Atlatls are spear throwing sticks that have been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, and are still probably used to throw harpoons on occasion.
Using an atlatl is alot like throwing with a six foot arm that has an extra elbow.
Instead of throwing the 30 or so yards that the unaided arm will allow, the atlatl will allow the average person to throw 90 yards and the gifted to throw 125 yards. The world atlatl record is over 800 feet, which is more than 2 football fields!
An atlatl is a simple piece of equipment to make, consisting of a stick with a crooked point on the end and a feathered spear with a cone shaped depression in the end to connect the throwing stick. Some people make atlatl darts from aluminum or carbon fiber for modern use, and they are very durable.
Throwing an atlatl is loads of fun, a very inexpensive hobby, and running after the darts is good exercise because they go so far. There is a certain thrill to slamming a cardboard buffalo target at 85 yards, and your atlatl can be the hit of the right outdoor party. Be careful!!
There are some good atlatl sites on the internet. You might try:
The World Atlatl Association
The atlatl at the top of the page was made by Charlie Brown of Arvada, Colorado.
Supplies for atlatl making are sometimes available through: