In 2022, Joola disrupted the pickleball paddle market with their line of Hyperion CFS/CGS carbon fiber paddles which featured industry improvements like edge foam injection.
In 2023, there’s a new wave of paddle innovation taking place. The big trend this year is raw carbon fiber paddles which combine thermoforming, unibody construction, sealed-in edge foam, and improved T700 carbon fiber paddle face textures.
The Vatic Pro paddle line is at the forefront of this evolution.
In this post, I’ll be breaking down everything we know about the much-hyped Vatic Pro V7 16mm paddle.
Alright, let’s get into the review.
Vatic Pro V7 16mm Specifications
- Price: $139.99 ($129.99 with code DASHPB)
- Warranty: 4 Months
- Shape: Elongated
- Core thickness: 16mm
- Face: Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber w/heat-compressed texture
- Average weight: 8.1 oz
- Grip length: 5.3′
- Swing Weight: 119
- Grip size: 4.25 in
- Core: C7 Polymer Honeycomb
- Edge Guard: Anti-Abrasion TPU
- Total length: 16.5 in
- Width: 7.5 in
Quick Summary of the Vatic Pro V7 16mm
I’ve tested most of the carbon fiber paddles out there from Electrum, CRBN, Engage, Diadem, Joola, etc. But nothing’s delivered the balance to perfectly fit my game quite like this new generation of carbon fiber paddles coming in 2023, including the Vatic Pro models.
When I got my hands on the 16mm Vatic Pro it performed better than I expected. Shots I normally make were simply easier to nail, and I was able to return more tough shots than usual. After using it for a few weeks, I’ve improved my pacing, drops, dinking, control, and power.
It’s hard to describe without putting it in your hand, but the Vatic Pro simply feels refined. It’s the new tech I’m sure, perhaps the thermoforming or grip inserts that give it such a good feel and make your shots feel pure. Whatever it is, this paddle simply feels good to hold and play with. It’s clearly well-constructed.
Everything about this paddle feels well thought out. It doesn’t overdo either power or control in a way that would cause it to lose its balanced nature. It provides what feels like a perfect balance of power, control, and spin. It also has a generous sweet spot for an elongated paddle. Nothing too crazy, but it’s notably good.
For me, it just took a couple of games to get used to the added pop, then I was off to the races. Adjusting to the extra pop has actually resulted in an overall improvement in my control game. I actually have more fun with dinking and resetting than I used before using the Vatic.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoy the Vatic Pro. And this is coming from someone who trashes a lot of paddles on the market. There’s really something magic coming from the factory that these new thermoformed paddles are made in.
Plus, it’s not $200+ like the big brands would mark it up to. $139.99 with an included paddle cover (even less with code DASHPB) is way better than $220 for the Carbon 1X 16mm (which was made in the same factory and plays essentially the same as the Vatic Pro).
You get plenty of power and pop for a 16mm paddle with the Vatic Pro. In fact, I feel that the 16mm Vatic Pro actually has more pop than the 14mm Flash version.
There’s absolutely no lack of power with this paddle and it comes pretty effortlessly. Driving with it feels great. It’s definitely a fun paddle for bangers and anyone who enjoys or needs some extra punch in their shots.
Note that this paddle has a ton of pop. You’ll definitely notice this coming from any previous raw carbon fiber paddle. The Hyperion feels very plush by comparison.
You’ll be able to put the ball where you want it, fast. The last time I played with it I was switching back and forth between the Vatic Pro and CRBN 1 re-release paddle. The Vatic delivered noticeably more power.
Adjusting to the extra pop may be hard for a number of players. The punchiness and diminished dwell time does require you to have a decently developed control game. If you struggle with resets or simply prefer more plush paddles, the Vatic Pro might not be your ideal paddle.
Once you learn to dial yourself back as you get used to the power from this paddle, you should be all set. I was smashing drives passed the baseline for my first couple of sessions. But, even then, it was fun. The power from thermoformed paddles is intoxicating.
The Vatic Pro V7 paddles really shines with spin. The kind of spin you can generate with this paddle is actually sort of crazy when you compare it to carbon-faced paddles of the past. The TORAY T700 fiber surface they’re using really does work and delivers more spin than I’ve experienced with previously released carbon-faced paddles.
I use a lot of spin in my game. I put topspin on my serves and utilize backhand slices to great effect. The spin potency I get with the Vatic Pro kicks things into another gear and makes my game a lot more fun (for me at least, sorry opponents). Balls curve like crazy and drop fast, resulting in whiffs and mishits from the opposing team.
