Monday, June 27, 2016

Hardline Curling Response to New WCF Guidelines

Hardline Curling Response to New WCF Guidelines
St-Laurent QC - June 27, 2016

Hardline Curling would like to congratulate the players and the WCF for coming together at the recent Sweeping Summit and finding a solution for the Elite level player.

First, based on the player testing performed, the players decided that all performance enhancing properties (i.e. ridges, foil, plastic insert) from ALL manufacturers were deemed excessive for Elite play. Second, it took the players several testing sessions to find a fabric that minimized the effectiveness of sweeping. Based on our previously stated position, we would have preferred that the WCF come out with new sweeping rules, but we believe finding a fabric that minimizes the effectiveness of sweeping is a reasonable second solution. Hardline Curling was one of the few that stated at the start of the controversy that the WCF should have taken all performance enhancing properties out from all the manufacturers and the Elite players should have been playing with foam on fabric. This being said, we hope now that these issues are now behind us and we can all move forward.

What is this new fabric?   
Based on what we currently know, there are questions surrounding the approved fabric which is mostly centered on its durability. Testing will continue at the start of the year, but the fear is that the new fabric might last for only one or two games and as such, will add significant costs to competitive curlers around the world who do not have the sponsorship money that the Elite curlers do. This is unfortunate, but the players at the Sweeping Summit saw that any type of waterproof material as well as the majority of other non-coated fabric was also deemed “too much” in terms of its effectiveness at the Elite level. Hardline Curling is currently working diligently to manufacture our icePad covers using the approved fabric based on the limited supply we have. We will be calling the new product “Maxim”. Oxford dictionary defines Maxim as a statement expressing a “rule of conduct”. The new cover should be available starting next Monday. Competitive curlers using Hardline brooms will have the tools necessary for the start of the year.

What does this mean for the design of the icePad?
The icePad design and head construction passed the Sweeping Summit testing with flying colors. In fact, Hardline was told that the construction of the actual head had minimal effect on the manipulation of a rock. Putting aside the sweeping technique, the manipulation of a rock was mostly as a result of the performance enhancing attributes of a brush (foil, ridges and insert) as well as the fabric used. Therefore, the icePad design is good to go and here to stay for a long time!

What this decision means for a recreational curler?
In most cases, absolutely nothing – there will most likely be no change. The testing that was conducted was from the best sweepers in the world, on championship ice, using a brand new pad that was only used once and therefore, not a good representation of the general curling public. The decision by the Elite players and the WCF at the Sweeping Summit is only for Elite players and for tournaments that lead to a National or World Championship.  It is also most likely to be adopted by the Grand Slams and WCT events since teams earn Order of Merit points at these events. For the recreational curler, we do not believe anything will change. However, each curling club will be able to make its own decision as to whether they will adopt the new WCF guidelines or not.  

For non-Elite events, bonspiels may or may not use WCF guidelines. Please check ahead of your spiel to determine if the WCF guidelines apply. Our recommendation would be if it is a very competitive spiel with cash prizes or that earn points to provincials, use the WCF guidelines. If it is just a fun bonspiel, then play with whatever what was available in the past.  Be sure to contact your respective regional curling associations and let them know your thoughts.  Hardline Curling would like to make it clear that we are indifferent as to what curling clubs and tournament organizers ultimately decide to do. Whatever your decision is, just know that we will have the products available for you to play the great sport of curling.

What does all this mean for Hardline Nation?
During this past curling season, because of the uncertain environment created by the moratorium and rules changes to equipment, several curlers decided to wait to make their equipment purchase. Now that the new brush guidelines have been announced, the icePad is still in the best shape to adapt to competitive as well as recreational curlers and we believe is still the best curling brush on the market.  Hardline Curling is currently increasing production of icePad's to meet the expected demand. We appreciate your patience during this time and we thank you again for your continued support. Hardline Curling will continue to strive to develop innovative products, and provide the best curling products to all curlers.