NOTE: This post was originally published in 2013
This week’s featured Goldline ambassador is the lead on the team skipped by Kevin Martin. Ben Hebert has achieved much success out on the curling ice, having won a gold medal at the world junior championships, 2 Briers, a gold and silver at the world championships, and a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, as well as numerous other curling events and titles. The Martin team recently won the Alberta provincial playdowns, thereby earning the opportunity to play for another Brier title in front of a hometown crowd.
Ben was featured recently in the YouTube series “Cullen and a Curler”; check it out to see what Ben had to say.
We wish Ben and the rest of the Martin team the best of luck as they prepare for the Brier in Edmonton, Alberta in March.
If you weren’t curling what sport would you be playing?
Where were you born?
What is your current hometown?
What is your "real" job?
Business Development Rep/Focus Corp
When did you start curling?
12 years old
Who is your favourite athlete?
Where is your favourite place to curl?
What is your favourite food?
Where is your favourite vacation spot?
What is your favourite TV show?
What are you listening to on your iPod?
Who is your favourite curler other than yourself?
Who is your role model?
Have you ever been in a bar fight?
Who is your celebrity crush?
What is your favourite book?
Don’t read books
What is your favourite movie?
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it?
If you could be anyone dead or alive who would you be?
Michael Buble.. Huge Stud!
What would you do if you had a million dollars?
I'd be John Morris!
Who is the best curler to follow on twitter?
What is your favourite sports team?
What is your preferred shot to win a game?
What is one of your favourite quotes?
“If we put it here, we win the Brier… What, you don’t want to win the Brier”
– Rob Harris 2003
What is your favourite body part?
I hate Loaded questions… Chest?
What is your favourite form of exercise?
If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
25 was a good age!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Juggling curling, work and wife!
Performance and Comfort Considerations for Curling Shoes
The Quantum integrated design system (I.D.S.) leaves behind the use of an adhesive to attach a slider and gripper to the sole of the shoe. The adhesive bond has been the standard for generations, however, in addition to delaminating problems, it has bound us to Teflon* as the only material that could be used as a slider. The Quantum employs an innovative mechanical attachment system wherein slider and gripper “disks” are snapped into strategically positioned receptacles in the sole.
The advantages of Quantum Discs are numerous:
Slider Thickness - slider speed increases with the thickness of the Teflon™, ¼” being the thickest and the fastest. Every curler should be looking for optimal slide with a minimum of leg thrust. For most curlers excessive leg thrust results in instability. Experienced curlers who are accustomed to the ice and do not have stability concerns usually prefer a fast slider, whereas less experienced curlers usually want to balance speed with stability. It is important to keep in mind that inexperienced curlers generally have low leg thrust and, if they are equipped with an excessively slow slider, the result will be an unsatisfactory delivery.
Hinged Front Slider - sliders that have a thickness of 5/32” or greater tend to be rigid, limiting any heel elevation during delivery. The Podium sole itself, not the slider, is designed to afford the appropriate degree of longitudinal flexibility. Rigidity also results in constant heel rubbing during walking. By splitting the front from the back slider and “hinging” the front slider, the negative effect of rigidity is eliminated on Podium Gold and Silver shoes.
Lateral Stability - stability during delivery is best achieved by distributing weight equally across the width of the sole. During delivery the natural tendency is for weight to be shifted to the outside of the sliding foot. The outsole on the Podium series is expressly moulded to incorporate a lateral stabilizer in the ball of the foot. The result is even distribution of weight across the slider, a wider balance platform and enhanced stability.
Warmth - insulation throughout the upper and air cushioning in the sole ensure warmth on all Podium models.
Comfort and Fit - careful attention to materials and design afford slipper like comfort from the first time Podium shoes are worn. Further, the Silver model is available in both REGULAR and WIDE fit. Unlike most curling shoes, ladies Podiums are built on specific women’s moulds.
Quality - most shoe manufacturing relies upon a high volume production line. Only high end shoes are still produced in lower volume “hand made” factories. The entire Podium line is produced in such an environment – guaranteeing careful attention to quality and detail.
In a curling game, players (other than the skip) throw only two rocks but sweep six others. The importance of sweeping cannot be underestimated! Good sweepers can make the difference between an average shot and an amazing shot. Given the importance of sweeping, it should come as no surprise that curling brooms (or curling brushes) are the second most important piece of curling equipment, ranking only behind curling shoes.
If you are like many curlers, you probably started off using a club broom that was available at your curling club when you took up the sport. But as you continue to play the game, you may be wondering whether it is time to invest in a broom of your own.
In choosing a broom, there are three key things you need to consider:
The broom handle, or shaft, is typically comprised of some combination of wood, fiberglass, and/or carbon fiber. And with such a wide variety of materials used, it leads to a broad range in the weight of brooms. Weight is key: the lighter the broom, the easier it is to apply pressure when brushing and the more effective a sweeper you will be.
