What is a Benchmark Ball?

ANY SEASONED PLAYER...

Will define a benchmark ball as the first ball out of their bag. It gives them the best mental picture of what’s happening on the lane – especially when the pattern and topography of the conditions are unknown. It gives them a smooth, predictable motion that’s controllable, repeatable, and consistent no matter where they may be bowling. The vast majority of other sports display their obstacles. In tennis, the net is clearly presented directly in front of you. In golf, you can see the tree you need to miss, or the sand bunker you have to avoid. In football, you can watch the linebacker on a beeline right for you as you’re carrying the ball.

But in the world of sport bowling, the obstacles we have to face are invisible.

The most famous bowlers throughout history have all been deadly accurate, but the best players that have ever lived are the ones who were able to figure out the conditions first. Rest assured, they all had their own benchmark ball.

Having been on both sides of the fence - from competing every weekend to now building bowling balls - I believe that a benchmark ball is more than just a predictable shape. It’s a ball whose motion is unlike others. It’s unique, and difficult to replicate. It produces a reaction that you can’t find anywhere else.

To create this kind of ball, we have to step back and look at the product line as a whole. When we do this at Storm, we take every core, every coverstock, and every surface preparation into account. If the ball hits on every note, it can stick around for quite some time:

Hy-Road™ – November 18, 2008

!Q™ Tour – July 10, 2012

Hy-Road™ Pearl – July 16, 2013

Pitch Black™ – May 27, 2014

Phaze™ II – October 4, 2016

Between these five balls, there’s 32 years’ worth of shelf life, and that’s not without merit. Every one of these core/cover combinations resonates with the majority of players at some level. High speed/high revs, low speed/low revs – there’s something for everybody. Not only that, they are incredibly easy to drill. What does that even mean, though? If you put your favorite layout on an !Q Tour, you basically know what you are going to get. Furthermore, if you wanted to drill a second !Q Tour but decided to bring the pin 2” closer to your PAP or maybe even drop the pin to below your fingers from your previous pin up version, you still know what you’re going to get. And adjusting between the two couldn’t be easier. The weight block is simplistic in its design, yet dynamic by nature. When you introduce a hole to it, you aren't greatly affecting its mass distribution. Consistency in drilling and performance, I've come to find out, go hand in hand.

Each one of the above benchmark balls contributes something unique to the Storm line that are often imitated, but never duplicated. And as always, before any ball earns the right to be inscribed with the Storm insignia, it has to pass through a rigid on-lane performance test. This has been the case since the first Storm ball was poured nearly three decades ago. The process has been refined since, of course, to a level of commitment that’s worthy of your passion and devotion. It’s a lengthy process that involves an experienced group of people and first-rate technology but most importantly, it begins and ends with the bowler.


Crux Prime versus PhysiX - Internal Review

The Crux Prime delivers the power and flare the line is known for, but has a few surprises up its sleeve to offer a bit more control.


The PhysiX and the Crux Prime have more in common than one might think - performance being one of the lesser accords. Let's take a trip down Memory Lane and see how their genealogy relates, shall we?

The PhysiX features a coverstock that has never been introduced to the United States until now, and a core that the world has yet to see: the Atomic Core. At first glance, the Atomic Core automatically connects itself to the Storm brand. There’s no doubt where this shape came from! But it’s not all pizzazz. The inlets surrounding the classic Oval Bolt actually do serve a purpose. They form very large RG bands the ball doesn’t want to deviate away from as its rolling towards the pins. This creates a ball motion that is tough for 35 pounds worth of bowling pins to exact their will upon.

Review: Hank Boomershine on the Atomic Core

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBl-XCLgW6s&t=84s

NRG Hybrid has never been put on a catalogue featured, domestically released ball. So it’s fitting that it is featured on a shape that very well may be the most iconic design to ever leave Brigham City, Utah.

