Selkirk Wows the Pros & Brings Improvements You Can Feel to Amped Paddles

Whenever new paddles are released you hear promises of equipment being taken “to the next level.” But what does that really mean?

In certain cases it involves a manufacturer creating something we’ve never seen before—a unique paddle shape, grip or look. Just as often, however, we see fresh iterations of pre-existing gear.

Selkirk Amped Paddles

Tyson McGuffin won the 2017 USAPA Nationals Gold in Men’s Open Singles with the Amped Maxima 

Paddles might get a new decal or weight class, minor tweaks which can nonetheless result in significant differences in play. With Selkirk’s recently released Amped series, however, the paddles have undergone so many alterations from their original design that they truly are on a “different level” than the predecessors.

The main thing the Amped paddles share with their original models is shape. Selkirk has taken 4 of their most popular paddles and mirrored their style to address different types of play.

Each paddle comes in multiple colors in addition to those shown below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic – A traditional widebody paddle shape that balances handle length and surface area. Its wide sweet spot helps with fast volleys at the net and can suit any player type.

S2 – Has the largest sweet spot of any of the Amped paddles, providing a very responsive and lively feel. The broad design provides plenty of surface area to easily return pickleballs while focusing on technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omni – Provides reach and control. Paddle has a shorter handle designed for players who grip lower on the handle or those who play with a finger against the face. This allows for maximum reach while maintaining a decent width.

Maxima – The longest paddle; ideal for power players who drive the ball but requires precision due to slimmer face. Weighing only 7.5 oz, it features a power-generating, head-heavy balance preferred by tennis players.

These paddles have already proven their success on the courts, but through their Amped evolution, the designs have been strengthened further. Both the faces and cores have been updated to provide improved touch, consistency and control.

Thanks to these changes, Selkirk believes they’re truly hit on a combination of “power and control” that players will love.

FiberFlex Unidirectional Fiberglass

The face material’s “unidirectional” quality relates to Selkirk’s unique manufacturing process, including the way inks are melded onto the face. This affects performance by providing players with an even feel and additional “cushioning” that causes pickleballs stay against the face longer.

X5 Polypropylene Core

This thicker, patent-pending core creates a larger sweet spot, reduces vibration to prevent pickleball elbow and minimizes torque. Torque is what happens when you hit off-center, causing a paddle to twist in your hand and reducing accuracy.

Unibody Design

This sturdy design melds the core and face together for improved performance and durability.

Many 5.0 players have already tried the Amped paddles and are loving how they play. You can find pro reviews in the Selkirk paddles category on PickleballCentral.

Amped Fans Include:

Tyson McGuffin, 2016 National’s Medalist & 2017 USAPA Nationals Singles Champ
Kurtis Campbell, SoCal Summer Classic Gold Medalist
Tonja Major, 2017 US Open Gold Medalist & 2017 USAPA Nationals Bronze Medalist
Morgan Evans, 2017 TOC Champion

And many others! Check out the video below to hear more about the Amped paddles from top player Glen Peterson (US Open & USAPA Nationals Gold Medalist):

To find the perfect selection for your play style, check out the Amped paddles at PickleballCentral and get ready to supercharge your play.

Amped Contest

We’d also like to extend a special offer to our readers by providing a chance to win one of the Amped paddles for yourself.

Just click the image below and enter a few details to test your luck. Entries close on November 21st, so make sure to join in soon!

Amped Contest

Gamma Proves Beauty Isn’t Skin Deep… When It Comes to Paddles

All paddle surfaces are not created equal.

When it comes to graphics, Gamma has found that good-looking design isn’t only a matter of appearance; it also affects how a paddle plays.

This means that you should never have to choose between style and function. And now with Gamma’s new paddle releases, you can own the best of both worlds.

The Mirage and Razor are here to bring together the best aspects of paddle technology and surface design.

Gamma Mirage

Gamma Mirage, $89.95

This duo’s most clever feature is all in the face, in that Gamma uses a direct print process rather than a screen print or a printed label during manufacturing.

