Vatic Pro is on a tear lately. They came onto the pickleball scene with a bang in 2023 by releasing two high-quality and affordable thermoformed paddles – the thermoformed Vatic Pro V7 and Vatic Pro Flash.
And now, Vatic has released new versions of these paddles in the form of the Prism line. These new paddles have the same length, width, surface, and perimeter edge foam as their original thermoformed siblings, but they are not manufactured with the same extended hot-molding thermoforming process. The result is a less stiff and powerful paddle that’s softer and more controllable.
The process used to make the Prisms is similar to the standard Gen. 1 raw carbon fiber manufacturing, with foam added at the end of manufacturing using perimeter heat to seal it in. This process is colloquially called “thermofoaming”.
In this post, we’ll be diving deep into the Vatic Pro Flash Prism paddle and seeing how it stacks up against the comparable Joola Hyperion (which was the best-selling paddle of 2022), as well as the rest of the competition in the $100 price range.
I’ve already written a review of the Prism Flash’s sibling, the Vatic Pro V7 Prism, which you can read here.
Alright, let’s dive into the review of the Prism Flash.
Vatic Pro Prism Flash 16mm Technical Specifications
$99.99($89.99 with code DASHPB)
- Shape: Hybrid
- Core thickness: 16mm
- Face: T700 Raw Carbon Fiber
- Average weight: 7.9 – 8.2 oz
- Grip length: 5.3″
- Grip size: 4.25″
- Swing Weight: ~114
- Twist weight: ~6.47
- Edge foam: Yes
- Core: C7 polymer & performance honeycomb
- Total length: 16.3″
- Width: 7.7″
- Warranty: 3-month
Prism Flash Quick Summary
The Prism Flash falls into the increasingly appealing “Gen 1.5” paddle category. It’s more advanced than Gen. 1 non-edge-foamed paddles while being softer and easier to control than the stiff and poppy Gen. 2 thermoformed paddles which have become all the rage in 2023.
I’d categorize the Gen. 1.5 Prism Flash as a control paddle. Last year, I’d consider it an all-court paddle, since it offer more power than Gen. 1 paddles due to its edge-foam injections. But with ultra-stiff and powerful Gen. 2 thermoformed paddles changing the scene, the Prism falls into the softer control paddle category.
The most intriguing storyline about the Prism Flash revolves around its comparison to the Joola Hyperion CFS. The Hyperion plays very similarly to the Prism and is manufactured using a similar “thermofoaming” process.
Notably, the Hyperion is $220 and the Prism paddles are $89.99 with a discount code. So the big question is, are they really comparable? Can the Prisms be that good if they’re being sold for under $90?
To give you a quick answer, yes, the Prisms deliver. The Prism Flash plays very similarly to the Hyperion CFS while solving three problems that weigh down the appeal of the Hyperion CFS:
- Price: At over $200, the Hyperion CFS costs more than twice as much as the Prism
- Durability: The Hyperion has been notorious for its durability issues, namely its issue with breakage. The Hyperion’s carbon-forged handles have a nasty habit of breaking at the neck. Their paddle faces also wear out quickly, resulting in prematurely diminished spin rates. The Prism is unibody and has a more durable high-end raw t700 carbon fiber paddle face, so it does not suffer from these issues.
- Weight and balance. The Hyperion, especially the early releases of it, are notably head-heavy. They have a reputation for causing and exacerbating tennis elbow symptoms. The lighter and more balanced Prism Flash avoids these issues, and moves more quickly at the net, to boot.
This favorable comparison makes the Prism Flash an insanely good deal for a $90 paddle. The Prisms are arguably the best bang-for-your-buck paddles out there at the moment.
Let’s dive into some specifics.
The handle of the Prism Flash is octagonal shaped and identical to the original Flash model. It’s similar to Ronbus paddles and Six Zero paddles. It’s a shape that is liked by many, myself included. I’m very glad to see this shape being proliferated, and the more boxy-shaped handles going out of style (please follow suit, Electrum).
At 4.25″ thick, the Prism isn’t super bulky. It’s perfect for people with smaller hands and those who just prefer smaller a smaller grip. It’s easy to add one or two overgrips to bulk it up if desired. There’s no exposed polymer in the handle, which is a big bonus for a sub-$100 paddle.