I still get more spin out of a couple of other new paddles, like the Legacy Pro, Ronbus Pulsar, and Six Zero Black Diamond. They’re using the same TORAY T700 fiber but their top layer is tighter than the Vatic Pro and CRBN Power Series (all four brands come from the same factory).
It looks like the Vatic team is aware, as they’re making changes to their weaving pattern in their next batch of 14mm V7 Flash paddles. Maybe we’ll see a change soon with the 16mm, too. But the 16mm already delivers quite balanced spin from my experience, enough for it to grab a place on my list of the best pickleball paddles for spin.
The new paddle technology in the Vatic Pro paddles definitely improves control in my experience.
They’re encasing the edge guard in carbon fiber which improves the sweet spot by creating a consistent, dynamic tension across the paddle face. They’re also injecting foam into the walls, which is a new standard that results in a softer, more controlled impact with the ball.
Coming from a Joola Hyperion. the weight distribution of the Vatic Pro is simply better and helps in the control department. I love the Hyperion, but the Vatic Pro simply feels more balanced.
With that said the Vatic Pro is not going to feel like a top-control paddle for everyone. It has a ton of pop due to the thermoforming, and some people struggle to control a poppy paddle. Personally, I got used to it quickly and enjoy the paddle for dinking and resetting. But others may not. It’s on my best intermediate paddle list rather than beginners list, for this reason.
Pop aside, this paddle can help you improve nearly every shot in your game. It’s helped me with topspin serves and ground strokes considerably. And my drops have not suffered.
All in all the paddle feels very refined and hits true/pure. It might take you a bit of time to adjust to the pop, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. If you want a more controllable version of the Vatic Pro V7, then the newly released Vatic Pro Prism V7 delivers. It’s an excellent paddle and costs $40 less.
UPDATE: There have been some issues with Vatics and other thermoformed paddles, including core crushing, disbonding, and delaminating. While not entirely unique or new, these issues, particularly core crushing, have caused the paddles to have a ton of excessive & inconsistent power. Vatic has addressed these shortcomings in their manufacturing, and from what I can tell their fixes have been working.
These new thermoformed paddles, Vatic Pro included, are seemingly made like tanks. The Vatic Pro is made with a multi-layered, wrapped, and heat-pressed TORAY T700 carbon fiber that’s cured with heat for over two hours. Their build design is comparable to GearBox paddles, which are notoriously resilient.
This unibody construction is likely the future of paddle-making. No more super-expensive but flimsy paddles in the future, hopefully. The Joola Hyperions, for example, is laughably inferior to the Vatic Pro in the durability department.
The only truly comparably durable paddles come from the same factory (CRBN 1/2X, Legacy Pro, SixZero), or are from GearBox.
There’s a lot of praise for the Vatic pro paddles that have been well-deserved. One area of praise that can’t be argued against is price. The Vatic Pro definitely punches way above its price point in the current market.
This paddle stands shoulder to shoulder with any top-of-the-line paddle available on the market right now but is considerably cheaper than top name-brands.
The Vatic Pro V7 16mm is practically identical to the CRBN 1X 16mm and is $80 cheaper.
This is reminiscent of when XSPAK disrupted the market by offering a rebranded version of the CRNN 1 paddle for far cheaper than what CRBN was selling for.
Nothing against CRBN, as they’ve been good to their customers, but they certainly charge a lot with their markups, and I’m sure are feeling the heat in price competition from the likes of Vatic Pro.
The one low point I initially felt concerning the value of the Vatic Pro was the aesthetics. The font used on the initial release for the “V7 CARBON FIBER 16mm” text that runs along the side of the paddle face was very basic and detracted from the presentation of this paddle.
Fortunately, Vatic Pro took note and changed the font in their newer paddles. The new design looks great, and any paddle you buy from them now will feature it.
Should you buy the Vatic Pro V7 16mm paddle?
The Vatic Pro 16mm helps you shape your shots, grip the ball, and play aggressively. Any intermediate rec player, advanced 5.0, or pro would likely see a positive difference in their game from switching to this paddle.
Based on value and performance, I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing this paddle if you want to experience the newest paddle advancements and enjoy elongated paddles.
If you prefer a softer paddle without so much pop but still want high levels of spin and power, check out the Double Black Diamond Control paddle.
If you want even more pop and spin in your 16mm paddle, the Legacy Pro might be for you. If it’s power and pop that you’re after, the Black Diamond Power is the poppiest and most powerful thermoform on the market right now.
It looks like the Joola Perseus prototype that Ben John’s is playing with will share some of the new advancements that Vatic Pro is embracing. That paddle will surely be popular, but I doubt it will beat the value offered by Vatic Pro.
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