Direct Printed Graphics

Chuck Vietmeier, Director of Product Marketing at Gamma, explains, “[Direct printing] not only gives us a clear, clean and high-end look, but it allows players to get the most response from the face of their paddle. Vinyl graphics in our opinion do not allow for proper ball feedback.”

Gamma dug into customer research to find out what players were seeking in their equipment at high levels of play. Aside from determining that polymer core paddles were clearly the top choice when it came to trends, they found many players craved a responsive feel and softer sound.

Smooth Poly Core

This resulted in the paddles utilizing Gamma’s new “Sensa Poly Core” for increased control, while offering variation in surface materials and weight.

Chuck says that the new polyester core in the Gamma paddles make them a more comfortable option for players at all levels of play. “The core is so responsive that allows a player to hit more accurate shots with less effort.”

Gamma Razor

Gamma Razor, $109.95

The Mirage uses a composite face while the Razor has a graphite surface.

The Perfect Face/Weight Combo

Chuck explains the graphite-faced Razor “allows for a lighter, more maneuverable paddle with lots of pop and ball feedback. It has more more power without sacrificing control and feel.”

The Mirage weighs in at a heavier 8.0 oz, with the Razor sitting at 7.6 oz.

These paddles do have a standard edge guard unlike Gamma’s original series with their patented flush edge guard, but the face overlap is minimal (~1/8″) and only serves to broaden the sweet spot within the paddles.

One thing Gamma has brought back is their popular updated honeycomb grip from the 2.0 line, offering high traction and increased comfort thanks to the cushioned design.

USA-Made and US Open Success

We know many of our customers care about where paddles are manufactured, which is why we’re also happy to report that Gamma paddles are produced wholly within the USA.

All of the paddles are, of course, USAPA approved so you can take them to your next tournament.

Lucy with Phaser 2.0

Lucy with her original Gamma favorite, the Phaser 2.0

A top player who’s been making use of Gamma’s line is 5.0 player Lucy Kitcher. Lucy took home several gold medals at the 2017 US Open and originally met Gamma reps at the tournament last year.

Gamma felt “her passion and drive to excel in the sport of pickleball matched [theirs],” and from there on out an ideal partnership was formed.

Pro Player Lucy Kitchner Shares Her Pick

Lucy formerly used Gamma’s Phaser 2.0 and is now playing with the Mirage due to its balance between touch and power. She notes that players coming from a tennis background may prefer the Razor for its more fast-acting graphite surface.

“Gamma shares the same passion for pickleball as the players,” Lucy says. “They’ve expanded into pickleball because they enjoy the game and have been in and amongst the players asking questions and looking to provide them with what they want.

“They’ve already been on the front lines with grips, ball carts and nets, and are now are producing top-notch paddles that will suit recreational players as well as the pros.”

Finding the Magic Fit

We loved Lucy’s response when we asked her how players could determine the right paddle for them amid the new lineup.

“It’s like Harry Potter: The wand chooses the wizard! You really have to try them and see which one feels right.”

We agree! Wizards—er, players, that is—know there’s nothing quite like trying a paddle for yourself.

We’ll take this moment to gently remind readers that here at PickleballCentral, we give all customers a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee.

After purchasing any paddle from us you’re free to try it out for those 30 days to ensure it’s a match. If it isn’t, just give us a call and we’ll exchange it for one that serves you better.

Lucy rounds out her admiration for Gamma by adding, “Gamma has been pleasant and flexible to work with and has given me the tools I need to play my best. I’m hoping to be a positive representation of the high quality brand they are. I’m grateful for their support and hope they feel the same about my efforts to share their product line with others.”

Try out the new Gamma paddles and feel their responsiveness for yourself after checking out the lineup.

What’s in a Weight? 4 Ways Paddle Weights Affect Play

There are many qualities to consider when purchasing a new paddle, but the one we hear rallied about the most is weight.

