These are the brands I have an ongoing partnership with:
Longoni cues (http://www.longonicues.com)
Manufacturers of professional cues all made in Italy since 1945. I consider Longoni as the most relevant reference in the world for carom cues in terms of quality, price (don’t forget that everything is produced in Italy), technical equipment and design.
Our partnership has begun a really long time ago (around 1980) when I played mostly technical carom disciplines (free game, balkline, one cushion). Only later, in 1986 I changed my preferences by starting seriously on playing 3-cushion billiards.
My first Longoni 3-cushion cue was an epic model “81” which I still have in my collection. A fantastic butt made of african ebony wood. I played for long time with Pro2+ shafts, the very first shaft made by Longoni expressly for 3-cushion billiards. With enough deflection, surely, but this can be managed by a good player. With the Pro2+ I won my first individual 3-cushion World title in 2002.
For the first time we brought into the market the first Zanetti model in the year 2000 exactly. That was also the start for the “Custom Pro cues” line, with the goal to produce for the customers exactly the same cue as the world class players received. We called that first model “Leonardo” (inspired by Leonardo da Vinci) which was followed after a while by the “Raffaello” model (named after the painter of the Middle Age period Raffello Sanzio). The market reacted very positively.
Since that, we’ve created many models for several top players. As for my models I was always involved in the design and more generally in the research to test new materials and steadily improving the technical requirements. It’s not by chance that Longoni cues have reached an extremely high level of quality!
Actually my cue is the “WC Mark II” model, expressly made for Kimchi Billiards/Exclusive Longoni Korean Dealer. While I’m writing this, I am waiting for my new masterpiece, the “Evoluzione” model which is going to be released in late 2016. It will be my 12th personal Longoni cue model.
My favorite shaft is the S20 C71, wooden joint, 11,75mm diameter and my preferred cue tip is the Fuji black H (Hard). The weight for my cues is between 510 and 540 grams.
I am very proud of this collaboration and I really love to be active for this company. Let me frankly extend my deepest gratitude to the Longoni family for their trust and appreciation.
Simonis cloth (http://www.iwansimonis.com)
Billiards has a great history and a long past behind it. Iwan Simonis, the Belgian manufacturer of billiard cloth, is the living proof of it, as their Company was founded in 1680 (!!)
Since more then 3 centuries Iwan Simonis has been the uncontroversial market leader not only in carom billiards but also in pool. Due to recent acquisitions, Simonis is also strongly involved in snooker billiard now.
Iwan Simonis is an important partner for all official billiard Bodies and Federations and traditionally supports the billiard sport and some of its most representative athletes.
Under this requirements, it has to be considered an honor to get sponsored by this Company. I’ve been belonging to the Iwan Simonis family for a very long time: I remember the pleasure I had when I met the last charismatic aristocratic descendant of the Peltzer family, owner of the Company (and much more) since centuries. M. Georges Peltzer was one of the finest men I ever personally met.
Today my friend M. Bernard Bollette is Director of the Company and is governing everything without forgetting the spirit of the Peltzer family. No doubt that his behavior and his style was deeply influenced, on a very positive way, by his former Chief. I never heard him raising his voice, even despite good reasons to do it. I wish I was like him!
Since Iwan Simonis acquired also the other big Belgian billiard company, Saluc, which produces billiard balls, the global importance of Simonis has grown even more, and is playing a central role in the market and in the promotion of the billiard sport.
Min tables (http://www.mintable.kr/)
Min is manufacturer of billiard tables in South Korea, the biggest market for carom billiards.
Korean billiard market is not only extremely big market but also very selective, it means that all the manufacturers are obliged to work very efficiently and produce qualitative equipments. Well, Min tables have a very high reputation for the high speed that balls show and for the regularity of the angles of the cushions. World class tournament have honored the utilization of Min Tables with extremely high averages (even world records) and excellent performances by many players – this is always the best sign of quality and collective appreciation.
The owner of the company, M. Sang Jun Min is an excellent host and a hard worker with big ambitions, steadily engaged on improving quality and design. The production is fully made in Korea and Mr. Min is very proud of the achievements reached in Korea and in other Asian countries. Min is also very strong in Vietnam where the business is leaded by the brother of the owner, Mr. Kwan Sik Min who became in the years a really close friend of mine. The next challenge for Min is now to export the goods out of Asia. The first steps in South America are very interesting and the reputation of Min tables in the countries where the tables have been put (like Colombia and Peru) is excellent.