We’ll admit, behind the scenes, we were indecisive as to what cover we were going to wrap the Atomic Core in when it was time to unveil it to the public. I mean, when you have so many good ones at your disposal, it makes it kind of hard to decide! We don't develop balls just to develop balls; each one has a specific purpose with a design intent. So during the time of development, Bowl Expo 2018 was just around the corner in Las Vegas, Nevada. We decided to take the top three coverstock contenders that could potentially marry with the Atomic Core and let the public decide this ball’s fate. Keeping the core a secret, NRG Hybrid was the eventual winner based on the feedback we received from the public testing and the PhysiX became so. What were the other two test covers, you ask? One was R2S and the other that came in second place by photo finish is what we refer to as “SPEC” today. Believe me when I say we are always testing experimental shapes and fascinating covers here at the bowling ball factory. The Catalyst Core was a design that the masses were demanding to be brought back and what better way to do it than with an all-new cover!

The vertical cavity that’s nestled in the center mass of the Catalyst shape acts as a deliberately-placed balance hole which is very user-friendly when you’re able to drill into it and not affect its dimensions too much.

The Crux Prime has all the ingredients of a dangerous weapon from the baseline.

The chemistry behind SPEC is enough to warrant its own full-length seminar, so we won’t dive too hard into the details here. But it is important to note that this material grips the lane unlike anything that has ever left the Utah plant. In a nutshell, the innate Ra of SPEC is slightly higher than our other primary coverstocks that don’t use an ancillary additive or enhancer. Chemical friction, surface roughness, and COF’s are commonalities in the bowling game we know today. But there is another component to bowling ball development and performance that ties in directly to the endless tapestry that is ball motion: chemical tackiness. For instance, a pearl/polished ball has a very high dry lane coefficient of friction. A ball like this is extremely tacky when it encounters arid lane material. Put this ball on oil, and its COF becomes almost nil. SPEC material, however, creates virtually the same adherence on dry lane material at any given surface. This extra “cling” the ball produces gives the wielder added bearing and control especially when needing to get the ball to shape properly after moving in deep with heftier launch angles. The result is sustained entry angle into the pins and prevention of the ball migrating forward too quickly (rolling out). For lack of a better term, this “cohesion factor” the Crux Prime creates when it touches the lane largely makes up for the decline in surface profile which results in a minimal loss in backend reaction over time.


Now that these balls have names and directions, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty an expose as many details as we can about the Crux Prime and PhysiX.



BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 3 x 2 (35° x 5 x 30°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

The layout chosen for these two balls was 5x3x2. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

 

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 30 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Storm Surface Factory machine with fresh Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

The Crux Prime breathes new life into the Premier line with the never-before-seen SPEC coverstock. There were some palpable differences between the Crux Prime and the PhysiX that challenges the conventional way we think some of these chemical formulas behave. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let's refer to the former, shown below.

Solids are widely accepted as balls that require heavier volumes to perform as intended, comparatively to pearls and hybrids. The Crux Prime naturally settled me about 5 boards deeper than the PhysiX, but the interesting part was what happened on the backend. At over a degree more entry angle at the point of impact, the Crux Prime left me astonished time and again. This really came in handy when I started to see the ball checking a little early and I crept inside to find my easy float through the fronts once again. This doesn't make the PhysiX a bad ball or under-performer by any means, there's a time a place for each and every ball. NRG Hybrid has an innate chemical friction built into its substructure thanks to the Nano additive we utilize in it. This makes the ball want to lose its axis rotation fairly quickly (higher rev rates only amplify this) so the PhysiX set down point was always just outside the Crux Prime for me. With its earlier breakpoint, the PhysiX at 1000 or 2000-grit would be enough to tackle the heaviest of the heavy that I would ever see here in Northern Utah.

 

The chemical adhesion (mentioned earlier) the Crux Prime creates to the lane is observable and very much welcomed. Its able to maintain its mid-lane read with no shortfall of entry angle. We all look for that "unicorn" reaction where the ball is clean through the fronts, strong mid-lane, great continuation through the deck, and hits like a truck. If you are reading this and you've found the prodigal ball that does it all, please drop me a line because I will pay dearly for it. If there was ever a ball I've rolled that does it all and then some, this is as close to that fabled reaction I've ever seen. The tackiness it seemed to produce when it encountered dry lane kept the ball from jerking too hard off the spot. "Controllable angle" sounds like an oxymoron, but the Crux Prime provides it with ease. I can't wait to see how this coverstock performs on future cores - symmetrical and asymmetrical alike.

