Golden Girl Jennifer Dawson – World Class Athlete, Professional Pickleball And Tennis Champion

As pickleball continues to grow and an increasing number of tennis players transition to the sport of pickleball, few have achieved the level of success in both pickleball and tennis as Jennifer Dawson. An amazing athlete with incredible power and grace on and off the courts, Jennifer continues to earn major titles in tennis and pickleball, now as a Senior Pro in both sports.

In 2017, Jennifer made pickleball history as the first ever Triple Crown winner at the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships, winning gold in Senior Pro Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. At the 2018 Minto US OPEN, she won gold in Women’s Senior Pro Doubles.

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer’s titles at the USAPA Nationals Championships are equally as impressive, starting in 2015 with silver in Women’s Doubles 19+, then in 2016 gold in Women’s Doubles 35+, followed by two silver medals in 2017 in Women’s Senior Open Doubles and Singles. At the most recent 2018 USAPA National Pickleball Championships, Jennifer again won silver in Women’s Senior Open Singles, and another gold in Women’s Senior Open Doubles. She has also won several gold medals at the Tournament of Champions in both Senior Pro Doubles and Singles.

Jennifer’s pickleball achievements alone are beyond impressive. What makes her accomplishments even more remarkable is that she achieves such success while also competing and winning at an elite level in tennis. Jennifer recently spoke with Pickleball Central founder Anna Copley about her pickleball career, tennis background and highlights, and why she favors ProKennex paddles. Watch the interview with Jennifer here.

Jennifer Dawson Video Interview

Jennifer started playing tennis at age seven, and went on to play Division I collegiate tennis at USD. Then Jennifer Larking, she claimed the #1 Singles rank at USD in 1986, 1987 and 1988. After college, Jennifer played on the pro tennis tour for several years, racking up an impressive record. After taking some time off to raise a family she later returned to national and international competitive tennis, earning the number one USTA ranking in women’s 35, 40 and 45 age groups.

Currently, Jennifer plays at the highest level on the USTA Senior International Tennis Team, competing in dozens of tennis tournaments annually. On May 18, 2019 at the USTA National Women’s Senior Hard Court Tennis Championships in La Jolla, where the best players across the country compete for the coveted USTA Gold Balls awarded to the top national champions, she won not just one but two gold balls. The only double gold winner of the week, Jennifer won gold in both Singles and Doubles 50+ division.

Jennifer Dawson USTA team.jpeg

Jennifer and her husband Steve Dawson own and operate the Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle Center in Encinitas, CA, where they are both tennis and pickleball pros. The BOOST Pickleball Training Camps at Bobby Riggs Center provide pickleball players an opportunity to train with and learn from some of the finest players in the world – Steve, Jennifer, their son Callan (an accomplished 5.0 pickleball player) and several world class visiting guest pros such as Simone Jardim, Irina Tereschenko, Corrine Carr and Cammy MacGregor.

Athletes like the Dawsons are understandably particular about the equipment they use. Steve turned to ProKennex years ago when he was suffering from tennis elbow. So impressed with the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system for how well it improved his injury symptoms in tennis, Steve began working with ProKennex two years ago to develop pickleball paddles using the same technology.

The first ProKennex pickleball paddle, the Kinetic Pro Speed, was introduced at the 2018 US OPEN Pickleball Championships and immediately won a staggering collection of medals (with a little help from Steve and Jennifer). The newest ProKennex paddle, the Kinetic Ovation Speed, with an innovative oval shape and unparalleled sweet spot, was just introduced at the 2019 Minto US OPEN, winning more medals for both of the Dawsons.

Thanks to the ProKennex Kinetic Energy vibration dampening technology, thousands of pickleball players are benefiting from the reduction or elimination of previous elbow, arm and wrist pain. Learn more about ProKennex pickleball paddles and gear here.

Prince Pickleball: Changing The Shape of Pickleball With The New Reponse Pro and Spectrum Pro Pickleball Paddles

Many players can recognize a traditional pickleball paddle shape—a lightly tapered neck above the handle with squared-off parallel edges and a somewhat boxy square or rectangular shape.  As time has passed, some manufacturers have experimented with more elongated shapes, revolutionized by Glen Peterson’s GP short-handle designs (first introduced by Engage and now popularized with the Selkirk Omni) and then by some truly narrow designs like the Encore Blade, Amped Maxima, and Gamma Needle.

