About BalancePlus Curling Equipment
Lino Di Iorio started curling in the fall of 1994 at age 46. He was immediately taken by the sport. Lino soon discovered that existing curling shoes did not aid balance and had a lot of drag. After a few months, he experimented with his footwear to ultimately provide himself with the best possible feel, speed, and control when on the ice.
Early in 1995, Lino developed a slider that improved his balance and allowed him to slide further when he kicked out of the hack. The design was so simple he thought it might be illegal because no one else was using it. A few of his friends tried it and provided very positive feedback. Additionally they requested that their shoes be upgraded to Lino’s new slider.
In the summer of 1995, Lino convinced Ed Werenich to try it. Ed’s delivery was instantly more stable then ever. Scott Taylor, Ryan Werenich’s coach at the time, was there to hear Ed say “I feel like I’m cheating!”. In that chance meeting Lino asked Scott if he would try selling some BalancePlus shoes in his Curling Depot pro-shop. A business relationship was born.
Lino applied for a patent on his idea in 1995.
Shoe and slider sales were brisk in the 1995/1996 season. Lino could not keep up, working nights to make sliders and assemble shoes. His wife, Lynne, gave up her teaching job to operate the office. Lino contracted the shoe assembly to a shoe maker.
In March 1996, the Di Iorios and Taylors took the show on the road. They setup a pro-shop in a Hamilton, Ontario hotel room at the Men’s and Women’s World Championships. Canadian and International curlers and fans frequented the shop. Long lasting friendships and business relationships were born. Sales were brisk during the day. During evening practice sessions Di Iorio and Taylor were found at the arena providing curlers with the chance to try BalancePlus sliders. Sales were so brisk that Dale Matchett was asked to come to Hamilton to help out. This event catapulted the slider onto the World stage. Olympians, World Champions, and club curlers were now demanding slider installations and buying shoes with the BalancePlus slider.
BalancePlus Sliders Inc. was formed in July 1996 by Lino Di Iorio, Lynne Di Iorio and Scott Taylor.
In 1997, Lino secured a patent for the BalancePlus Slider and with its invention we were able to increase the speed of regular PTFE sliders to produce a faster, more balanced slide. Curlers were quick to try the slider and find for themselves if there was a difference between the BalancePlus Slider and their former slider. The results were outstanding. In a matter of months curlers everywhere were inquiring about the sliders and sending their shoes for installations.
That's when we started marketing our slider to curling pro-shops and retail outlets all over the world. Together with the Brooks Curling Shoe, BalancePlus sliders were made available in nearly every curling circle in the world.
Lino went to work on other facets of his game; Line of Delivery, deceleration, and point of release. With these technical points of the game in mind, Lino developed equipment to aid in his analysis and instruction of the curling delivery.
Early in 1996, Lino created a device that enables the recording of a curler's slide from the other end of the rink. With the target dissected into a camera lens at the far end, we could accurately determine whether a curler was sliding on the proper line of delivery. Add a remote control to move the target and camera, and a screen for on-ice feedback, and you have a device we feel is extremely instrumental in the technical development of the sport. Dale Matchett was the first competitive curler to try it out on the ice at the 1996 Gravenhurst summer spiel.
In conjunction with the above equipment, Lino employed electronic timers to record the time from the back line to first hog line as well as rock speed after the hog line. This allowed a curler's sliding speed consistency to be measured and improved. Competitive teams were able to become accurate interval timers to aid in sweeping judgment and communication.
In 1997 BalancePlus built a machine that can throw up to 9 rocks at a time, each with identical speed and handle. This machine along with our computer software enables us to know the speeds of all the rocks relative to one another.
Shortly thereafter, in 1998 BalancePlus went a step further with the already successful BalancePlus Slider. After experimenting with the number, size, and location of more BalancePlus holes, it was found that competitive curling teams could then match players' sliding speed and ultimately their release points.
Scotland was first to order and install this equipment in High Performance Curling Camps and Sports Training Camps.
That same year, Lino Di Iorio was retained as a coach and technical adviser by The Royal Caledonian Curling Club and The Scottish Institute of Sport - Curling Section. The intent was to teach personally developed curling techniques to competitive teams in Scotland.
Orders for the technical equipment were received from Norway and Scotland, as well as receiving serious inquiries for the equipment from Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States.
For further information, please see our Rock Matching page.
The Delux Curling Shoe
The Delux Curling Shoe was first manufactured in 1998. With a soft product launch it quickly became popular and sought after by many competitive and club curlers. Demand was increasing for the shoe, and it was launched to the global marketplace in 1999. The Delux represents all the quality and performance that BalancePlus has installed in each and every one of our sliders. It continues to be the most popular shoe at National, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games.
From the core of its footwear operations, to Technical Development tools, BalancePlus is committed to working on new ideas to improve the sport of curling on a global level.
BalancePlus Sliders Inc.
THE SCIENCE OF CURLING