Ebonite: Innovate

by Bob Johnson 0

48 Hook 16 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Ebonite Innovate was designed to offer a really long and angular motion that people typically do not associate with the Ebonite brand,” says Ed Gallagher. “We used the Verve core design with its lower differential and lower intermediate differential numbers. This is a really fun ball to throw when you need a ball to corner really hard.”

Core Design: The Verve asymmetric core was first used in the Warning Sign (December 2011). With strong dynamics in weights 12-16, the RG of 2.49 and .046 Differential offer ample motion options for any style of bowler. The intermediate diff strength is .010. We saw nearly 5.5 inches of track flare with our 3-, 4- and 5-inch layouts.

Coverstock: The Innovate HTR 3.0 reactive pearl coverstock supplies the strong move off friction. This third-generation HTR cover is factory sanded with 800, 1000 and 2000 and then polished to a high gloss. Oil traction is limited, while friction responsiveness is moderately quick. Coloring is a fusion of red, navy and purple. The ball’s low Ra level enhances the ease of length.

Test Results: As with most smoothly polished pearlized coverstocks, the Innovate displayed easy length, even when seeing some burned friction areas. In fact, we purposely created these high-friction areas to better see the energy retention and back-end shape offered by this month’s products. The Innovate was definitely one of our favorites, as it rarely hooked too soon or ran out of hitting and carry power. It created an angular breakpoint on some oil patterns but not on all, which is not a detraction in any way. Fact is, the smooth motion made the Innovate easier to read downlane. The overall hook motion and ease of length reminded me of the Ebonite One pearl (March 2009).

When to Use: The Innovate did not perform well on any of our heavier oil volume patterns. It did, however, play great on a longer 44-foot pattern when drilled with a 60x4x30 layout. This quick-response layout allowed for a decisive and angular move when playing deeper inside angles. Most bowlers, though, will find more uses on light- to medium-volume oil patterns or those with shorter oil distances.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.