In the sport of curling, there are two teams of four players each. Both teams alternate throwing eight curling stones down a 150-foot sheet of ice, for a total of 16 stones. The time it takes to throw all 16 stones is called an end. At the club level, a curling game consists of eight ends. Each end takes about 15 minutes to play. Therefore, one game of curling takes about two hours to play. Here, we will detail the equipment, tools, and supplies you will need to play curling. Next, we will list out the necessary steps on how to properly play a game of curling.
At a minimum, the following equipment is needed for someone to curl:
~$8000 USD for 16 stones
Curling stones are thrown down the ice by each team during an end. Each team is assigned a stone color at the beginning of a curling game.
Brooms are used to sweep the stones during a curling game. Some curlers have their own personal brooms, and curling clubs have brooms that curlers can use during their games.
Sliders are used by the thrower to glide along the ice as they deliver the stone. If you own curling shoes, a slider will be built into the shoes.
Grippers are used by curlers so that they have traction on the ice. Most curling clubs have grippers that curlers can borrow while they curl.
Stabilizers are used by the thrower to remain balanced while delivering the stone. Although most professional curlers use their broom to remain balanced, a stabilizer is essential for new curlers to develop good habits while delivering a stone.
Hacks are what curlers push off from as they start their delivery. At curling clubs with dedicated curling ice, the hacks are permanently frozen into the ice.
The pebbler is used to texture the ice before curling. Without pebbling, the curling stones will only travel 20-30 feet.
From preparation to the postgame, here are the steps to know so you can properly play a game of curling.
Before playing a game of curling, the ice needs to be pebbled. When pebbling the ice, hot water droplets are sprayed on the surface of the ice. These hot water droplets are called pebble and instantly freeze on the ice and make a rough surface. In between the pebble are small air pockets, which allow the stone to glide on the ice.
Before every game of curling, you will shake hands with the other team, and wish them "good curling". Many times, you will be curling against people you know or other members of your curling club. In the case that you have not curled against someone before, it is perfectly acceptable for you to introduce yourself, especially if it is at your curling club. At bonspiels (tournaments), introducing yourself to the other team is a great way to build out your network of curlers.
After you wish your opponent "good curling," the leads from each team will perform the coin flip to determine which team gets the hammer (the advantageous last shot of the end). One of the leads will flip the coin, and the other lead will select 'heads' or 'tails'. The winner of the coin flip gets to choose whether or not their team wants the hammer. The loser of the coin flip gets to select the stone color that their team will throw (unless it is predetermined).
Now, you are ready to start your curling game. The team without the hammer will throw the first stone of the end.
The leads throw the first and second stones for their respective teams. Then, the seconds will throw the third and fourth stones of the end. After that, the vices will throw the fifth and sixth stones of the end. Once the vices finish throwing, they will walk down to the other end of the ice to meet their skip. Lastly, the skips will throw the seventh and eighth stones of the end. The vices act as the strategist while the skips throw their stones.
After throwing all 16 stones, the vices will score the end. The team that has the stone closest to the center of the house will earn a point for that stone. The team will also receive additional points for any stone that is closer than their opponent's closest stone.
Repeat the fourth and fifth steps until all eight ends are played.
After playing all eight ends, there are a few more tasks to finish the game. The team that has scored more points over the eight ends is deemed the winner. Just as you did before the game, you will shake hands with your opponent and say "good curling" as a way of thanking them for playing a great game of curling against your team.
If there is any equipment that needs to be removed from the ice, it should be done so now. At curling clubs with dedicated curling ice, most of the equipment remains on or near the ice. Additionally, someone will run a mop along the surface of the ice to remove any debris that might have fallen on the ice while curling. You're all done with your curling game!