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SLK Evo Control Max 2.0 Paddle Review: Everything you need and nothing you don’t

If your game is messy in the kitchen, maybe the evo control can help you out

the slk evo control max 2.0
(Image credit: Dan Langston)
In a competitive market, companies are engaged in a relentless pursuit to discover the optimal blend of materials for the ideal pickleball paddle, akin to an arms race in the industry. That search will never end because of subjectivity, but there is an emerging and preferred standard, in my opinion of coarse. The winning combination sounds something like this. A Polymer core that is about 16mm thick, a handle length that is at least 4.85″, a slightly elongated shape that is 15-16″ ish tall, and a sweet spot that can handle a mishit. What constitutes the right texture or surface coating for optimal spin still eludes us. I am glad to see that the Evo Control uses this combination, but for $100 bucks, I think people will flock.

View at Pickleball Central
Paddle Weight7.6 – 8.1 oz
Paddle Face MaterialG8-Flex Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialRev-Control Polymer Core
Paddle ShapeStandard
Paddle Length16”
Paddle Width7.85”
Grip Size4 1/4”
Handle Length4.85”

First Look

The SLK Evo has many aspects that are similar to the Joola Vision and the Volair, but is almost half the cost at $100. The Evo Control uses a tried and true G8 flex carbon fiber face material that was used in the previous generation (Evo Soft Max), which is a very gritty and textured surface. Coming from Selkirk, I will always have high expectations, but with that kind of paint job, this thing belongs in Hollywood… Let’s see what this thing is made of.

Build Quality

Selkirk never scores low in this category, but I think the grip on mine has a defect. The tape moves around when I swing, which means my hand also moves around, not good. But like I said, this is probably just an unlucky defect because I’ve never experienced this ever with any of their paddles.

During the testing phase I kept wondering how they were able to achieve such a low price point of $100. But after peeling back the layers and looking under the hood, you can see the difference in the quality of components used compared to something like the Joola Vision that is $169.

shows that the Selkirk evo has a cheaper handle design than the Joola vision
(Image credit: Dan Langston)

The Joola Vision handle is bonded by two very dense foam plates that have a clean fit and finish. The Evo on the other hand, has a peace of pine wood stapled to the core. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in high humidity environments like Florida, the wooden handle may be less resilient than foam if moister gets to it. Over time, it is more probable for the SLK Evo to experience bending or flex, whereas the Vision has a significantly higher likelihood of maintaining its structural integrity. Sometimes it’s true, you get what you pay for.

However, the overall build quality for $100 doesn’t feel too shabby, and you have to remember that this is technically Selkirk’s SLK brand, which is a more budget friendly oriented paddle line that is not manufactured in the US. So far I have not found any major durability flaws or showstoppers, but I have not had a chance to use this paddle for more than a few weeks, so I will report back with a long term durability update.


The Evo Control uses a polymer core, which has quickly become one of the most popular core options in the market for many reasons. These paddles are constructed using a plastic blend and one of the standout features of polymer pickleball paddles is their ability to minimize noise during gameplay. This characteristic is particularly valuable if you play in places where excessive noise from pickleball is frowned on.

In addition to their noise-reducing properties, polymer core paddles are also known for their softer feel. Although they still allow players to generate power in their shots, the core of these paddles acts as a dampener, resulting in improved control. Consequently, players who prioritize precision and finesse in their gameplay are likely to favor polymer core paddles over other options. The Evo Control has a unique and distinct sensation from other Polymer paddles. Positively speaking I would describe it as hollow, airy, and a bit more snappy than what you would expect from a polymer paddle, but not so much so that you start losing control.

The grip is a little boxy, but not unbearable. You can always add another layer of tape to round off the edges. The swing weight is acceptable, but if it were any heavier it would start to bug me, and probably the majority of pickleball players, unless you have massive arms…

Responsiveness & Power

I don’t think you will crack any balls with the Evo Control, but it has plenty of power from the backcourt on a windy day, and certainly enough pickles for the put-away shots that are close to the net.

I think it’s the hollowed out feel that also provides a better sense of touch and improved anticipation of how the ball is responding. This is in stark contrast from the extremely soft feel I get from the Joola Vision. Though the Vision is probably more forgiving and softer, I don’t get as much feedback as I barley sense any impact when I hit the ball. I can see why they label this a control paddle because I can do great work in the kitchen. I am finding better luck with my resets I think because of the wider face and the better sense of touch.

Keep in mind, not all paddles that use a polymer core feel the same when you hit the ball. That is because the behavior and performance of a polymer can change depending on how the atoms and molecules (monomers) are put together. For instance, the Evo Control Max and Vision paddles both utilize polymer cores, but the Evo Control Max offers a significantly more hollow and poppy sensation compared to the Vision, although nothing like a paddle that is equipped with a Nomex Honeycomb Core. Even though the SLK Evo Control feels as if it holds an advantage in terms of power compared to the Joola Vision, I don’t think it actually does. The Evo Control’s wider face results in a heavier swing weight compared to the Vision, which, in essence, offsets any potential power benefits.

The sweet spot is above average and almost identical to the Joola Vision at 13.5 square inches as you can see below.

sweet spot shown to be 13.8125 square inches
showing that the sweet spot is 13.5 inches

Soft Game

No shortage of performance in the non-volley-zone, or any type of shot related to soft game for that matter. The Evo Control can manage fast flicks across the court and quickly get behind the ball no problem, due to the elongated shape yet lightweight design that has a more than fair sweet spot.

A soft polymer feel is hard to beat, and it’s why so many companies are using it. I don’t think this trend or preferred soft feel is going anywhere because the kitchen is such an important aspect of the game. When I’m casually playing with friends without any stakes involved, I prefer a paddle that prioritizes pure power because it adds an extra level of enjoyment to the game, for me at least. However, when facing opponents who employ strategic gameplay, they are likely to exploit the “kitchen” area and force me to engage in closer net play. In such situations, relying solely on a power-focused paddle becomes ineffective and diminishes its utility. This is especially the case if you play doubles, which is how people most often play the game.


You really can’t complain at the $100 price point. It performs closely to a high-end pro paddle, but is a little more player friendly and optimized for beginner to intermediate players with the wider face. If you are reading this article, you probably don’t need a foam injected handle. This is by far the best value for your money deal I have come across. Here are some thoughts from David Boyle, one of our opinion writers who has been using it. Though I have heard great things about the new Versix Pro 6c that was just released from Pickleball Central, so stay tuned for a review on that one.

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About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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