An excerpt from Disc Dogs! La Guida Completa by Peter Bloeme and Jeff Perry, Co-founders of Hyperflite, Inc.
As you begin to participate in disc sports with your canine, you will undoubtedly experience conditions in which the wind appears to change direction and velocity with rabidity and in seemingly unpredictable ways. Whether you are practicing, performing or competing, it is helpful to think of the wind in micro-meteorological terms. Wind doesn’t just blow. It blows over, around and through things — accelerating, rising, and falling, in ways that are more predictable than you might think. If you have ever seen currents in a river make small eddies and ripples, then you can imagine that air behaves in a similar way when it moves around or over objects.
Turbulence may result from the passage of the wind over nearby structures or trees. Occasionally those structures may provide an exploitable break from the wind just as a boulder in a river might make a calm eddy. Or, these same structures may create down drafts and dead areas that will make you want to cry out for your mother. Be aware of your surroundings. Use your knowledge of the micro-meteorological effects that trees, buildings and terrain create to your advantage. It is pretty well established that top competitors endeavor to wind-proof their routines. But regardless of your experience level, you can stack the odds in your favor by carefully observing the impact of the wind on the competitors who take the field first. These “wind dummies” (a name that is affectionately given to hang glider pilots who are the first to fly on a particularly rowdy day) can show you the path to follow when it’s your turn to take the field. But you have to be observant and apply what you have learned.
Avoid following the pack, especially if “the pack” is being trounced by the wind gods. Instead, make your own way. You may be able to concentrate your activities in an area of the competition field that is shielded from the wind by nearby structures. Or perhaps an open section of the field will prove to be better because it might not be as affected by the turbulence associated with the movement of wind over trees or objects. Since we can’t see the wind, we have to visualize its movement by observing the effect it has on the discs we throw. Prior to competing, get out on the field and throw from each part of the field in various directions. This should help you establish the best location in which to perform as well as tell you what adjustments to make to ensure maximum success.
At one of the windiest World Finals ever, during the mini-distance round, only one competitor chose to throw into the wind. The wind was so strong that he was practically scraping the outside edge of his discs on the ground because of the copious amount of bank angle (also called hyzer) required to keep the discs from turning over in the gale. Not coincidentally, that same competitor earned the highest score in the round for his efforts. If you can’t make good throws into the wind with lots of hyzer, that doesn’t mean that you should choose not to throw into the wind. It means you should learn to throw with more hyzer! You might also elect to use a heavier disc like the Jawz or Jawz X-Comp. You would never want to throw a heavier disc, like the Jawz, downwind. But throwing into the wind means that even heavier discs will float longer, and your dog will not have to run as fast to catch up to your throws.
If the wind is a crosswind, be sure to adjust your delivery so that your throws do not carry off of the field of play. It shouldn’t take more than one bad throw to convince you of the need to make adjustments. Your goal should be consistent, predictable results in any conditions that may occur.
It goes without saying that practice makes perfect. But make sure that you practice in all wind and weather conditions. Deliberately choose those awful windy and rainy days and do your best to make the best out of the conditions present. Competitions can be won by the best prepared teams as easily as they can be won by the most talented teams.
Finally, know when to leave a difficult trick out of your routine. If the wind is gusting to thirty miles per hour and the discs are wet with rain, you may want to skip your “spinning-triple wifferdill with the half-monty delivery.” Make the wind your friend and you will have the confidence it takes to excel when others falter.
Reprinted with permission from Hyperflite, Inc. www.hyperflite.com.
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About the Authors
Hyperflite co-founder, Peter Bloeme is currently director of the Skyhoundz Championships. In this role, he manages more than 100 Local Championships, 10 World Championship Qualifers, and the World Championship — reaching millions of consumers with messages of canine health and fitness.
Bloeme’s career of tossing, skipping, bouncing, spinning and twirling a plastic disc into the air began in 1974 when he won the Junior National Frisbee Championships at the age of 15. In 1976, at the age of 19, he won the World (human) Frisbee Championships at the Rose Bowl in California before 40,000 disc fans.
In 1983, Bloeme added a new element to his sport – a black and white Border Collie named Whirlin’ Wizard. The two went on to win the 1984 World Canine Frisbee Championships making Wizard, at less than 2 years old, the youngest dog to ever win the title. At the same time, Bloeme became the only person to win a world title both by himself and with his dog.
In 1990, Bloeme added a little magic to his routine – literally – with the addition of Magic, a black and white Australian Shepherd. Over the years, Bloeme, Wizard and Magic performed hundreds of disc dog demonstrations at sporting events including Major League Baseball, National Football League, World League football and National Basketball Association games.
