Friday, June 7, 2019

Rumble in Rembau

Taking a long distance shot at the last station at the Second Malaysian 3D shoot in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan...
The Legendary Tuan Bahar!

Mawaddah Archery is synonymous to 3D archery in Peninsular Malaysia. Why? Because Tuan Bahar and his team called Gabungan Pemanah Underground are responsible for the best 3D shoot money can buy. 
I took part at their first game in Seremban last year and vowed to return again because I had a great time.
This year, Tuan Bahar had raised the bar by investing heavily in procuring SRT targets from Italy through Excella Pro Archery shop in Alor Gajah, Malacca.
For starters, 3D targets are not cheap. Many pro shops in the Klang Valley took advantage of this by selling crappy products at cut-throat prices. This is not the case by Excella Archery which was created by archers for archers.
Okay, done with the plug. Moving on, our team had registered for the game in Kampung Ulu Kendong near the Malacca border. As usual, when we need to travel, we set off early.

Setting up
The crowd...

Jeb, cheerful as usual...
Positive response...

When we arrived near the 3D tournament course, the crowd was steadily building up. People from all over the country have convened to showcase their talent with their bows. This time round, Tuan Bahar had included the compound bow class, attracting a fair bit of people. Some, who came all the way from Kuantan, Pahang.
There, I met many old friends -- especially a group from the Meraga Sukma archery club in Terengganu. This gave me a chance to catch up with them and ask about up and coming archery events in that state.
When the time came, Tuan Bahar gave a briefing and long before we knew it, we were on our way to our respective zones. There were three courses divided for the 250-odd archers taking part.
My flight had 10 people, mostly traditional archers. There were only four barebow archers in our flight.
The first station was a 20-meter target on low elevation. I took three shots and landed only one. 
Then, we moved on to a more challenging station. On an animal hide. There was a pig placed downrange about 35-meters away. My goal was to land all my arrows without missing the target...

Shooting from a platform to a low elevation target

Jeb taking aim...

The flight leader taking scores...
For those who missed, they have a chance of "redeeming" points with smaller targets placed at a shorter distance. Most who thought this was easy missed. 
One of the toughest target was a jackal placed on a ledge. The animal's color blended with its surroundings. This made it difficult for archers to land their arrows on the scoring rings.
We covered as many as two zones before breaking for lunch.

Taking a shot at the jackal

Helping a fellow archer spot
The event was held on a hillside resort owned by an ex-sailor. It's surrounding hills proved to be pretty tough for those who are not in a good physical shape.
If you lug your arrows on your waist, by the end of the day, your entire lower body will be sore.
I used my proven Rancho Safari Cat Quiver. The load bearing capabilities reduces fatigue and does not restrict movement, especially when you have to go down to a rut to retrieve arrows.
But all this has taken a toll on our buddy Jeb. He was flat out tired. Coach Lau, my team mate and I continued to the last station and finished the course.

Two different shooting styles

Taking scores

Coach Lau at work...

Piglets at the last zone
Conclusion: Great fun!

After sending three arrows on a resting bear while standing on a rock, we made our way to the car to pack up.
I took out a bottle of beer, which was already getting warm and handed it to Jeb. Even Coach Lau had a few sips of the brew. It has been a long day and as soon as the event had ended, we made our way to the highway and headed straight back to Subang Jaya. I wished I could have a nice dinner with the gang in Tampin, but I had a family event to attend to.
The top barebow archer in the lot was from the Meraga Sukma club. Its no surprise since he won the Ompa Field Archery challenge in Benton about two months earlier. I was told that the Terengganu club will be hosting similar events in the months following Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. I can certainly look forward to that.
As for the second Malaysian 3D shoot, I had fun. It was a quality game, but the organizers were apologetic over the difficulty of the course due to the terrain it was in. As long as you are in a good shape, hauling ass and sending arrows downrange in the jungle should not be a big issue...
As I am speaking, I do look forward to another 3D shoot near Alor Gajah in Malacca this middle of June!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sungai Lembing Rendezvous - Part 2

A group photo with our friend Stefan Von Teichner
The team event...

