Michael Sandeen's Spin Jammer Is a New Twist on An Old Disc

updated 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Frisbee tumblers, take heart. There's a new flying disc on the market, one that's so user-friendly even a 3-year-old can learn to spin it like a pro. It's called the Spin JAMMER and, if recent sales figures are any indication, it should be getting heavy airplay this summer at the beach.

Masterminded by Michael Sandeen, 29, a Danville, Calif., inventor, the new airborne wonder looks a lot like its saucer-shaped cousin. The crucial difference is the "Whatchamastallit," a sunken cone set in the center of the disc to provide a finger hold for easy spinning (that's "stalling," in disc lingo). The cone helps make fancier maneuvers—behind-the-back catches, chest rolls, leg-overs—a breeze as well.

In the four months since its inception, Sandeen, Inc. has sold more than 500,000 green and orange Spin JAMMERS (at $6 to $8 a throw), and retailers coast-to-coast are begging for more. "We get numerous calls every day from people asking for 'that disc you put your finger in,' " says one San Francisco shop owner. "Who knows—this could be another Hula Hoop."

Science buff Sandeen, whose past is littered with inventions gone awry (including a super-absorbent sponge that proved too sodden to sell), had a hunch that an updated disc would really take off. "I knew there had to be a way to become adept at Frisbee tricks without years of practice," he says. "The cone idea just came to me. It was simple to make, inexpensive, and everybody would like it."

Everybody, that is, except Wham-O, the makers of Frisbee—which went into a bit of a spin when Sandeen adopted Frisbee's flight-enhancing grooves, whose patent had expired. Sandeen claims Wham-O offered to buy him out (Wham-O denies it). Now he has set himself a lofty goal: surpassing the Frisbee as America's disc of choice. "This is going to be like the Coke-Pepsi wars," he boasts, "and I plan to win."

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