Six Zero is a new paddle company out of Australia that’s been creating a name for itself in 2023.
They’ve had a loyal homegrown following since they got started in 2022, but their buzz is growing now internationally since they’ve launched into the USA/overseas markets with an innovative thermoformed paddle line.
Six Zero’s Gen. 2 paddle production methods stand out with thermoforming, edge-sealed foam injection, and high-quality Toray/composite paddle faces. Unlike most newer paddle companies that clone older paddles, Six Zero is bringing something entirely new to the table.
There are other companies using the same innovative raw carbon fiber paddle techniques, including Legacy Pro, Vatic Pro, and the CRBN 1X line. All four companies utilize the same production facility and tech, but each tweak its paddles in different ways.
Having used most of the new thermoformed paddles over the past few months, I believe companies like Six Zero are going to thrive as their premium paddles and low price points are a cut above the rest. The more I play with them, the more I like them.
In this post, I’ll be doing a deep dive into Six Zero’s power paddle, the Black Diamond. I also have a write-up on their Double Black Diamond Control paddle as well as a Black Diamond vs Double Black Diamond Comparison write-up.
If you decide that you’d like to purchase either of these paddles, you can do so at Six Zero’s website. Use the code DASHPB to get 10% off of your purchase.
Alright, let’s dive into the post.
$180$162 (w/ code DASHPB)
- Shape: Elongated
- Core thickness: 16mm
- Face: Proprietary Raw Composite Material
- Average weight: 8.1 oz
- Grip length: 5.5”
- Swing Weight: 116
- Grip size: 4.25”
- Core: Honeycomb polymer
- Total length: 16.3”
- Width: 7.5” to 7.7″
- Warranty: 6 months for defects
Six Zero Black Diamond Quick Summary
Update 8/20: Since my original review, Six Zero has changed the handle in their most recent batches with a new mold. It now extends further up the paddle face, taking its previous 5.3″ length to 5.5″. It definitely feels better than before. They’ve also adjusted other components of the paddle, which I go into more throughout the article.
The Black Diamond might be priced beneath today’s “premium” $220+ prices, but don’t let that fool you, this is by all means a premium paddle.
The paddle feels solid, has a nice form factor, and provides the raw power and spin that hard hitters crave and softer hitters need to give them an edge on the court.
I’d classify the Black Diamond as an all-court paddle that leans towards power, while its sibling, the Double Black Diamond, is an all-court paddle that leans towards control.
Yes, power is in the name, so you’d expect the Black Diamond to have a lot of power. But its combination of ample power, top-tier spin, and more than adequate controllability is what really makes it shine.
The Black Diamond is far more manageable control-wise compared to other high-tier power paddles that are currently on the market, such as the Selkirk Power Air and ProKennex Black Ace.
It’s not as powerful as those paddles but still punches hard for its class without having to sacrifice too much touch, control, or accuracy.
You might need to give yourself a couple of weeks to fully adjust to this paddle. It has a great grip and feels like a raw carbon paddle, but the serious pop of a unibody thermoformed fiberglass paddle.
Drops, dinks, resets, and other touch shots take time to adjust to. But once you do, you’ll have the best of both worlds with power and control.
Update 8/20: The Black Diamond’s power output has been slightly lessened in newer batches. This change is part of an effort to address thermoforming durability issues. As a power-focused player, I actually like this newest BD version the most. The control is much improved while the power output is still high, resulting in a more solid-feeling paddle that’s easier to reign in.
As with most new thermoformed/foam-injected raw carbon paddles, balls absolutely fly off the Black Diamond. In my experience, it hits harder than the similar CRBN 1X Power paddles.
This paddle makes hard hitters even more formidable and gives that extra punch needed for people who need a little help adding power to their shots. Serves and put-aways are a breeze, as are drives and counterpunches from anywhere on the court.
You will notice, as will the people around you, how much harder you’re hitting with the Black Diamond if you’re moving from a non-power paddle or any previous model raw carbon fiber paddle.
The Black Diamond has as much power as my weighted-up Hyperion CFS 16mm while being half an ounce lighter. It is less powerful than the Black Ace and Power Air but requires less effort to generate power and has far more control and touch than those paddles.
The Legacy Pro also has more power and pop than the Black Diamond, but it’s slightly less controllable. You can still access insane power with the Black Diamond, but the power is not as readily apparent as the Legacy Pro’s, which is on a level of its own.
The Black Diamond paddle has a lot of pop. Noticeably more than the Double Black Diamond, which is no slouch itself.
It achieves this in part due to its proprietary composite facing. There’s a fiberglass element to it, but I’m not sure all of what’s in it. I believe it was developed alongside the Japanese Toray manufacturer which provides their carbon fiber face for the Double Black Diamond.
It can take time to adjust to the stiffness and pop from this paddle, but after a week you’ll likely feel more comfortable with the pop in your soft game and be able to leverage the great benefits of high pop in your power and quick-hands game. This paddle makes winning hands battles easier when its pop and power are fully harnessed.
Update 8/20: In an effort to curb delamination/core-crush issues, Six Zero has adjusted the glue & other paddle components. In addition to improved durability, the Black Diamond’s controllability has taken a huge step up with these changes. While I previously only used the Black Diamond for singles, my paddle from the newest batch is now my main doubles paddle, as well. It’s excellent for both control and power, especially when weighted up with lead tape.