We had to wake up early, fight a hangover and complete the game in the team event.
But there was a snag. Our numbers. We had to split-up into a team of three and complete the course.
Jeb, one of our guys had to team up with Stefan, a 3D range owner from Malacca.
With that sorted out, the teams were briefed before they head out to shoot all the targets placed in 24 stations around the course.
It started with a team placing their shots on an elevated target, slowly, they were released and moved around in a circle. 

SC Khoo from team SBA placing a shot...

Jeb at work on a riverbed course...
Connecting all the dots....

Since it was a team event, we took turns to sight and give directions on where the arrow had traveled.
Some stations were tough. We had to balance ourselves on a fallen log and take the shot.
There were guys who completely missed and the good ones, they connected every shot they made.
Only this time round, I sent two arrows to its demise. One shot hit a target stand and made a real sickening nose. That sharp "ping!" signaled a write-off.
Another arrow went low and was buried in stand. A piece of rock stopped it and flattened the tip. All-in, I've lost three arrows. We were told that someone will retrieve the lost arrows by using a metal detector. But, that didn't happen.
As the Sun begins to warm up the day, things slowly took a toll on the archers. Heat and humidity got to them and as we shot the last few targets on the valley below the resort, the heat became unbearable. 
One of our guys had to bail out. And for not informing the organizer, he had a mouthful from the course director...

Archers doing their practice rounds in the morning...

Taking turns to shoot the target...

Wild boar tracks...

A deceptive target layout, but nevertheless, both my shots connected!
An interesting conclusion...

Once we were done with all the targets, it was time to head back to the villa and check out. We had to hand over the keys to the property.
We left the resort to do the needful and while having lunch, a phone call came. 
A fellow archer had informed Jeb that team SBA has won the second day shoot.
I thought it was a joke, so we carried on eating before heading back to the resort to thank the organizer.
By the time we got there, everyone had left. I checked the score sheet and found out that we led by only one point. A team from Kuantan took second place at the shoot.
The organizer asked for a feedback about the event. I told him that he should invest heavily on good foam animal targets.
His response was "everything came out from his own pocket..." My take on this was very simple: you charge a fee for the event, it's not free and costings should be worked into giving a quality game. Not whine about not having funds. 
My personal opinion: the place where the event was held is amazing. Nice scenery, totally awesome for 3D shoots. The targets can be improved. Instead of using animals printed on vinyl buntings, the organizer should invest heavily on high-quality foam animals. What I saw, were really lousy foam targets that fell apart even before the event was over. To rub salt to the wound, I actually owned a similar looking target which I bought a couple of years ago from a shop in Malacca. It was so bad, the foam disintegrated by the elements. It will be great to see some good 3D targets from Italy's SRT targets or Delta McKenzie from the US being used at such a course. The fees of course, will be higher, but it's all for a quality game...

Sungai Lembing Rendezvous - Part 1

Field and 3D archery events are far and few in-between here in Malaysia, but it's gaining popularity among archers....

And so it begins... 

I jump at the first chance to try out field and 3D archery events organized locally. It's fun walking in the jungle and plinking foam animal targets at unmarked distances. So far, only one organizer had pulled off a great show when it comes to 3D archery.
Sometime earlier this year, I met an archer from Kuantan who made mention about a 3D shoot in Sungai Lembing, a former mining town near Pahang's state capital.
I raised the matter to my buddies who agreed to take part, so, I made the arrangements to get hold of the organizer to register for the event. 
They charge RM80 for the shoot, which is a pretty decent price considering the cost of buying foam animals for 3D course. To begin with, the animals are not cheap. A small critter can cost between RM400-600 and larger animals can go up to the thousands. So, that said, the plan was to car pool from Kuala Lumpur to Sg Lembing. We set the rendezvous at 3.30am for those living in Subang Jaya. I had to pick up another guy before 4am in the Kepong area before hitting the East Coast highway.
The plan is to arrive at Sg Lembing, have breakfast and head straight to the 3D course. None of the guys have been to this area before, so, it's a visual treat!

