Are you considering an elongated pickleball paddle? These oversized paddles (sometimes called "blade" style or just "long" bodied paddles) are becoming more popular on the courts - especially among singles players. Almost all major pickleball brands now have at least one elongated paddle in their product lines and we continue to see more of these among the latest and greatest paddles being released on the market in 2018.
This longer style of paddle is considered by many to be somewhat more challenging to play with due to the thin shape and narrow sweet spot, it's often classified as a "specialty paddle" although as we mentioned they are becoming more popular amount cross over players migrating to pickleball from tennis and singles players.
Handle size: As we mentioned above, some of these paddles have very short handles- some only four inches. Most traditional paddle handles average 5".
So if you've never played with this short handle you'll need to assess if your current grip style works well with a short handle (some players choke up on the handle and place a finger on the paddle face). If not, you may want to go with an elongated paddle that has a traditional grip length that you're accustomed to.
Paddle Shape: While these are all long paddle, some have a more extreme narrow shape (17"x ) which gives you the thinnest hitting surface and concentrated sweet spot. Whereas other paddles, (like the Chrome NGR or the Summit C1) have a tapered paddle head similar to a racquetball racket. If you want a wider sweet spot and hitting surface you may need to sacrifice some length.
Reach: The extra length of these paddles gives you a couple inches extra reach. This is especially useful if you are playing singles and need to cover the whole court alone. Shorter players will appreciate the extra length for reaching shots.
Power: Many players like the long paddle to add a whipping action of the longer paddle to add a boost of power to their long drives and give some extra strength to their serves.
Handle Length: Some of these elongated paddles have a shorter (some only 4") handle. For players that like to grip the handle with their finger resting on the paddle face, this size handle can work well and uses more of the available real estate for the hitting surface (as per USAPA the max length of approved paddles is 17").
Sweet Spot: The long and narrow sweet spot can be tough to consistently hit, especially in the beginning if you are used to a wide body paddle and are adjusting to the new narrower paddle dimensions.
Maneuverability: Although many of these long paddles are relatively light (some averaging around 7.5 oz or even less), the longer shape of the blade can "feel heavier" just because of the increase length of the paddle as you hold it out and be more challenging to use on controlled, short game.
Price: As of now, most of the options in this category are high-end or Pro paddles so they come with a price tag to match.
This paddle features a polymer honeycomb core with a fiberglass face. The Encore Blade weighs in at right around 8 oz with a range of between 7.9 - 8.3 oz. The dimensions are 17" x 6.5" . With a 5 1/8" handle length and a 4 1/8" grip size. This same paddle also comes in a LITE version with a weight range of 7.3 - 7.6 oz for players looking for long reach without the extra weight associated with the original version.
Pro player Marcin Rozpedski can often be seen using the Blade in major tournaments.
This elongated paddle measures 16-3/8" x 7-1/2" and has an extra short (4") table tennis style handle that will appeal to players that hold their paddle similar to a ping pong bat- choking up on the handle with one or two fingers resting on the lower part of the backside of the paddle face.
The 8+ oz weight makes this a power hitters dream which will give you a boost of power on your long drives and the extra pop that many singles pickleball players are searching for.
The Summit's polymer core helps absorb shock while the graphite face give a nice balance between touch and power.
In early 2018, Onix launched the new version of this - the Onix Summit C1, this paddle is about a half an ounce lighter than the original and features a composite face which is a welcomed version for players who want to put more spin on their shots.
The Helo measures 17"x 7" and with a short 4" handle like the Summit by Onix but the Helo has a composite paddle face. The Helo also comes in two weight classes giving players the option to chose between a lighter weight 7.2 to 7.4oz and the heavier 7.6 to 7.9 oz model.
The Helo is constructed using Paddletek's Advanced ProPolyCore™ core which is designed to dampen vibration. This paddle is USAPA approved and like the rest of the Paddletek product line is made in the USA.
This unusual and original shape by ProLite in their new Chrome paddle is a first in the industry, unlike other long and narrow elongated paddles the Chrome has an unorthodox tapered shape which the company claims maximizes the sweet spot in the paddle head and gives it more balance than traditional long shape paddles.
The Chrome NRG uses ProLite's QuadCore™ polymer honeycomb core that is then covered in a unique triple-layer paddle face made of gel-coated fiberglass. The paddle has a 4 3/4" handle and 4.25 grip size. The paddle measures16 5/8" x 7 5/16" and weighs an average of 7.8 oz.
Selkirk made news in late 2017 when they launched a whole new line of paddles using their new X5 core technology. The Maxima is the elongated model of the AMPED family. This patent pending core tech is thicker and quieter than previous cores and is designed to maximize (or "AMPlify" the balance between power and control.
In early 2018, the company announced newer light and mid-weight versions of the entire X5 line of paddles to give more options to players looking for the core technology but in a lighter version. We wrote a more in-depth explanation of this new paddle line here on our Selkirk page if you want to find out more about them.
Hopefully this gave you a decent overview of the differences between elongated blade style pickleball paddles vs. traditional shaped paddles along with some top things to consider if you are considering your first long paddle and some of the best picks from top selling brands in the sport.