By Nichole Thomas
        5 min read

Ion Pro: Benchmark Reinvented

By Nichole Thomas
5 min read

Each addition to the Storm catalogue goes back to the Chrisman’s passion for making bowling better. “A value of ours is to make the highest performance bowling ball that we can make. We’ve never been trying to make the most amount of bowling balls or sell the most, we’ve always just wanted to make the most quality and performing product that we can make,” Storm president Tyler Jensen says, “Bowling is the key sport that brings our whole group together and brings us closer.” Our Storm team wants to win, hence the constant need for innovation.

The History

The Ion Pro is the first asymmetric benchmark ball designed by Storm, setting a new standard of reliability. A benchmark ball is crafted to offer balanced performance across various lane conditions, allowing bowlers to adjust their game without switching balls. This makes it ideal for players of every style from any angle.

On the PBA Tour, where rev rates are high, the Ion Pro's cover stock blend provides bowlers with a low RG and less differential. This combination offers more room when patterns start to break down. The ball’s back-end reaction counters the carry-down from urethane balls, essential for maintaining control on flatter patterns. But in league, there’s a lot more ratio to the middle and outside, which gives you more hold inside. However, even the bigger balls tend to over hook the dry because the friction on the surface is getting greater and greater. This forces bowlers to move left and play the inside on a higher volume of oil, causing the ball to get behind it and leave a 2-8-10. The Ion Pro will allow you to stay closer to the cliff, or the edge of the oil line. Doesn’t over hook from the dry, and the asymmetry reads through the oil, allowing bowlers to avoid getting too steep with their angles.

The Core

Alex Hoskins, in Episode 1, points out the evolving differences in lane conditions since the IQ Tour, Phaze II, and Hy-Road benchmark balls were released. The unique ellipsis shape of the Ion Pro’s core allows bowlers with varying styles to manipulate the shape. Hoskins explains, "A lot of people have asked, ‘Why not just a stronger overall cover on an IQ Tour,’ and the issue with that is it kind of gets away from that benchmark type reaction. It forces the player a little bit further left, it doesn’t have a lot of differential–and it’s still symmetrical–so it’s hard to get that corner around as you get a little bit more to the left. But with the Ion Pro core, we have some asymmetry. So you’re able to swing that PSA to the left or right and create some of that more natural shape that you see out of those asymmetrical balls. So now…you can get more of that front-to-back window while still feeling like you get that continuation which is important."

To expand, the Ion Pro features the Element Tour A.I. Core, which uses a stacked ellipse design. This places smaller ellipses towards the ends of the X-Axis and the widest ellipse at the center of the Y-Axis. Unlike cavity designs in the Crux and Absolute, the Element Tour A.I. Core changes more between different layouts due to its shape. This center-heavy design places the largest ellipse in the ball's geographic center, lowering the RG and making it one of the lowest RG asymmetrical designs. Its core shape is specifically designed to inhibit extremely low differential values because the only way to achieve that is by drilling closer to the pin, which catches less of the ellipsis shape; therefore, maintaining the dynamic integrity of the ball. Having the thumb hole a little further from the pin allows the ball to flare more, blending the front to back and left to right better. This new shape and concept still use past core shape successes to inform the ellipsis but give more volumetric mass across the Y-axis.

Two-handers tend to shy away from asymmetrical cores, but what’s unique about the Ion Pro is that you can still use shorter distances in differential that create a more consistent and repeatable ball motion. During a testing with Jason Belmonte, the pins on symmetrical balls were really close to his center of grip, which made the ball motion erratic and hard to control because there was not enough intermediate differential. The Ion Pro’s core solves that issue through the actual design of the shape.

In Play

What makes the Ion Pro so special? The goal of the Ion Pro is to be a middle ground ball in your arsenal, for use when your strong balls are over hooking and forcing you too far to the left, and the weaker balls are not turning the corner. The TX-16 coverstock, first seen in the Phaze II, is renowned for its reliability and versatility. In the Ion Pro, this hybrid version combines length with strength, redefining what a "benchmark" ball can achieve. It adapts to thick and heavy oil conditions without rolling too far or too fast, maintaining its trajectory and momentum.

As you can see in Episode 1 of the Ion Pro series, on a 38-foot Taj Mahal pattern, the Ion Pro will allow for play closer to the high volume of oil, around the cliff. With the stronger cover and asymmetry, it still blended the lane front to back. Generally, when moving left on a short pattern, the window gets smaller, and you get more erratic change of direction. When angling more to the right, the stronger cover and asymmetry of the Ion Pro had a cleaner reaction. On the other hand, the Phaze II hooks earlier, more front to back, and smoother on the spot down lane. If missing to the right, the ball reacts too fast to the friction and couldn’t go through the pins the right way, because it rolls through the flattest part of the pattern.

On a longer pattern, the 42-foot Autobahn, the IQ Tour, another benchmark ball, struggles through the front-to-back window resulting in very different back-end reactions. Moving to the Ion Pro, with a bigger cover, it is more consistent through the end of the pattern. It also doesn’t force the bowler too far to the left too quickly. Balling up to the Phaze II forces the bowler farther to the left through the higher volumes of oil. As you can see, the Ion Pro fits perfectly in the gap between the two previous benchmark balls, the IQ Tour and Phaze II, allowing the bowler to play the cliff without moving too far left, with consistent and powerful back-end reactions.

The Ion Pro redefines what a benchmark ball can be. It balances the need for strength and versatility, making it a must-have for bowlers looking to elevate their game. Whether on tour or in league play, the Ion Pro offers unmatched performance and reliability, truly setting a new standard in bowling balls.

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Ion Pro | Benchmark Reinvented - Episode 1 | Storm Bowling

We reinvented the benchmark core and wrapped it around tour proven technology. In Episode one we dive into the details of why we went on this journey. Tyler Jensen, President SPI, Hank Boomershine, VP of Sales and R&D, and Alex Hoskins, Director of R&D kick off the first episode. Take a look at the core inside Ion Pro and how it is a game changer in the Storm lineup of balls.