Paddle Review: Selkirk Vanguard Control

by Joseph Sutton on Mar 18, 2024

Paddle Review: Selkirk Vanguard Control

Bottom Line:

The Vanguard Control pairs the touch of one of the best control paddles of all time (the Vanguard 2.0) with the market leading raw carbon fiber surface seen on most modern performance paddles. The paddle generates a ton of spin and is an ideal choice for players looking to hit or learn heavy topspin shots with control. Anyone looking to develop a soft game with endless forgiveness should really consider giving the Vanguard Control a try.


Model: Vanguard Control

Manufacturer: Selkirk Sport

Paddle Type: Control

Spin: Very High

Player Level: Beginner - Advanced

Thickness: 16mm

Weight Options: Lightweight and Midweight

Surface: Raw Carbon Fiber

✅ Pros

  • Fantastic Spin from Raw Carbon Fiber
  • Incredibly Forgiving Out of the Box
  • Huge Sweet Spot that Makes it Hard to Miss

❌ Cons

  • Handle is a Little Clunky
  • Harder to Generate Power on Drives and Serves


Nathan hitting Drop Shots with the Vanguard Control

Dinks and Drops – This is the Vanguard Control’s bread and butter. The soft response paired with the gritty surface let me shape my drops with confident strokes without concern of the ball flying too far, but I would expect that out of any modern control paddle. Where the paddle really stood out to me was at the kitchen line where I had a blast hitting aggressive roll and cut dinks from any position with confidence.

Speed ups and attacks – While the aggressive player may shrug off a total control paddle like this, those who like to disguise attacks and play a deceptive game will love the feel of carving out attacks from surprising positions. I was amazed at how fun it was to attack above my opponent’s shoulder only to see the ball bend back inside the line for a winner. For the player hoping to learn how to attack effectively, Vanguard Control has enough forgiveness and spin to keep the ball in the court and out of the net more often. The paddle is incredibly soft though, and you’ll have to bring your own pace to pressure your opponents as you rise in skill level.

Joseph Hitting Volleys with the Vanguard Control
Joseph Hitting drives with the Vanguard Control

Serves and Drives – As expected, the Vanguard Control didn’t bring much pace to the party, but I found each model to be maneuverable enough to generate a higher-than-average swing speed giving me access to great spin. While my drives lacked the oomph I get with modern thermoformed paddles, I found success hitting a hybrid drop/drive that dipped hard at my opponent’s feet and earned a few pop ups. Players with good mechanics will have access to aggressive drives, but newer players will likely find more success dropping the ball and getting to the kitchen where the paddle shines.

Counters and blocks – I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the Vanguard Control’s performance in hands battles, but the team at Selkirk did a fantastic job balancing stability with maneuverability. I always felt like I had enough time to get to the ball, and even when I was late, the off-center performance of these paddles still got the ball back over the net. The soft feel turned most of my blocks into resets, but the swingweight of these paddles was low enough for me to whip topspin rolls back at my opponents if I was feeling more offensive.

Nathan hitting a counter attack with the vanguard control

Which Vanguard Control Should You Pick?

Vanguard Control vs LUXX Control Air

A question we had to ask ourselves was, “would I rather play the LUXX or the Vanguard Control?”, and the decision really came down to a few factors. Both paddles have fantastic spin and would easily be classified as control models. The LUXX has a slight edge on power and build quality as an edgeless thermoformed paddle, but it comes in a little less stable and really needs added weight to perform optimally. The Vanguard Control out of the box has plenty of stability and forgiveness making it a great choice for players who don’t want to mess with weighted tape. With such similar performance, The Vanguard Control comes in $50 less expensive than the LUXX making it a better choice on a budget.







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