What are Curling Hacks?
Curling hacks are slightly elevated, angled rubber blocks that are secured to the ice. They provide athletes with a fixed object, ideal for pushing off of with the foot when delivering the stone. Competitors use their the gripper shoe when doing so. Hacks to buy can be found at places such as Dakota Curling Supplies and Kevin Martin Curling.
Position And Measurements
Generally, there is one hack on both sides of the center line, for a total of two at either end of the curling sheet. They are fastened to a piece of wood, or another material, and are immersed in the ice. Conversely, there may be a single hack that can be moved about, allowing it to be repositioned from one side of the center line to the other.
In terms of official rules, the hacks must not be longer than eight inches and are placed six inches away from each other, three inches from the center line. The points fasted to the ice should also not be further than two inches below the ice's surface.
When players deliver a curling stone, they push off from the hack. There are two main components to the hack:
- Metal Bottom
- Rubber Footholds
REMEMBER: If you are playing on arena ice, you need to heat the bottom of your hacks with hot water before they are placed into the ice.
On the metal bottom of a hack, there are holes along its edges. This allows the hot water that the hacks are heated with to freeze the hack into place, making it safe to use.
Typically, someone will stand on the hack for five to ten minutes after the hack is placed so that there is enough time for the water to freeze around it. If you didn't stand on the hack, it would not be firmly frozen to the ice.
If you are playing on dedicated ice, you may never see the bottom of the hack, as it is frozen in between the layers of the ice.
The Rubber Footholds
As mentioned earlier in Curling Sheet Parts, there are two rubber footholds, one on each side of the hack. If a curler is delivering the stone by pushing off with their left foot, they will place that foot in the right foothold. If a curler is delivering the stone by pushing off with their right foot, they will place that foot in the left foothold. We will see why this is the case later in Curling Stone Delivery Prep.