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A Deep Dive Into The Selkirk Epic Pickleball Paddle
The Epic by Selkirk is a design follow-on from their earlier 20p and 30p XL Epic paddles. However, that is where the similarities end.
This Epic is a radical departure from the traditional design of pickleball paddles. Non-Selkirk paddles are constructed with some form of polymer frame with graphite facing on the head.
The Epic is the first pickleball paddle produced by Selkirk with a completely redesigned approach. The frame and core are made with a special polypropylene weave in a honeycomb configuration (their X5 Polymer) which is light and soft.
A soft frame seems a bit counterintuitive and not at all what you want in a sport paddle. But keep reading, you’ll see why it is an advantage.
The head is faced with fiberglass (Selkirk’s FiberFlex). Fiberglass plays differently than graphite and does not provide the sharp “pop” which players expect.
The fiberglass face is also a soft surface. In combination with the X5 core, this design imparts a completely different feel to the Epic paddle, different from the feel of other paddles.
The lightweight of the X5 Polymer has enabled Selkirk to create a much thicker paddle (one inch thick), which is far thicker than other paddles. Despite the thickness, the weight is in a normal range.
Collectively, the polymer-fiberglass combination makes for a softer paddle. Initially, that sounds like the last thing you would want.
However, the Epic has unique play characteristics and the softness of the paddle actually increases paddle-ball contact time and imparts a massive amount of spin. This is because ball dwell time on the head is increased by the softness of the paddle.
The sum result is a paddle which confers a huge advantage to the player. Topspin on serves is very pronounced, far more than graphite paddles. This changes the complexity of gameplay dramatically.
Paradoxically, the paddle softness does not result in a noticeable loss of power. Quite the opposite: a solid hit in the sweet spot drives the ball quite hard.
Who’s It For?
The Epic pickleball paddle is best used in the hands of experienced players. Due to the design and softness of the paddle, as well as the very large amount of spin it imparts, there is a learning curve to using the Epic.
It simply does not hit like a polymer-graphite paddle and beginning players will have difficulty controlling ball placement. An experienced player will adapt to the differences in performance the Epic offers and find it a prime weapon for their game.
What we recommend is patience. When players finally figure out how to use the Epic, they will likely never want to trade it for any other paddle.
What We Like About Selkirk Epic Pickleball Paddle
The Epic churns out power, wicked spin, and has great control and balance. If you are an experienced player and wish to add some complexity and nuance to your game, this is the paddle for you.
The softness of the paddle and apparent lack of ball feel can throw even experienced players off their game (discussed below). Getting down the learning curve of the Epic, which takes some time and getting used to, rewards the player with an awesome paddle the offers excellent control and loads of spin.
The grip length is also longer than most paddles and if you are a tennis player, this will immediately feel familiar to you. At 5.25 inches, the Epic has an excellent swing radius for catching those court edge shots and plenty of torque to add power to your swings.
The longer handle compensates nicely for the softness of the paddle, preserving the feeling of power while still producing excellent ball control. It’s a great combination.
Using this paddle almost feels like the player has an unfair advantage. It’s actually that good.
What do players say about the Epic? Players are surprised that they can produce a lot of power without hitting the ball all that hard. They like the lightweight and maneuverability.
What We Don’t Like About Selkirk Epic Pickleball Paddle
First swing impressions of the Epic leave the user with the impression that this is a power paddle. However, the softness of the paddle can throw off even experienced players initially.
There is a learning curve because there is a huge difference in ball feel and feedback compared with regular polymer-graphite paddles. Strikes in the beginning seem to go all over the place.
Short into the net. Long past the court. The softness of the paddle does not give the normally expected ball feel with which players are accustomed.
First tries with the Epic can be disconcerting. Once the paddle is mastered and users understand how it behaves, which is completely different from anything pickleball players use (as we have said here, multiple times just in case you missed it), it is an amazing tool.
What do players gripe about? Player complaints usually are around a lack of ball feel.
- Unique design
- Large sweet spot
- Serious amounts of spin
- Generous power
- Learning curve to use properly
- Lack of ball feel
- No paddle cover
A Selkirk Epic pickleball paddle
Overview Of Features
- X5 Core: Selkirk’s polypropylene honeycomb frame material
- FiberFlex: Selkirk’s fiberglass head coating
- EdgeSentry: This is an edge guard that protects the paddle in the event of court contact. It does not add an appreciable amount of weight to the paddle, but also applies perimeter weighting to increase stability and balance.
- Comfort Grip: Selkirk’s grip cushioning inserts provides good shock dampening and a comfortable grip
Our final words on this paddle is that you are looking at the future of pickleball paddles. The Epic is a very different kind of paddle, quite far from the oversized ping-pong paddles of the early days. This paddle uses materials science and swing mechanics to boost ball control and spin characteristics like no other paddle can (apart from the other AMPED paddles by Selkirk). If you feel you are ready to step up your game, then this paddle is for you.