Onix Evoke Premier Provides High Power at a Low Weight, Reduces Impact Vibration

Manufacturers are always coming up with new ways to innovate with their offerings, but they typically do this by altering a single aspect of a paddle design. That’s why we were particularly excited when Zach Scheller of Escalade Sports told us that the Onix Evoke Premier hadn’t only improved one aspect of their paddles’ traits, but “almost every component [had] been redesigned—handle, edge guard, shape, etc.”

Onix Evoke Premier

Onix Evoke Premier, currently $149.99

Of course, quantity of change doesn’t always equate to quality, but Onix ensured the Evoke Premier would satisfy even the most talented of players by creating it in conjunction with pickleball national champions Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. These two pros were looking for both put-away power during attacks and stability for volleys and defense.

To accomplish this, Onix developed a paddle that disperses shock and increases swing speed. The Evoke Premier improves power without leaving the medium weight range and uses its 16″ length to comfortably increase reach.

Zach gave us some insight into the specific design decisions that went into the Evoke Premier and why it’s a fantastic offering for players who want power, speed and touch:

“We did a lot of prototyping with Matt and Lucy, some of which had outside-the-box concepts. We also used some machine tests, such as a tennis swing weight machine, to find its swing weight (or power).

“Out of all the paddles we tested, no paddle had as much swing weight as the Evoke Premier did, which was basically a full ounce higher than its actual weight. This means an 8 ounce Premier would have the momentum and power of a traditional 9 ounce paddle.”

Capturing the strength of a heavy paddle at a standard weight is impressive enough, but Onix has included even more beneficial features in the Evoke Premier’s design. One example is the DF (density finish) face which inverts the finishing layer with a graphic.

“Most paddles have the graphic and then a finishing coat over it, which means the differences in color can make peaks and valleys from the graphic. The DF composite face not only creates a more consistent feel across the entire paddle, but it also decrease the amount of paint/coatings on the paddle face, itself.”

ONIX DF Composite Face

We were also interested in the Evoke Premier’s Atomic13 edge guard which is said to disperse shock and increase power. This was done by using a unique material (most paddles use PVC) and essentially shrinking the walls of the edge guard and increasing its weight. This led to a decrease in vibration from the walls of the guard while improving its strength.

Zach adds that it’s “almost like having lead tape around the perimeter of the paddle.”

ONIX Atomic 13 Edge Guard

When asked what type of player is best suited for the Evoke Premier, Zach responded:

“While this paddle has a pretty broad following, we definitely see players who play a faster, more powerful game gravitate towards it the most. However, we’ve even had some players who like the control game love the play at the net, especially on volleys.

“[Compared to the rest of our line] it’s obviously the most similar to the Evoke Pro, but players enjoy the Premier due to its higher put-away power and solid feel. Contrasted with our extreme control or touch paddles, like the Outbreak or Voyager Pro, it definitely has a different style and performance.”

If you’re after a paddle that will adapt to offensive and defensive plays, has a flexible shape and will perform at the highest levels of competition, the Onix Evoke Premier may be the paddle you’ve been waiting for. Check out the Evoke Premier at PickleballCentral to experience how much power you can get from this paddle despite its trim weight.

How Did Thick Core Paddles Become One of the Hottest Pickleball Trends?

Over the past several years paddles with thick cores have risen in popularity and versatility. With major manufacturers such as Selkirk, Paddletek, Prince, Onix and GAMMA all offering thick core options, there’s a reason players have turned to this style of paddle and found it improved their game.

Many of those reasons are explained on our Thick Core Paddle guide where you can hear from a number of paddle manufacturers regarding why they’ve ventured into the world of thick core paddles and how their construction has changed over time. This is definitely a style that’s here to stay and players of all levels should give them a test if they’re looking for something highly controlled and stable under pressure.