The Prism Flash’s 5.3″ handle is the same as the original Flash model. This length is in the elongated range and is a good length for players to comfortably hit two-handed backhands.
I personally like handles that are a bit longer, ideally in the 5.5″ range. But Vatic Pro’s handles feel plenty satisfactory, especially because the neck taper of their paddle is narrow, which enables you to comfortably choke up on the paddle if desired.
The Prism Flash is well-balanced, which has been a strength across all of Vatic Pro’s paddle lines. While you can certainly add lead tape to the Prism to your liking, it does not require it.
The Prism Flash isn’t head-heavy, setting it apart from the cumbersome Hyperion. If you’re switching to a Flash from a Hyperion, you should immediately feel less strain on your wrist and elbows. You’ll also find that the balance of the Prism Flash enables you to move the paddle much quicker.
How it feels contacting the ball
The Prism Flash is soft and responsive. It has a similar plush feel to the Ronbus R1.16 and Hyperion CFS. It’s not stiff or poppy like the original Flash 16mm and other thermoformed paddles, but it still provides great feel and feedback.
The dense and plush feel is great for hitting controlled shots, including drops, dinks, and resets. It took me a bit to adjust to hitting speed-ups and counters with it after using the thermoformed Flash, but after a couple of games, I was dialed in.
The power output of my Prism Flashes felt exactly as advertised. You get slightly more power than a Gen. 1 raw carbon fiber paddle and notably less than a thermoformed paddle. I felt that the Prism Flash hit slightly harder than the Ronbus R1.16 and was on par power-wise with the Six Zero Sapphire, though they certainly hit differently.
My drives and serves were certainly not as deadly as the ones I hit with any of my thermoformed paddles. But the control I get with the Prism Flash, combined with its stellar spin, certainly made up for this.
This doesn’t mean you can’t drive the ball hard. You certainly can, especially if you have time to swing into it. But short strokes and blocks/counters are noticeably less potent than with Gen. 2 paddles.
You can still hit deep serves and returns with speed and power. You’ll just be relying more on effort and swing mechanics than you would with a thermoformed Vatic Pro Flash.
I did find that the Vatic Pro V7 Prism did provide a bit more power and plow-through than the Prism Flash. This is due to it having an elongated shape and higher swing weight. But it sacrifices a slight amount hand speed and maneuverability to do so.
If you opt for the Prism Flash and want more power, I highly recommend adding some weight to it. This will increase both power and stability.
The Prism Flash is not an excessively poppy paddle. You get a bit more pop than Gen. 1 carbon fiber paddles, but nothing crazy. This makes the paddle feel more easy to control, but a bit less zippy and offensive.
The Prisms are Vatic’s most control-oriented paddles. This paddle is noticeably softer than Vatic’s original line & Alchemy line.
What you give up in power you gain in excellent control and touch. This is a perfect paddle to improve your soft game with. It’s excellent for drops, dinks, blocks, and resets. The plush and reliable feel it provides can be a big confidence-builder. It’s great at limiting out-balls.
I choose to drop on my third shots a lot more often with this paddle than with my thermoforms, which results in a lot more dinking battles, which has been great practice for my patience & control game.
The sweet spot on this paddle is excellent and very forgiving. It’s on par with the Hyperion CFS. The foam-injected edges really help enlarge the sweet spot and prevent dead spots, giving room for error on resets and dinks.
After playing with a lot of thermoformed paddles, it did take me a few reps to control my blocks and counters with the Prism Flash. This is because the softer Prism requires a bit more effort to deliver energy into those shots. If you’re coming from a non-thermoformed paddle, this should be a non-issue.
The Prism Flash is a top-tier paddle in the spin department. I’ve seen it hit RPMs close to 2,000 with it, which is stellar. It’s certainly on par with the existing line of Vatic Pro paddles and easily made my list of the best pickleball paddles for spin. You know it’s good when the paddle face just rips dust off of the ball, leaving distinctive marks behind.
Having such high levels of spin like this on a control paddle is grade-A fun. This is what sets it apart from the Hyperion for me the most. The Hyperion only has decent spin and it degrades quickly. It just doesn’t match the Flash.
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