Plastics were first used as a substitute for ice for skating in the 1960s. Synthetic ice rinks were made from materials such as polyoxymethylene plastic, developed by DuPont in the 1950s. In 1982, the first full-sized artificial rinks were produced with High-Density Plastics. They were completed using interlocking panels.
So, artificial ice has been around for a while. And, there were, of course, challenges skating on synthetic ice when it first came into existence.
Technological advances and higher quality products have resolved many of these challenges. Some, in reality, can make you a better skater for overcoming them.
With that said, if you are in the market for a high-tech, high-quality, synthetic ice rink, contact our staff at KwikRink. We can answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, let’s review how to ice skate on current, high-quality synthetic ice.
Use your regular skates
Enhanced molecular structure and glide technology are essential to reducing friction which dulls ice skate blades. KwikRink’s latest formula finds that ideal combination of glide while still providing for just the right grip, creating the perfect conditions for skating.
This enhanced molecular structure and glide technology helps to cut down on friction and the need to resharpen skates as often as is needed with older, traditional quality synthetic panels.
Wear your regular clothes
Current self-lubricating panels require no topical sprays and do not ooze slip agent. No topical sprays or slip agents means no oily mess to stain clothes, costumes or uniforms.
Old assembly methods also meant flooring could move and slide over time. This movement would create gaps and uneven surfaces. New dovetail interlocking designs mean panels stay in place both horizontally and vertically. An even surface means nothing to catch or trip on, except, maybe your toe pick.
Skip the hats, scarves, wool socks, mittens, and parka
Synthetic ice does not require cold temperatures. So you could be skating anywhere from a traditional arena setting to a small in-home rink, to an expansive outdoor rink in the middle of summer.
You won’t need to wait until it is cold enough outside for the ice to freeze. No more being forced to practice when it is so severe or snowy that you won’t survive more than 20 minutes before needing a break in the warming house.
Leave the broom in the closet
No, we haven’t switched to the topic of curling — that was one of last month’s articles. Skating on inferior quality synthetic panels generates a considerable amount of abrasions and shavings requiring frequent sweeping of the surface.
With the latest technology, the panels are now self-lubricating, and the surface remains more intact, which means the broom doesn’t have to come out of the closet as often.
Leave the cleaners in the cabinet
Besides the broom, you can leave the cleaning products in the closet too. Higher quality products are designed to withstand the elements. No lubricants or topical sprays means the surfaces do not attract dirt and grime as quickly as older materials. Both have the effect of the rink staying cleaner, longer, as well.
An occasional mopping (or use of a floor scrubber on larger, outdoor rinks) will still be required, but KwikRink’s synthetic panels are designed to take the punishment of any hockey or figure skating regimen. Indoors or out, these rinks are designed to last up to a decade or more.
Practice all your regular moves
So, you can wear your regular skates, and you can wear your regular clothes, and yes, you can practice all your regular moves. From long glides to hockey stops, and spins to jumps off your toe pick, you can practice all the skills on synthetic ice.
It used to be that backward skating and transitioning were slowed down and unnatural on synthetic ice, but that is no longer the case. KwikRink’s 5th generation formula provides for 95% of real ice speed and a glide of up to 50 ft on one stroke.
Be prepared to become a stronger skater
Although KwikRink’s 5th generation formula provides for 95% of real ice speed, that does still mean that you will need to work a little harder to recover that last 5%. That, however, is a good thing.
The slight extra exertion required is like training with weights on, something almost every sports discipline uses. Training with weights builds extra muscle mass. Then, removing the weight will make repeating the same movement seem almost effortless.
Figure skaters may need to make the muscles work just a little harder to get up off the synthetic ice into that jump. That little extra work will then make them feel light as a bird when they return to real ice.
Hockey skaters may have to push just a little harder on a synthetic rink. But it will make them feel like they are wearing rockets when they start doing speed drills on the real ice rink.
Give it a try
If you haven’t skated on a synthetic rink recently, or ever, give it a try. Skate, drill, block, check, shoot, glide, spin, and jump just like on real ice.
When you’ve convinced yourself that it is a satisfactory alternative to real ice, check out KwikRink’s website. We’ve got tons of ideas on how to use synthetic ice rinks for commercial, residential, and rental applications.