One of the first thick core paddles to hit the market was the Selkirk Amped Omni, which was created in conjunction with pro player Glen Peterson. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Glen about his initial thought process behind the design and what he believes this style’s greatest strengths are. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of thick core paddles, Glen explains them clearly:

“The idea of a thicker core appealed to my desire for a more stable paddle that generates more consistent shots across the surface. I hoped that a thicker paddle would be less likely to twist in my hand when the ball struck near the edge. Theoretically this made sense to me as a thicker core could have a lower modulus of elasticity. Practically, it just seemed the right direction the same way larger frame structures in other racquet sports improve performance.

“I cut a paddle out of a piece of 2 inch foam just to see what the thicker template felt like in my hands, and it felt great even though I couldn’t hit a ball. I then took two half inch cores and glued them together to create a usable paddle but with no edge guard. This 1 inch thick paddle was a breakthrough for me. Brian Ashworth hit with it and agreed. The challenge was creating a thicker paddle without dramatically increasing weight. Selkirk took on this challenge and made the Omni paddle with 5/8 inch thick core.  While an 1/8” thick seems small, it is a 25% increase in thickness.

“The key advantage is more consistent ball performance coming off a larger portion of the paddle surface. While it might seem a thicker core would generate more power or ball speed, the opposite seems true. I get more control, touch and consistency even when I miss-hit the ball. And I get all the power I need. Players like Ty McGuffin are able to generate amazing power even with the thicker core. Players who want tons of power with shorter strokes might prefer thinner paddles with smaller but dramatic sweet spots.

“Perhaps the only unexpected drawback to this type of paddle is that it’s harder to pick up a ball lying on the ground with the edge of the paddle since it’s thicker!

“I see paddles becoming even thicker with innovative core materials and improved paddle science. Additionally, I see ball development as being an important factor in paddle improvements. If balls become softer and less brittle, the paddles will change accordingly. Current top paddles are optimized for the Dura Fast 40 Ball which is preferred by most top players.”

Glen’s predictions have proven true so far, with manufacturer Prince introducing two new paddles featuring 9/16″ thick cores in 2018. The Prince Spectrum Pro and Response Pro have both proven popular and feature a unique oval-shaped design. The thick core makes these paddles very rigid and transfers energy evenly along the sides, top and bottom of the design. This effectively expands the sweet spot and lets players make use of space that would be “dead” in other paddles nearer to the edge guard.

Onix released their .625″ thick paddle, the Outbreak, in 2018 as well. It uses a carbon fiber face to create a soft feel that reduces vibration from impact, increasing stability and letting players maintain control over their shots. Paddletek’s Pro Series with 9/16″ cores was released later that year and included the Tempest Pro, which uses a graphite face. This combo is thought to create one of the best feeling paddles available, allowing players to hit against any area of their paddle’s surface without experiencing decreased responsiveness.

GAMMA was another major manufacturer which saw the strengths of thick cores and expanded the market in 2019. The Compass, Shard and Legend added more shape and weight variety to the mix and have shown the sweet spot can be broadened with this technology no matter the paddle’s shape or weight. With many top players enjoying these options and variety, there’s something that will satisfy everyone looking to try thick core paddles.

One of the only potential downsides players may want to be aware of when looking at these paddles is the fact that their handles tend to be more square-shaped and boxy due to the thicker construction. While several of the paddles mentioned above do come in small grip circumferences (4-1/8″), they generally have more of a structured feel to them.

Many players have found that they’re able to easily adapt to this shape after a few games with a thick core paddle, but this is something to be aware of when considering the various choices. Another option is to add an overgrip to these paddles for the purpose of softening up the more defined edges of the handle.

There are currently nineteen different paddles from six manufacturers collected on our Thick Core Paddles page, and with the way development is going, we expect this number will continue to grow. Learn more about all of these paddles here.

Is It Possible to Play Competitively with a Wood Paddle?

Wood paddles are usually synonymous with “beginner paddles” in the pickleball community due to their low cost, heavy weight and supposed lack of finesse. But ask Jeremy Rosenstein’s opinion and you’ll hear a different story!

