Slider FAQThe following is an actual (ok, made up) conversation between a seasoned curling pro and a beginner, let's say, you.
You: Slider Speeds? What? I thought this game was simple?
Pro: Slider speeds can be described in two ways: The thickness of the slider and the amount of friction between your foot and the ice. Basically, the thicker the slider, the less friction will occur, making you travel farther and seemingly faster. In mathematical terms, Distance Covered = Energy * Slider Thickness. It's so simple!
You: Ok, I'm not a physics major.
Pro: Fine. Curling sliders are rated on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the quickest/fastest/thickest. For a more visual example, a 10 speed slider is 1/4" thick piece of teflon. While there technically isn't a 1 speed slider (you'll understand soon enough), hold up a single piece of paper, hold it sideways so you can hardly see it, and now finally divide it in half. Ultimately, curling on a 1 speed slider would be like curling on your driveway.
For a more practical example, a beginner shoe like the Eagle comes with a 7 speed slider. An intermediate shoe like the Ultima Sport has an 8 speed slider. The Ultima Extreme has a 9 speed, and finally the FX-300 has a 10 speed. Remember that tape they put on your shoe the first day?
You: Well actually, I only remember the blinding pain because I cut corners when I was supposed to be stretching.
Pro: Tsk. Anyway, that tape is generally considered to be a 3 speed slider. Why do they use a 10 scale system when they really only use 4-5 of the speeds? Who knows.
You: So why doesn't everyone use the 10 speed slider? If there's one thing that I remember from first grade math, is that 10 is higher than 1. And that having $10 is better than $1. And that a V10 motor is better than...
Pro: Ok, ok...Oddly enough, in curling there is no "best slider". People need to pick the slider that's right for them. It's actually quite common for people to purchase a shoe with a slider that they simply can't handle. Remember, as you move up the slider speed ladder, you give up the stability of a slower slider for the advantages of a faster, yet more unstable, slider. So you know, the most popular speed is the 8 speed.
You: Wow, this has been very informative!
Pro: Yes, I am amazing.