Shooting my Bow Bare? … Oh Matron!

In the last few years there has been somewhat of an uptick in interest in one bow type. No, not compound … barebow! Many new archers are showing interest in shooting barebow (a recurve bow without sights or stabilizers) and apparently aren’t feeling Olympic recurve as they once did. Compounds are somewhat pricing themselves out of entry level kit and longbows by their very nature of being hand made are expensive. Barebow is making itself very attractive presently being modern kit, generally available (allowing for residual covid caused delays in supply) and comparatively inexpensive (no expensive extras like sights or stabilizers). So it seem to be catching the imagination right now with traditional techniques, modern materials and lowish price. Lancaster Archery have been at the forefront of this push with their annual major competition which  focuses heavily on barebow. Even AGB‘s house magazine Archery UK and Bow International have dedicated issues to barebow.  Its the coming thing it seems so if you are interested in barebow, where to start with kit?

kinetic vygo bronze

Kinetic Vygo in Bronze

While any take down riser can be a barebow, there are several companies that put a lot of effort specifically into dedicated barebow kit. Spiggarelli and Gillo are well respected in the barebow community for their intermediate and advanced kit but there has been somewhat of a blind spot at the entry level. Recently we looked at the Kinetic Scopus as a potentially excellent riser for entry level recurve. Well it seems that Kinetic have entry level on the mind. Back in 2020 Kinetic launched the Vygo 25″ riser. This ILF riser came with integrated weights specifically designed with the barebow archer in mind. Its still equipped with top, bottom and long rod bushings as well as mountings for clicker, sights and a button. However, there are 3 locations below the handle that allow up to 500g of weight to be added to stabilize the bow. These weights actually come with the riser! Not often you see that and better still, you can configure that 500g in 100g increments for fine tuning. The riser comes in left and right handed models and while the range of colours is not vast (especially for lefties), it is an aesthetically pleasing bow with a colour matched wooden handle.

kinetic vygo close upSo much for how the thing looks  … how does it shoot? Well, its a small sample but the four customer reviews on Merlin‘s website and the two on Perris‘ website all gave the riser 5 stars expressing extremely positive views on build quality, stability and feel of shot. Its stability, in particular, was commended which is particularly important with a barebow lacking a full stabilization system. At 25″ and 1200g its a medium weight aluminium riser which isn’t too heavy but the weight system, shown in close up to the right, allows you to change that to something beefier, more likely to resist wobbling. Obviously the weight system conforms to AGB rules on weights and stabilizers on barebows (the whole bow should be able to pass through a 12.2cm ring).

kinetic logo (2)Prices for the Vygo riser are at around £140 although can drift a little higher. This price is frankly a steal assuming the riser is as good as the reports seems to have it. Its not noted anywhere but we think its anodized rather than painted which gives a much nicer finish. It certainly looks the stuff in the below unboxing. Sadly there is a rumour this riser may soon be discontinued but while stocks last, definitely worth a look. As with all Kinetic risers, this appears a lot of bow for the money especially as it is intended specifically for barebow. There’s no need to buy weights as an extra and you always have the option to slap a sight on it and have an afternoon of Olympic style archery. The riser is available on many suppliers websites although the lead time does vary quite considerably from immediately to 4-6 weeks depending on supplier, colour and handedness.

References:

Bow International Barebow Equipment list (mostly high end but does say nice things about the Vygo)
Lancaster Archery Mens Barebow final 2022
Arco Sport Spigarelli
Gillo Archery
Unboxing video of a black right handed Vygo

The ACC is Dead, Long Live the Procomp

Recommending arrows to noobs buying their first bow used to be so easy. Initially the rugged, durable and great value Easton XX75 Platinum plus. It was the perfect beginners arrow. Then, when they needed to graduate to a lighter, faster arrow for longer distances and importantly, one that was detectable with the metal detector .. the tough Easton ACC or slightly more expensive ACG aluminium/carbon (A/C) shafts delivered good value and good performance.