Jeremy works as a sports videographer for the NBA, WNBA and Big Ten Athletics. He’s taken his wood paddle from practice to tournament play many times, and despite receiving funny looks from the competition, no one doubts his paddle’s viability once he’s standing on the winners’ podium. He’s an advocate of player skill determining the outcome of matches rather than the quality of one’s gear, but he also believes that the power and defensive capabilities of wood paddles deserve more attention.

Jeremy Rosenstein

Jeremy Rosenstein

Listen to Jeremy’s story and let us know if you change your opinion on wood paddles:

My name is Jeremy Rosenstein and I’m known as “The Guy with the Wooden Paddle” at every tournament I attend. Competitive players comment and make fun of the fact that I use the wooden Swinger paddle to the best of its ability. They all ask questions and have the same doubts, wondering why I’d use a “cheap beginner’s paddle.” What they don’t know is that I started playing with this precise, well-crafted paddle from the very beginning of my pickleball journey and have never wanted to trade it out!

My choice in paddle shows that this sport is not about using something that will give you a crazy power advantage, but that you can make the most out of your own talents and footwork. For me, that means using a paddle that is fundamentally sound and solid on any outdoor/indoor surface. I have hundreds of photos at tournaments and round robins where I’ve won with my Swinger paddle and no one can believe that I come out victorious with a basic, blue-collar paddle.

I hope my experiences can promote this paddle and put it on the map for other players. It’s gone up against the most powerful composite paddles with their honeycomb cores and outshone them. I learned how to hit hard consistently while also harnessing its finesse capabilities for angled volleys and deadening dinks. This paddle isn’t only suitable for schools and clubs looking to get something at a great price, but for recreational/tourney players as well.

Jeremy Rosenstein

Some players believe the best paddles are those with all the bells and whistles which cost a pretty penny, but since 2014 I’ve been playing with the same durable Swinger. It’s stood the test of time and you know the ball will come off the face consistently. It provides stellar slice and spin variety shots. There’s no edge guard to cause mis-hits. The paddle has a simple design with a wrist strap that provides security and a comfortable grip you can rely on even in the midst of sweaty, steamy indoor and outdoor tourney conditions.

It has won me so many trophies, medals, positive recognition and accolades. People can’t help but talk about “the guy with the wooden paddle” at tournaments all over the midwest and beyond. They see for themselves how the Swinger brings shot-making ability and reliability to my game—and it could do the same for theirs with hardly any money out of pocket.

I hope my experiences shine the light on wood paddles, especially the Swinger, and their viability for players of all levels.

Jeremy Rosenstein

The Best Pickleball Gear for Summer 2019

Summer can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to playing pickleball. Most people prefer playing outdoors, and so you now have the perfect excuse to hit the courts and soak up the sun.

On the other side of things, those same rays can also make it easy to overheat or lose grip of your paddle, and no one likes playing in sticky, sopping clothes.

At PickleballCentral we have an array of great gear to help you minimize stresses the weather can bring so you can fully enjoy the warm weather and competition.

GAMMA Tacky Towel

GAMMA Tacky TowelYour hands get slick from sweat and your paddle is constantly on the verge of flying across court, but you can’t bear to wear a glove in the heat of the day. What’s a pickler to do?

With just a few passes of the GAMMA Tacky Towel your hands will feel stable again thanks to a sheen of its main moisture-repelling ingredient: bee’s wax! The Tacky Towel will last through multiple uses so you can continue to play consistently no matter how sticky the situation.

Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Chilly PadWhile a standard towel would get soggy and heavy after enough passes over a perspiring player’s skin, the Chilly Pad Cooling Towel absorbs liquid and then allows it to evaporate. You can use this towel again and again without fearing that you’ll just be re-applying sweat!

The extra benefit of this product is that it can also be used as a cooling device. If you dunk it in some water and set it against your neck you’ll feel a pleasant cooling sensation radiate from the material. It retains its temperature for some time but can easily be re-wetted when you want another refreshing experience.

