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Reporter's Notebook: All aquiver over archery

Bow, arrows and bruised forearm start this novice on the path to a new hobby.

April 10, 2014|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Manager Kevin Clark, left, instructs HB Independent reporter Anthony Clark Carpio on where to position his hands on a bow at Orange County Archery in Fountain Valley on Friday.
Manager Kevin Clark, left, instructs HB Independent… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

I woke up one Saturday morning with a pain. Glancing at my left forearm, I saw a 4-inch bruise and was quickly reminded why it hurt. Then I smiled.

I smiled not because I had a gnarly black-and-blue contusion on my forearm, but because I began to reminisce about the night before, when I tried archery for the first time.

I had wondered if people other than competitors in the sport or children in summer camp still partake in such an activity.

To answer this question, I paid a visit to Orange County Archery, a store in Fountain Valley specializing in all things bow related, and took a lesson Friday night.

I met up with the store's manager, Kevin Clark, and chatted with him before the class started. He and his family have been in the city for 14 years and have continued to see new customers take up archery as a hobby.

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He explained that the popularity of the sport has come in waves usually tied to movies. He's seen the "Rambo" crowd, the "Lord of the Rings" fanboys and now a surge of folks who just watched "The Hunger Games" and are trying to harness their inner Katniss Everdeen.

"For a while, people were using terms like 'Bringing out their inner Legolas' and that type of thing," Clark said.

That Friday was oddly slow for the store, Clark said. The only people taking the class that night were Dan Geil, a 26-year-old high school teacher from Fountain Valley, and me.

Geil told me that he had been taking frequent lessons at Orange County Archery since December. He had shot a bow a few times when he was younger and found some time to pick up the hobby again.

After quick pleasantries, I was given one of the store's rental bows and an arm guard to wear on my left forearm. This proved to provide little to no protection because of my improper form.

Clark gave me a rundown on the do's and don'ts of the 20-yard shooting range and an introduction to how to hold the bow and release the string correctly.

As he was instructing me in the basics, I started realizing why so many people try archery. It isn't physically daunting for the most part, unless you're pulling 40 pounds or more of draw weight. I happened to be pulling 22 pounds, which is pull weight most beginners start with.

The mechanics of shooting a bow are quite easy as well. To put it simply, you hold the bow and aim with your left hand, draw and release the string with your right hand.

After Clark was done teaching me the basics, the only thing left to do was apply the lessons. Easier said than done.

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