Tuesday, June 18, 2013
As many of my Whitecaps teammates can attest, I’ve been in a continuing love-hate relationship with the Innova Pulsar. For starters, I was definitely intrigued that the MLU was using a different Frisbee. At first touch, I was pleasantly surprised by the increased lift and smooth release of the disc. It was new and different, which was exciting -- like throwing a brand new disc golf for the very first time. This feeling lasted for maybe two weeks, before I had accrued enough touches to realize, that this Pulsar was very different than the Ultrastar. During the early practices and scrimmages, multitudes of throws careened out-of-bounds, missing their targets by 30 yards. During one particularly windy deep drill, there were at least 10 straight throws that floated, turned and veered away from their target.
My suspicion grew.
But after several weeks, the throws began to straighten out and play appeared almost normal again. Initially, I was intrigued at the prospect of being able to throw the Pulsar farther than the Ultrastar – something that appealed to me greatly. For another several weeks, I was whole-heartedly convinced that the Pulsar was a superior Frisbee – a big boy disc that held its edge and was destined for max distance.
However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a foolish conclusion. Thus, our relationship flipped-flopped and flipped again. I had to re-crunch the numbers. It wasn’t until I was able to get onto the turf with a bag of Ultrastars and my 2-3 Pulsars that I came to several horrifying realizations. For most throws, ranging from 5-15 yards, the difference in flight is barely noticeable. Once the range hits 20-40 yards, there is a technique change, but nothing revolutionary, as long as there is enough spin. However, anything over 40 yards is completely reverse – and this is my biggest gripe.
However, I make my money on big throws – rocket launcher with a sniper scope. I can huck it 80 yards on the money, either way, boomheadshot. The key to my success is having the biggest throws any way – upwind, downwind, crosswind, no wind. Despite almost any conditions, I had the biggest throws on the field – especially upwind. And here is the biggest difference and my pet peeve: The Innova Pulsar was designed to max its distance when thrown like a disc golf. Anhyzer edge, laser straight, S curving and tailing left on the backhand. For going downwind, great – it goes 100 yards and floats forever!! But now try throwing the Pulsar upwind. Go ahead – straight upwind. And… Oh, it only goes like 60 yards before it blades and dies. That is my issue. When throwing against the wind, the OI (anhyzer) edge is naturally pushed down – and therein lies the problem. The Pulsar was designed to max out with the OI edge, which coincidentally doesn’t happen when going straight upwind. The difference for the Ultrastar is the versatility and ability to turn/aim/airbounce the disc – moving it around targets more effectively and the ability to control the flight plan all the way through the S curve. When throwing upwind with the Ultrastar, the edge has to be severely IO (hyzer), which is the way to max the distance for an Ultrastar regardless.
But the biggest travesty thus far, is changing the Frisbee. Good intentions aside, this new disc will undoubtedly affect the level of play. It’s no wonder the Innova flies like a golf disc; Innova is a leader in disc golf discs. The rim is huge, bulky, and abrupt in comparison to the Ultrastar rim. But the biggest difference is that the Pulsar holds its edge, despite the spin on the disc, making IO throws stay IO. Even a flat IO will fade away, making the majority of huck drills unmanageable as disc after disc strays out of bounds. At first, due to the Pulsar's ability to hold its edge, I thought it could be thrown harder and farther. That was foolish optimism. There is no S curve. Throwing IO with the intention of turning the edge over isn’t an option. With an Ultrastar, ripping the hyzer and playing out the S curve makes for the biggest throws. But with this Innova, the only option is anhyzer.