This is a power paddle, so its power comes more easily than its control. But the control/soft game from this paddle is better than a lot of other power paddles on the market. It just takes time to dial in drops, resets, and dinks with the Black Diamond.
The injected foam, along with the carbon face, goes all the way down the paddle and into the handle, which helps with stability, vibration reduction, and control. The sweet spot is much bigger than you’re likely used to if you’ve been playing with power paddles for some time. Power paddles typically struggle hard with off-center hits, but this one does pretty well, especially near the throat due to the thermoforming.
The paddle feels oddly stiff and responsive at the same time. You get lots of pop with decent dwell time and great feedback with it. It feels soft enough for drops/dinks/resets similar to a raw carbon fiber face but with the pop of fiberglass.
Yes, it’s harder to control than a dedicated control paddle like the Double Black Diamond. But its stability, vibration reduction, and generous sweet spot help you manage the paddle without resorting to adding extra weight. This is great since it’s already pretty light at 8.0 oz. This keeps swing weight down which will keep you quicker at the net. And you can always add or remove weighted tape when you want.
Note that your control with this paddle out of the box might not be great, but give it some time to adjust. These thermoformed paddles also break in a bit after some time of playing and have more give.
The Black Diamond paddle has industry-leading spin rates. It’s up there with the Legacy Pro, Ronbus Nova, Vanguard Air, project 002/003 paddles, and other top-tier spin paddles. I’m not surprised to see RPMs north of 2,000 from tests with this paddle. Yes, that’s elite spin, which landed it on my list of the best pickleball paddles for spin.
It’s impossible to pick this paddle up and not notice the effect it’ll have on your spin game. I can make balls jump off the ground on topspin flicks with ease and add crazy spin on deep top-spin drives. Shaping the ball really is effortless with this thing. I’ve gotten multiple comments from players thinking my hard drives would go out but somehow dove down enough to stay in.
The paddle face has absolutely no problem gripping the ball. Whatever they’re doing with the proprietary composite textured surface they’re using on this paddle is legit. The high-friction paddle face absolutely rips ball dust.
You will surprise people with how accentuated your spin game becomes using this paddle. I’m not just gassing it up. Some standard slices and topspin can turn into serious weapons on the court, catching everyone involved by surprise.
Update 8/20: Six Zero has been actively working towards improved durability from their paddles. They’ve made many iterative changes over the months to combat core thermoforming issues since I originally wrote this review, and the result has been a far more durable paddle.
Structurally, this paddle is built like a tank. The thermoforming feels solid and built with meaning. You won’t get broken handles like the Joola or run into any worn-down exposed honeycomb.
The proprietary raw composite face material Six Zero developed with Toray Japan is supposedly very reliable. Dale at SixZero says the texture is permanent and will last as long as the cloth. Face textures usually struggle to keep form with pickleball paddles, so I’ll be watching the longevity of this paddle face closely.
There were some isolated incidents of paddle face delamination happening with some thermoformed paddles from the factory that produces them for these companies, but multiple companies, including Six Zero, have confirmed that the factories have implemented new methods of adhesion and upgraded resins to keep the paddle faces securely.
Overall, this paddle should last. If you’ve ever been a GearBox owner, you know how lasting thermoformed paddles can be. Time will tell though, as this is still a new paddle.
If you want the most durable thermoformed paddle on the market, check out the Ronbus R1 Nova.
This is truly an elite pickleball paddle at a reasonable price. The Six Zero Black Diamond paddle is $180. With code DASHPB, you can buy it now for $162, which is a great deal. A custom neoprene cover is included with every paddle order.
Overall, I think the price point is perfect for this paddle. Paddles like the Legacy Pro and Vatic Pro are cheaper and perform comparably, though I imagine that the cost of these paddles will shift closer to the price of Six Zero’s Black Diamond line soon.
If a paddle identical to the Black Diamond was released by a big company like CRBN, GearBox, or Joola, you could expect to see it priced in the $220-$250 range. For reference, CRBN does have a similar paddle from the same factory (the 1X/2X Power Series), and that paddle is $230.
Should you buy the Six Zero Black Diamond paddle?
Update 8/20: The recent changes that Six Zero has made (extending the handle & adjusting their proprietary methods to improve durability) have created an even better paddle than when I originally wrote this review. The Black Diamond is now one of my main paddles for both singles and doubles. It still possesses top-tier power while being far more controllable and durable than ever before. It’s like the DBD now with a little more power & pop.
I recommend anyone that’s intrigued by this paddle to pick one up. I honestly believe these thermoformed paddles are set to shake up pickleball in 2023.
The Black Diamond is ideal for players who want a power paddle that’s got standard-pushing power, spin, and impressive controllability for a power paddle of its pedigree. If you want a similar paddle that’s focused on control, the Double Black Diamond provides a fantastic alternative. I’ve written a review comparing the Black Diamond with the Double Black Diamond, you can read it here.
If you’ve been playing with a middle-of-the-road paddle or any older carbon/ faced paddle, expect an upgrade here. I fell out of love with my Joola Hyperion pretty quickly after using a SixZero.
If you want to get your hands on the Black Diamond, I recommend picking one up now with code DASHPB.
A cheaper option is Six Zero’s own Sapphire paddle. It’s the only unibody thermoformed paddle on the market for less than $100.
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