Wilson ProGrip Lotion

ProGrip LotionThis is another great option for players who want to keep a firm grasp on their paddles no matter how humid things get. The Wilson ProGrip Lotion applies to a smooth finish and doesn’t feel sticky, yet you’ll feel far more comfortable keeping your hand in contact with your grip. The gel is quickly transferred to the skin and dries to white finish so you an ensure it’s good to go.

The ProGrip Lotion lasts for around 2 hours and has a non-toxic formula with a pleasant citrus scent.

Overgrips

Absorbant GripsIf you don’t want to fuss with products you need to apply to your hands, you can always stick an overgrip on top of your existing handle. We have plenty of options that offer an array of different finishes so that you can find one with just the right amount of tack and absorbance.

For those who want some guidance on the best overgrips for reducing moisture, we recommend the HEAD HydroSorb Pro and Tourna Moisture Absorbency Grip. The HydroSorb has more of a traditional tacky texture with a thin construction that allows players to still feel a solid connection to their paddle. The Tourna Grip has more of a dry feel that will actively wick moisture away from the hands.

Hats & Visors

Summer Hats It should go without saying, but a simple hat can go a long way to keeping the sun out of your eyes when you’re trying to position your shots just so. You don’t want to trap heat next to your noggin’ though, so we recommend choosing something that maintains good airflow and visibility.

Our Heritage Shade Cap has ventilated mesh siding and a protection flap that will keep the back of your neck from burning during extended games. The Margaritaville Visors are a colorful way to celebrate the season while feeling the breeze. If you want to go for accessories that are as minimal as possible, the HEAD Headband and Wristband will prevent sweat from reaching your hands and eyes.

Shoes

Head Shoes Shoes can make or break your game, and all players want to avoid injuries! Beyond their stabilizing and cushioning nature, a good shoe should allow your feet to breathe so you aren’t sliding around or dealing with smelly digits after your fun.

In addition to great multi-court traction, arch support and a light weight, the HEAD shoes we carry feature a special vent with air holes at the bottom of the soles which allow for plenty of cooling air to enter.

Gloves

HEAD Airflow TourWe’ve offered several alternatives to gloves for when the summer heat may make them feel smothering, but there is one option you may still want to consider. The HEAD Airflow Tour Glove uses a perforated leather that lets air in while also pulling moisture away from the hand.

If you appreciate the added security of a glove but want to ensure you’re not sweating up a storm, the Airflow Tour Glove is your best option.

Apparel

UV PerformanceOne of the easiest ways to stay cool in the heat is to make sure you’re wearing clothes that have a wicking feature and won’t get bogged down with sweat. This usually means utilizing a polyester or poly-blend fabric.

We have several options that are great for this purpose, and will not only prevent you from leaving a trail on the courts, but will protect you from burns as well. Our Sun Shield Tee provides UVA/UVB protection in addition to some of our long-sleeved tops like the UV Performance Top. Choose from our many designs to customize them to your heart’s content!

Eyewear

HEAD RaptorYou can defend your eye’s from glare and wayward balls and paddles all in one go if you select some great protective eyewear. Check out our HEAD Raptor Eyewear which feature anti-scratch and anti-fog construction.

They have interchangeable lenses and wearers can use their “smoke” colored lens for when they’re dealing with bright outdoor rays.

What Paddles Did the Pros Use at the 2019 US Open?

The paddle may not make player, and changing your gear won’t turn into a pro overnight… but using high quality equipment can improve your game in short order.

If you’re curious what the top athletes at this year’s US Open used to win their medals, read on! Click the paddle names to read more about them and see their technical specs on PickleballCentral.com.

The prices listed are the standard retail prices as of publishing and may be different in our store.

Yates Tereschenko Bantam EX-L

Paddletek Bantam EX-L – $97.99

Pros:
Kyle Yates – Mixed & Men’s Doubles
Irina Tereschenko – Women’s Doubles
Description: 
A long-time favorite among polymer core paddles, the Bantam EX-L has a high amount of power that’s balanced by its ability to accurately place shots.