 

CONCLUSION:

True to its heritage, the Crux Prime continues to impress me every time I pick it up. When I needed to be aggressive and step in to sling the ball farther out, I could tap into the Catalyst Core's power potential with as little effort as moving up 6" on the approach. I also liked the response of the cover when I was looking for friction up front. I felt accurate with the Crux Prime in my hands, and I was confident from multiple angles. Overall maneuverability was excellent, which made it very easy to get my swing into position and free up my grip. The out of box 2000-grit surface demands a pretty slick environment to thrive on, so taking it up to 3000-grit for this test was a good decision as I see myself being able to use it on a wider variety of conditions and in different bowling centers. There was enough of a difference between the PhysiX and Crux Prime for me that I would justify reserving a spot for each in my bag when traveling to future tournaments.

Highlights from the test:

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Crux Prime or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).


International Balls - The Truth

Overseas balls have acquired a cult following in recent years. But what makes them so special? They’re round just like any other ball. They can knock down ten pins just as effectively as any other Storm piece. Slightly different names and colors, though. And in Storm’s case, they smell pretty good most of the time. The number of calls and emails we receive asking for more info or how to obtain these international releases is staggering. To interpret their surge in popularity we need to take a closer look at just what they are and what they mean to the rest of the world.

We techies commonly refer to overseas balls as “private labels” or “OEMs” (original equipment manufacturer) – balls that are produced by one company (Storm) but are marketed by another company (overseas distributors).

The international market is significantly different than the US market for several reasons. The primary reasons are differences in customs, sales, and etiquette. For example, in the United States, if a bowler does well with a particular type of ball, it’s not uncommon to find several of the same balls in a league, or even on the same ball return rack. Word of mouth travels fast where we are. International etiquette is significantly different. For example, if one bowler is doing well in a league or tournament with a particular ball, it is bad form to copy that bowler and buy the same ball. As such, if you are the bowler with the ball, you have an advantage. But if you are the bowler without the ball, you are at a disadvantage. I have experienced this firsthand in my travels all across Japan. Therefore, many of our international balls are almost identical to the standard US release with very small variations, if any. The primary differences are simply the colors, logos, and surface finishes. Otherwise, they are USBC approved with very little difference in reaction or performance compared with what is currently available in our product line.

Another key difference is international distributors are usually exclusive to a particular brand. Many of our international dealers only sell Storm brand name products and equipment. As such, they need a larger selection of equipment to sell because they don’t have the same variety available to them since they choose not to associate with any of the other major international brands. Whereas in the US, all of the local distributors have equipment available for sale from any of the major brands. Hence, our product line needs to be expanded for our international customers since they can only sell so many of a particular ball before the market is “saturated”. Storm will release around a dozen balls per year domestically whereas close to 100 different balls get sent to international waters every year. Again, the major differences most of the time are simply cosmetic, with the occasional exception of a core/weight block design whose rights are owned by a certain international distributor that grants them exclusive rights to that shape.

Given these reasons listed above, many of our international partners ask for contractual rights to a particular ball and for a limited quantity. Storm typically runs these exclusive balls only one time and sells them all directly to the distributor that placed the order; sometimes in runs of only a few hundred. Occasionally, a few balls return from the international market to the local market via travelers or returning military, but this number is very low and availability is definitely limited. Once they get poured here in Brigham City, Utah they leave shortly thereafter.

Despite being well-nigh similar in performance to our standard lineup, private label balls undoubtedly turn the heads of many for those lucky enough to pick one up. Be prepared to shell out a few bucks, however. It’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to pay $300+ for one of these rarities. No matter what kind of ball you decide to toss, just be sure that it has that good lookin' Storm logo on it somewhere!

 


PBA and FOX Sports Announce Multi-Year, Multi-Platform Deal; PBA Returns to Broadcast TV in 2019

Story from Bill Vint, PBA Media Relations. Link to original story on pba.com.

 

LOS ANGELES and CHICAGO – The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and FOX Sports today announced a multi-year, multi-platform agreement making FOX Sports the new television partner for the Go Bowling! PBA Tour starting in 2019. The package will bring a substantial schedule of live PBA events to television, including prime time events and a new bracket-style, multi-week PBA Playoffs tournament that concludes with a unique PBA championship finale. The announcement was made by PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark and William Wanger, FOX Sports Executive VP of Programming, Live Operations and Research (see photo below).

