How To Pebble The Ice In Curling

Pebbler

As we learned in Curling Ice Prep, a pebbler is used to texture the smooth ice with hot water droplets, or pebble. After we learn about the components of a pebbler, we will learn how to use it.

A pebbler looks like a backpack filled with water, with a hose coming out the bottom of the water tank. There are three main parts to a pebbler. They are the:

  1. Water Tank
  2. Hose
  3. Pebblehead

Water Tank

The water tank is located on the back of the pebbler. Imagine that the water tank is the "backpack" part of the pebbler. On top of the water tank is a cap that twists on and off to add hot water to the pebbler.

After you open the cap, there is a filter inside. This is so that any particulates in the water do not continue into the main part of the water tank. Always keep the filter in the pebbler, unless you are dumping out water from the tank.

Hose

The hose of the pebbler is attached to the bottom of the water tank. This is because pebblers work by using gravity to allow the water to flow through the hose. On top of the water tank, there is a latch or hook to place the hose when the pebbler is not being used.

Pebblehead

The pebblehead is the most important part of the pebbler. As we learned earlier in Curling Ice Prep, the pebblehead looks like an upside down shower head. However, every hole on the pebblehead is of equal size. This allows for similar sized pebble to be created.

Using A Pebbler

Now, we will learn how to use a pebbler. Follow these steps, and you will be pebbling the ice at your curling club in no time!

Filling the Pebbler

Before you begin to pebble, you will need to fill your pebbler. Make sure that you twist the cap off, keep the filter in, and double check that your water is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. On each pebbler, there is a small line at the top of the water tank that tells you how high to fill the pebbler. Stop adding water when the water level reaches this line, and twist the cap back on.

Wearing the Pebbler

After your pebbler is filled, have someone help you put the pebbler on your back. The pebbler will become heavier than you think after filling it with water. Once the pebbler is on your back, adjust the straps so the pebbler feels comfortable.

REMEMBER: Safety comes first! Don't try to be a hero an put your own pebbler on. Let someone help you so you don't strain your back or damage the pebbler.

On some pebblers, there is a valve that needs to be turned to start the flow of water, while others do not. Make sure that you keep hold the hose upright so that water doesn't spray all over you and your fellow curlers.

Pebbling the Ice

Before you begin to pebble the ice, make sure that the valve (if there is one on the pebbler) is turned to the open position. This allows water to flow through the hose. As you begin to walk backwards, move the lower half of your right arm back and forth in the horizontal direction. Your elbow should be locked at a 90 degree angle, and the upper half of your arm should move as little as possible. Ideally, the upper half of your arm won't move at all.

It should take you about 45 seconds to pebble one sheet (going from one hack to another). Each sheet should receive three to four coats of pebble before each game of curling.

Make sure that you pebble behind the hacks as well. Wherever a curler could be standing on the ice must be pebbled. It doesn't have to have as many coats as you did on the rest of the sheet, but should be well pebbled.

If you run out of water while pebbling, go back and refill your pebbler. Repeat the process until you have finished pebbling.


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