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Gamma RCF-Airbender 16 Paddle Review: My In-Depth Thoughts

gamma Airbender paddle and parts
(Picture Kip Lacey)
The RCF Airbender 16 is the latest pickleball paddle from Gamma and may be its best ever. The Airbender is highly customizable with four different end cap weight configurations and four different mid throat shock buster vibration dampeners which can lead to numerous different weight combinations to fit most games.

The Airbender is Generation 2 thermoformed which allows for plenty of power and a large, forgiving sweet spot. Spin is easily accessible with the Toray T700 Raw Carbon Fiber Face as well, as the Airbender is soft enough to provide plenty of dwell time with a plush feel. The Airbender also shines at the non-volley zone where it is easily maneuverable and quick through the air, feeling more like a 12 or 14 mm paddle than a 16 mm.

The Airbender shines in all situations, from the back of the court with power and spin to the non-volley zone in fast hand battles. Although the customization is a positive for those of us who like to tinker with our paddles, the only negative lies in the factory adjustments. Although there are numerous ways to modify the Airbender, all the weight adjustments are from the neck down. Lead tape at the 3’o’clock and 9’o’clock positions brought the paddle to life. Bravo Gamma on your latest paddle! The new RCF Airbender 16 is a hit.

View at Pickleball Central
Paddle Weight8.3 oz
Paddle Face MaterialToray T700 Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPolymer Honeycomb
Paddle ShapeEdgeless Design
Paddle Length16 ½”
Paddle Width7 3/8”
Grip Size4 1/8”
Handle Length5 ½”


The RCF-Airbender 16 is the latest pickleball paddle from Gamma.  The Airbender is constructed from tried and true components. The new Gamma paddle sports a state of the art 16 mm polymer honeycomb and a Toray T-700 carbon fiber face. The Airbender is thermoformed with a foam injected perimeter and a foam filled handle. The aerodynamic neck of the paddle has two openings for the air to travel through with a middle beam for structural support. What makes the Airbender different from other paddles on the market are the set of weighted shock buster dampeners that easily slide in and out of the aerodynamic neck and another set of weighted end cap weights for customization on the fly. These kits are sold separately. 

My Experience


The Gamma Airbender 16 is quite accurate and consistent. No matter the shot, whether a dink, drive, third, serve or return you can swing away with confidence that your shot will land where you intended. The Airbender really shines in this area.


Another area where the Airbender 16 did exceptionally well is power. The new Gamma averaged an impressive serving speed of 51.2 mph (expected range 48-50). Because of this power the Airbender 16 offers up easy depth on serves and returns. 


Yes, the Gamma Airbender 16 excels here too. There is plenty of dwell time and the soft feel of the Toray T-700 Carbon Fiber Face really grabs the ball and spins it effectively. You can hit top spin dinks and drives with confidence and slice returns with ease. Along with the Airbender’s maneuverability, roll volleys really grab and are an ease to hit.

Defense to Offense

Once again, the Gamma Airbender does very well, especially once lead tape is added at the 3’o’clock and 9’o’clock positions, easily placing the ball into the non-volley zone without effort. The maneuverability and quick feel allow you to go from defense to offense quickly.


The feedback and feel are luxurious with the Airbender. There is a soft plush feel and nice dwell time on centered shots. The dampener/shock buster in the neck of the paddle and the foam filled handle diminish all vibration making the new Gamma paddle a plush ride. 

Sweet Spot

The sweet spot of the Airbender is quite large and easily accessible. When the ball misses the sweet spot the shots will not be affected badly, but as with all 16 ½ inch paddles the tip of the paddle is not the place to hit and performance will suffer.


The clean, precise, edgeless look of the Airbender is immediately distinguishable from other paddles on the court. The white and black combination are timeless, and the edge has a nice honeycomb design to add to the appeal. The adjustable weight design indicates where pickleball paddle technology is likely headed. I’m excited to see how this technology advances in the future, especially on the side and tip of the paddles. 

Additional Thoughts

The Gamma RCF-Airbender 16 is surprisingly good! Seemingly, from every location on the court, the Airbender feels at home. The new Gamma paddle can handle any shot that you want to make, and you can do so with confidence. I do wish that the weight placement had more variety, as this paddle is head light and needs some assistance toward the tip of the paddle. You can’t go wrong with the Gamma RCF-Airbender 16.

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About Kip

Kip, founder of Famous by Friday Pickleball, is an ex-college tennis player with a background in baseball and golf. His pickleball journey began in 2018, leading to his certification as a Professional Pickleball Registry Coach by 2020. An avid player and tournament organizer, Kip has evolved from a beginner to a skilled coach. His interactions with pickleball professionals have greatly influenced his coaching style. With deep knowledge of pickleball equipment, Kip expertly assists website readers with insightful product reviews. kip@pickleballportal.com

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