Generally speaking, the greater the proportion of carbon fiber, the lighter the broom. At Goldline, we have two choices in handles. Our Carbon Fiber broom handles weigh between 170 and 200 grams (depending on the diameter of the shaft) whereas on our Fiberlite brooms (which are basically comprised of 65% fiberglass and 35% carbon fiber), the handles weigh between 270 and 300 grams.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to invest in a carbon fiber broom: a Fiberlite broom will already be much lighter than the club broom you’ve used previously. At some point, though, the logical choice may be to take the extra step and invest in a 100% carbon fiber broom.
Typically, broom handles come in different sizes to accommodate varying hand sizes. At Goldline, we offer 1” and 1-1/8” handles on our brooms. Which size handle you prefer is entirely a matter of personal taste; there is no requirement that women use a broom with a thinner handle while men use brooms with a thicker handle. When shopping, make sure to hold brooms with differing sizes of handles in your hands and determine which feels most comfortable.
In addition to the synthetic head Goldline has reintroduced a horse hair head this year, which is generally felt to be more effective on frosty ice, found in arenas and at televised events (where crowds and cameras combine to increase the frost on the playing surface).The vast majority of brooms come with a swivel head and a replaceable synthetic pad. This type of broom will be very effective on curling club ice. While the brush itself can last many years, the pads are replaceable and should be replaced at least once per season.
Once the choice of material, diameter of shaft, and type of head are made, the toughest decision remains: colour. At Goldline, we have a wide variety of colours available in both our Carbon Fiber and Fiberlite brooms. New colours this year include Metallic White in our Carbon Fiber line, and Steel and Ebony in our Fiberlite line. And if your current broom is still in excellent condition, evaluate if your synthetic pad needs to be replaced, or perhaps it’s time to try a Norway pad!
Buying your own broom: it’s a small investment which will make a world of difference in your game.
A pair of curling shoes: this is the key piece of equipment that any curler will ever own.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, maybe you have thought about purchasing curling shoes for that important curler in your life. But then you think to yourself, “Shoes? How can I possibly buy shoes for someone else?” Whether you are a curler yourself or simply an armchair curling quarterback, there are two things you need to think about when you embark on your shopping expedition.
The first question you will generally be asked when buying a shoe is whether the curler is right-handed or left-handed. For the veteran curlers reading this note, this may seem to be a ridiculous question. But for those who know nothing about the sport, they often think that being right-handed means the slider is on the right foot (trust me, I hear it in our retail store all the time)! In curling, if you hold and release the rock with your right hand, the slider will go on the opposing (ie. left) foot, and vice versa.
In curling, with experience comes improved balance and stability (at least one hopes that is the case). And as balance improves, one generally begins to think more seriously about the Teflon that is used on the surface of his/her shoe. Teflon is the most common material used for sliders and comes in a variety of thicknesses. If you don’t know why the thickness of Teflon is important, the easiest explanation is as follows: for a given amount of leg drive (out of the hack), the thicker the Teflon, the further one will travel down the ice.
For these individuals, the move to a curling shoe will generally lead to a huge improvement in their balance and stability. Now when it comes to a shoe for newer curlers, I would suggest a thinner slider. Newbies really don’t need the speed associated with a thicker slider as their primary objective is to stay upright. At Goldline, our two most popular choices for beginners are the Glide, with a 1/16” inch thick slider and is available for both men and women, and the Podium Bronze shoe, which comes with a 3/32” inch thick slider and is also available for for both men and women.
For those who have played a bit longer and/or have achieved a good sense of balance and stability out on the ice, the preference is often towards a thicker slider. Goldline offers numerous choices for these individuals. Our Podium Silver shoe (men's / women's) comes with a 5/32” inch thick slider, and in addition to the regular fit it is also available in a wide fit for both men and women. At the top thickness we have our Podium Gold shoe, which has a ¼” thick slider for men or women, as well as our G Force shoe, which is our newest offering this season.
Shoppers: if curling shoes are the gift that will put a smile on your loved one’s face but you are still very hesitant about whether you’ll pick the right style and size, you can always purchase a gift card. You can even clip out one of the pictures of the different Goldline curling shoes shown below and include it with the card so that there is no uncertainty as to your intentions. Or, if you really want to be able to wrap up a pair of shoes in your best wrapping paper and decorate with the most beautiful bow you have, rest assured that Goldline would be happy to exchange shoes for the proper size, or provide a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
For those who are just now compiling their wish list, simply clip out this column and attach it to your annual letter to the jolly old man up north, or discreetly slip it into the hands/purse/newspaper of that special someone in your life (hopefully they can take a hint!).