This is a reasonable focus for many players. Weight is the one attribute which can often make or (literally) break someone’s well-being on the court.

If a paddle’s shape doesn’t feel right, you can swap from a long face to a wide one with relative ease. Choose the incorrect weight, and you may find old injuries flaring up, even putting a damper on your play due to pain.

It might seem intimidating, but selecting a paddle with the best weight for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. If you keep in mind the following attributes, then you’ll be able to make an informed decision:

Mini Weight Lifter

What’s your perfect weight? (Credit: Tim Lauer)

Power

The most obvious way a paddle’s weight affects play is through its ability to generate power. Heavy paddles provide additional speed and heft behind every hit, even when you aren’t focused on slamming.

Contrary to the common myth that players with weak wrists are better off with a light paddle, sometimes an option slightly on the heavier side is just what’s needed to give that extra pop of power to drive balls over the net.

Control

Paddle materials play a large role in how easy it is to direct pickleballs during play, with softer options like polymer considered easier to control. While this is half of the equation, weight is another factor which affects how well you can manage the game’s tempo.

A heavier paddle is more difficult to move quickly. Even strong players take more energy to move a heavy paddle to a different position, which can prove problematic during fast rallies at the net.

A lighter paddle is easier to maneuver, but on the other hand, it’s harder to defend against slams due to having to stabilize the paddle yourself instead of letting a dense paddle absorb the shock for you.

Equations

You shouldn’t need a blackboard to know the ball will go where you want it (Credit: simpleinsomnia)

Material

While it would be nice if manufacturers could magically create their paddles at any weight players desired, it’s tricky to balance so many factors during construction. Composite materials are generally heavier than graphite, which is why you’ll see most heavy paddles use composite faces while lighter paddles use graphite faces.

There are exceptions of course, especially as paddle technology has become more refined. Manufacturers are offering all sorts of material pairings at different weights. But if you prefer the feel of a certain face type, you may want to check what weights are offered for that particular material.

As of now, paddles classified as “very heavy” on our site are still entirely composed of composite or wood options, though you can find a few graphite paddles if you move down to the standard “heavy” category. The reverse provides more options (there are plenty of lightweight composite paddles).

Balance

When discussing weight distribution, paddles can be referred to as head-heavy, handle-heavy or balanced. Depending on your play style and background in other sports, you may prefer a head-heavy paddle since this feels more akin to a tennis racquet and helps lead your swing into the ball.

Handle-heavy designs are great if you have more of a “wristy” game and want the paddle to feel like an extension of your body, where balanced paddles are suitable for just about any player.

A paddle’s weight combined with its shape determines its weight distribution, so be sure to keep an eye on how each paddle’s balance will affect your ability.

Balance

If only we all had this level of balance! (Credit: Ricardo Liberato)

 


 

If you like the way a paddle plays but still feel something is “off,” take advantage of our 30-day return policy and give it a shot in a different weight. Even something as small as a 0.2 oz difference is noticeable to pros at a high level of play.

You never know when a simple change may give you just the edge you need.

Kovalova and Wright Elite Pros

Following this train of thought, Engage has recently announced their famous Elite Custom Pro is now being offered in a new “Lite” model which averages an even 7.6 oz.

This is lighter than their original 7.9 oz Standard model, so players who loved the Custom Pro’s length and versatility but craved more speed are recommended to give the paddle another perusal.

Check out the Elite Custom Pro listing and let us know if you have any questions about how to determine your most suitable paddle weight!

Paddletek Offers Players More Reach and Stability with the Helo

The Paddletek Helo is an exciting new addition to the world of elongated paddles. Where similar styles use smaller grips, the Helo provides exceptional cushioning and sturdiness throughout the handle without slowing down response time.

Using a large 4-1/2″ grip with this paddle greatly improves durability since the head-dominant design can cause structural stress along face/grip meeting point. It also gives players greater stability when using a ping pong-style grip with a finger bracing against the face.

