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Selkirk Omega Max Paddle Review: This thing lives on the edge

For the one who needs a durable paddle because they can’t control their emotions

the selkirk omega max paddle shown on a table
(Image credit: Dan Langston)
Verdict
Behold, the weapon of choice favored by the very skilled weekend warriors who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a paddle (priced at $139). This paddle is a power-packed gem, provided you can keep your aim on its petite sweet-spot. The spin capacity is impressive and comparable to pro-level paddles. Fair warning, the edgeless design is prone to scratches, but the central area where you usually hit the ball remains durable. Even after 300+ reps, there is hardly any visual damage.

View at JustPaddles
SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight7.8 – 8.2 oz
Paddle Face MaterialGC9-Flex Dual Carbon
Paddle Core MaterialRev-Core+ Polymer Core
Paddle ShapeStandard
Paddle Length16”
Paddle Width7.85”
Grip Size4 1/4″
Handle Length4.85”

First Look

Other than the edgeless design, nothing sticks out to me. It feels like a middle-of-the-pack paddle, which would match the target audience and price point. The dual carbon surface feels textured enough to gain traction on the ball and plenty of surface area to host a large sweet-spot (more on this later). Sturdy feel from top to bottom with little to no flex. Comparable to the Head Radical Elite, but wider. When it comes to creating change, Selkirk is clearly leading the charge. Therefore, I had really high expectations for this paddle—some were met and others were not.

Build Quality

Ok, let’s light the firecracker. I’ve yet to come across a Selkirk paddle that does not have a good fit and finish and sturdy feel. However, I do think there was extra attention on durability and longevity when they were building this paddle. After several hard-hitting reps, there are no blemishes. I must have accidentally dropped the paddle on a hard surface at some point because there is a gash on the rim of the paddle, but where it matters most, the coating is relentlessly tough, so if you don’t want to buy a paddle every three months this is your ticket. Selkirk Omega Max technology claims,

The original version of this technology was developed in Selkirk Labs for the 002, and a similar technology is utilized on the VANGUARD Power Air.

Who really knows what’s in the melting pot of materials, but the fact that Selkirk puts this paddle in the same vein as the Vanguard Power Air is a little… pretentious. But I think the majority agrees that the Omega Max ranks high on the durability and build quality scale. Just make sure to put some tape around the rim for added protection, since there’s no edge-guard.

Feel

If you just grab this paddle and start swinging it around without hitting any balls, you’d think Selkirk hit a home run. But after I put this thing to the test, I am left to assume this was a fashion over function play by Selkirk and some of their marketing claims didn’t quite hold up.

We all want maneuverability and a low swing-weight, but I think there is a point of diminished returns. If the swing-weight is too low and the paddle is not head-heavy enough, the ball can cause the paddle to move on impact, resulting in a loss of responsivness (power). Unfortunately, the Omega Max fall into this camp. However, I will say that this thing cuts through the air like a feather, leading to a less fatigued experience in the hands and wrist.

The grip is identical to the Head Radical Elite, cheap and slippery because it’s not perforated at all, but to be expected for a paddle in this price range. I will say though, the shape of the handle is desirable. The handle flares out towards the butt end slightly, making it easier to keep in the hands. Replacing the grip with your own tape would fix any complaints here.

I’m not an engineer, but to potentially address the issue of the ball causing paddle movements upon impact, one possible solution could involve adjusting the center balance slightly towards the head, which may provide better stability. Also considering it has such a low swing-weight with little drag, I think the paddle can afford to add a little bit more weight to its core without tiring the player. This could open up the sweet-spot area and provide a more reliable response. These are the things I would like to see if there is ever a version 2 Omega Max.

shows the center balance of paddle is 9.25"
(Image credit: Dan Langston)

This paddle lands on the louder side of things if that’s something you care about, but it’s not obnoxious in my opinion. I bet a tennis player would have something to say about it though.

Responsiveness & Power

Calling all you rookies and halfway heroes. You want a paddle with a mega sweet-spot so forgiving, it’ll make your off-days look like pure genius. On second thought, make that everyone… However, the truth is that the edge of the sweet-spot on the Omega Max is like a sharp cliff where everything is a dud, unless you hit the bullseye. This makes it difficult to control the ball and hit consistent shots.

Contrary to popular belief, just because a paddle is more expensive doesn’t mean that only advanced players should use it. If you can afford to spend $30 more, you can get your hands on a much more responsive Joola Vision. Trust me, it’s worth every penny. And after dinking the ball in a vertical direction, I was able to get a good feel for where the sweet-spot zones are. Take a look.

sweet spot shown to be 13.8125 square inches
sweet spot shown to be 9.625 square inches

I should be defending the company since they are effectively undefeated, but I’m here to help you make a better purchase decision and the Omega Max is less impressive than I anticipated for $139. The unnecessary edgeless design is probably what ran the cost up. I wish I had some other Selkirk paddles on me because I know they have better options in this class. Disclaimer: You can transfer plenty of energy to the ball if you score the sweet-spot.

Soft Game

The Omega Max is less of a victim in this category. As long as you don’t lack finesse on your end, you can find exceptional performance close to the net. There is a combination of reasons for this. One, it’s lightweight and edgeless design glides through the air, so it’s easy to get behind the ball. Additionally, an error-free shot is more likely because you have more time to focus when you are attacking a ball in the kitchen.

I’d like to see just a tad more flex or softness in the face. I think it would probably give the Omega Max a highly complimented soft game. Even so, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, where touch and percision are especially important, maybe this paddle is perfect for you. But as a hard hitter from the baseline, I’m out.

Overall

I probably earned the title gear critic on this one, but I hope my lack of contentment and feedback was insightful for you and constructive for the manufactures. I certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to discourage you from buying Omega Max. In fact, you should give it a go if you appreciate durability and you often find yourself in the non-volley-zone. I just think there are other options that have a similar cost, but better value.

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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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