The goals of these paddles were sometimes to increase reach, sometimes to increase power, and sometimes to increase the sweet spot.  Mostly these designs tended towards players seeking extra reach and a forward-weighted (head weighted) feel.  Last fall, ProLite introduced the Chrome NRG which looked like it took inspiration from racquetball and squash, creating an elongated teardrop shape that put the mass (and sweet spot) further out for more power, with a rounded sweet spot more natural to actual spot patterns, and they have updated it with their new Cypher Pro.

Prince Pickleball

Now it’s time for Prince Pickleball to take paddle design in a new direction yet again… one you’ll excuse us for saying is quite “well-rounded.” In the 1970s Prince revolutionized tennis by designing new racquets with larger heads and much bigger sweet spots. Prince is doing it again, this time in Pickleball, and they are literally “changing the shape of pickleball” with their new designs.

We at PickleballCentral are pleased to be the official and exclusive launch partner for Prince’s Response Pro and Spectrum Pro composite paddles! These designs feature a highly circular shape that’s sure to satisfy players who love touch, and an oversized, super consistent, naturally round shaped sweet spot.

Changing The Shape:  A Circular Design

The engineering team at Prince Pickleball explained to us that their goal was to create a paddle that provides an amazingly large, naturally shaped sweet spot while delivering incredible touch and power. They explained it like this: “When you drop a pebble in a pool of water, you immediately think of the many ripples that are dispersed from the center; this is what Prince Pickleball replicates in the Response Pro and Spectrum Pro paddles.

The energy spreads out evenly over the paddle and isn’t disrupted by the traditional straight edges that most paddles have. Those straight edges impede energy transfer, and artificially reduce the size and shape of the sweet spot.  You don’t see square racquets in tennis, racquetball, or squash.  There is a reason – it’s about consistent energy dispersion and sweet spot expansion.”

We recently tested a prototype paddle in our lab and on our courts, and the paddle had a solid white face.  We used this paddle to learn visually what the typical shot pattern is like for a typical 3.5 – 4.5 player, and the results were interesting. The shot patterns show mis-hits (off center hits) as much side to side, as top to bottom. But the pattern itself was circular.

As we were listening to the engineers at Prince Pickleball, this resonated with us, and we immediately set out to play with their new circular shaped paddles to see if they really expanded the size of the sweet spot.

Our experience was amazing – balls played consistently in the sweet spot, closer to the edge than almost any paddle we’ve played with. Balls striking almost anywhere on the paddle face transfer energy out to a rounded perimeter, giving you the sense of consistent energy transfer whether you hit in the middle, or off center.

Changing The Shape:  A Thicker, High Performance “Progressive Core”

To maximize the size and consistency of the sweet spot, optimize vibration reduction, and provide a soft feel (similar to graphite paddles), the cores in Prince paddles are made of a thick 9/16-inch polymer honeycomb that generates plenty of power. Prince Pickleball calls this “Progressive Core Technology”.  Softer shots play consistently whether played on the center, or off center of the face, helpful when reaching soft volleys and dinks.

Many players describe the paddles playing like a graphite faced paddle due to this incredible control, helping keep dinks down, and reset points when volleys are blasted at you.  But when you power up on the paddle and hit a power shot, the paddle plays more like a fiberglass paddle, imparting progressively more power in a linear way.  The “Progressive Core” enables players to get the best of both worlds – power, and soft touch.

Proven Quality

Players will enjoy the high level of control they feel while benefiting from a design built to last. These paddles are wholly engineered and manufactured in the U.S. and come with a 5-year guarantee against dead spots.  While Prince is just now entering the pickleball market, they have been a leader in tennis and squash products since the 1970s. The first company to patent an oversized tennis racquet, Prince continued to innovate and influence trends in racquet sports for many decades.

