Boomerang News #43 (November 1997) Text

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Boomerang News #43 - 11/97

Feature Article: Mike Gel's 100th Tournament

by Kelly Croman

Mike Gel's 100th Tournament really wasn't that different from his 87th or his 15th or his 43rd. But pick any one of those tournaments, from the first to the last, and you'll find that there's a world of difference between a Mike Gel tournament and any other. Some of what happens at Gel's tournaments usually doesn't happen at a USBA tournament, and some of what happens at Gel's tournaments just can't.

Gel's 100th happened August 30-31 in Oakland. Ten people flew in from Maryland, Connecticut, Washington and Oregon, and many more drove some untold combined number of miles from all over California even though the results of this tournament would gain them no national rankings or selections to world cup teams. The masses converged first at Gel's boomerang shop for a barbecue, to see old friends, swap boomerangs, and look over Gel's amazing display of archives from all his past tournaments. Old score sheets, photos and awards brought back fond memories, and Gel amazed some by handing out the awards they'd been unable to collect years ago.

The fifty-six throwers, and a few onlookers were divided in a quasi-random process that placed inexperienced throwers with seasoned veterans on every team, so that each team's success depended on its members' ability and willingness to cooperate with, learn from, and support each other. Old friends and strangers first took on the creative task of inventing a team name that would define their approach to the day ("Aaaah," "Cozy Pajamas"), their skill level ("Can't Hacky"), special interests ("Unnatural Axe") or their history ("Drunken Mediocrity"). Other names announced the individuality of each team in a different way ("1350 Miles and Still Running," "Workin‚ on That One," "Boom Bulls," "Alfalfa," "Pesto," "Filter Til Harvest," and "Billy-Martin-Somethin‚-or-other").

Team events, distilled over the years from Gel's wealth of experience running tournaments and his enthusiastic devotion to making boomerangs fun for everyone, tested not just individual skills like accuracy and difficult trick catches, but team skills like cooperation (Team Hacky Catch, in which team members take turns throwing a boomerang, and everyone on the team tries to hacky it as many times as possible before catching it) and radness (Team Whoa Nelly, in which rad trick catches and thoroughly gratuitous diving grabs extra points for the team). An abbreviated version of Australian Round that's more accommodating to novices was combined with Whoa Nelly, and all 56 throwers lined up to throw in suicide-style George, which tested throwers‚ ability to make 15 catches, including the not-often-attempted armpit catch, the foot hacky to sit down foot catch, and the glorious butt catch. Round Rang Relay finished out the team events with shouts, laughs, and more than one friendly tackle. Glorp kept the agile busy while scores were tallied and awards written.

Every thrower got one of Gel's unique awards, inscribed with their name, team name and overall placement, and as the teams were called out to accept their awards, each person got to choose a beautiful trophy and prize boomerang made specially for this tournament. Throwers who'd never even held a boomerang until that day stood side-by-side with world champions as the team received its awards, and what mattered least was which team came in what place, because we all won all day long.

Day two was a Team Gel field trip to Stinson Beach to throw boomerangs in the surf, soak up the sun, and eat food. A few people thought they had better things to do, but most made the stunning drive up over Mt. Tamalpais to the sea. Thanks to El Niño, the water was warm enough for some full-immersion catches and even a little swimming. The wind came up later in the day, and most of us are still dumping sand out of our boom bags two weeks later, but we got in a solid morning of fun at the beach. The distance hounds made plans to rendezvous at a high school field in Mill Valley on the way back to Oakland. The big booms came out, and passed from hand to hand, as everybody got to try something new. Several booms left the field, and one returned to its owner in Southern California weeks later via the mails.

Later it was back to Gel's shop for more barbecue and, due to a wild excess of radness, the birth of "Style Outglorp." We started with a standard game of indoor Glorp, but the creative spirit took over and all catches became fully interpretive, melding Glorp with Style Outback, an appropriate tribute to the radness and enthusiasm that Team Gel has spawned since the early days and an inspiring glimpse of what's yet to come.