“The PBA has been searching for the best possible broadcast partner to serve our fans, players and the bowling industry, and we have determined that partner is FOX Sports,” Clark said. “We are particularly excited that the PBA Tour returns to broadcast television, where it started 56 years ago, with shows on FOX next year.”

In 2019, FOX Sports will televise four PBA Tour shows on FOX and 25 on FS1 in a series of two-hour telecasts. All programs will also be streamed on FOX Sports GO. Details pertaining to the FOX Sports-PBA package regarding PBA Tour locations, dates and times, and the television announcing team will be released at a later date.

“FOX Sports is thrilled to add the highly rated PBA Tour to our extensive lineup, joining other sport partners including the NFL, the FIFA World Cup, MLB, NASCAR, MLS, UFC, NHRA, Supercross, USGA, college football and basketball, and others,” said Wanger. “We believe that adding a FOX Sports look and feel to bowling will help bring the sport to a whole new level.”

The PBA was represented in the transaction by Ed Desser of Desser Sports Media (www.desser.tv).

The agreement between FOX Sports and the PBA extends a non-stop television presence for professional bowling that began in 1962 with ABC Television’s 36 years of continuous coverage of the Pro Bowlers Tour and 38 consecutive years of coverage on ESPN, beginning with ESPN’s formation in 1979.

Both parties plan to supplement the broadcast and cable coverage of the PBA Tour’s premier events with live-streaming of preliminary rounds by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel as well as extensive use of the FOX Sports and PBA Network outlets including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and their respective websites.

About FOX Sports

FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets.  Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships.  FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports.  In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com and FOX Sports GO.  Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.

About the PBA

In 2018 the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. The PBA is an organization of more than 3,000 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in Go Bowling! PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional Tour, PBA Women’s Regional and PBA50 Tour events. The 2018 season also marks the 59th consecutive year of nationally-televised competition, reaching bowling fans around the world who follow PBA activities through the PBA Network which includes Xtra Frame, the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, ESPN and CBS Sports Network, and the PBA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. PBA sponsors include Barbasol, Brunswick, Ebonite International, GEICO, GoBowling.com, HotelPlanner.com, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.


Code X versus Alpha Crux - Internal Review

The Code X offers performance engineering tuned for enhanced response

 

In the competitive bowling ball market, any ball that doesn’t do better than “good enough” simply can’t compete. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for the Code X. Although its styling is a bit conservative for this line, the Code X is classically handsome and appeals with strong performance. The colors aren’t the most polarizing, which makes the ball hug the lane for a truer read, but that’s a personal opinion not shared by everyone. If you like your styling more subtle than stand-out with a side of performance that leaves you saying “Wow, I didn’t know a ball could do that…” then the Code X may be in your not-too-distant future.

The big news here is that R2S Solid has come into play for the first time in a long time in a Premier line ball. Not all conditions require wide-footprint coverstocks with high oil displacement ratings. R2S has been a flagship formula for Storm and is synonymous with some of the most successful balls in recent history like the Hy-Road and !Q Tour. Of all the coverstocks Storm has used, R2S responds to dry lane friction better than anything else. When this benchmark type chassis coats a weight block that’s as dynamic as the RAD4, I’d be hard-pressed to find something that offers this much versatility.

Even though it’s a solid ball, for me, it resembles a matte finish pearl the way it turns the corner. The Code X made easy work of the 47’ mid-volume pattern we currently use in our Monday night Storm Scratch league, which is something I’ll admit to having my fair share of struggles on this year. Because this particular house uses super high-friction synthetics, any ball with too much friction built in, chemically or mechanically, would read as soon as I set it down with nothing left down lane. The Code X doesn’t utilize R3S or Nano technology like its Premier line counterparts, so it skated through the high-friction fronts with ease but retained the mid-lane read and backend change of direction I’ve come to love from my top-drawer asymmetrics.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 6 x 4 x 3 (55° x 6 x 40°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

The layout chosen for these two balls was 6x4x3. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 20 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Surface Factory machine with new Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

If you currently roll the Sure Lock or Alpha Crux, but are hesitant make the commitment on another solid Premier line ball, then rest easy. R2S breathes new vigor into the line which helps differentiate it plenty from its Nano-based cousins. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let’s refer to the former, presented below. The numbers don’t lie. With almost 1.5° more entry angle at impact, the Code X handles the corner like that of a racing-tuned suspension on a car that’s designed to dig in to the curves of a snaky, winding road. That may not sound like a lot, but spread that measurement over the last 15 feet of the lane and that can mean the difference between washing out and a high flush strike.

