What is Contouring?
Shaping or contouring a blade means to grind a skate blade to a specific shape. Custom positioning of the balance point specifically placed for the skater provides increased stability and maneuverability leading to higher performance skating. Skates should be contoured once or twice a year in order to give the proper “Lie and Radius”. After the skates have been contoured they are sharpened as before.
New skates come with a standard shaped blade that has a balance point for an average skater’s body. This provides adequate performance for the majority of skaters, but may not fit your body composition or style of skating. These blades are not faulty; they are just not correctly shaped for the individual using them. The contour, balance point, pitch and sharpening type should be reconciled for every skater to achieve maximum performance.
What advantages are to be gained with proper contouring?
Some of the most significant benefits to proper contouring are the following:
- More powerful strides and better glide
- Higher speed, less fatigue
- Better edge control, agility and balance
- More flexible skating manoeuvres and moves
- Improved stability while shooting
- Better crossover skating
- Consistent edge quality, which leads to more greater skills improvement
- Overall improved confidence and enjoyment of skating
What if the blade is not contoured?
Some of the challenges faced by skaters with blades that are not contoured are the following:
- More frequent sharpening required
- Loss of balance or stability
- Less gliding surface
- Improper sharpening (deeper hollow to compensate for “bad” edges)
- Locked knees, which leads to limited ability to perform drills