HO HO HO!!!
An important note to our readers: Dr. Goldline is not a real doctor, in any way, shape or form; the moniker is used purely for entertainment value. In addition, the views expressed are entirely those of the author and not of management or any other curler.
Stop watch: friend or foe? Every curler will have a different opinion on the topic.
Flash back: I was playing in a crucial playoff game about five years ago against the top ranked team in the club and the game was tied after 5. Having the advantage of last rock in the sixth, my skip, for his final shot of the end, had to draw into the house against two opposition stones which were biting the 12 foot ring. Skipper had had draw weight all night so this was not going to be a problem. Well, yours truly is watching the sweepers come down the ice with the rock, and by the point they reach the hog line, I am thinking the stone doesn’t look like it’s travelling very fast and I ask them once, then twice then three times if the rock is going to make it into the rings and they say yes every time, but then the rock came up short and we gave up a steal of two and ultimately lost the game!!!! When I asked the front end why they hadn’t swept, the second told me, “Based on the split time, the rock should have ended up right on the tee line”. (I had two drinks after the game that night).
Enough of my personal pain…..
While shoes and brushes fall into the category of “important to have”, timing devices fall into the “nice to have/maybe I’ll try it sometime” category. The underlying premise of timing is simple: if you repeatedly measure the speed of a moving object – the rock - between two fixed points (such as the back line and hog line, or the tee line and hog line), you should be able to tell how far one rock is going to travel relative to another rock by comparing the times you captured using the stop watch (I won’t even get into the topic of whether ice is “fast” or “slow” – let’s leave that for a future article). And by keeping a mental record of these split times and the outcome of each throw, you should be able to anticipate up front, based on split time alone, where every rock thrown will end up (ie. will be the rock be in front of the house, in the rings or will it travel through the rings?)
But, timing is not a perfect science. There are many factors that impact the “split times” you record during the course of a game.
My thoughts: many teams out there use timing devices but many others don’t. If you want to try one out, go ahead. But remember this: the watch is just an aide, and it is not a perfect one. In the end, you have to rely on your eyes and good judgment to figure out where the rock is going to end up.
Protective Headgear for Curlers Proves Popular
By Doug Flowers, President
Talk to a manager or anyone who has spent time around a curling club and they will have a story, or more likely stories, about falls on the ice. Without fail falls onto the back of the head are seen to be the most serious. Though such incidents happen in every club, there is no record maintained and the issue of head injuries in curling is not captured on any sports injury radar.
Five years ago Goldline introduced a "Sport Band" which provided the protection required in the event of a fall onto the back of the head, however it was "dorky" looking and not adopted by the average curler. Doug Flowers, the project manager at Goldline, states, "While we recognised the need for protective headwear for curlers, we also recognised that design was a key to acceptance. If a critical mass of curlers was going to wear it, it had to be cosmetically attractive."
The final product, four years in development, incorporates a protective shield into a conventionally styled hat. The protective component was designed and tested with the input of Biokinetics, an Ottawa based company world renowned for the testing of protective products that protect the head The hat itself is available in five styles - baseball, visor, headband, toque and poor boy - and a variety of colours and sizes. Unless you look closely, one would not know this conventional, stylish hat incorporates a protective element.
NOTE: This post was originally published on Oct. 30, 2013
Put your best Fashion Foot Forward
The curling season is underway. You have dusted off your shoes and taken your first practice slides out on the ice. You’ve put a new pad on your brush (perhaps a Norway pad?) and you’re ready to sweep every rock thrown by your team mates. What else is there to do?
Well, look like a rock star when you step out onto the ice. At Goldline, we have a great assortment of apparel for both men and women that is comfortable, functional and fashionable.
For the ladies out there, we have 3 styles of pants for you to choose from. The Kalynn is an extremely comfortable yoga-style pant. The GLX has been around for several years and continues to be one of our best sellers. New this year is the Savannah which is stylish and features a pin-stripe fabric.
Male curlers also have three styles of pant to choose from: the MoJo (designed with input from Goldline ambassador John Morris), the GLX, as well as the GQ (note: the GQ pant is also very popular with our female customers).
When it comes to jackets, we feature two styles for both men and women. The Oslo jacket is a two-tone textured fleece jacket, which is available in four colour combinations: black with charcoal, black with red, red with black, and black with emerald green.
New to our lineup this year is the Lillehammer. Colour options for the Lillehammer are black/charcoal/white, black/royal blue/white, and black/emerald green/white. Both styles of jacket are machine washable and affordable.
Goldline has also introduced a new top to its line of apparel this season. The Sierra is a long sleeved, brushed, quarter zip top made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. Soft and cozy doesn’t even begin to describe how this top will feel against your skin. The Sierra is available in black only.
