How to throw a boomerang
How do you throw a boomerang and make it come back to you?
You have probably heard about the boomerang, that small piece of carved wood that, when thrown, returns to the thrower, and wondered about it. No other weapon or hunting device does that (which is actually a misconception), so it is a wonderful implement, even as a toy. At least for someone who knows how to throw it; otherwise, it is just a piece of wood, or, as most put it, a stick.
But how does a boomerang fly? A boomerang’s shape is flat one side and convex on the other. It is thrown with the curved side up so when it whirls through the air, the flat shape produces a lifting action, much like an airplane wing. Since one arm of the boomerang is longer than the other, the longer part gives it impetus to move forward and in a circle when thrown correctly. Likewise, it is this longer arm that makes the boomerang flatten its flight path from near vertical, since it makes a infinitesimally little more lift than the shorter part.
There are generally two ways to hold the boomerang for throwing. First, the pinch hold. It consists of pinching the boomerang’s end (doesn’t matter which) between the thumb and forefinger like holding a key about to be inserted into the keyhole. Then there is the cradle grip, which is holding the boomerang like you’d hold a hammer or tennis racquet, the boomerang arm well inside the closed fist. Either way, use the grip that is most comfortable to you.
- Hold the boomerang your preferred way with your strong arm, and stand with your opposite leg a little forward. So if you are right-handed, your throwing arm is the right and your left foot is forward.
- Stretch your arm to aim for a point a little above the horizon, perhaps 10°. A distant treetop or rooftop would do fine as aim point. Keep your eyes on it.
- Cock back your throwing arm to over your shoulder with wrist bent back, slanting the boomerang a little to the right side of vertical, maybe 10° but no more than 20°. The held boomerang arm should thus be about 45° of your forearm.
- Bring your arm forward fast to cast the boomerang, flicking the wrist forward at the end of the arm’s throwing arc as your arm straightens to make the device spin. Allow it to move off your wrist by loosening your grip a little.
*Never throw it sidearm as in tossing a frisbee, or it might come back from above and hit you or, if it hits the ground, break apart.
- If thrown correctly, the boomerang should whirl upwards a little while flattening its trajectory so it comes back to land –not drop or smash down— in your general vicinity.