BUT … at the end of 2020, Easton decided to discontinue the ACC and the ACG. The announced reason was to reduce the clutter of shafts and components and standardize on a smaller but more functional range. All very logical but they forgot one thing … a suitable A/C replacement for recurvers. To explain, Easton went with pure carbon shafts in their midrange for recurve arrows. Performance is probably as good if not better than the old A/C shafts BUT suggesting a “hard to metal detect when invisible in the grass” arrow to relatively new archers shooting longer distances outdoors on fields we share with other sports? … I can feel our editor shudder from here!

procomp

However, when Easton extended the Procomp arrow’s spine range it initially looked like the ACC/ACG replacement recurvers needed till you read the sales blurb. It was a “light-weight, high speed, parallel design, designed for archers looking to boost scores at competitive and club-level compound events … available for compound target and field competition.” Nothing about it being suitable for recurve. Fortunately archers are fond of empirical testing so the arrow was pressed into service on recurves and the results were quite favourable. The specification for the Procomps are extremely similar to ACG’s and, in fact, there is now more choice in shaft spines (1150-250) and point weights (80-130grns) for tuning than before. There is a caveat emptor in that Easton have never actually said the Procomp is good for recurve. On the other hand, with nothing in the specs to raise a red flag and archers reporting they shoot them on their recurves with no problems, it looks to be a safe(-ish**) bet that the Procomp is the arrow to carry on the mantle of the ACG. Itself a rebrand of the Easton A/C Navigator.

Admittedly the Procomps are a bit more expensive than the ACC and not quite as durable but that design was more than 30yrs old in a sport where kit performance has improved greatly in the last decade. Perhaps it was time to let go and move on, sad as that was to lose a treasured friend.

So there you go. The Procomp should be the arrow for newer archers beginning to shoot those longer distances and looking at Easton to supply it. If only we can find a brave GA recurve archer willing to drop £200 for a set of Procomp shafts so we can see for ourselves! Hint Hint. ;o)

References:

History of the Easton ACC arrow shaft
Easton Archery – Procomp shaft
Reddit R/Archery Procomp discussion

**Note: Most things in archery are “-ish”.

Explaining those Random 6’s

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Oksana was on the field … so golds were being rationed to the other archers.

Ever have one of those days where you are in the zone? 9’s and 10’s flow from your bow like you are the avatar of an archery god or the reincarnation of Robin Hood at the very least.
And then you shoot a 6 (or worse!) out of nowhere!

One minute you were attracting jealous and hateful glances, the next, pity and questions about whither you had ever shot a bow before. WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN? Was there kryptonite in that arrow? Well there could be a simple, admittedly supernatural, answer …

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With many archers chasing golds this evening … even blues became aspirational! 

… Its been said that every end of arrows shot has an allotment of golds from the archery gods. This number can vary but the gods have decreed the number is capped. Scarce resources, infinite demand! This means rationing and some people can miss out. This end, it might be your turn to miss out on sweet sweet gold. That’s when your guaranteed 10-10-10 becomes a 10-10-6. Ah, archery can be such a fickle mistress.
Also, since the archery gods are omnipotent and wise to that early bird proverb, its not necessarily first come first served. Therefore there’s no point to rushing to get dibs on some early 10’s … the archery gods know your scores before you do (and they keep track!)

So, next time that rogue arrow turns up and derails your potential PB, remember the archery gods might simply have decided that it was your turn for that rolling brown out of skill! It wasn’t your fault. Just smile, thank the gods it wasn’t worse then set about trying to collect more than your fair share of golds next end.

Our Editor is notorious for the 10-10-6 end although in his case its more about what’s going on between his ears than divine intervention.

