the stick itself.
What Is The Difference Between The Lead Arm And The Trailing Arm?
How Durable Are Your Throwsticks?
To produce the toughest and most durable products available, we are using high impact polycarbonate plastic which we are machining by hand to exacting standards. This high grade material is the same stuff used to manufacture bullet proof glass and high impact lenses. Its specific gravity is similar to the mulga wood once used in the heart of Australia for throwstick making, but it is much more durable than hardwood. Unlike desert mulga wood, which may possibly warp with age, the polycarbonate holds its tune forever unless forcibly warped under considerable force.
But to answer your question more specifically, the below novel, cringe worthy and extremely boring video was recorded in one take. It features the destruction of a granite boulder by the use of a polycarbonate throwstick. The boulder aside, no throwsticks were apparently harmed in the production of this video, although the thrower got very tired....
Spoiler alert: After more throws than we want to go back and count, the stick didn't ever break.... If you have the patience to do the count for us, please leave the number in the comments section below the video on youtube.
Although the stick in this video didn't shatter, we have been able to shatter one particular stick in other tests in as few as 11 throws in extreme conditions. These tests were conducted as hard as we could throw against large boulders, at point blank range.
In any case the durability results are extremely impressive. The bottom line is that polycarbonate throwsticks are very durable. In spite of this they can possibly break and we don't warrant that they won't or encourage our customers to abuse them so that they would. Don't try this at home. Be safe, sane, and respectful of your throwstick. Throw at softer targets. But whatever you do, have fun!! With a product this durable, it's meant to be thrown!
What Is The Difference Between A Hard Tuned And Soft Tuned Throwstick?
Kylies have a remarkable ability to compensate for a diversity of throwers while still performing fairly well. A soft throw with a low spin rate may stay aloft longer than one would expect, even on a hard tune throwstick, which is designed to be thrown very rapidly with a high rate of spin. But they are still an airspeed dependent instrument and smaller or weaker individuals may not be able to throw as hard as I do, thus limiting their ability to comfortably or adequately throw a hard tuned throwstick.
We offer our Karli Model in a "soft tuned" version so that weaker or more casual throwers may throw at slower airspeeds and still achieve reasonable results. The soft tuned karli model is tuned to 55 meters at only a moderate throwing force. If thrown at full force by a strong individual, it would climb well above the target into the sky, but if thrown lightly, it will glide into the target straight. We expect that soft tuned sticks will not have much more straight flight range in them than the basic 55 meters we tune them for, but achieving this distance doesn't require a very hard throw and so soft tuned kylies, while being lower performance throwsticks, are more accessible for a wider range of people. Soft tuning is a somewhat subjective standard for us to achieve and so soft tuned sticks vary stick to stick from each other slightly.
"Hard tuning" is our standard tune that we put on most of our throwsticks. Hard tuning is defined as a straight flight to max range at a repeatable and hard throw in perfect form, by myself. This is less than my (Benjamin Scott's) maximal throwing force, but very close to it.
Our advice is that most athletic individuals of average size, who feel they have a good arm and solid wrist should purchase either heavy or hard tuned throwsticks and learn to adapt to them. But for weaker individuals who would prefer something that flies at a slower speed with less power and range, we recommend smaller soft tuned sticks such as the soft tuned karli.
For extremely powerful or athletic individuals such as baseball pitchers or advanced tennis players, they will adapt to a hard tuned throwstick by throwing it at somewhat less than their maximal force, since at their maximal force, the stick may rise at range. Their excess strength means that they should have an easier time achieving accuracy, but no advantage on power or range.
Whether a throwstick is tuned hard or soft, if it is thrown improperly without appropriate velocity, adequate spin, proper wrist alignment, or alignment with the target, it will not behave as it is programmed to and may rise above or fall short of the target. Learning proper throwstick technique is essential to achieving the ranges stated for each model.
Can You Make Me Something Custom?
Yes we can, but additional charges will apply. We have perfected the models we carry in stock and specialize in producing them. Anything we make custom is non-refundable and subject to sometimes large additional charges to reflect the additional communication, designing, creating and testing of whatever you may have in mind. Expectations on a custom product's performance should be lower than on those we have perfected ourselves and sell as our standard models, since we design them to be the best they can be for their intended purpose. Not all historical boomerangs are as efficient as others.
Which Throwstick Is Right For Me?
We have created a range of throwsticks in order to make them accessible to a variety of people with a variety of purposes and tastes. That said, most of the sticks are accessible to most throwers and it really comes down to subtle preference in most cases.
The Central Desert Hunter is best suited for athletic individuals, or men of average to large sized frames. They may be too heavy for smaller individuals to handle effectively, but they are our most advanced long ranged stick and perform highly across a range of velocities.
The hard tuned Karli Model is not heavy but it requires a fast throw to operate, as well as good wrist alignment and snap. It is thus accessible to smaller but athletic individuals, but possibly too fast and light for larger/slower individuals. If you are left handed, then they are available in this configuration.