Bloeme and his canine companions have also performed numerous times before sold-out stadium crowds all around the world. They have performed half-time shows at sporting events and have made public appearances in countries including Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden. Perhaps his most notable appearance was at the 1995 Japanese Baseball All-Star Game in Hiroshima, Japan where, after the seventh inning, the game was stopped for a ten minute exhibition by Bloeme and four Japanese dogs. Bloeme’s performance was viewed live by a sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans plus an estimated 26 million people on television through the Tokyo Broadcasting System.
During the 1970’s, Bloeme served as technical advisor to CBS Sports for a half-hour television special on Frisbee and toured Europe as a representative of the International Frisbee Association.
Bloeme and his dogs have appeared on television in the U.S. hundreds of times, including featured appearances on shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” and on CNN and ESPN. You may remember seeing Wizard opening the Disney movie, “Flight of the Navigator.” In a Miller Lite television ad, Bloeme was responsible for the on-camera Frisbee action. Wizard even had a walk-on role in the spot. Bloeme has also served twice as the color commentator for Animal Planet in their one-hour show on the World Championships.
In 2001, Bloeme, Jeff Perry (1989 World Champion & Hall of Famer) and Greg Perry founded Hyperflite, Inc., a company dedicated to developing advanced disc technology. Their first disc, the K-10 for dogs was introduced in July of 2001.
Bloeme is author of the book, Frisbee Dogs: How to Raise, Train and Compete, a 192-page paperback, illustrated with over 300 photographs and the book, Skyhoundz Images, an 80-page hardcover photo book on the sport with captions in English, Japanese and Spanish ($19.95 U.S.).
Bloeme also co-produced, along with Jeff Perry, the internationally-acclaimed Disc Dog Training DVD, the top-selling disc dog training DVD of all time and Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide. At 360 pages, and featuring more than 600 color photos, Disc Dogs! is the most thorough and authoritative canine disc publication in existence.
Hyperflite co-founder Jeff Perry and his mixed-breed, animal shelter adoptee, Gilbert won the 1989 Canine Disc World Championship in Dallas, Texas. Prior to taking the World title, Perry and Gilbert won the Southeast Regional Championship for three consecutive years. Gilbert and Perry went on to be featured on NBC’s top-rated “Today Show,” along with numerous appearances on CNN and ESPN and other national and international media over the years. As a member of the ALPO Canine Disc Celebrity Touring Team, Perry was a media spokesperson for the 10-year period in which ALPO sponsored the Canine disc Championships.
Throughout the years, in countless interviews and public appearances Perry has extolled the virtues of adopting shelter animals. According to Perry, shelter mutts make wonderful companions and great disc dogs.
Perry and his canines have performed hundreds of times before sold-out stadium crowds at professional football and baseball games all over the world. Internationally, Perry has performed before huge crowds at Olympic Stadiums in Berlin and Barcelona and has made public appearances in Canada, China, Spain Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Gilbert and Perry were featured entertainers at the prestigious “Colare de Oro,” the Italian equivalent of the Westminster dog show.
While performing in Japan, Perry met the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan (the future emperor and empress of Japan) after one of more than 200 shows that he performed in Japan over a five-month period at the Animal Kingdom in Nasu. While in Japan, Perry and his dog Cosmic K.D. also entertained thousands of spectators in the Tokyo dome.
From 1990 to 2005, Perry served as the Chief Judge of the World Canine Disc Championships.
Perry, along with Peter Bloeme and Greg Perry, co-founded Hyperflite in 2000 and, shortly thereafter, designed and patented the revolutionary K-10 disc, the first canine disc designed exclusively for canine competition.
Perry, along with Peter Bloeme, co-produced the internationally-acclaimed Disc Dog Training DVD, the top-selling disc dog training DVD of all time. In addition, Perry co-wrote Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide, the most authoritative book ever written on canine disc sports.
In his spare time, Perry also serves as a Contributing Editor for Flying Disc Magazine.
A strong proponent of the health and fitness benefits of canine disc play for dogs and owners, Perry founded one of the first canine disc clubs in the country. Over the years, Perry has taught countless canine-disc aficionados to throw flying discs and helped even elite-level competitors improve their throwing abilities.
In addition to his canine disc activities, Perry still finds time to engage in some of his other favorite pursuits, climbing, backpacking and flying. Perry, a skilled pilot, has flown powered aircraft and hang gliders for more than 25 years and has logged more than 2000 hours in many types of aircraft. In fact, his aeronautical experience and understanding of aeronautical principles were instrumental in the design of the Hyperflite K-10 disc.
Perry received a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in Journalism from the University of Maryland, a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) from Mercer University and a Master of Laws in International Law (LL.M.) from the University of Miami.