I started playing in the late nineties when there were only a couple disc golf companies worth buying plastic from. Innova and Discraft set the bar (Millennium was up there too) but the rest were far down the line, mostly because there was a huge gap in quality of plastic. The smaller companies just simply couldn’t hold their own. Or maybe it was I thought choosing between disc named Driver #1, #2, #3 made me look like a huge dork.
Over the last several years, there have been several new companies cropping up, such as Vibram and ABCDiscs. And many have been European imports such as Discwing, Latitude 64 and Discmania. Personally, I’ve kind of dismissed most of these companies because of the poor products back in the nineties. Which really isn’t fair.
A buddy of mine ordered a couple first run CD (Control Driver) – or it’s called the Craze, they have a bunch of names for their discs – from Discmania. He was talking about the company so I went to go check them out online and stumbled across this –
– and thought whoops, this is some action movie’s website. But, it’s not. It’s just Avery Jenkins looking badass.
So anyway, I asked to throw a Craze for a round, and didn’t really know what to expect. I’ll spoil it by saying I wanted to trade him for it by the round’s end.
Discmania uses Innova molds to design new discs – it looks like they just reproduced the Gremlin for one – and they’ve adopted a similar flight characteristics table. It’s funny, because the specs for the Craze are identical to the Starfire-L, even though they aren’t really close at all. (I went out with a brand new Star SL to see if it’s the same. It’s not.)
I threw the S plastic-CD – first run! – and it flies as the title of Control Driver implies. It held in a head wind, flew straight in a tailwind not to mention had some impressive distance as well.
Now, with the freezing weather I played in, the disc may have been a touch more overstable than if I threw it during the summer. But like I said, the SL is not comparable to the CD. The SL was much more susceptible to the wind compared to the CD. The CD felt smooth out of the hand, was steady throughout the flight, held lines in all kinds of condition and was incredibly versatile. Needless to say, I liked it.
It is hard for a disc golf company to burst onto the scene. There is an incredible amount of plastic available and molding a disc into a part of someone’s bag takes effort. More likely than not, there is a disc out there which has a desired flight pattern. The trend is moving toward gigantic rims – you could even say epic rims – which brings more speed and power, along with less predictability. And now made for water!
Reinventing the old classics is where these other companies can succeed. Honestly, the First Run CD felt like a slightly beat Teebird with a tad more distance. It felt great to throw. The only question I have is durability, but that is because I haven’t had a chance to beat it in.
But while the big companies have such an advantage – they have the plastic and the familiarity – there is always room for competition. But, I would urge those who only throw from one company to branch out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.