(Nov 5, 2015)
-- Over the last month it has come to light that some brush pad materials have been discovered to create an advantage for curling teams that goes against the natural physics of the sport, such that when used in their out-of-the-box condition can allegedly help rocks curl more, create backwards falling action and even slow down stones with sweeping. There have also concerns over sweeping technique that goes against what many consider acceptable on the ice.
While none of these brushes have been run through full testing procedures to prove these claims, we would like to advise our events and teams that in the short term we will provide suggested equipment to keep things civil on the ice until the governing bodies of the sport come together with standards for equipment.
Many top teams in the game representing users of all major curling manufacturers in the game have agreed to not use directional fabric until this ruling is made and the Ontario Curling Tour will advise our teams to do the same. Outside of Hardline, all manufacturers have saleable fabric options to use at this time, but for icePad users, our recommendation is to use the pad inside-out which is a similar material as the EQ brush pad.
Early testing at the Grand Slam of Curling event last week in Nova Scotia between two elite teams using Hardline and a Goldline products showed that using the EQ, the Norway Pad and inverted icePad showed similar results including affecting how much a rock will curl using any brush pad.
Our recommendation for sweeping technique is that teams look up and read the Curling Canada rule book and understand the rules. Curling Canada loosened sweeping rules several year ago to minimize the need for officials in calling sweeping, making corner sweeping and snow-ploughing legal techniques. Using one sweeper, changing sides and all of these actions are also included as legal options that seem to affect the curl with any brush pad, and are techniques any team can include in their play on the ice.
The goal for recommendations is to end the accusations going around at events and ensure that our game remains a game more about throwing a good stone than just manipulating it with the brushes. We're hoping this will still keep everyone on an even playing field while maintaining civility amongst our teams.
For anyone with concerns over the inverted icePad in remaining competitive, Steve Laycock won the Canad Inns in Manitoba, Brad Gushue won in Gatineau and John Shuster won Sarnia, all using the inverted icePad.
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