Often, a boomerang is confused with a non-returning hunting device known as throwing stick. Boomerangs are never used for hunting, since they are usually very lightweight and fly in a circular way.
Boomerang-like devices, including throwing sticks, have been used all over the world for hunting, religious and recreational activities. Their origin is still not fully clear. Research shown that ancient tribes in Europe used special throwing axes. Also, in ancient Egypt a special type of stick was exclusively used by the pharaohs for hunting birds. But the world famous 'country of the boomerang' is Australia, where the Aborigines have used boomerangs for thousands of years.
Today, boomerangs are used mainly in sports. There are different types of throwing contests—speed, accuracy of return, maximum time aloft, endurance (number of catches in 5 minutes of throwing), trick catch and distance. The modern sport boomerang—sometimes referred to as just 'boom'—is made of Finnish plywood, plastic or composite materials and comes in many different shapes and colors. Most sport boomerangs weigh less than 100 grams, with maximum time aloft boomerangs often under 25 grams.
In international competition, a world cup is held every even year, with the United States and Germany being the world team leaders. World records are recorded by the World Boomerang Association and include 80 catches in 5 minutes, 5 catches in 14.6 seconds, and a distance record of 238 meters after which the boomerang flew back accurately to the thrower.
Boomerang is also the name of at least two TV channels owned by Cartoon Network, one in the US and one in the UK, which show classic animated cartoons, mainly from the Warner Brothers, MGM and Hanna-Barbera archives. The UK channel has also screened the puppet show Thunderbirds. The channel was launched at the end of the 20th century and introduced to satellite in 2000.
For the aircraft, see CAC Boomerang