The Helo’s 17″ length is still its most notable feature, offering an extended reach that allows players to cover more ground in both singles and doubles. This makes it an ideal pick for intermediate to advanced players who want the ability to reach long shots, as well as beginners who want to become competitive despite limited mobility.

Individuals coming from backgrounds in other racquet sports in particular may find it easier to familiarize themselves with this style of paddle and enjoy the head-dominant design.

The Helo has an oblong sweet spot that runs from the middle of the paddle to the top of its face. Adjusting from a square-shaped paddle to the Helo’s shape can take some adjustment, but once players start hitting in its upper region, they tap into the full reactivity of Paddletek’s ProPolyCore.

This is the same core used in popular paddles like the Element, known for its vibration reduction. This helps prevent “pickleball elbow” and other stress-related injuries. It produces a quiet sound, making it a great fit for communities with noise restrictions. The sturdy polymer honeycomb creates consistency across the paddle and makes it easier to control than harder cores.

Compared to Paddletek’s other elongated paddle, the Horizon, the Helo has a slightly longer but thinner face, providing even more reach. It also weighs more than the Horizon but still lies in a medium range (7.6 – 7.9 oz), giving it extra power in every hit.

Paddletek has taken special care with the appearance of this paddle in addition to how it plays. Where earlier designs would cover the center of the paddle with paint, the Helo keeps the face clear so that it’s easy to tell where the sweet spot is at a glance. This also reduces the weight of the paddle overall to prevent it from running too heavy.Paddletek Helo

The dotted pattern along the sides of the Helo is elegant yet simple, providing a nice complement to Paddletek’s other offerings. It currently comes in blue, raspberry and red colors.

For fans of the Element who want greater versatility, or for those who love longer paddles and want a high level of durability in their paddle, the Helo will be sure to please.

Take a closer look at the Helo’s specs and high-quality construction at PickleballCentral.

ProLite’s New CRUSH Paddle Shows Where Pickleball Is Going

Some Paddles Are Designed For Looks, Some For Performance – ProLite’s CRUSH Powerspin Delivers Both

The market for pickleball paddles is diverse. Core and face materials, paddle shape, size, weight, grip and other factors all contribute to the diverse options available. With their launch of the ProLite CRUSH Powerspin, veteran paddle manufacturer ProLite has created a new paddle that is truly unique.

Crush PowerSpin Paddles
ProLite has a long and well established history producing innovative paddles. They were the first company to use aerospace composite honeycomb materials in the construction of paddles. Originally founded in the Seattle area, ProLite’s founders experimented with interesting materials that revolutionized paddle design and are used in most paddles on the market today.

Decades later, ProLite continues to innovate. With the CRUSH Powerspin, their innovations incorporate new materials as well as leading edge graphic design. The CRUSH is built on ProLite’s most successful paddle shape – the Magnum. However, unlike the Magnum, which has a graphite face and nomex core, the CRUSH interior is constructed of QuadCore™ Power Polymer honeycomb, covered with ProLite’s new SPINtac™ fiberglass panels.

The result is a highly durable and quiet paddle with an oversized face that provides plenty of power, great control, and spin when you want it. To top that off, the CRUSH is made in three colorful great-looking graphic styles (called Skate, Snow and Surf) appealing to players with style who like to play hard and look good while they’re at it. Each design is truly unique, with a coordinated brightly colored No-Slip Thin Grip.

We recently spoke with ProLite’s President Neil Friedenberg and Vice-President Lisa Wehr about the CRUSH. We thought our readers would like to hear what Neil and Lisa had to say about this exciting new paddle.

PBC: “We know you designed the new CRUSH Paddle with an eye to serving the younger players, or simply players who are young at heart. What can you tell us about the type of player you are trying to serve with the new Crush Paddle?”

ProLite: “The CRUSH is geared toward a player who values relative proportion in the important aspects of their paddle – balance, power, touch, spin – versus dominance of a particular aspect. This one has plenty of all four. This, along with a sense of style as well.”

