It’s a tall order, revolutionizing a sport that’s been around, in some fashion, since the 18th century — and by some accounts, even longer. But Carbon Sports aims to do just that with an innovative new hockey stick that, for the first time, is built with a perforated blade made completely out of carbon fiber.
Citing the many inefficiencies that arise when using a typical carbon composite hockey stick, whose blades are often full of breakable foam, the AirBlade was built to imitate the feel, customization and durability of the old wooden puck punters while maintaining — and even improving upon — the speed and swiftness of their more recent replicas.
Both the blade’s holey configuration, which, after rigorous testing showed to increase average shot speeds by 13%, and its cross beam construction, which makes it more durable than others on the market, are owed to the dynamic nature of the blade’s main material, carbon fiber.
“The AirBlade has an intricate, carbon fiber compression molding process never before used in hockey sticks,” states AirBlade’s official website. “This unique technology, coupled with the added strength of a patented cross beam construction, has eliminated the need for a blade core and allows Carbon Sports to perforate the blade for better aerodynamics and puck feel.”
That “puck feel” they mention, the kind that makes the stick a near extension of one’s own arm, is furthered by the fact that the AirBlade is fully customizable — another benefit to using a multifaceted material like carbon fiber.
Curve. Curve depth. Lie. Contour. Shaft flex. Rake. Shaft coat. Each and every aspect of the stick can be adapted to fit most players’ needs for a grand total of 25,000 different personalized designs. And each is fitted with a chunk of carbon fiber that has been tested enough for the design group to feel safe in saying that, “it will never lose its ‘pop’ like other composite sticks.”
With such feel, form and functionality, it’s hard to imagine that the AirBlade won’t soon infiltrate the little-, mid- and minor-league Hockey markets, replacing their foam core equivalents overtime.
The only problem is, in spite of the stick’s new style and stroke speed, the AirBlade is having a hard time getting off the ground. (Carbon Sports fell far short of its $45,000 goal on Kickstarter, amassing a little less than a fourth — $10,527 — of what they asked for.)
To be fair though, after watching their seemingly under-budgeted pitch video, which has some surprisingly big names, including Michael Eruzione, Captain and game-ending goal scorer from the U.S. Men’s Miracle On Ice team, praising the blade — albeit awkward and possibly pre-scripted praise — it seems that marketing restraints might’ve had something to do with the campaign’s eventual demise.
Nevertheless, as tough as any Hockey player can be, Carbon Sports is forging on ahead.
“We truly believe in our product,” reads an update made on the product’s official Kickstarter page, timestamped October 30, 2014. It goes on to say that they intend to begin production in “early 2015.”