Welcome back to the vibrant realm of pickleball! Last week, we delved into the world of pickleball paddle weights and what sort of weight you should select when buying your first pickleball paddle. Today, we embark on an exciting journey to explore the essence of paddles, specifically focusing on their cores to answer a fundamental question:
What sets the cores of pickleball paddles apart? and What is the best pickleball paddle core?
Without further ado, let's peel back the layers of Graphite, Carbon Fibre, and Fibreglass and take a deep dive into the core of a pickleball paddle.
In the world of pickleball, there are essentially two primary core types, which we'll call 'core base builds.' Additionally, there are experimental cores, which we'll briefly touch on later in this blog.
Polypropylene Honeycomb Core - The Most Popular Choice
In nine out of ten cases, the paddles available in the market feature some variation of a Polypropylene Honeycomb core. These cores exist on paddles spanning the entire spectrum, from basic beginner pickleball paddles to elite models used by professionals such as the Ben Johns Joola Persus and the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta. Below are two paddles from different ends of the spectrum, from a great beginner's choice to a top-tier performance paddle.
So, what are the advantages of Polypropylene Honeycomb Cores, and why are they so popular?
Benefits of Polypropylene Honeycomb Core:
- Durability: Resilient and robust, much like a honeycomb, this core can withstand a beating without a hitch.
- Optimal Balance: It strikes the perfect balance between hardness and softness, offering a mix of power and precision. The sweet spot becomes your new best friend.
- Consistency: Thanks to the honeycomb structure, you'll experience a consistent feel across the entire paddle face. This consistency also makes switching between paddles more seamless, as many paddles utilise polypropylene in a honeycomb structure.
Next up Is Nomex
Next, let's turn our attention to Nomex. You might not have encountered this core material before, but it certainly has its place, as seen in paddles like the ONIX Z5. Nomex is a slightly older material developed in the 1960s, but it is still used in a select range of paddles for those who prefer a stiffer, power-focused, punching playstyle.
Key Characteristics of a Nomex Core:
- Robust and Steady: Nomex provides a solid and powerful feel, perfect for those who prefer a stiff playing experience.
- For Precision Enthusiasts: If you possess fine control and a knack for precision, the Nomex core might be your ticket to pickleball excellence.
Prototype / Innovation Cores X7 Thikset Honeycomb Core
And now, we introduce the X7 Thikset Honeycomb Core – the latest innovation in pickleball technology designed by none other than the world's leading pickleball brand, Selkirk Sport. The X7 Thikset is the newest addition to the Selkirk LUXX Control Air line, born out of months of refinement from the Selkirk Labs project 003. But what makes Thikset so exceptional? Supposedly, Thikset seamlessly combines control and power, expanding the sweet spot across a larger surface area of the paddle. Expected to hit stores next week, the LUXX is poised to revolutionise the game of pickleball completely!"
So What Sort of Core Should you Choose?
If I were in the position of seeking my first paddle or looking to enhance my existing one without breaking the bank, I would undoubtedly opt for a Polypropylene honeycomb core. With this choice, you effectively get the best of both worlds. The Polypropylene honeycomb core offers the durability of a resilient honeycomb structure, the optimal balance between power and precision, and a consistent feel across the paddle face. It's a choice that caters to beginners and seasoned players alike, providing a versatile and cost-effective solution for pickleball enthusiasts.
So, whether you're just starting your pickleball journey or seeking an upgrade, consider the reliability and versatility of the Polypropylene honeycomb core – a wise choice for both newcomers and experienced players in the vibrant world of pickleball