PBC: “There are over 100 models of paddles in the marketplace, what makes the Crush truly unique?”

ProLite: “A couple of things. First, the new process for applying graphics to the face has allowed us to enhance ball spin capabilities without exceeding USAPA specs – we’ve named this new surface SPINtac(TM). Next, we opted to create three different designs incorporating stylish colored grips rather than different colors of the same design. All three skew toward a younger (mindset) player with a little bit of attitude included.”

PBC: “The visual design and colors of the new CRUSH models are striking. Are you trying to appeal to a specific type of player with the graphic design of the paddle?”

ProLite: “ProLite recognized the homogenous look of paddles several years ago. Because of the large surface area we have to work with versus other sports like tennis and racquetball, we feel an obligation to create a way for players to express themselves – break out – stand out. It may not improve the performance of the equipment but maybe it lends a little something to the player ego. After all, we’re playing a sport and athletes enjoy distinction. You’ll notice that in all of our paddle graphics.”

PBC: “As you went through the process to select the core and face materials for this paddle, what was your thought process?”

ProLite: “The Magnum shape has been our most popular shape and top performer for many years. It’s always been Nomex and graphite so we felt compelled to utilize popular materials such as polymer and fiberglass to appeal to a different style of player using this highly preferred shape. The Polymer core is a quiet, strong, durable choice. It holds up and adds absorption contributing to touch. The new SPINtac fiberglass surface is cutting edge and to our knowledge, has not been used before on paddles.”

PBC: “For players who are used to playing with the Magnum, what kind of differences would they notice if they pick up the Crush and use it?”

ProLite: “Players will notice a difference. Because the CRUSH is made of 1/2 inch polymer core, it’s thicker. It’s also Green Zone approved for quiet communities where the Magnum’s Nomex/graphite combination is not.”

PBC: “You shared that you thought this paddle served a number of distinct player types including Juniors and Women players. What makes this paddle well suited for various player types?”

ProLite: “The Crush is well suited for any player who is looking for a balance of the four performance elements we discussed earlier. It has the Magnum’s smaller grip size, it’s lightweight and edgy looking. And because of the balance, it should help younger players develop a solid, well-rounded game. For the same reasons, we think women looking for a smaller grip paddle will love the CRUSH’s performance, and the holographic look of the Snow design will likely appeal to more women – the design and color palette.”

For players looking for a paddle that combines an ideal balance of performance features with a healthy dose of color and style, the CRUSH delivers it all. To get all of the details on this hot new paddle, see the CRUSH Powerspin technical specs.

Learn More About CRUSH PowerSpin paddles

Is It Me or My Paddle? A Definitive Guide

A lot of pickleball players will jokingly say that they must be using the wrong paddle when they miss a shot, hit out of bounds or otherwise trip over themselves during a game. As much as we appreciate this humble sense of humor, sometimes it really is your equipment at fault! But how can you tell if it’s you or your paddle? Allow us to help you decide what needs fixin’ below…

Missed Shots

This issue is about a matter of degrees. When you miss a ball, do you find that you’re just a hair’s breadth away, or are you a few good inches apart? If you’re not that far off, it may be the case that the paddle you’re using is simply too small or slender to accommodate your play.

This is why we frequently tell new players to use wider paddles, so that they have more surface area to work with. Alternately, you may want a paddle with a longer handle so that it’s easier to perform groundstrokes during games.

If you’re in an entirely different location than the ball when you miss, then unfortunately it may just be you. The best way to ensure you’re moving the right way during a return is to watch your opponent and not just the ball. Looking at their movements and the way they angle their shot will allow you to predict which way the ball will go instead of having to react once it’s already left their paddle.

Returning a pickleball

Can you return most shots, or are you scrambling across the court? (Image credit Michael Martin)

No Control

Are you always hitting out of bounds? Smacking the ball near the baseline instead of dinking into the kitchen? Or perhaps it’s the reverse. Your serve may end up short of the net, or you can only tap the ball onto the court instead of putting it away with a slam.