Podcasts

For some reason it had never crossed the mind of the editorial team here on the website that there were archery podcasts. We listen to many podcasts .. gaming, military history, economics .. but archery? Nary a thought till this months Bow International (April 2022) highlighted such a thing exists. So with a hat tip of thanks to Bow Int. (their article is to be found here) here’s a few thoughts about podcasts.

nockonHaving listened to quite a few in the last week, the first thing that strikes us is the majority (so far) are compound and hunting dominated. This is no surprise as many of the more popular such as Nock On with John Dudley OR BowJunky with Professional archer/industry insider Greg Poole are hosted by professional archers usually shooting on the American 3D circuit and/or part of the hunting scene. These markets are huge in the US where bowhunters (mostly compounders) contribute more than $13 billion per year to U.S. retail sales. In comparison target archery and recurve are tiny in value so the focus is to be expected.

easton podThere are some that are more general such as Easton Target podcast with George Tekmitchov. Why is this one of interest? Well George is a senior engineer/manager at Easton designing all those arrows we throw about. The podcast can get a little derailed at times as George’s co-host professional target archer Steve Anderson can ramble a bit but its ideal for listening to in the car or on the train.

barebowprojectA much more specific podcast but not compound is The Barebow Project with Frank McDonough on apple podcasts. This podcast’s focus is on barebow and more traditional shooting making it a nice change of pace. As they say themselves “Barebow archery shooting, coaching, and tuning info for barebow archers by barebow archers”. Should be of interest to those of us without sights or stabilizers but less of a tune out podcast and more audio coaching.

bowjunkySo it seems archery podcasts are very much horses for courses. A simple search on the internet will give you a list. Most work from browsers but many are also available via apps like the Podcast App or the Apple Podcast App.  Some channels will be very active, some will be moribund and there will be a lot of hunting/compound. Have a look about and a listen, see what you think. You may find a podcast that you like.

Update: Podbean app on the iphone seems to have quite a a few archery podcasts as well including one pretty NSFW (The Off Center Archers podcast) – you can also listen to it here. Archers be rude! ;o)

Currently our editor is listening to Steve Anderson on Easton rambling on about how his car doesn’t have great acceleration and he has trouble merging with freeway traffic on his way to work. He hopes they get to archery at some point.

 

“Summer” has arrived!

This probably comes as a surprise to all of Glasgow but Summer has arrived! As I write this, its cold, wet, grey, the thermals have not yet been put away but we at GA are abandoning the warm and dry of indoors and heading outside for our summer season.

What does this mean other than bring your waterproofs and stout footwear to shootie? For the summer we only have a Wednesday evening session (starting 6pm till dusk) and a Sunday morning session (9am – 1pm) as we lose our Saturday session till September.

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Even the work parties get a bit gossipy.

However, this doesn’t mean there will be any less archery going on at the club. In fact there will be more to achieve.
There are the very popular 252 badges to chase once more, outdoor classifications to practice for and the level of Sunday morning banter, caf drinking, biscuit eating and goss has to be experienced to be appreciated. It will be good to get back to more social archery after the covid restrictions of indoors.

Archery is an outdoor sport. Lets get out there, get some fresh air and shoot some arrows!

Glasgow Sausages?

Our editor once belonged to a medieval/renaissance historical fencing study group who at their AGM one year had to come to the realization they were actually a drinking club with a sword addiction. So it is with Glasgow Archers, who have come to realize they have morphed from an archery club to being more about having BBQ brunch at the field or as it has become known… The Sunday Morning Sausage Club.

Initially a pre xmas treat thought up by our tournament organizer, it went from treat to joke to meme and finally to a much anticipated Sunday morning staple. From humble beginnings it has evolved all the way to an al fresco, archery themed dining experience complete with cutlery, plates, condiments and waitress service.

There have been chops, hotdogs and a variety of sausages including bratwurst, honey & pork, Lincolnshire, pork & leek and old english pork on the menu but the mainstay is the Cumberland sausage usually served (assuming they weren’t left at home) in a baguette or roll. So good that one archer’s relatives have turned up begging for some of that spicy goodness.
Shooting line – Equipment line – Tent line – BBQ line!

Almost certainly a unique feature, GA may well be the only club in the country with a combination tournament organizer/chef on the committee. This might go some way to explain the greasy fingerprints on competition score sheets or the odd splash of ketchup on trophies. He is our own culinary superhero – Captain Sausage. He even has a Captain Sausage hat!
Doubtful that there’s ever going to be Captain Sausage merch finding its way to an archery field near you though.

It takes a lot of organisational skills to keep the Sausage Club running so our booking agent is also our sausage coordinator and waitress service. Often distributing food on a “who looks more desperate first” basis, she efficiently keeps the hungry hoards at bay. Be respectful though, she wields a vicious baguette!

We should probably offer full disclosure here that cooking usually involves lard. That’s actually a heathy eating option in Scotland given the cold and damp … honest! Admittedly, cooking methods do vary depending on circumstance and weather. There is nothing quite like a toasty charcoal BBQ for heating up those cold hands and … errr … other body parts!

A few arrows are shot while things cook but the mustard stains and ketchup smeared faces are a bit of a giveaway as to why some are down the field on a soggy Sunday morning. Many cooks but only one lonely archer!

As we all know, archery is an extremely safe sport … but introduce a breadknife to the equation and all bets are off! That first aid kit purchased by the club chair was a good buy. However rest assured, no sausage aficionado was inconvenienced by the injury (see re-enactment left) as Captain Sausage bravely fried on injured though he was. He was later awarded the Purple Sausage for being wounded in the line of duty.

Kitchen activity has had as many as 3 stoves running simultaneously producing bratwursts, cumberlands and hot water for freshly ground coffee beans. Cutlery, plates, 4 different condiments, table, wind shield, napkins, food preparation gloves, spatula and bbq tongs were all in use. As you can see GA makes every effort to have a full range of kit in use on a Sunday morn.

So there you have it. Glasgow Archers … enhancing their Sunday morning archery with ketchup, mustard and al fresco dining. So far there has been no calls to rename the club Glasgow Sausages … at least for now!

*          *          *

Other culinary extravaganzas at Glasgow Archers:

The Breakfast of Archers
Eating and shooting like a Korean

Colour Me … Calm?

Something our editor always tells anyone thinking of buying their first riser (once they have decided budget) is to buy based on look and colour. He’s very insistent in people loving their bow and shape is important .. but why is he so obsessed with colour?

Well, its probably (we hope) something to do with colour psychology. So what’s colour psychology? Its the study of how certain colours impact human behaviour. Colours at the red end of spectrum are known as warm colours and include red, orange, and yellow. These evoke emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. At the blue end of the spectrum, the cool colours include blue, and green. These colours often inspire feelings of sadness or indifference but are in the main considered as calming.

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Hang on .. We’re both wearing blue and gold. Which of us has the dominant uniform?

So what about colours in sport, do they have any effect? Well, while nothing has been comprehensively proven, there are quite a few small studies that have shown tendencies if not actual patterns influenced by colour. There is a belief that regarding uniform colour, red is more successful than other colours. Research has found that in some cases, athletes dressed in warm colours ranked significantly higher in aggression and dominance than the athletes in cooler colours. Conversely, a recent study has said that its not true that red wins more. White seems to be neither positive or negative in these studies but one did say that black seems to get penalized more often and is considered more intimidating. Mike Tyson’s black shorts, The 1970’s Oakland Raiders, New Zealand’s All Blacks. Yeah, I can totally see that!

Assuming any validity to colour psychology, it works for and against Glasgow Archers as our club colours are red tops and black trousers. I suppose its a bit pointless to drive yourself hard to win with passion then get ejected for less than social behaviour or giving lip to the judges although to be honest that’s probably just our editor!

