Wow, 2015 was a banner year when it came to controversy about brush pads. We seen many changes mid-season with temporary brush pad rules put in place to protect the integrity of the game. Most of the controversy came from the elite players but many of the issues filtered down to the non-elite curlers.
Over the spring and summer of 2016, the WCF hosted a “Brush Summit” with many elite players and curling manufactures in attendance. From the summit, several recommendations were implemented and will be in effect for the coming season. It is yet unknown how far down the line these rules will be implemented. Here is a quick recap…
Equipment produced under these recommended standards has been demonstrated to be capable of having a reasonable impact when used by elite athletes with a high fitness and skill level and this equipment is specifically intended for use in WCF Championships and events. It is also likely these standards will be adopted by other competitions contested by the same elite athletes.
The recommendation for a single fabric from a single source is intended to add an additional measure of security to protect the integrity of the field of play in elite competition. By requiring all teams to have the same fabric on their brushes and for construction of the brushes to be within a particular set of specifications, any difference in sweeping performance becomes the difference in the athletic ability and skill of the sweepers.
Some of our manufactures/suppliers have decided not to participate in this program for the coming year, they felt that the recommendations have not been sufficiently proven and things might still change in the future. Thus they have decided not to participate at this time. From our understanding the material that has been chosen does not have any waterproofing characteristics and will become wet and wear quickly. For the average curler, using this type of pad is a step backwards and will become very expensive having to replace the “approved pads” more frequently.
We are hoping that the WCF recommendations do not affect the average curler, so they can still use and purchase replacement pads more durable and suitable for recreational play. Many feel that the brush controversy is behind us, but we aren’t so sure this issue will continue to a problem for the coming season… it’s still a wait and see topic.
Atkins Curling Supplies will stock both WCF approved brush pads for ELITE Players, and pads that we highly recommend for average curlers. All of our replacement pads product descriptions have been marked as approved or not approved. When you enter into competitions, make sure you know the rules regarding brush pads for the particular event you will be playing in.
Here we go again!