 

Dawson Ovation

ProKennex Ovation – $159.99

Pro:
Jennifer Dawson – Women’s Sr. Singles
Description:
The unique oval shape and edge-less design widens the sweet spot while Kinetic Energy core technology reduces vibration.

Jardim Reponse Pro

Prince Response Pro – $127.99

Pro:
Simone Jardim – Women’s Singles & Mixed Doubles
Description: 
A circular shape allows for great touch regardless of where pickleballs hit this paddle. The longer handle is suitable for 2-handed backhands

Weinbach Waddell Tempest Wave

Paddletek Tempest Wave – $127.99

Pros:
Dave Weinbach & Barry Waddell – Men’s Doubles
Description: 
This premier Paddletek paddle has a quick-acting graphite face which contributes to maximum touch and response.

Moore Sabre Pro

Paddletek Sabre Pro – $137.99

Pro:
Scott Moore – Men’s Sr. Singles
Description:
Designed in conjunction with Scott, this paddle has the longest handle on the market (6-1/4″) for supreme reach and backhands.

Moore Tempest Pro US OPEN

Paddletek Tempest Pro US OPEN – $167.99

Pro:
Scott Moore – Mixed Sr. Doubles
Description:
Paddletek’s popular Tempest but with a thicker core. This one comes with a beautiful, limited edition design made specifically for the 2019 US OPEN.

Kovalova Premier

Onix Evoke Premier

Pro:
Lucy Kovalova – Women’s Doubles
Description: 
Not yet available. Onix’s new signature paddle was designed for pros Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright. Coming this summer.

Anderson Summit

Onix Summit C1 – $89.99

Pro:
Kris Anderson – Mixed Sr. Doubles
Description:
An elongated shape offers great reach and control. The composite surface adds exceptional spin to place your shots.

McGuffin Invikta

Selkirk AMPED Invikta – $149.99

Pro:
Tyson McGuffin – Men’s Singles
Description:
Designed with Tyson to allow impressive for reach and leverage thanks to both the handle and face. A great choice for high power play.

MacGregor S2

Selkirk AMPED S2 – $149.99

Pro:
Cammy MacGregor – Women’s Sr. Doubles
Description:
Broad face provides a large sweet spot and blocking power. Multiple grip and weight options allow players to choose the best option for their needs.

Johns Franklin

Franklin Signature Paddle

Pro:
Ben Johns – Men’s Pro Doubles
Description:
Designed with Ben, Franklin’s new pro signature model paddle will be available soon!

Pickleball Ball Holders and Storage Ideas

When you’re playing pickleball, especially in an area with multiple games, it’s a given that balls will end up scattered across the courts by the end of play. Picking them all up without the assistance of any sort of tools can be tiring and backbreaking work, which is why we provide a number of pickleball-collecting solutions to make the process easier.

From rolling caddies to ball hoppers and collectors, we’ll help you figure out the best storage fit for your needs.

Kollectaball CS40 Ball Collector

Kollectaball CS40 Ball Collector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kollectaball line allows you to simply roll your way to a tidier court. Just pass the cage over pickleballs and they slide between the wires for dispensing elsewhere. This product almost feels like you’re using a lightweight lawnmower or vacuum, but it’s a lot more fun!

When we first took it to our PickleballStation courts to tidy up after clinics and open play, we were surprised to find both employees and customers jumping to do the job for us! You can’t often say that something makes chores both easier and more enjoyable. If you want an option that holds more than this model, we also carry the K-Max Ball Collector which holds up to 60 pickleballs.

Pickleball Ballport Mini

Pickleball Ballport Mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t need to stash too many pickleballs, the Ballport Mini is a great way to make clean-up more efficient. At only 3.5 lbs, you can carry it around and then press it atop balls so they pass into the storage area. Two rods prevent the pickleballs from falling out.