Telling the story further, this isn’t a case where the numbers deceive. Subjectively, too, I found the Code X carried considerably better from the deep, inside line compared to the Alpha Crux. The engine that is the RAD4 worked just as flawlessly as the cover. With the layout I chose, it transitions smoothly and quickly. On the comfort side of the equation, I was more than confident from far inside with regards to kicking out the corners than I’ve been as of late with balls of the like. The Alpha Crux lost its axis rotation so quickly, it reminded me just why that ball truly is designed for the heaviest of heavy conditions.

CONCLUSION:

If my !Q Tour and Code Black were to fall in love and start a family, their progeny would undoubtedly be the Code X. It’s an excellent blend of power, dynamics, and everyday versatility. It is the bowling ball equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too. Backend responsiveness is immediate and gratifying, without sacrificing what a solid ball is supposed to do up front. I do appreciate the Code X’s quieter exterior as it pirouettes its way down the lane with empyreal grace, yet remains tasteful for what it is. The Code lineage has discernibly paved the way for the Code X, and it’s the Code X that’s going to carry on this sterling reputation for quite some time.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075-SkU9hBA

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Code X or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).


Selecting an Arsenal for the USBC Open Championships

If you are heading to Syracuse for the OC’s this year, then you’ve probably already started thinking about what equipment you are toting along. And since ball slots are limited and checked bag fees are high, the gravity in your selection process becomes pretty critical. As with any arsenal, variety is key. Sounds easy, right? Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into it that can become a daunting task for even the most seasoned professional. The boundless options that are available on the market should be used to your advantage, but it all starts with the bowler. Knowing the subtle distinctions in how you roll the ball, such as axis tilt, axis rotation, speed, and rev rate, are most crucial.

Once you’ve determined your stats, next comes the ball selection process. As always, variety is key.

The Open Championships have now abstained from announcing the oil pattern prior to the tournament commencing – which is perfectly fine. You can bet on it not being a cakewalk. Balls that exude control and forgiveness are going to be your best friends with any trip to the OC’s. What kind of balls do this? Well, your favorite benchmark should be the first thing that comes to mind. A low RG, solid, matte finish ball that is smooth and brings the breakpoint closer to the foul line would definitely provide this for the bowler. The !Q Tour is the second longest running ball in Storm’s history for this very reason.

After that, building an arsenal is pretty straightforward. Having a good mix of solids, pearls, hybrids with a combination of surfaces and layouts is important. Typically, you won’t see too many polished balls going down the lanes at the Open Championships. The reason for this all boils down to controlling the breakpoint. Sanded balls maximize your room for error by picking up on the midlane better than polished balls and bringing the breakpoint - the most critical part of the lane - closer to you. It’s not a mystery anymore that surface is the #1 most influential factor that dictates ball motion. The bowlers that perform the best every year will almost always bring a wide array of 500-grit to 4000-grit sanded balls. I’m not saying omit polish completely, so reserve one to two spots in your bag for when they get “toasty” later in the day.

Layouts are the last big thing to discuss. Working with your Storm VIP pro shop professional to establish which layouts are best for your style and the arsenal you’ve chosen is imperative. Some of the most accomplished bowlers will use around three of their favorite layouts and let the inherent properties of the balls be the major difference in what they see. Pete Weber, for example, has only used two layouts for years: one pin up above the bridge and one pin down below the bridge. There are enough factors in bowling that are above and beyond anyone’s control, and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them. So keeping the variables in check that you can control, like Pete, isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Below is a sample 6-ball arsenal that would cover all of your bases at the Open Championships this year.


Drive versus Timeless - Internal Review

Zach Trevino loves his Drive, and here's why...

