This is a personal account of how I saw the last decade of ld in North America. Please correct me if you disagree.
It all started with an email from Erik Fields. He wanted to buy one of the first BAg Hooks I put up for sale on the BAGGRESSiVE web site. This was 1995. I had put up the LD web site just a few month before, on a university web server using Lorenz's account.
Due to the fact that the US had the most internet users at the time, both Lorenz and I sold most of our boomerangs to the US.
In 1996 I took the chance and went visiting Erik in Santa Barbara. I remember driving up the steep drive way, wonder what to expect. Little did I know that I would meet a very energetic individual who is doing everything he does with an almost obsessive dedication.
Erik had already gathered a small group of local boomers including Andy Strum, Chris Cotter from LA, Byron Seward from Seattle and other rad dudes.
After warm-up, I was standing there, in the middle of Storck field at UCSB, aiming my Full Power 30 deg right of the wind, and felt everybody watching me. This first throw would establish much of how they would see me over the foreseeable future. I was not nervous, but focussed. And managed to sling a half decent throw. They were quite impressed.
After more than five years ld has come back to the US.
The day went by way too fast. We were examining everybodys boom with the goal to increase range. This was mainly done by adding more weight to the leading wing. Thus our motto ADD MORE WEIGHT was born. I promised i would come back next year and we would hold a comp. And we did. Dan and Kelly Neelands were there, as well as Abo-Steve. Alan Scott Craig, Dan and Mike Harding and most of the guys from the first time. It seems the results have been lost in space but we did have a great time.
I started selling my bag hook over the B-man. They were not going very hot, but I had repeated sales and those who bought one, were quite happy with the boom.
Next stop World Championship. In 1998 I wrote the organizers of the worlds and asked to include ld. They would, but only if i would run the show. I agreed.
Before that we had the second comp in Santa Barbara. David schummy introduced us to the Buzz Whip, days before the worlds. We were all expecting to see a new world record but his attempts all fell heart-breaking short upon return. Abo-steve introduced his stealth material, g10 with a carbon fibre center layer. Is this still available someplace?
Roy Dempsey needs to be mentioned here. He was sending both me and lorenz tons of letters encouraging us promoting ld.
At the worlds in St. Louis the wind was not on our side. It was turning in circles, rendering the spotters even more tired. However, North American spotters are very dedicated and need not much encouragement. This fact impressed me everytime I came over.
As for the comp i was planning to run one round of five throws. The wind was calm, dfc. Manuel and Dave managed to cross 100m. I was used to these low-wind conditions and had several returns over 115m. So after the round I was in the lead, not way ahead but in a clear lead. This was when Eric Darnell approached me and asked me what I thought about having a shoot-out of the top eight? I was torn between winning the worlds and giving both Manuel and Dave a shot at the world record. I guess my drive to promote ld was stronger than my will to win. All eight agreed to have a shoot-out. Dave and Manuel both used the now picking up wind to beat the world record. Dave did a great job of promoting booms on TV. All in all, the worlds in St.Louis were probably the turning point for ld in the US.
After the worlds, Eric organised two comps per year in Santa Barbara. I tried to attend one in 1999 and saw everybody throwing Buzz Whips, including me. Budd Jamieson was the new promising face of the event. David Schummy came visiting Eric in summer and got him hooked on building boomerangs. This in turn encouraged Budd Jamieson to throw and compete. Eric and Budd would go practising a lot and push each other.
Dan and Kelly organised their first ld competition in Twin Peaks, effectively expanding the venues for ld significantly.
2000 saw Andy Cross entering the scene. Budd topped the US record. Eric won the US nationals in Canton, OH. Yes, LD was at the nationals.
2001 Was the year for women's LD. Just month before going to Santa Barbara I gave one of my carbon buzz whips to Brigitte Specht and she managed to break the womens world record previously hold by Kelly Neelands. When i saw the abilities of Karen Dawson I knew she had to throw my carbon buzz. I was really impressed of how well she could control her throw and follow my instructions. I would tell her how I would throw the boom and she would just do it. After two throws she had maxed-out the boom. So I was thinking: old school! ADD MORE WEIGHT. On her last throw there was three times as much weight on the boom as we started out with. She seemed to be really into it as her throws became harder the heavier the boom became. So I asked her to repeat her previous throw just with slightly less lay-over. It was a beautiful flight, just barely returning. She achieved the same distance in the comp as I did. I promised her I would build her a boom like that but could not find anymore of the 3 mm material. If you happen to have a carbon fibre blank of a buzz or voyager and want to offer it for a good cause, please send it to me and i will build it finally. This was also the first time i met Clay Dawson Karen's husband. He would be carrying the LD fire onwards.
Eric would beat the US record.
Andy Cross was holding the first and only ld event in Calgary, Canada. We hope to repeat it soon.
2002 marked the last Santa Barbara comp. Eric did start to jump out of flying airplanes and gave away most of his comp-booms. I moved to Vancouver and was busy putting my life together.
Clay picked up the slack and organized nationals in Houston.
A year later Dave Hughes started the Texas shoot-out series. Andy Cross put the bar way up for the Canadian record, very close to the American record.
2005 saw the second Shoot-out. I missed that one.
But 2006 I will be there
And who knows, we might just see the second Canadian LD competition...