If you are really concerned that you cannot throw a throwstick with enough power to make it fly straight, then try a soft tuned Karli. We can make a stick which is thrown at a slower speed and still reaches out to 65 meters distance. We have made these successfully for people who were disabled from shoulder injuries and they were still able to throw them successfully. They are also suited for throwers as young as 11 or 12 years of age.
The Hopi Rabbit Sticks are lightweight and easily accessible. They tend to be less stable than other models unless thrown with a good spin, but they are good at short ranges.
The Sidewinder Scout is light weight, very accessible and can be used with the ergonomic feeling, extended grip. If is easy to throw but won't feature a long flight range unless the spin is aligned with the direction of travel and good energy is imparted to it. It's best for shorter ranges and high levels of accuracy.
The Kimberley Stinger is a more difficult grip to acquire than the others but it is fun in small places and has a very high accuracy potential for those who practice hard with it and have strong hands. It is a good value and lots of fun.
The Wirlki is easily accessible, stable and fun to use. It is a top choice for accuracy out to mid ranges.
The Whale's Tail is about the same size as the Central Desert Hunter, but it's center of mass is closer to the throwers hand, making it a more accessible stick in the larger size range. It is a fun and accessible stick as well.
What Do You Mean By The Potential Hunting Range Of A Kylie vs. It's Total Flight Range?
The potential hunting range of a given model of throwstick is the max range we reasonably expect it to be able to be accurately deployed by an experienced and skilled thrower for game hunting against an intended target, carrying enough energy to that range to be lethal for that target. In some models this target would ideally be a mob of emu, a flock of turky or waterfowl, or single rabbits at closer ranges. Smaller kylies are more oriented for smaller game and this should be taken into consideration.
Human accuracy is also typically unequal to the accuracy of the kylie itself. Our potential hunting range is an estimate and may be exceeded or not equalled in actual hunting situations. We are giving a reasonable guess in most instances based in the flight performance and energy carry of the particular model of stick. Beyond potential huntring ranges we see the throwsticks begin to lose more significant airspeed, energy or accuracy. The individual factors that may limit a specific model are often specific to that model and its intended application.
Hopi Rabbit Sticks are for rabbit hunting at shorter ranges. They can travel 90 meters but carry little energy towards the end of the flight compared to sticks of similar weight like the karli. The karli carries its energy well out to longer ranges but being light weight, it still isn't quite adequate for larger sized game. The Central Desert Hunter carries significant energy out past 100 meters but accuracy begins to diminish significantly towards the end of its flight because human throwing errors are magnified at such great distances. It may be able to still do damage to a flock of ducks on the wing at 120 meters but we feel that generally this is beyond its reasonable, potential hunting range of most game.
The total range that our models of throwsticks will travel is measured and updated periodically in meters, from where the stick is thrown to where it has landed. A stick may skid on the ground for a few meters after landing, or may carry significantly less kinetic energy at the end of its flight, making total range a longer range than practical hunting distance. We are very objective in our measurements of total range and use a meter wheel to obtain them.
How Far Can Your Throwsticks Fly?
My present straight flight range record on a full sized hunting throwstick is 147.5 meters with a Central Desert Hunter. This throw was achieved on Oct. 2, 2017 at Centenial Park, and multiple throws were landing at this range, mainly at about 140 meters. At Boomerang Nationals 2017 in Columbia SC, Gary Broadbent was throwing some of our kylies 150 meters or more at the event. I was not present but was notified on the phone. I believe the potential for throws beyond these ranges is possible with continued reasearch.
If people are interested in long ranges, small thin kylies can be made to achieve ranges in excess of these, where they are easily lost. These sticks are not practical for actual hunting.
Do You Make Left Handed Kylies?
Our Kimberley Stinger model can be thrown well by either right or left handed throwers. Also, our Karli model is available in left handed if you specify this upon ordering.
We are not able to tune most of our sticks in left handed due to their size and weight. If in the future we are able to employee a left handed thrower, this will change.
Can A Throwstick Be Used For Self Defense?
Yes, in addition to other functions, throwsticks were historically used for hand to hand fighting. A polycarbonate throwstick is a fast and effective blunt force weapon, capable of blocking a straight on strike from a sword and delivering bone breaking blows in return. The hooked throwstick or "wirlki" offers the added advantage of the powerful hook on the end which can deliver a tremendous blow or be used for trapping maneuvers.
We highly recommend the book,The Ultimate Guide to Weapons Use and Defense, by David Erath Jr. as a great reference on how to use throwsticks and similar weapons for self defense.
We do not recommend throwing a throwstick for self defense in most scenarios, as this may do little more than arm your opponent, who may dodge out of the way of your throw. Except at close ranges, most humans can dodge out of the way of any hand thrown object.