You can purchase Goldline apparel and equipment at any one of our four retail stores, or shop on-line at www.goldlinecurling.com.
Dr. Goldline is not a real doctor, the moniker is used purely for entertainment value. The views expressed here are entirely those of the author and not of management or any other curler.
Any sweeper would relish the opportunity to sweep his/her skip’s rock to the button to score the winning point in a game but a dirty brush head could ruin that opportunity! Grasshopper, make sure your brush head is clean when you are out on the ice!
As curlers we all know that sweeping is key in cleaning the ice surface and helping a rock get closer to its intended destination. If we put aside the cleanliness of the ice, which is largely out of your control, there are three primary factors that impact the expected life of a brush head: position, pressure and playing frequency.
Front end players, our leads and seconds, do a lot more sweeping than those playing vice or skip, so if you play this position you will need to replace your brush head more frequently.
Do you brush really hard and apply a lot of pressure when you sweep, or would your sweeping action qualify more as a gentle dusting of the ice? The higher the intensity of your sweeping, the greater the wear and tear on your brush head.
The final element in the equation is the number of games you play over the course of a week or month: the once-a-week recreational curler will definitely not need to replace brush heads as frequently as the individual who curls 3-4 (or more) times per week.
The first step is simply to look at it. How dirty is the surface? The sides of the head will generally show the original colour of the pad so compare that to the colour of the pad on the brushing surface.
The second step – and to me this is the more important one - is to run my fingers over the surface of the brush head. Is it smooth as silk? That might be a good thing if you were looking for a new blouse or silk tie, but a clean brush head should have some texture to it. Normally the areas which feel very smooth will appear to be a bit shiny, smooth and shiny likely means it is time to invest in a new brush head.
If you are using Goldline’s Norway pad, similar guidelines apply. It is time to replace the head when the fabric gets shiny or when the ridges on the pad are worn down to the point that the threading is starting to wear.
There are no hard and fast rules on this but I think that for most club curlers it is worth investing in a new broom head at least once per season at the start of the season. And for those playing more frequently or who are very effective at sweeping, a mid-season replacement may very well be in order.
Once you’ve attached a new head to your brush, take care of it the best you can during the season. If you are using a nylon pad, make use of the brushes that are normally provided in the ice shed and clean off the head frequently during a game (oh, and by the way, make sure to do your cleaning away from the ice surface!). Should you be using a Norway pad, avoid the brushes - just clean the surface of the pad using the palm of your glove, or by gently running the brush against the carpet.
Curling: 4 players, 8 ends, 16 rocks. That’s your typical game.
Those of you who watched the Continental Cup would have seen that there were many portions of the competition which were somewhat unconventional. In this blog post, we want to throw out some ideas on events / leagues that don’t follow the standard format of the game.
The concept of a skins game has long existed in the sport of golf and has made its mark in the curling world as well. In this format of play, each end is worth a certain number of skins. To win the available skins, the team with hammer (ie. throwing last rock in the end) must score two or more points; or the team without hammer must steal one or more points. If there are no points scored in an end, or if the team with last rock only scores a single point, the skins in that end are carried over to the next end. Typically, if there is a carry over in the last end of play, a draw to the button by each team will be used to determine who wins the remaining available skins.
Skins games are pretty entertaining. You tend to see a lot more rocks in play, as there are typically lots of guards thrown up at the start of the game in an effort to generate offensive play.
In this format of play, a player is called upon to execute certain curling shots, usually with the benefit of having sweepers accompany the stone down the sheet of ice. Points are awarded for each shot based on how close the curler came to executing the shot. Typical types of shots included in this type of competition: draw to the button; draw through a port; double take out; raise; etc. If you’ve ever been to the Brier or the Scotties, a Hot Shots competition is conducted on the opening day of these national championships.
One of the key things to consider if you want to hold such a competition at your club: you should ask the ice crew at your club to include the “hot shot markings” in the ice when the ice is installed at the start of the season. The markers ensure that the stones are placed in the identical position for every person competing.
Scotch doubles is a type of curling played with two players per team and six stones per end per team. Three stones are delivered by each player and there are six ends in a game. Sweeping is permitted only after the far hog-line. Until two stones have been played (one from each side), stones in the free guard zone (those stones left in the area between the hog and tee lines, excluding the house) may not be removed by an opponent's stone.
Play a conventional game but make it more entertaining by using ”wacky scoring” whereby the rules for scoring are different for every end of play but you don’t know what scoring rules will apply until after the last rock is thrown and you rip open the envelope! Some examples: score as in a typical game but award the points to the other team; award each team a point for every rock of theirs which is in the free guard zone / out of play / in front of the tee line / behind the tee line.
Curling: try and spice it up sometime!