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9'/10' +1/2deg - Marka

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Thanks to JR and ProSharp for the opportunity to try out various skate blade profiles!

About me:

I'm a relatively new hockey player, but a relatively old person.  🙂  I started skating and playing hockey in 2015/2016 at age 46.  Prior to that, I'd played a tiny bit of hockey with neighborhood kids a couple winters on a pond in Maine, where I grew up.  When I started a couple years ago, I could sorta hockey stop on one side and kinda do forward crossovers.  Today my skating has greatly improved and I can perform any normal "hockey skating maneuver", but nobody will mistake me for Connor McDavid or even just anyone that played hockey seriously as a kid.  I currently play in "D" leagues in the Pittsburgh, PA area, which are one step up from full beginner leagues.

I use size 7.5D Easton Mako M8 skates, with regular 263mm Step Steel.  I use a 5/8" Fire 'radius' and sharpen my own skates with my Sparx.  This set was initially sharpened by JR at 1/2" ROH when it was profiled, then I ran 6 passes with a 5/8" Fire ring at home.

Dual Radius 9'/10' + 1/2 deg pitch

Please see my other reviews for context!  All of my comments are in relation to other profiles I've tried.  A Zuperior profile with a little added forward pitch was my baseline, which I rated at all 3's for each category.

I stepped onto the ice having no idea what this would be like.  At home I'd compared the steel to my Zuperior setup (also on Step Steel, though with a bit more wear due to sharpening) and the dual radius seemed to be reasonably close, with a perhaps a touch less forward pitch.  In the past, I'd noticed a really big difference between steel that had more radical profile differences, and really didn't know what to expect now.

The differences ended up being pretty subtle to me.  I was immediately comfortable and balanced skating over to the bench area to stretch out and my absolute first impression was "this is fine and I could play with it without thinking about my skates". 

I had the ice to myself, so I ran through a series of maneuvers to get a better sense of the changes in feel.  I did forward/backward crossovers around the circles, forward/backward stops & starts, tight forward turns, forward/backward strides, forward/backward one foot glides, and what I call "defensive turns" where you skate with forward crossovers in a large arc, then switch to backwards crossovers midway through and finish with backwards strides.  I also did some stick handling and shooting, just to break up the time a bit.  All in all, I was on the ice for about 15 minutes with this profile.  I'll try to repeat these maneuvers with all of my initial profile reviews.

As mentioned, the differences were pretty subtle to me.  In terms of feel, it felt like the blade had more toe contact than my baseline Zuperior profile, which particularly helped with backwards skating and getting that last 'toe flick' on the stride and perhaps a touch more stability.  However, the increased toe contact wasn't so much that I had any issues with 'toe picking' the ice like I had previously occasionally had with an unprofiled stock 10' radius Step Steel setup.  In every other aspect, I didn't notice any large change.  It's important to note that this wasn't a direct back to back or blind comparison to my baseline profile as it'd been a day since I was last on the ice and I was the one switching steel!

Anyway, here's my completely unscientific ratings:

Acceleration: 4
Mobility: 3
Stability: 4
Speed: 3

My ratings there are pretty close to the Zuperior baseline (see my review in the triple section for specific comments on that) and that reflects my perception of the subtle differences here.  There was no drastic change in any category for me.  I gave a slight edge for these to acceleration mostly because when skating backwards in particular it felt like I got more productive pushes with that little bit more toe contact.  I bumped up Stability slightly because I seemed ever so slightly more balanced when skating backwards.

Again though, overall the differences were slight.  I have full confidence that I could continue to use this profile if necessary and it wouldn't affect my game.

Next up was a Quad Zero!  See my review in the quad section for that.


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