Simone Jardim with Response Pro

Simone Jardim with the Response Pro

To ensure high quality design right from the start, they’ve partnered with top pickleball paddle manufacturer Paddletek to create these unique new offerings. The result is Prince’s launch of innovative paddles leveraging Paddletek’s advanced technology developed through seven years of perfecting pickleball paddle design.

It’s not just Prince and Paddletek’s expertise that supports the quality of the Response and Spectrum Pro paddles. National champion and 2018 US OPEN Triple Crown winner Simone Jardim dominated the courts with her signature Prince Response Pro paddle at this year’s US Open Pickleball Championships, winning Gold in pro singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

The Right Fit

The two models of Prince pickleball paddles guarantee a perfect fit for a wide range of player preferences. Players like Jardim who like a longer handle for two-handed backhands or for extra leverage and power prefer the Response Pro’s 5.5-inch handle. If a shorter handle better suits your style of play, the Spectrum Pro’s 5-inch handle may be just the right fit.

Simone Jardim and Response Pro

Simone Jardim and Response Pro

In either case, to top off the Prince quality and flexibility, both models offer your choice of grip size and weight when ordering a paddle. The Spectrum Pro comes in light weight models (7.2 – 7.6 ounces) and standard weights (7.7 – 8.3) and the Response Pro comes in light weight (7.1 – 7.6 ounces) and standard weights (7.7 – 8.1 ounces).

Both models are available in a 4-1/8” and 4-3/8” grip size. No more having to settle for equipment that’s just outside your preferred weight range or fiddling with overgrips! Both paddles also come in four appealing colors so there is a combination sure to please anyone. Simply pick out your preferences during checkout at our PickleballCentral store.

You’ll feel connected to your paddle like never before with these attractive and functional designs. Visit our Prince paddle page today and feel the power of the Response and Spectrum Pro for yourself.

Introducing the ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle

Introducing the ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle,
the First Paddle Designed To Prevent Arm Injuries

As the sport of pickleball grows, the number of players suffering from “pickleball elbow” and related arm injuries is also on the rise. We hear from many players looking for equipment that will help alleviate and prevent injuries to the arm. Finally, there is a paddle designed specifically to do just that, the Kinetic Pro Speed pickleball paddle just introduced by ProKennex Pickleball.

Kinetic Energy System

A leading science and design company well known in the tennis and racquetball worlds for their innovative injury-prevention product designs, ProKennex has been immersed in racquet sports since the 1970s. Their Kinetic Energy technology was thoughtfully developed specifically to prevent arm and elbow injuries. Utilizing a highly sensitive timing system with internal tungsten-filled chambers that reduce vibration and focus energy more efficiently, the ProKennex Kinetic Energy technology protects players from harmful impact forces and creates the most efficient energy transfer from paddle to ball.  The micro-tungsten beads are embedded in the paddle’s perimeter, absorbing impact vibration before it has a chance to travel from the paddle up your arm and into the soft tissues in your joints.

Steve Dawson, USAPA Nationals and US OPEN medalist, attributes the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system to saving his tennis career over 30 years ago, enabling him to become a Big 8 Collegiate champion, and successfully play and coach full time since graduating college.  As a young adult, Steve developed almost career ending elbow injuries, and after a switch to the ProKennex Kinetic racquets, he restarted his career, going on to a set of great collegiate championship performances, and a long, professional teaching career.  He swears by the technology, and is a living testament to its effectiveness.

Reduced Shock and Vibration

An independent study conducted by MIT Labs found that the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system delivers impressive improvement in shock reduction and dampening characteristics, creating a 43% reduction in vibration and a 20% reduction in shock, which the team at ProKennex believes can result in less damage to the arm. Shock and vibration are greatly reduced within the paddle, before traveling up your arm.

Preferred By Pros

Jennifer Dawson, 2018 USOPEN

Jennifer Dawson, 2018 US OPEN 4X Medalist with the Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball Pros Jennifer Dawson, Steve Dawson and their son Callan Dawson have partnered with ProKennex to develop the Kinetic Pro Speed paddle, and all three of these powerhouse pickleball players now play exclusively with the Pro Speed.

At last month’s 2018 US OPEN Pickleball Championships, Jennifer won Gold in the Women’s Senior Pro Doubles and Silver in Women’s Senior Pro Singles playing with the Kinetic Pro Speed. Steve, a long time “survivor” of tennis elbow through his 35+ years of playing and coaching high-level tennis and pickleball, appreciates the same injury-reduction benefits of the ProKennex Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle that caused him to select the ProKennex Kinetic Energy technology as his preferred tennis racquet design.

Fast and Maneuverable with Exceptional Shot Performance

Engineered for maximum maneuverability with wind-resistant edgeless construction and thin core technology, the Kinetic Pro Speed paddle is lightning fast, nimble and responsive. The unparalleled tip speed improves quickness and reflex enhancement. The Kinetic Energy shock absorbing system helps players experience greater touch, feel and control, improving confidence and success at the net.

What Do Our Pro Testers Think?

Our staff has tested the paddle extensively here on the courts at Pickleball Central, and in many ways this paddle defies traditional categorizations.  It is without question the highest performance edgeless paddle we’ve ever tested, with a large, consistent sweet spot.  Most edgeless paddles we’ve tested don’t provide good shot feel the closer you get to the edge, but the Pro Speed maintains a solid feel out towards the edge similar to paddles that use a traditional edge guard.  We theorize that its integrated carbon fiber flush fit perimeter (which is super durable) gives the paddle stability at the edges that many prior edgeless paddles lack.

Jennifer Dawson with her ProKennex Pro Speed Paddle

Jennifer Dawson with her  Kinetic Pro Speed Paddle

It features a unique core and face build-up combining 7 layers of polymer, carbon fiber, and hybrid composites for a paddle that delivers tons of power with a large consistent playing sweet spot.  Weighing in at around 8.0 ounces, the paddle itself does a lot of the work, reducing the swing energy you need to use to power a ball over the net.  In warm, or outdoor windy conditions, or in situations with a softer playing ball (like the Onix), this paddle excels at giving you power without needing to swing super hard. It does this without giving up a soft touch – in fact, the feel of the ball on the paddle is unique because you feel less vibration in the paddle, and as such the sound and hand feel is less “noisy”, with a more confidence inspiring “solid” feel.

Don’t wait to be injured, prevent it before it happens with the Kinetic Pro Speed, the revolutionary new pickleball paddle that leverages nearly thirty years of injury-prevention design expertise. Learn more about the Kinetic Pro Speed on our website.

Meet the Pros – McKenna and Kendall Hastings

Junior Champions – McKenna Hastings and Kendall Hastings

McKenna and Kendall at USAPA Nationals

McKenna and Kendall Hastings at the 2016 USAPA Nationals

 Sisters McKenna and Kendall Hastings are junior pickleball players making a name for themselves in pickleball. McKenna (age 14) and Kendall (age 12) are the youngest members of an active pickleball family residing in Sequim, Washington. They started competing in pickleball tournaments three years ago, and often partner together in doubles and compete against each other in singles. Occasionally McKenna and Kendall also partner with one of their parents or grandparents when they play in tournaments.

McKenna and Kendall Hastings at Pickleball Station with their winning medals

McKenna and Kendall Hastings at Pickleball Station in Kent, Washington, with their winning medals

McKenna and Kendall have already accumulated an impressive collection of medals. Both girls have played twice in Nationals. Kendall played in her first tournament when she was just nine years old. At age ten she was the youngest participant at Nationals. Kendall and McKenna visited PickleballCentral last week so we had an opportunity to talk about their pickleball story.

How were you introduced to pickleball?

 McKenna: We first started playing tennis with our parents a few years ago when I was 11 and Kendall was 9, but that wasn’t very competitive so we switched to pickleball. It was our dad that first introduced us to pickleball.
Kendall: At first when we tried pickleball we didn’t like it because we were so used to the feel of tennis. But we started playing more and getting the feel for it. Our family moved to a new house where we built a pickleball court, which we’ve had for four years. Also I have small hands and used a two-handed backhand in tennis which worked well for me in pickleball.

 Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

Kendall and McKenna at Centralia

Kendall Hastings, McKenna Hastings, Wendy Sofiak, Sharon Carter, Lorraine Subtelny and Eileen Dowell – Women’s Doubles 4.0 winners at the Int’l Indoor Tournament

McKenna: At USAPA Nationals we won gold in Junior Doubles for 14-under. Our most meaningful recent medal won was at the Indoor International Tournament in Centralia, WA this past May. We won Silver in Women’s 4.0 Doubles. We came all the way up through the loser’s bracket after having lost to the Gold winners in our first match then playing against them again in the finals and winning silver.
Kendall: Another meaningful tournament medal for me was the 2016 USAPA Nationals, Junior Singles. I beat Rachel Elliott (then age 14) then Rachel worked her way back up and we played against each other again in the finals; Rachel won Gold and I won Silver. We went to three games, 12-10. It was a real nail biter! I love playing against Rachel.

Kendall Hastings, Rachel Elliott and McKenna Hasting

Kendall Hastings, Rachel Elliott and McKenna Hastings at 2016 USAPA Nationals

How many tournaments do you play in per year? Do you have a favorite?

We can’t play in very many since we are in school during the school year. We play in about six per year. Our favorites are the USAPA Nationals and the USAPA Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament in Bend, Oregon.

What paddle do you play with and why?

Kendall: We both play with the Selkirk Power Core Pro S1G. This paddle works well for my two-handed backhand. McKenna sometimes does a one-handed backhand and sometimes two-handed and she likes it too. It’s a good paddle for power and touch.

 What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

McKenna and Kendall: Outdoors!

Do you prefer playing singles or doubles?

McKenna:  Doubles.
Kendall: Singles, because you have no one else to blame. All the shots go to you.

What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

McKenna: Watch your opponents during the warm-up. Try to figure out their strengths and weaknesses, who is the stronger or weaker player. Look at their mobility to see if lobs might work well.
Kendall: Have a good inside-out shot to keep people on their toes. Isolate and play to your opponent’s weaknesses.

Kendall Hastings at the USAPA Nationals

Kendall Hastings at the USAPA Nationals

How many hours a week do you play?

McKenna and Kendall: As much as we can with all of our other sports. We play with family and friends and do drills with our dad.

 Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

 McKenna: No, but we should start one!

Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

 McKenna: I want to become a 4.5 by the end of this year.
Kendall: I would like to become a 4.5 by the end of this year. I also want to work on my sportsmanship and being more positive while I play.

Anything else you’d like to share about your pickleball experience?

Kendall: Pickleball is so great because it’s a way that I can bond with my family. It means the world to me that my grandparents can still play with me. Two years ago I played with my grandpa against my sister in a bronze medal match. It’s such a good family sport.

International Indoor Pickleball Tournament Kendall and McKenna

International Indoor Pickleball Tournament: Wendy Sofiak – Sharon Carter Kendall Hastings – McKenna Hastings Lorraine Subtelny – Eileen Dowell

Well said Kendall! We have no doubt that your grandparents and parents agree.

Building Your Own Pickleball Court Can Be An Easy DIY Project

Building Your Own Pickleball Court Can Be An Easy DIY Project

Randy Futty home court

Randy Futty home court

For years, pickleball players on a tight budget who wanted to build a pickleball court were forced to buy whatever exterior grade paint the counterperson at the local home improvement store recommended. Since the paint products sold in the consumer marketplace do not hold up to the foot traffic and UV degradation that pickleball courts experiences on a daily basis, this created many unsatisfying results.

When the USAPA asked California Sport Surfaces if they could formulate a ready-to-use, do-it-yourself, pickleball surface that homeowners, church groups, and pickleball clubs could use to turn their driveways, parking lots and patios into playable courts, California Sports Surfaces challenged their chemists to create a consumer-ready, easy to apply, and long lasting textured coating. The result was PicklePave Court Surfacing, the Official Do-It-Yourself pickleball court surface of the USAPA.

Randy Futty, VP of California Sport Surfaces, felt it was important to personally test out the new formulation when it was first created, so decided to use his own driveway as his “petri dish.” Together with his wife, he spent a weekend turning their driveway into a beautiful emerald green pickleball court.

Driveway prep

Driveway prep

Since a 22’ x 40’ pickleball court wouldn’t fit in their space, Randy scaled down the court’s playing lines to 16’ x 26’. To create the court, they first treated and scrubbed two oil spots from the asphalt.  A solution of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a stiff scrub brush did the trick. Then they power-washed the area to be coated, allowing the driveway to dry overnight.

First coat of paint

First coat of paint

The next morning they located the corners of the court and snapped chalk lines for the sidelines, service line and kitchen. After following the PicklePave mixing directions, they poured out some of the ready-to-use acrylic paint and rolled the first coat onto the court.

Final Coat and Lines

Final Coat and Lines

After applying a second thin coat and letting it dry overnight, they re-marked the playing lines with a chalk line,  then taped and trimmed the line tape, added a coat of Line Rite Tape Sealer, and hand-painted the playing lines. The only thing left was to peel up the tape around the lines and the court was complete!

While not tournament approved, the court turned out beautifully and has provided countless hours of fun for Randy’s family, friends and neighbors – so much fun that after playing on his court, two other nearby families installed driveway courts of their very own.

Picklepave Court Surfacing is an excellent surface for any pickleball court, whether indoors or outdoors. Pickleball Central’s sister company, Pickleball Station, selected a commercial version of PicklePave called PlexiPave for our four state-of-the art indoor courts. Since opening in May 2017, Pickleball Station’s courts have received excellent reviews from the many players making Pickleball Station their home court of choice.

Pickleball Station courts

Pickleball Station Courts

For people looking for a pristine, smooth, and perfectly level court, Randy recommends working with a certified court builder. But for those looking to create a place to play the game you love on a tight budget, you can quite easily turn your driveway into a pickleball court. To watch a video showing step-by-step instructions for how to surface your own courts, visit our PicklePave court surfacing product page to learn more.

 

The Engage Elite Pro Pickleball Paddle Is Not Just For The Pros

Engage is a well-established manufacturer of pickleball paddles with a successful line-up including the popular Encore series. Recently Engage launched their new Engage Elite Pro pickleball paddle, which turned more than a few heads at the 2017 US OPEN, many of them belonging to pros.

Out of the 48 pro level medals won at the US OPEN, 21 were taken with Engage paddles.

The new Elite Pro was responsible for 9 of them. 

What makes the Engage Elite Pro different?

The Engage designers emphasize three key features that make the paddle unique: the paddle’s skin, shape and positioning of the sweet spot.

“Liquid Graphite” Skin

The Elite Pro was developed using their new “chemically bonded skin” (they call it “liquid graphite”), created to enhance playability, touch, power, control and spin.

This special composite fiberglass skin works well with all types of balls and court surfaces, whether playing outdoors with a Dura ball or indoors with a Jugs ball. With such performance and versatility, players enjoy a versatile paddle they can be used in any situation.

Longer Shape, Bigger Sweet Spot

The shape of the Engage Elite Pro is another distinguishing characteristic. The size of many previous Engage paddles was 15.5 x 8.25 inches. At 16 x 8 inches, the Elite Pro maximizes the USAPA size requirements, providing more length and a taller sweet spot.

The sweet spot was also moved higher on the paddle face, providing more power while still offering control. We’re hearing that this paddle provides a “feel” like no other.

Quiet Core

The Engage Elite Pro is constructed with a polymer core and engineered to create less vibration, helping to keep players healthy and minimize injuries such as tennis elbow. It is also designed to pass the most stringent community noise requirements. It has a 4.25 inch grip circumference, 5″ grip length and comes in a weight range of 7.8 to 8.3 ounces.

Created with input from top players, the initial idea for the Engage Elite Pro paddle began as the signature paddle for pros Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. Matt and Lucy, along with pros Brian Staub, Ben Johns and many others, are using the Elite Pro with impressive results.

The Engage Elite Pro is currently available in red and white as well as the Lucy Kovalova edition (white with maroon fade) and the Matt Wright edition (navy with yellow fade).

Recreational players shouldn’t let the paddle’s name convince them they can’t use it. The Engage Elite Pro is designed for everyone–the touch player, the power player and those who just want to have fun with a high quality paddle.

Comment from our in-house pros at PickleballStation

“The Elite Pro is definitely a great paddle. It has a lot of power but still feels ‘soft,’ making it easy to control balls and counter slams.”

For more information about this innovative and versatile paddle, see the Engage Elite Pro technical specs.

Whether You Want Power Or Touch, The New Onix Evoke Pro Paddle Does It All

Like many of us who’ve caught the pickleball bug, the folks at Onix are dedicated pickleball fanatics. Since 2005 they have been creating high quality paddles that incorporate several innovative designs and technologies. Designed by players, for players, Onix pickleball paddles have been instrumental in advancing the sport to higher levels.

Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle

The Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle

Onix launched their Evoke series of paddles a few years ago, focusing on high performance polycore paddles that were lightweight. The original Evoke paddle came in two shapes, in a tear drop and an oversize shape. With its wide body style, the new Onix Evoke Pro paddle extends and maximizes the paddle’s sweet spot. In addition, the Evoke Pro is designed with the maximum allowable surface roughness, helping players put spin on the ball, while maintaining great touch for dink shots.

We recently asked Zach Scheller of Onix to share with us what Onix had in mind when designing the Evoke Pro and what sets it apart from other paddles.

PBC: What makes the Evoke Pro different from other paddles?

Onix: The Evoke Pro takes what’s great about a variety of different paddles and styles of play, and combines all of it into one paddle. We retained the great balance and touch of the Evoke series while adding increased pop and additional spin. This way, players (especially those who change out paddles throughout a game) don’t have to choose between what style they’re going for – they get it all in a single paddle.

Our team of Onix professional players were critical in the development of this product, providing us direction and input on what is required for a true “players” paddle. In particular, Onix player ambassador Byron Freso, was instrumental in dialing in the performance of the Evoke Pro paddle.

Sara Ash

Pro player Sara Ash was a fan of the original Evoke Paddle

PBC: Is there a particular player type the Evoke Pro is designed for?

Onix: Our focus with the Evoke Pro was to make a high performance polycore paddle with a composite face that delivers the perfect balance of control and pop. Our target audience was the top-tier players who want to take their game to the next level. The surprising thing is how wide an audience the Evoke Pro appeals to; examples are players who favor the power game, as well as those who prefer to win with great touch at the net – both types are converting to the Evoke Pro.

PBC: What is unique about the Evoke Pro grip?

Onix: The original Evoke paddles had a 4.5” grip, which helps provides strength and balance to lighter paddles, but can be cumbersome for some players, especially those with smaller hands. The Evoke Pro comes with a 4.25” grip, which feels a little more natural to the majority of players and will not affect the balance or strength of the paddle.

PBC: Why might tennis players switching to pickleball prefer the Evoke Pro?

Onix: Tennis players converting to pickleball understand the power game, and to be successful, are required to learn the dink game played at the net. With the Evoke Pro, players are able to keep the power and spin they had in tennis combined with a generous sweet spot and great touch for the net game.

Jotham Darrin

Jotham Darrin and his gold medal with the Evoke Pro

PBC: Are there any pro players using the Evoke Pro?

Onix: A lot of our Onix pro team has switched over to the Evoke Pro. What is interesting is seeing players who prefer different paddles and styles, such as Dave Glendenning (who used the Z5) and Sara Ash (who used the Evoke Tear Drop) who have found common ground in the Evoke Pro. I believe Jotham Darrin holds the honor of the first to win gold with the Evoke Pro at PebbleCreek back in February.

PBC: Anything else you would like to mention about the Evoke Pro?

Onix: We’re excited to get the new Evoke Pro out to the public – there have been so many requests for these that we’re glad to finally get them in the hands of players at the court level, especially because we know how it will improve their game.

With the Evoke Pro, Onix has scored a win with a highly versatile performance paddle that builds on the successful features of its predecessor and deservedly appeals to a wide range of players. Want to learn more? See these details about the Evoke Pro paddle’s technical specs.