So what should your bow instil in you? Passion and fire with a red riser OR calm and relaxed with a green one? Well, we’re archers so calm would be good but desire and passion driving you on would also be good. Alternatively, is the bad boy/girl in black more your vibe? At the end of the day, it comes down to what you like. Much as it pains me to agree with our editor, pick a colour and a riser you can love because archery is a sport where loving your bow can do nothing but make the experience better. That said, Brady Ellison won the world cup with a pink riser he shot for a year to highlight breast cancer (respect) but as a professional, he could probably shoot in international matches with a luminous green and puce riser yet still win! I think we mere mortals need to stick to colours we like.

black bows

I see a red door and I want it painted black – No colours anymore I want them to turn black

Note: Three of the best archers at GA all shoot black bows. In addition, they are all committee members. Black is considered mysterious .. intimidating .. evil. Think Ninjas .. Darth Vader .. Dracula. Do these traits rub off on our committee members?

Yikes! … starting to think there might be something to this colour psychology after all.

SF Wars?

sf logoAugust 9th of last year we posted an article on the return of Sebastian Flute to the world of archery kit. In collaboration with Korean company GK Archery, Seb released 4 risers and associated limbs. This was under the brand name of Sebastian Flute, not SF. In that article (you can read it here) we surmised that Win&Win still held rights to the SF logo but Seb was free to use his full name as you can’t copyright someone’s name. Well, we just got proof …

Win&Win have released a range of SF branded equipment including 2 risers, 2 sets of limbs, a sight, clicker, button, rest, a full stabilization system and 2 different arrows! The catalogue of the kit can be found at the following link ….
http://www.wiawis.com/doc/wns/WNS-CATALOG-WEB-SF.pdf

GK archeryIf you look at the above address, you’ll notice that the catalogue pdf is stored in the WNS folder with a WNS prefix. There is also prominent placement of the SF range on the WNS webpage … see here. This is logical as when the SF brand was terminated in 2017, all of the kit was rebranded WNS. However the SF brand was discontinued and rebranded for good reasons. Companies do not spend money on rebranding exercises for nothing. So what are these reasons?

seb logoWell, in the other article we suggested the rebranding might have been for reasons of better integration with the WiaWis range, perhaps streamlining of a range which had become unfocused and sprawling or the feeling that Flute’s name recognition had faded. However, to bring out a new range of SF branded equipment seems counterintuitive (like everything in archery ;o) if those were the reasons. Of course, we could be seeing the opening shots in a little competition for market share or even straight up spoiler tactics from Win&Win miffed at some perceived poaching of their brands recognition.

w&wHaving both a SF and a Sebastian Flute brand on the market is going to get a bit  confusing but W&W must have a game plan. Big companies don’t do things on whim and certainly not this specific. How this plays out is going to be interesting but we suspect that it may favour the larger W&W whose market share and clout will give them greater visibility in what is becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace.

References:

GK Archery’s Facebook page
Sebastian Flute products stocked by Quicks

W&W’s SF range on their WNS webpage
W&W’s SF catalogue

Hat tip to the Halls for the heads up.

Drugs in Archery

In sports we seem to be never more than a few days removed from the latest Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) scandal. Cycling, American Football, Baseball and Athletics have terrible records for PED abuse from virtually the lowest levels to the highest with athletes, coaches and administrators implicated. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is forever handing down suspensions and removing achievements. But that’s something we in archery don’t need to worry about is it! … Err, is it?

wadaSo first, a little history. In the 1990’s, doping scandals had reached epidemic levels. At the World Conference on Doping in Switzerland in 1999, WADA was founded to counter the increasing levels of PED use in every sport and at all levels. Archery GB’s code of conduct states that they will follow UK Sport’s anti-doping rules. The UK, in turn, complies with WADA’s world anti doping code. So as AGB affiliated archers, we are all under WADA’s scrutiny.
But surely, PED’s are hardly an issue for us?
Well, yes they can be but not in the way you think … and don’t call me Shirley!