New gear, sleep deprivation and busted arrows!

You don't get much sleep when you have to wake up early and drive for four hours. Driving in the dark and putting full concentration on the road can be a real pain in the ass. And the safety of all the guys in the car is paramount.
It takes about four hours to get to Sg Lembing from Subang Jaya. When we arrived at town, the first order of the day, was to get a good fill on our tummies. It's going to be a real long day as we were expected to hike with our bows and arrows including archery tools and drinking water at the course.
Having savored the local fare, we were satisfied enough to head down to the resort where the event was held.
Most of the archers were already there and there were a few familiar faces. Some of the folks we met were from Kuantan. The organizer gave a briefing about the rules and the course layout and the first group was sent out. Well, to a slope where they have to shoot from an elevated position. 
Targets were placed on the ground, some 40-50 meters away. This was very interesting as the archers took turns to engage on paper targets placed downrange.
Some guys missed while a few good ones actually connected with what they have aimed at...

I had bunch of new gear to test out at this course. For shooting 3D, I have ditched my field quiver for a Rancho Safari load bearing system and arrow carrier. My bow as a brand-new CD Archery WF25X riser with Hoyt Velos #32lb limbs. And the most controversial part is using the "VAP V-1" arrows that I bought cheap from supplier in the East Coast. Small diameter target arrows do perform, but they do come with a hefty price is you send it to the wrong spot. Hit something hard, you lose the arrow. On the first day, I lost one arrow after missing a foam target from the distance of 25 meters.
The Rancho Safari Cat Quiver IV was a real life-saver. I don't have arrows rattling and dangling all over my hip and the load bearing system actually helped to relieve fatigue, something I have already been experiencing due to sleep deprivation and the long drive to Sg Lembing. 
As for our team, the rest of the guys shot pretty well. One ended up in the top-5 while the rest of us settled in the middle-ranks.
The course tested on how we would resolved on shooting in tough terrain. At some stations, you literally have to stand on a log, balance yourself and attempt to land a clean shot. Using a 70" bow, I had the limbs snagging on vegetation above me... Hahahha!
By the time we were done, it was time to head to your villa located near town. We had a couple of chilled beers before checking out a siew-yuk (roast pork) joint nearby. This eatery opens only once a week and was a real treat. 
There was a BBQ session hosted by the organizer later in the evening. We decided to enjoy the siew-yuk which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it turned out that the BBQ was a horrible affair. 
After socializing with some fellow archers at the resort where the shoot was held, we decided to head back to town for supper and called it a day as the team event takes place the following day... 

Barebow archery, loving it!

Barebow was given its due recognition at the 2019 World Archery Congress in Netherlands recently...

Four years and counting...

I am enjoying retirement and haven't been posting anything for at least a year and a-half.
For me, life has been good and things have been going really smooth for me. And it has been four years since I took up archery. I bought my first takedown recurve bow and never looked back.
Michelle my wife and I went through a bit to get our hobby going. We were chased out of public range and at the time when we doing our barebow gig, most of the "upper crust" archers in target archery had deemed us as "unworthy"

The motion tabled at the 2019 World Archery Congress

People who matter in the archery scene representing 85 member nations from all over the world had convened in the Netherlands to vote on 15 motions. One of them was recognizing barebow in target archery. So, what does it mean? Technically-speaking, barebow archers would have the opportunity to create world records in target archery where they compete. Well, sanctioned events by World Archery of course...

Here and now...

The local archery scene has witnessed a spike in Barebow entries. From the beginning of the year till the end, there are events such as 18-meter shoots and the newly-introduced Barebow 50m. With the inclusion of Barebow in target archery, archers now have a chance to earn the 50m badge by submitting their highest scores in sanctioned events. The onus now is for the national archery association to move along with World Archery's stand on the recognition for barebow. Since history was made, we will see the changes. Barebow archers are no longer "unworthy", but people are people, there are folks who hate. We can't change that mindset. But, it is now the barebow archer's part to learn the rules and dress accordingly for events. Discipline matters and good sportsmanship will ensure that the sport remains recognized and respected.