When the Timeless was first introduced, Zach struggled to keep it reading the correct part of the lane before it was too late at the end of the pattern. This is not the ball’s fault, however. His higher ball speed combined with his higher degree of tilt all but promotes skid throughout the lane. Mix in a high RG, polished shell with our cleanest cover (R2S) to date and the struggle becomes very real for a player with his specs. To combat this, Zach took the surface down to match his Drive at 3000-grit Abralon – something he encourages most people who call into Storm to do when experiencing similar difficulties. “I will be the first one to admit that Timeless just wasn’t the ball for me” said Zach. “I drilled one pin up strong and one pin down smoother and it was the latter that only found its way into my bag for one specific scenario - the mega burn.” He added “Using a slower buffer, my pin down Timeless was very useful for when the pattern really got trashed and I had to keep my angles tighter from inside. I don’t have the loft game and often get cornered late in blocks because I have to throw weaker equipment with tighter angles. The Timeless allowed me to bump the dry and it wouldn’t over react when it saw friction. Nonetheless, it was very conditional and didn’t get much use.”

Zach wasn’t the only one who felt “trapped” with the Timeless. Taking this into consideration, we went through many iterations of the intended design with the Drive while ultimately settling on an R2S/Nano blend that we cleverly titled: R2S Nano.

Zach sometimes struggles with stronger covers like this stating they “normally aren’t good for me as it usually results in the ball being too cover driven and just lazy.” However, he later affirmed that his “initial impressions weren’t anything as what I had expected. In this case, that was a good thing! It was as if the ball had so much more shape and read in the mid’s (which Timeless was severely lacking) and just never quit.”

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 17mph

RPM:400

Tilt: 15°

Rotation: 60°

PAP: 4 5/8” over, 1/2" up

Layout Used for Test: 4 3/8 x 5 1/8 x 2 3/4   (65° x 4 3/8 x 45°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

RESULTS:

Zach rolled each ball 20 times on Kegel's Beaten Path. We took SPECTO readings at the beginning, middle, and end to compare the results for each ball.

Following his preemptive impressions, Zach started an arrow deeper due to the significantly stronger cover and surface prep. There was never any question the ball would miss the spot from too much length.

After about 10 shots with each ball, Zach felt he should have moved more at this point. Every shot with the Drive was high flush, but a little too high sometimes tripping out the 4-9 several times. The Timeless was the ball Zach felt comfortable with at this point because it was not seeing the friction as severely as the Drive.

SPECTO does a fantastic job of showing the difference in shape with both balls. The breakpoint distances are pretty tightly grouped even though the Drive is over an arrow deeper towards the end of this test. The Timeless needed a straighter trajectory with less launch angle to find the pocket. Overall, Zach preferred the shape and location he had to play with the Drive being inside the track of the Timeless with fresh oil instead of out in the dirt.

Zach has already dedicated a slot in his Open Championships bag for the Drive saying “It is a true improvement as opposed to just being a follow-up with another Belmo logo on it. It’s a unique piece that is going to end up in my tournament bag headed to the OC's this year. It provides that stability and continuous motion needed to control tougher conditions and create area when there isn’t much room for error.”

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 20 shots the Drive, on average, when compared to the Timeless produced:

+6.43 boards deeper set-down

+0.64° launch angle

-1.16° entry angle to pocket

+2 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/MEIkyCeRpsQ

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Drive or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


Riding For A Reason

Last April, Storm laid to rest someone who was very important to the brand we all know and love. Scott Knavel never won a PBA event, has never been in a video or an ad. But he was more than integral to the manufacturing of millions of balls that countless bowlers have come to enjoy.

Scott had worked in every facet of production from coring to urethane, R&D to bottling, and all the way up to Assistant Production Manager in his 15 years at Storm. His role was vital. Scott led the effort in saving the life of a worker who had collapsed by performing CPR. He was a shepherd for the production team’s immense band of brothers and sisters.

The mosaic the production team at Storm weaves is a sumptuous one – a working rapport of many divisions that are as equal as they are diverse. Scott was a leading light for the Storm family whose integrity and steadfastness will remain a beacon of virtue for years to come.

On that fateful Easter Sunday, Storm lost a vital piece to that team.

The following week, Shane Blakeley, Storm’s Plant Manager, was having breakfast with a friend of the company, Jack Andersen, and the two agreed that Scott’s story wasn’t quite finished. With some careful planning, the “Ride for a Reason” tour was born.

