These pictures capture the enormous flex that a dart undergoes during the throw. Not quite as evident is the flex in the atlatl itself. This one takes on a shallow “S” curve. This was an unfinished river cane shaft. It had been somewhat straightened but no forshaft or point were attached. If they were, there would probably be even greater flex due to the higher mass slowing the acceleration of the front end of the dart. I would call this shaft moderately stiff-spined and it flexed far more than could be seen with the naked eye.
This student was kind enough to allow me to photograph several throws to capture the right moment. This is about maximum flex.
This flex is vital to a powerful and accurate throw.
Below are a couple of darts with the new thrower.