Since taking up Longbow archery a few years ago I have been fascinated by the variety of bows available. Choosing one above another is difficult. It is not easy to try them out; friends at clubs may be OK with you having a go with their bow for a few ends, but it takes time to get to know what is working for you.
So, I started out with a bow made by club resident guild member, Paul Reed, who had made bows for many members and others. I acquired a triple laminate bow (42 pound pull at 28 inches). This served me very well, even taking the Surrey Longbow championship one year, and still continues to be a reliable companion.
Next, on a trip to Washington State, I came across Curt Brisky who fulfilled my next desire with a truly traditional lovely and sinuous pure Yew bow (50 pounds pull). This was a new experience and a new love. Faster and light in the hand 80 and 100 yards became more realistic distances to shoot, albeit with new arrows (arrows are a story for another day!), and a bit of adjustment.
Then I read a review of a Adrian Hayes bow on the Archers Review blog. I was impressed, even excited by what I read. If a bow was really that good I had to take notice. Yes I know it is only one part of the equation in the bow/arrows/archer mix, but I was struggling to find form with my current mix of arrows and bows and I was ready to take a chance.
I phoned Adie and had a good chat; a few weeks later my new bamboo backed bow (52 pounds @ 28″) arrived.
First impressions were good. Very good. The extra pounds felt OK, the bow was responsive and light in the hand. Arrows shot true and suddenly I started to realise where my weaknesses were. Yes, I need to improve my aiming. Yes I need to match my arrows better to the bow(s). But now I have a bow that in some unspoken way reveals that to me.
It will still be a while before I understand this and start to find the right combinations of bow & arrow at the different distances. But that journey has now started. Thank you Adrian, Curt and Paul.