News From The:


In the last issue of BN, it was announced that Eric Darnell had set a World Record in MTA100 at the Summer's Final Fling tournament held in Portland on 21 September. Doug DuFresne has sent us the scores for this tournament. The overall top five places are as follows: Eric Darnell, Will Gix, Tim Schallberger, Steve Kavanaugh, and Betsylew Miale-Gix. Top scores include: Eric Darnell with 23.57 seconds in Fast Catch, 1:44.87 seconds in MTA; Will Gix with 47 points in Accuracy; Eric Fields with 77 points in Australian Round. The other individual event was New Zealand Trick Catch - the combined Trick Catch and Doubling event. Most throwers preferred this format to the USBA Trick Catch and Doubling events. The tournament also featured GLORP, team Position, and team Supercatch. Supercatch took less than 15 minutes with 3 MTA throws for each of the 6 teams.

James Sweed of Houston, Texas recently obtained U.S. Patent (#5,669,803) for a "Kick Glider Toy" that has a body shaped like a boomerang. If James can figure out a way to induce spin on the kick (skew the fins?), we can have an event where you launch and catch your boomerang without using your hands. Anyone want to try making one of these?

Over the past year, Ben Ruhe has been travelling throughout South East Asia. In the latest issue of "The Drachen Foundation" newsletter (V3N2, Sept. 1997), Ben described his kiting experiences in Thailand, Bali and Nepal. OK Ben, how about Thai boomerangs? By the way, "The Drachen Foundation" is really a great newsletter if you have an interest in kites. For more information, contact Ali Fujino by email at: or write to:


The Drachen Foundation

1907 Queene Anne Ave. No.

Seattle, WA 98109


Jim Goff found an advertisement for a "Club Extra" card which provides long time subscribers to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune's newspaper with discounts for a variety of services. The advertisement, which incorporates the image of a boomerang (above right), was present in every edition of the newspaper for more than a week in September. Do any of the readers recognize this boomerang design?



Brother Brian Thomas sent in the results from the Second Blacktown Boomerang Championships which was held on 16 August in Blacktown, near Sydney. Terry Patterson came in first in the Accuracy event with 30 points. Br. Brian Thomas came in first in Aussie Round with 47 points. Br. Rod Shoebridge took first place in "Same Boomerang" with 26 points. Peter Lewry came in first place in MTA with 25.43 seconds. The weather was windy and gusty. In Your Face Productions televised the competition to sell overseas. The theme is that boomerang throwing is not very popular in Australia, which of course, is true.

Max Hoeben of Holland sent us the address of yet another Down Under boomerang manufacturer. You can find out more about Jedda Boomerangs by writing to BA Schyveschuurder at:


Jedda Boomerangs

P. O. Box 498

Dubbo NSW 2830



Barrie Forsyth made a visit to the Brisbane area recently and met up with Joe Skeen, an Aborigine who makes didjeridoos and attractive boomerangs (see above) that fly well and are reasonably priced. Throwers from the first USA/Australian 1981 international competition will probably remember Joe. For more information on Joe's products, write to the following address:


Joe Skeen

9 Cheviot St.

Greenbank, Queensland

Australia 4124


Many thanx to Yoshinobu Sakimitsu of Japan who sent us the photograph of participants in the Japan-Australia Sports Exchange Festival which was held in Sydney on 24 September.



Congratulations to John Cross for being named "Sportsman of the Week" by the CFCN television station in Calgary. John received 3 minutes of TV coverage for his efforts to promote the sport in Alberta.

Eric Promislow has produced a bright red, white and black bumper sticker (pictured below) to commemorate the 1997 Canadian Boomerang Championships. The design marries elements of the Canadian flag with modern boomerangs. As for visibility, Eric Darnell found his way to the Montreal field when he spotted the sticker on Eric P's old station wagon in the thick of downtown Montreal traffic, and followed him to the park.

Eric is making the bumper stickers available to BN readers at the following prices: $CAN 1.50 each including postage ($US 1.25 for Americans, $US 1.50 for other countries). If you order at least five stickers, the price is:


In Canada: $CAN 1.00 each

In U.S.: $US 0.80 each

Elsewhere: $US 1.00 each


You can email Eric at: or send payment to:


Eric Promislow

10 Morris Street

Ottawa, Ontario K1S 4A7



Jim Bradley of the Boomerang Beaver Boomerang Club issues boomerang related newsletters called: "U-Rang?" and "Kylie Komics" twice a year. "Kylie Komics" has lots of cartoons. "U-Rang" has information about new products, how to add weight to a boomerang, etc. There is no cost for the newsletters, but you need to send Jim a S.A.S.E. and an international postal coupon for each. The newsletters are issued in April and October of each year, so you can get the latest (October) issue by writing to Jim today. You can also ask Jim for a copy of his catalog of boomerang products and accessories. This catalog contains an assortment of 28 different boomerang designs. Each boomerang is available as a full sized plan, as a blank or in two different grades of plywood in LH or RH. There are 2, 3, 4 and 5 bladed boomerangs. Jim also sells 6 different boomerang videotapes. For more information write to:


Jim Bradley

P. O. Box 66595, S.C.P.O.

Stoney Point, Ont. L8G 5E5



John Cryderman made the front page of the 27 August 1997 edition of "The Ridgetown Independent News" because of his visit to Kenesserie Camp where he displayed and demonstrated his boomerangs to the campers. The photo from the front page is shown to the right. This is a great way to spread the word about boomerangs.

John Cryderman has issued his 40 page catalog loaded with pictures of his boomerang and throwstick products as well as information on how to make your own beautiful hardwood boomerangs. A separate sheet will be mailed at a later date with pricing information. The general costs of the boomerangs will be $25.00 to $125.00. The Cryderman catalog costs $5 and $1 from each catalog will go towards the 1998 World Cup.

For more information on Cryderman boomerang products, please call (519)-354-3984 or email: or write to:


John Cryderman

136 Thames Street

Chatham, Ontario N7L 2Y8



The results of the 8th British International Boomerang Tournament (held in Shrewsbury in July) were published in the latest issue of the BBS Bulletin. Samuel Arnon took first overall, followed by Andrew Furniss and Edward Cadman who came in second and third. Samuel Arnon came in first in Trick Catch with 31, Fast Catch with 32.11 seconds, MTA100 with 25.11 seconds and Endurance with 42 catches. Lawrence West took first place in Long Distance with 90.83 metres. Jay Butters came in first in Australian Round with 42 points and Gordon Shuttleworth took first in Accuracy with 37 points.

Eighteen throwers competed in The Great Welsh Boomerang Bash, held in Trefriw on 23/24 August. The top 3 overall placings were: Julian Cruickshank, Sean Slade and Edward Cadman. Julian Cruickshank won Aussie Round with 64 points, Endurance with 39 points, and Consecutive Catch with 169 points. Sean Slade took first in Fast Catch with 29.60 seconds and Acro-Doubling with 20 points. Martin Laslett won MTA100 with 30.42 seconds. Jay Butters won Accuracy with 36 points.

The December issue of the BBS Journal will contain articles on the following topics: Underhanded boomerangs, indoor/paper boomerangs, boom plans and throwsticks. For more information on subscribing to the BBS Journal, email Edward Cadman at: or write to:


Edward J. Cadman

42 Thurlow Court


Suffolk IP14 1HZ

United Kingdom



The results of The Nantes Competition (19/20 April) were published in the latest issue of "La Gazette du Boom Ren Club". The top five overall winners are: Jean Marc Arnould, Stephane Gigon, Thomas Herman, Julien Kerjan and Vincent Benoit. Sebastien Guiheux had the top score in Aussie Round with 59 points. Bertrand Souyris won Accuracy with 33 points. Stephane Gigon had 37 points in Endurance. Jean Marc Arnould doubled for 67 points. Julien Kerjan had the top Fast Catch score at 32.96 seconds. Bertrand Souyris won MTA100 with 24.95 seconds. There were 42 throwers in the tournament.