While substances such as steroids, masking agents, hormone and metabolic modulators, human growth hormone, stimulants and narcotics are blanket banned across all sports, archers have 2 additional named substances that are specifically banned for us in competition.

Beta Blockers: These are prescription-only medicines that reduce blood pressure. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline in your blood. That in turn helps the heart work more efficiently thereby reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tremors and even anxiety. In other words they can give you a steadier hand, increase your focus and reduce those nerves. Does that sound like something that an archer might desire?

Admittedly, no scientific research has yet been carried out on archers using beta  blockers. World Archery has proposed a study into the effects of these drugs on fine motor skills and the implications to posture and stability, aiming, reaction to the clicker and ultimately, scores. As yet no report has been released or conclusion reached.

drinksAlcohol: There are only 5 sports that ban alcohol in competition. Motorsports, aero sports, powerboating, motorcycle racing and archery. Now obviously being hammered while in charge of racing car, bike, boat or plane is bad, but why the focus on archery?

Well, in 1985 and again in 1993, studies concluded ” … that small amounts of alcohol in sports where steady hands and nerves are required, for example, archery and darts, the sedative, anti-tremor and anxiolytic effects of alcohol could have an ergogenic effect. (Reilly and Halliday, 1985; Reilly and Scott, 1993)” Ergogenic in this case mean substances or devices that enhance energy production, use or recovery and provide athletes with a competitive advantage. Anxiolytic is a term when referring to a drug that is used to relieve anxiety.

As a result, alcohol was deemed to be an archery PED (and not just for drowning the shooting sorrows of archers) so WADA banned it. Now obviously we are not talking a bottle of wine or a 6 pack here – gods, that would be horrific! Our editor still has PTSD from watching youtube vids with Americans in plaid shirts talking about their approach to archery while holding a compound in one hand and a succession of beers in the other. However, low levels of alcohol can relax you and slow reaction speed just enough resulting in steadier, more confident shots. Now with all that said, I’m pretty sure that there is a longbow society that begins every competition with a loyal toast to the Queen. Not sure how a small port will affect the longbow fraternity (real ale fanatics all) but I doubt WADA is going to lose sleep over a tradition like this. Hmm, just a final thought … are judges covered by the same rules? I mean, “sober as a judge” is an expression but who wouldn’t be driven to drink having to deal with competitive archers every weekend?! :o)

So, lets all remember WADA is watching next time you feel the draw of the off licence. Personally I’m off for an alkoholfrei isotonic ‘beer’ honest mister! … (Cheers! ;o)

References:

Update from WADA for Archery 2022
Relationship between Darts and Alcohol – Alas Smith and Jones
Archer banned for 2 years following failed drugs test
Is the relationship between sport and alcohol a healthy one? Adam Young – University College London

2022

covid-gd8fd962a6_640So here we are. A year on from Glasgow Archers being homeless with crumbling containers. Another year of Covid idiocy with confusing instructions in how to organize shooting. No competitions. AGB slowly haemorrhaging members as they charge full price for membership while advising no-one shoot unless hoops are jumped through! Its not been an easy year for any archery club. Especially after the previous one!

On the plus side for GA, we now have new containers. We currently have indoor and outdoor facilities at H@PP. Badges are being earned left and right. One archer’s scores are making the rest of us look so bad, people are hitting the gym, getting coaching and even fixing that 10 year tuning issue. (Damn you Peterson, we were happy being mediocre! ;o) … Its all go.

So is 2022 the year we get back to normal? Even semi-normal? Right now, who knows but one thing we can guarantee assuming no more draconian dictates from on high: we at GA will be out in the field or (if allowed) back in the hall doing what we love … bitching, moaning, gossiping, drinking caf, BBQ’ing and even shooting a few arrows here and there. :oD

Have a good New Year and hopefully we’ll see you on our line once the hangover lifts.