Curling is a growing sport around the world that can be played on arena ice or dedicated ice. If you're playing curling for the first time, you'll need to make sure you have the proper equipment. We've divided this list into three sections around equipment for playing, scoring, and ice preparations.
What equipment do you need for curling?
Here is a complete list of equipment needed to play curling:
A curling broom is used to sweep in front of a curling stone as it travels down the ice. Sweeping melts the ice beads and creates fine scratches in the ice to help the stone move further and follow a certain path. Currently, broom shafts are made from composite materials, which allow the brooms to be very light and durable. The broomheads are made from a synthetic material, although you can still find ones with bristles and hair instead of a synthetic pad.
A gripper is used by curlers at all times on the ice. The bottom side of a gripper is made of rubber, which allows the curler to have more traction on the ice. Grippers can be worn on either shoe, mainly on the curler’s predominant side to allow them to push off and guide them down the ice. All grippers attach to a curler's shoes. In a set of curling shoes, one shoe will have a gripper built into the sole.
A hack is the foothold that a player pushes off from whilst delivering a curling stone. The hacks are frozen into the ice so that they do not move when being used during the game. The base of the hack is made of metal and the two footholds on the hack are made of rubber.
A slider is used by curlers when they are delivering the stone to glide on the ice. The bottom side of a slider is made of teflon, which allows the curler to glide as they deliver the stone. A slider is worn on the foot of a curler that is not in the hack. There are sliders that can be attached to a curlers' shoe and sliders that a curler can step on and off from. At curling clubs, step on sliders will likely be available for your use. A pair of curling shoes will also have one shoe with a built in slider.
A curling stone is what is thrown in a game of curling. A curling stone must weigh between 38 and 44 pounds, and is made of granite from Ailsa Craig, an island in Scotland. Attached to the curling stone is a plastic handle, and a sticker or engraving on the handle, which is used to identify which curling sheet the stone belongs to.
A stabilizer is used by curlers when they are delivering the stone so that they remain balanced while gliding on the ice. Stabilizers are usually made of some plastic or PVC material. There is a small horizontal piece on the front of the stabilizer. Stabilizers are rarely seen in professional curling and are more commonly used by less experienced curlers.
A biter bar is used by curlers when it is too difficult to determine if a stone is biting (or barely touching) the 12 foot. The biter bar is six feet in length, and contains a small piece of plastic on the end. If the plastic touches the stone, it is biting the 12 foot. If the plastic does not touch the stone, it is not biting the 12 foot.
A micrometer (or measuring device) is used by curlers when it is too difficult to see which of two stones is closest to the button. The micrometer is six feet in length and contains a pressure gauge to determine the stone closest to the button.
A scoreboard is used by curlers to display the score on an end-by-end basis. There are two types of scoreboards that can be used. The first type displays the cumulative score, and teams place the end in which that score was reached. The second type displays the score on an end-by-end basis, and teams add up the scores from each end to find the cumulative score. It is common to use the first type of scoreboard in a curling club, but see the second type of scoreboard on televised curling programs.
A nipper is used by curlers after the ice has been pebbled. A nipper cuts the tips of the pebble off with a metal blade so that the curling sheet remains textured, but also flat. Behind the blade is a mop so that all the small ice shavings can be collected and disposed of after nipping is finished.
A pebbler is used by curlers to texture the ice before a curling game begins. A pebbler contains a water tank to hold hot water and a hose connected to a pebblehead, which sprays droplets of hot water (pebble) onto the ice. A pebbler is worn like a backpack, and curlers walk backwards while wearing it.
A scraper is used by curlers to remove ice from the curling sheet. A scraper uses a metal blade to cut beneath the pebbled ice so that a fresh playing surface can be created. Nowadays, scrapers are run with a motor that moves the blade and wheels, making it much easier for a curler to use a scraper.
What equipment is used in curling?
There is a wide variety of equipment that is used in the sport of curling. While there are various pieces of equipment that are used for the maintenance and governance of the game, in the form of ice preparation equipment and scoring equipment, there are other pieces of equipment that are essential to the function of a game of curling. This equipment is brooms, grippers, hacks, sliders, stones, and stabilizers.
Is curling equipment expensive?
While some curling equipment is relatively affordable, the majority of it can be very expensive. For example, curling stones can cost over $500 each, while micrometers can run around $700. Hog line sensors, high quality brooms, curling shoes, and ice preparation equipment can also come with a hefty price tag. Some of these items can be rented or borrowed from curling clubs, but even those often come with hefty membership fees. For part-time players or beginners, buying used equipment or renting can be a much more affordable option.
What do curlers wear for shoes?
In most cases, curlers wear specified curling shoes. These shoes look similar to sneakers but have very different soles. In a set of curling shoes, one shoe will be a slider and the other will be a gripper. A curler will push off the hack with the gripper and slide during a throw on the slider. When moving down the ice, you will commonly see a player propelling themselves with their gripper while sliding on the slider. Because of this, it is recommended that a right handed player wears the gripper on their right foot and vice versa.