'G'day mate!' Brockville boomerang club shows off the unique sport from down under
BROCKVILLE, ONT. -- When you think of boomerangs, the Australian outback and kangaroos might come to mind, but now there's a group practicing the sport right here in eastern Ontario.
The Brockville boomerang club formed in 2019, and it has slowly been growing.
"My son, Aiden, showed me a video of a dude doing sports tricks in March of 2018 and it was featuring Logan Broadbent doing boomerang trick shots," said club founder Brian Curley. "It just blew us away. We couldn't believe it and so we started looking through the house because we knew we had a boomerang and what we found was a Nerf boomerang."
Curley and his son reached out to Broadbent, now the current U.S. national boomerang champion and also a 4-time American Ninja Warrior contestant, and an instant friendship was born.
"We didn't really know what we were doing at all. Broadbent sent us some boomerangs and that got us on our way then of trying to learn the science and the history of it and getting more into it," Curley said.
"In the U.S. and Canada there's a lot of other sports that people can play, so you know, boomerang hasn't caught on as much as it has on other parts of the world," said Broadbent on a call with CTV News from Cleveland, Ohio, "but we're starting to see a resurrection in the sport. I like to say boomerangs are coming back!"
Aiden even got to throw with Broadbent last summer at Cornell University, learning the sport from a pro.
"It's super unique and it's a sport where you can be kind of be a big fish in relatively small pond very quickly," said Broadbent.
"If somebody wanted to become really competitive in boomerangs within just a couple years of practice they can become one of the top athletes in their country," he added.
In Brockville, the father son duo would practice at Dana Street Park or on school soccer fields.
"We knew there was a lot of interest just from people walking by so we asked Logan, 'You think that we're good enough? That we could even start something or start our own club or something like that?' And he gave us the stamp of approval," Curley said.
On an average meet up, around 10-15 throwers will be in the park practicing.
"It just depends on if the wind is blowing the right way or the wrong way. I'm still learning, myself," said Jeff Mason, who was there with his son.
"It takes a lot of practice, just like anything else. I think it's great to get everybody outside, to get them together, everybody is social distancing. We all have fun and there's no pressure. It's for fun so its great," Mason said.
"I get to hang out with my son and watch him and he's really come a long way. He throws really well," Mason added.
"It's just fun to do," said Aiden Curley. "Just pick random boomerangs that we have because we have tons in the cases here and just throw them. There's different trick catches you can do."
Aiden was invited to the junior world championships in France this August, but the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the event.
"Other clubs have been watching what we're doing and wanted to know what we're doing to get it off the ground," said Curley.
"We're the only one in Canada. We thought we would be throwing maybe against a club in Ottawa, Montreal or Kingston. We're all by ourselves and that's okay," Curley added.
"Canada used to have a national team," said Broadbent.
"It's been great to see the Brockville boomerang club kind of pick it back up and I have a feeling in few years we're going to see another national team pop up," he added.
"I think it's been a great father and son sort of adventure for us as we're learning," said Curley. "The input from clubs in Australia, over in Europe and the American club, the world champs, have been amazing. People have supported us so much and they're watching us.".
Cheaper boomerangs can be found for a couple dollars, but can also go into the $40 to $50 range.
Professional throwers even design and make their own.
"There's a ton to learn so it's kind of cool. Just throwing and catching a boomerang, but when you get in to the trick catches, the accuracy, the endurance, it's a real cool sport," Curley said.
"Anybody should be able to try, from 4 years old up to 84 years old, to throw a boomerang and catch it. It's a lot of fun."
More information can be found at the Brockville Boomerang Club's Facebook page.