The results of The 8th Rennes Tournament (8 July) are as follows: Franck Douetil, Sebastien Guiheux and Christophe Dautriche took the top 3 overall placings. Herve Lefevre won Accuracy with 33 points. Christophe Dautriche won Australian Round with 36 points. Franck Douetil won Fast Catch with 32.94 seconds. Bertrand Souyris won Endurance with 20 catches. There were 27 throwers in the tournament.

Didier Bonin wrote to say that The 1st Armorigenes Tournament (15 August) was absolutely fantastic. It was on the beach, in the sun with strong but steady winds. The results are as follows: Yves Caze, Didier Bonin and Eugene Cinal came in first, second and third overall placings respectively. Yves Caze won Accuracy with 36 points, Australian Round with 77 points and Acro Doubling with 73 points. Didier Bonin won MTA100 with 56.85 seconds and Endurance with 53 catches. Philippe Picgirard won Fast Catch with 24.53 seconds.

Didier Bonin has written an excellent text titled "Ultimate Shapes" that contains the full plans for a large variety of exotic boomerang planforms. The text also includes a thesis on the "Theory of Shapes" which will be discussed in more detail in a future issue of Boomerang News. For more information on how to obtain your own copy, write to Didier Bonin at the following address:


Didier Bonin

Boomerang Club Dijon

8, Place Centrale

21800 Quetigny




Congratulations goes to Oliver Thienhaus who set a new German F/C record with a time of 16.73 seconds in Munich on 4/5 October 1997.



H. L. Mayhew thought he found another article on boomerangs when he saw the above photograph in the 28 September 1997 issue of the Columbus Dispatch. Sadly, the caption under the photo read: "Franciscan Friar Giulio Berettoni holds a damaged crucifex found in the rubble of the quake damaged basilica in Assisi, Italy."



Jonas Romblad and a friend, Tomas Leijon built a record setting race car in just 234 days in 1996. The car, called The Dreamliner III, set a new record over the kilometer for a non-supercharged engine in the 350-500 cc class.

Jonas and Tomas traveled to Nevada the last two weeks in September to help Richard Noble with the Thrust SSC (the car which recently broke the sound barrier). Jonas assisted by doing all sorts of work like clearing debris from the tracks, security when closing off the desert, and giving aerodynamic advice. Jonas felt this was a great experience. The level of engineering as well as the high spirit and friendliness among the British was overwhelming.



A total of 20 teams have signed up for participation in the 1998 World Cup. This includes: Australia I, Australia II, Brazil, Canada, England, France I, France II, France III, Germany I, Germany II, Germany III, Holland, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia, Switzerland I, Switzerland II, USA I, USA II, and possibly USA III. All team organizers should keep in touch with Tom Fitzgerald. You can call Tom at (314) 839-1604 or write to:


Tom Fitzgerald

1159 Holly River Dr.

Florissant, MO 63031


World Cup team organizers should remember that a deposit is due on 1 December, according to the instructions on the web page:



Dave Hendricks has posted instructions for making a whistling boomerang (reprint from MHR) at:

Mark Horstmeier has reposted MTA-Web at a new URL:

Rosemary Thomson has updated her Petrified Wood Gemstone Boomerang Jewelry Web Page and posted a second page as well. These web pages are definitely worth visiting if you have an interest in boomerang jewelry. Visit: as well as:

Jonas Romblad has been working on a performance race car called the Dreamliner III. This car has streamlining like his MTAs. You can view Jonas' car at:

Ulf Valentin of Denmark has started a project to host his boomerang design and flight simulator on the WWW using Java Applets. You can already design a simple two wing boomerang and see a graphical representation of the boomerang as the different parameters change. The flight simulator is also working. The web application is slow, but this one is definitely worth exploring. Set your browser to:

You can also see a gallery of 16 photos showing Ulf Valentin and his night boomerangs at:

Günter Möller compiled six lists) of international boomerang records at the following URL: From here, you can download Excel 5.0 files which gives global boomerang records in the 10 major events (AR, ACC, FC, End, TC/DB 100, MTA100, MTA unlimited, Juggling, Long Distance and Maximum of Catches) set by male and female throwers of three classes of age each: "Under 18", "Over 50" and "Over 18 but Under 50". These lists are preliminary and Gunter needs everyone's help to update these records. So email Günter with your personal bests, your gender, and the ages at which you did your personal bests. Günter's email address is:

Oliver Thienhaus has posted downloads for a World Ranking List. This list shows Oliver's interpretation of how the throwers from around the world should be ranked relative to each other. Although such a rating is sorely needed and Oliver has dedicated many hours to this task, the editor of BN cautions anyone from interpreting these numbers as an official ranking of any organization. The list, which gives American throwers no credit for Trick Catch, ranks Mike Dickson as the highest rated American at #47. Chet Snouffer ranks as #58 and the current World Champion, Rob Croll of Australia, is ranked as #102.

In all fairness, Oliver recomputed the numbers excluding the Trick Catch event. Five of the first six rated throwers are German. The first American, Eric Darnell, shows up rated as #7. Chet Snouffer moves up to #16 and World Champion Rob Croll moves up to #95. If the World Cup were held today, would Rob really finish near the bottom?

In the MTA event, Eric Darnell ranks only #26. Eric won MTA at four rated tournaments in 1997 and holds the current World Record in this event. What does Eric have to do to move up to #1? How about #25?

The editor encourages Oliver to continue his pursuit of this effort, but everything should be labeled as preliminary or experimental until this rating system contains comprehensive data from all major countries and the calculation method is approved by all of the major boomerang organizations. This rating system should be thoroughly discussed at the 1998 World Cup WBA meeting. You can download Oliver's World Ranking List at: Please email your comments to Oliver at:


The Fall 1997 Auction is in progress with the deadline for bidding set for 15 November. To view the Fall 1997 auction on the World Wide Web, set your web browser to:

If you are a collector and would like a bid sheet, please send an inquiry to Ted Bailey immediately at the address below.


This publication is produced monthly. Every issue is packed with 8 pages containing all the information you need to know to keep current with the ever changing world of boomeranging. The distribution of BN currently stands at 161 USA and 75 overseas subscribers. Eight issues of "Boomerang News" costs only $10 in the USA; $12 in Canada and $20 overseas. You can subscribe by sending payment (make check or M.O. out to Ted Bailey) with your name, address & phone number to:


Ted E. Bailey

P. O. Box 6076

Ann Arbor, MI 48106




Boomerang News Calendar of Events

North America

26 Oct. 1997 First Tucson Tournament Don Monroe 613-563-0066 1205 E 11th St.; Casa Grande, AZ 85222

28 Nov. 1997 Tenth Turkey Toss Norm Kern 248-645-9308 1640 Haynes St.; Birmingham, MI 48009-6819

26 Jul-2 Aug '98 World Cup Championships Tom Fitzgerald 314-839-1604 1159 Holly River Dr.; Florissant, MO 63031

12/13 Sept. '98 2nd Outer Banks Comp. John Koehler 757-437-1185 210 60th St.; Virginia Beach, VA 23451



25/26 Oct. '`97 Troyes Competition Eugène CINAL 03 25 74 11 98 26 alley of Vendangeurs; 10420 Noes; France

9 Nov. 1997 Blue Mountain Champs. Br. Brian M. Thomas (02) 9369 0675 131 Birrell St; Waverley NSW 2024; Australia

2/3 May 1998 Aussie National Comps. Br. Brian M. Thomas (02) 9369 0675 131 Birrell St; Waverley NSW 2024; Australia

19/21 June '98 1998 AMSBC Heikki Niskanen +358 17 2633211 Tasavallankatu 10 a 1, 70620 KUOPI; Finland

24/25 Jul. '99 Boomerang Cup Eckhard Mawick 0451/70 51 81 Wakenitzmauer 64; 23552 Lübeck; Germany

2000 World Cup Championships Rob Croll (03) 9887-5085 5 Tyson Ct.; Wantirna South; Victoria 3152; Australia

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