|Peter Becker and Sam Inder with two of the new stones. Photo © George Berry / Winter Games NZ|
1 Jul 2017 – The New Zealand Curling Association has purchased new curling stones for top-level competition – national and international events.
"These stones will help ensure that our top curlers have the best possible conditions at our premier events," said NZCA Chairman Sam Inder, "They are also an factor in attracting the best overseas curlers to international events here, and with Winter Games NZ likely to be held annually it was important that we acted sooner rather than later."
He continued, "They will be 'livelier' and more reactive than other stones used here, and also have a perfectly true running surface."
The new curling stones were purchased from Kays Scotland, suppliers of the stones used at the last 5 Winter Olympic Games and who also provide the World Curling Federation with its competition stones.
"At just shy of $50,000 they don't come cheap," added Mr Inder. "We had about two-thirds of that in a dedicated fund for new stones, and the WCF has a program that allowed us to borrow the balance from them and then repay it using some of their annual Development Assistance Program grant."
The new stones will be acclimatised to the Maniototo Curling International rink in Naseby and then tested at the New Zealand Junior Championships later this month. They are also likely to be used at next month's NZ Mixed Doubles Championship before their first international outing at the Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles tournament at the end of August.
MCI's existing stones will be retained by the rink for local events, social, and visitors' curling.