You could fix this by controlling the power of your hits. Reign things in if you’re slamming too often or work on improving your strength if your shots lack “oomph.” But usually it’s easier to find equipment that suits your strengths rather than catering to your paddle.

If you’re hitting too hard, then you should try a medium to lightweight paddle made with softer materials, such as a composite face with a polymer core. This will help to temper your strength and provide more control.

If you have a light touch, then use a middle to heavyweight paddle or pick materials that have a tough, “poppy” surface like graphite. The added mass will add more power to your swings and help ensure you can give the ball a good smack when needed.

Can’t Add Spin

Let’s face it, spin can be tricky. A large part of it is about how you angle your paddle, the motion with which you hit the ball, and being able to read the direction the ball is coming at you. It takes time and practice to learn. But this also isn’t tennis—there are no strings to help grip the ball or allow it to “sink into” the surface of your paddle.

The USAPA has cracked down on textured paddles to some extent, though there are a few remaining options that can help you literally “get a grip” on pickleballs so that they’re easier to spin. If you’re having trouble learning the technique, they may help. A few good textured options are the Apex, 30P-XL and Graphite Z5.

Working on spin

Does the thought of spin leave your head spinning? (Image credit Tanner Jackson)

Soreness

Most players can quickly tell if their aches and pains are simply from pushing their body during a game or due to a paddle. Pickleball has its own version of “tennis elbow,” as the muscles and tendons associated with hitting a ball can become strained. It may be the case that you have arthritis or older injuries contributing to problems with your swinging arm as well.

While physical therapy may help, and you could simply struggle through the pain, your health definitely takes priority over a favored paddle. We usually recommend a balanced middleweight paddle to players with joint problems, as going too heavy can stress the problem, while a light paddle will force them to use more of their own strength to get the same amount of power. It’s all about finding what feels best for you and understanding your body’s needs.

A good player can make any paddle work for them, but it’s also true that certain paddles will complement your strengths better than others. Have you ever switched paddles after thinking the problem was you, only to find a “night and day” difference?

Give a Special Gift with Custom Pickleball Paddles

Have you ever thought it would be fun to design your own paddle? Or create a unique paddle for a friend or family member? The good news is—it’s entirely possible to do this!  While we currently don’t have the ability to make custom paddles here at PickleballCentral, some of the manufacturers we work with do offer this service at a fairly affordable price.

Custom paddles make wonderful gifts since you can use pictures or other personal images on the paddle’s face, giving the giftee a little reminder of you whenever they play. They also serve as great prizes if you want to offer a truly unique reward for members of your local club during tournaments. You can use your team’s logo or another clever image to make your prize paddle stand out.

Pro-Lite Custom Paddles

An example of Pro-Lite’s custom paddles

The first and probably easiest way to get a custom paddle is through Pro-Lite. You can use your own image on their popular graphite Blaster paddle through the order form here. You can even select what type of grip you’d like them to apply and put different pictures on each side of the face.

The other option is going through Manta. While they don’t have an order form on their site, you should be able to contact them and request pricing. They have stated that they currently do custom images on their Extreme and Custom Pro series, however you must make a minimum purchase of 12 paddles for them to do this. As such, it makes more sense going through Manta if you want matching paddles for clubs or other communities.

POP Paddle Designs

Different variations of POP designs

We’re pretty sure POP offers custom paddles too. There are limited designs to choose from, but you have more flexibility when it comes to selecting the materials and weight. You can contact the owner, Brian Jensen, at brian@performanceonepaddle.com.

And what if you want a paddle with its standard design and slight modifications, such as a smaller grip size? Manufacturers are usually pretty accommodating with such requests. We ask that customers give the manufacturer a call directly, as sometimes they will be able to shave down a grip or modify a paddle’s weight to better meet a player’s needs.

Would you ever use a custom-designed paddle? What image(s) would you like to see on it?