Beginning in Ogden, Utah, Andersen with 4 of his riding companions began their 300 mile trek to Challis, Idaho to honor the memory of Scott.

Scott’s wife, NaCoal, was invited to the Storm plant as the team passed through Brigham City on their expedition north. What she wasn’t aware of was the $6,910 check about to be presented to her for aid with Scott’s final expenses. An initial goal of $2,500 was set, but in typical Storm fashion that target was exceeded with flying colors. Thanks to the help of company suppliers, sponsors, and fellow employees NaCoal can rest a little easier with some of this austere burden lifted off her shoulders.

The cycling team plans to hit all the best fast food stops along the way on their 3 day campaign. “Thank you so much for your generosity and the compassion that was shown. The outpouring has been overwhelming,” said Blakeley. It’s been an emotional journey for all involved.

There have been hundreds of employees that have contributed to the Storm brand over the years, but the vast majority looked to Scott for guidance every day.

 


Son!Q versus Marvel Pearl - Internal Review

The Centripetal HD Core delivers instant revs and puts the entire category on notice.

 

Since its inception, the evolution of the design can be traced across the Centripetal Low Flare Core, C3 Centripetal Control Core, and now the Centripetal HD Core. At first glance the Centripetal HD Core may look familiar, but deep down is where the magic truly happens. It is the densest core of any symmetrical Storm ball to date producing an RG value of 2.47. Historically, these renditions of the Centripetal shape have all exhibited a lower RG value with varying degrees of differential achieved by the manipulation of the densities in the core material itself. The Centripetal HD (high density) is the heaviest to date which makes the Son!Q much more center-heavy.  The Marvel Pearl retains the primary shape, but is constructed with a material of lower specific gravity.  What does this mean to you? Let’s explore…

We know that controlling the midlane is what the pros are renowned for. They are able to see ball motion in a way that lets them make the best decision in order to get their ball into a roll before the end of the pattern. Whether they do that with surface, speed, axis tilt, or core technology is dependent on the situation at hand, but believe me when I say having a ball in your hand that is trying to roll as soon as it hits the lanes certainly doesn’t hurt. Chris Barnes, who’s arguably the best technician on tour, told me years ago that he only uses low RG balls for this very reason.

A ball that is rolling into the pins carries considerably better than a ball that is hooking into the pins. When a ball makes impact and doesn’t have a direction of motion that is in-line with the centers of gravity of the pins, some of the energy that would have been available for the post-collision pin velocity will be lost to rotation and friction. Because the Centripetal HD Core’s center of gravity is extremely low, it consistently impacts the pins at the perfect spot every time maximizing carry.

Delving a little deeper into the physics behind it, angular momentum is much harder for an external force to change its direction as opposed to linear momentum. Angular momentum is essentially the rotational equivalent of linear momentum and remains constant unless acted upon by an external torque that’s proportional to the initial moment of inertia (the bowler’s release). The faster the angular momentum created, the more torque is required to cause a change in angular acceleration. Simply stated, we apply rotational energy to create angular momentum around the weight block of a bowling ball, AKA torque. This energy we impart on the ball stays the same until something else tries to stop it, like the friction on a lane or 40lbs worth of bowling pins. Cores like the Centripetal HD in the Son!Q that have lower RG values have a higher potential to conserve its angular momentum throughout the lane and into the pins. This results in less deflection, better carry, and higher scores.

Getting into something that’s a tad more observable to the naked eye, the entry angle into the pocket that the Son!Q creates really wasn’t that steep. Especially when compared to something like a Hy-Road Pearl that’s at the other end of the spectrum when discussing RG values. Balls like the Hy-Road Pearl, at least for me and the way I roll it, really magnify both wet and dry circumstances which is probably why they only time I use the ball is when there is at least 2000-4000 surface on it. With the Son!Q, I noticed less wrapped 10-pin leaves, fewer stone-9’s, and much lower flight paths of the pins when the ball makes contact – which was optimal for carry in my many off-pocket hits because the pins are colliding with each other instead of flying above one another. On the rare occasion I left a stone-9, there was always a messenger there to greet it.