You can then change the position of the “handles” so they become legs when you’re ready to play again for easy access to the balls. The larger version of this model, the Deluxe Pickleball Caddy, holds more and also comes with wheels so you can quickly move it around the court.

GAMMA Pickleball Hopper

GAMMA Pickleball Hopper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The GAMMA Pickleball Hopper is similar to the Ballport Mini, but it has a different shape and make. Its hexagonal design helps to improve durability. The carbon steel handles can be used to maneuver the hopper for gathering pickleballs or rotated around for conversion into a standing storage container.

It uses “floating wires” that prevent the structure from weakening over time and holds up to 50 pickleballs.

Quick Cart Plus

Quick Cart Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our most expensive option, the Quick Cart Plus, is a sturdy and adaptable container with a huge storage capacity. With wheels and a structure that can be folded together for easy transport, it’s ideal for players on the go. The zippered upper bin holds an astounding 150 pickleballs.

The lower shelf is made of mesh so you can stash other necessities. It also comes with its own bag so it can be stored safely when not in use.

What are your favorite pickleball storage solutions and how do you like to streamline the post-game ball collecting ordeal?

The Onix Outbreak Reintroduces Graphite to Picklers in a Way We’ve Never Felt Before

The Onix Outbreak brings a new type of reinforcement to paddles that offers exceptional levels of durability and touch. The Outbreak’s graphite face is supported by TeXtreme, which has already been used in pro tennis, hockey, golf and other sports that require extreme precision and feel. Now it’s being brought to pickleball as well!

What is TeXtreme?

Onix Sports explains: “The TeXtreme surface is unique for two reasons. First, with most graphite paddles (such as the Graphite Z5) the carbon fiber strands are all a single layer going one direction. With TeXtreme, the carbon fiber strands are woven, which is what makes the checkerboard pattern on the paddle. This essentially provides a thicker and stronger layer of carbon fiber.

In addition to that, TeXtreme basically flattens the strands, eliminating the resin or plastic holding those strands together. This means when a pickleball hits the surface, it’s hitting carbon fiber and not the plastic.”

The TeXtreme reinforcement also adds very little weight to the Outbreak, meaning you get all the benefits of better reactivity and control without slowing down your game. The Outbreak only has a range of 7.8 – 8.2 oz.

outbreak - kasandra gehrke

Kasandra Gehrke playing with the Outbreak

The fact that Onix has kept the weight of the Outbreak in a medium range is doubly impressive when you consider that its polypropylene core is 5/8″ thick, the widest for a graphite paddle in the industry. This core allows the paddle to absorb shock, reduce jostling and offer enough power behind every hit.

Improved Graphite Technology

The Outbreak was created with the “next step in graphite technology” in mind. We’ve seen many innovations in pickleball over the past few years, particularly in the areas of composite paddles, but for a time graphite technology had been left behind in the mix. Onix tried many different options to develop just the right feel with the Outbreak, eventually settling on the TeXtreme for the best combination performance and consistency.

The paddle is a great option for players wanting a strong combination of touch and control. The Outbreak will provide great placement on dinks and noticeable feel in volleys.

outbreak - byron freso

Byron Freso with the Outbreak

It’s also a very forgiving paddle. During our correspondence with Onix, it was noted that players picked up on a difference in the sweet spot between the Outbreak and other paddles. The testers found that the Outbreak had a much better response even along the edges of the sweet spot so that they had more room on the surface to utilize.

Proven by the Pros, Loved by Intermediates

Several pro players are already using the Outbreak including Randy Zbinden, Byron Freso, Kurtis Campbell, KaSandra Gehrke and Erik Gertler.

Onix is also pleased to note that many amateur players have picked up the paddle and used it to bring out the best of their game. The TeXtreme material is an incredible addition to the world of pickleball and will allow players of all skill levels to focus on their placement and fully experience graphite’s control-centric performance.

Enjoy the combination of power, touch and precision of the Onix Outbreak today and feel the difference a unique graphite surface makes. Visit PickleballCentral to see the full list of technical specs on the Outbreak today.