The Lab at Pickleball Central: GAMMA Obsidian Pickleball Paddle

by Joseph Sutton on Aug 21, 2023

The Lab at Pickleball Central: GAMMA Obsidian Pickleball Paddle

The Lab at Pickleball Central: GAMMA Obsidian Pickleball Paddle

Build quality: Without a doubt, these are GAMMA’s best constructed paddles to date. They have well shaped octagonal handles that feel solid all the way around, and Gamma finally reinforced the handle siding so you can’t feel the honeycomb core through the grip. Speaking of honeycomb, they equipped these paddles with their extremely comfortably signature honeycomb grip (in white, which get’s dirty quickly, but man it looks sharp). The edge guard feels incredibly secure, and the paddle has a rigidity to it that really does inspire confidence. A raw carbon face with some sharp white graphics finish out an impressive build from Gamma.

Spin: While some may feel the surface of this paddle and wonder where the “grit” is, the Obsidian 13 and 16 play comparably to the other high-end performance “raw CF” paddles on the market when it comes to spin production letting you confidently bend the ball back into the court. A low swingweight and balance point also lets you really whip through the ball with ease making it easy to keep the ball in the court while really swinging out.

Power: The Obsidian’s stiff construction doesn’t allow for much wasted energy and provides substantial “pop”, but an out of the box low static and medium-low swingweight limits its power performance somewhat. Personally, I love the ability to customize my paddle to the weight and balance I want, and a lower starting number makes it much easier to do that without ending up with an extremely heavy paddle. Players who like a maneuverable paddle will love the lower stock weight, while more experienced heavy hitters will want to add some weight to the head of this paddle to unlock its power potential.

Hand Speed: Out of the box, the paddle’s low swingweight and balance point make this one of the most maneuverable raw CF paddles on the market. Added weight will certainly affect that balance, but I’m happy to see that Gamma has found a way to bring their stock balance point down a bit allowing this paddle to be usable for a wider range of players. When I added weight to the throat and bottom corners of the paddle, I only noticed a small decrease in hand speed while increasing power and stability to match my preferred stats.

Volleys/stability: For its weight, the 16mm Obsidian has average stability and forgiveness while the 13mm model requires more accuracy in hitting the center of the paddle. They are both incredibly maneuverable, and I felt confident I would be able to get the paddles in the right spot to volley, but against heavy hitters I was left wanting more forgiveness and oomph on my shots. Added weight on the corners of the paddle goes a long way here, and I’d recommend this customization to almost anyone playing above a 3.5 level.

Overview: The Gamma Obsidian is a welcome sight from one of the major players in the paddle market that had yet to release a paddle that could compete with today’s highest performers. While only releasing a flagship paddle in one shape could be a deterrent to some, Gamma wisely chose a tapered elongated design that will suit most players’ games. While usually I would say the high-end performance model of a line may be too much to handle for newer players, the low out of the box swingweight and balance make the Obsidian accessible to players of all skill levels. If you are an advanced player looking for a winning paddle right out of the box, this may not be the paddle for you, but if you’re open to adding weight to find your ideal performance, you’ll be able to unlock this paddle’s full potential which competes with any of the highest performers on the market.

What are your thoughts on the Obsidian Raw Graphite Pickleball Paddle by  GAMMA Pickleball

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