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 6 x 4  (80° x 5 x 60°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 4.04:1, 24.25 mL

 

RESULTS:

For this test, I tossed 30 shots with each ball on a fresh Beaten Path pattern and took excerpts from each transition you can see below in the SPECTO results. Even just a 0.010 difference in the low RG versus the Marvel Pearl was enough to make the Son!Q breakpoint distance a couple feet sooner during my initial warm-up when getting lined up. But for this test, I wanted to show the best line to the pocket for both balls on the Beaten Path pattern by Kegel. Early on (fig.1), the Son!Q’s lay-down had to be about 3 boards inside of the Marvel Pearl. From slightly inside, the breakpoint distance was 1-2 feet later for the Son!Q, but it was also crossing more boards overall given the same speed and hand position I was using.

As the lane started to transition (after about 12 shots) I moved the standard 2:1 and found no shortage of movement or carry with either ball. The Son!Q laydown remained just inside of the Marvel Pearl with the breakpoints inching closer to one another downlane (fig. 2). The R2S cover on the Son!Q was able to generate slightly more entry angle into the pocket due to its cleaner nature when compared to the R2X featured on the Marvel Pearl.

After another 12 shots or so I moved another 2 left but kept my eyes the same. At this point, the breakpoint distance for both balls were well-nigh similar and the breakpoint boards were pretty close as well (fig. 3).

The differences in the two balls, for me, shined through on the fresh. When the lane started to really break down, the spread between the two got closer with the additional friction that was happening in the fronts. If you already have a Marvel Pearl but are considering picking up a Son!Q, I would recommend another one of your favorite layouts or a simple surface change just to give yourself a little more diversity in your bag - unless a 3-5 board shift inside and a slightly more angular downlane transition is what you are looking for given equal layouts/surfaces. To date, the original Marvel Pearl @ 3000-grit Abralon was my favorite “on the fresh” ball. Now that the Son!Q has made its way into my hands, I will keep it at the original 1500-grit polished surface and use it to fill that transition gap I’ve been combating for such a long time and reintroduce my Marvel Pearl back to 3000-grit.

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 30 shots the Son!Q, on average, when compared to the Marvel Pearl produced:

+2.48 boards deeper set-down

+0.030° entry angle to pocket

+1.16 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/vQwK36Yt7GU

 

Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Son!Q or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


Seminar and Round Table Round-Up

Hello Storm Nation!

As 2017 winds down, it’s great to note so many cool new things at Storm that were implemented throughout the year. It was just last Fall when we toured the country listening to the concerns of bowlers, bowling center proprietors, and pro shop owners alike. As a result of those discussion, we were able to implement many new changes such as the re-release of very success previous model at slower times of the year. Hence the limited-edition Marvel™ Pearl which was so instrumental in the collection of titles by our PBA Champions. You spoke and we listened!

The same went with the request to have more technical knowledge shared on our website and throughout the Storm Nation.

You definitely were not lying when you said that the demand for knowledge in our sport is huge! The technical articles and videos continue to outperform promotional material by more than tenfold.

So, it was our quest to quench the thirst for more technical material along with a chance to openly discuss and share ideas at this most recent Round Table and Intense™ Seminar tour. For those of you who were able to make it, we appreciate it and thank you for your patronage. We talked for the first half and listened for the second half. And we are excited to take action on those terrific ideas which came from so many of you across the country.

For the Intense Seminar portion, we revealed the intricacies of Storm’s Vector Layout System and how it places an importance of the actual shape the pro shop operator is drilling into. Dispelling many myths, the seminar turned heads and raised eyebrows to some new ways of thinking. The info presented added real technical substance to today’s modern game including test results that haven’t been offered to the public before. It was well received across the country and the effects are noticeable and beneficial, particularly by empowering pro shop operators with enriched knowledge on Storm’s VLS system and balance hole techniques. Remember, there is a wealth of technical knowledge located at news.stormbowling.com that is available for everyone and is always growing.

With league season in full affect and the holiday’s right around the corner, our sport is a hot bed of activity. Stay up to date with all that Storm has to offer including technical articles, new releases, ball videos, coaching tips, and more at www.stormbowling.com. Also be sure to stay in touch through our various social media channels including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for exclusive content regarding everything going on in your Storm Nation!