I’m not sure about you, but whenever I get a paddle in the mail, I get all giddy and excited. For me, it’s like walking into a candy shop. It was no different when Onix sent me their newest paddle to review. I spent a lot of time reviewing the Onix Outbreak and I’m excited to share what I learned with you.
Please keep in mind, Onix has sent me this paddle for free, but I’m not being paid to do this review. Everything you read is my 100% honest and authentic opinion!
Let’s start with the basics
The Onix Outbreak is a polymer core, graphite-faced composite paddle with a brand new type of paddle face that’s never been seen before. In terms of shape, the paddle is standard. It’s more of a midweight paddle and it’s got that great top-heavy feel that so many tennis players love.
Let’s look at the specifications.
- Core: polymer honeycomb ⅝” (thick)
- Face: TeXtreme carbon fiber (graphite)
- Average weight: 8.0 oz
- Paddle length: 15 ½”
- Paddle width: 8”
- Grip circumference: 4.375”
- Handle length: 5”
- USAPA approved
As I said, standard. If you’re into paddles that have the traditional shape and structure, then you’re already heading in a great direction with the Onix Outbreak.
This paddle has a standard polymer core that we all know and love at this point. But this time around, it features the thicker core which has become very popular throughout 2018. The thicker cores help to absorb more force from the strike of the ball and thus makes it easier to take pace off the ball.
A quick word about the grip
One aspect of this paddle that I need to mention early on is the grip. Because of the super thin grip that comes with the paddle, the handle feels “rectangular” and “edgey” in your hand. You can easily feel the edges of the handle. This is one of the things most people didn’t like when they tried it.
However, this is just the stock grip. This issue is easily remedied by removing the stock grip, applying a Gamma perforated and ribbed grip, then apply another overgrip. That will help enormously to make the grip a bit smoother around the edges if that’s your preference.
If you need help re-gripping your paddle, please check out my video for a tutorial.
Alright, on to the important part!
I’ve always been skeptical about “technology”
I’ve often said on my podcast that I’m skeptical about the technology stuff. I’ve also joked that I’ll believe a manufacturer’s “technology” claim once the paddle has a ball-seeking device on it and a cool scope to boot.
Having said that, this is the real deal. The TeXtreme stuff that they’ve put on the Onix Outbreak is real and it does make a difference.
To my delightful surprise of course!
Before we move on
What I’m about to say is extremely important. Nothing and I mean nothing, will replace drilling, practice, and skill. A brand new pickleball paddle that has some kind of unique feature will never give you better results than the skill that you have as a player. Always remember that!
Okay, so what’s going on with this TeXtreme stuff?
You know what carbon fiber is right? It’s this magical stuff that is somehow stronger and lighter than steel at the same time. It’s basically a bunch of carbon atoms mixed in with plastic to create long strands of fibers. It’s incredibly durable and strong material that’s used in all sorts of stuff.
Well, a company in Sweden named TeXtreme has taken it to the next level. They’ve figured out a way to make carbon fiber even lighter than it has been before. By the way, the words graphite and carbon fiber often get used interchangeably. They’re pretty much the same thing.
Carbon fiber meets basket weaving
TeXtreme looks like a plaid shirt, a gothic picnic setup and a basket weaving class all at the same time. The carbon fiber strands are woven together like the coolest goth basket imaginable. It looks really cool too.
Note: As you can see from the image above, there are little gaps between the weaves. These are not defects and they will not affect your experience with the paddle.
TeXtreme is much lighter than most carbon fiber composites out there. This is attractive for manufacturers because it allows them to utilize the power of carbon fiber without the cost of weight. This is important for companies that make things where weight is a concern such like boats and airplanes.
Other than boats and airplanes, TeXtreme is used in bikes, hockey sticks, golf clubs, and now, for the first time, pickleball paddles.
Onix likes the idea of using TeXtreme for their graphite-faced paddle because it creates a paddle that is extremely strong with enough absorption without dramatically increasing the weight.
It looks amazing too
I typically don’t talk about the visuals of a paddle because for the most part, they don’t matter. But the Onix Outbreak is different. Because of the TeXtreme material being used, the paddle has this amazing checkerboard look to it.
However, because of the interwoven carbon fiber, the paddle face has little gaps and “scars” in between the weaves of the TeXtreme material. It doesn’t affect your play in any way, but it makes your paddle look rugged and authentic.
In the past, people have asked me about how a paddle’s logo affects performance. It very rarely, if at all, does. The same applies to the Onix Outbreak. The logo is a digital print that’s coated into the carbon fiber strands. Although you can feel the logo, with your finger, it won’t affect your performance.
How does it play?
Like a sponge.
I’m not kidding.
This is easily the softest and most “feel-based” paddle I’ve ever played with. The feel on this paddle is incredible. It’s exactly the kind of feel you’ll get from a graphite-faced paddle.
When I went out to the courts to play with it for the first time, I showed it to as many people as I could. Regardless of whether or not people liked it, they all commented on how soft and spongy the paddle feels. Most people were shocked, including me.
Now, for clarification, we were indoors and using indoor balls (the Onix Fuse, ironically). But the same spongy feel still applies to a hard outdoor ball like the Dura Fast 40, just not as much of course.
But you still get the other end
In the past, players have mentioned their concerns with a paddle’s softness and what that means for the power that they get. Remember that power comes from your mechanics, not necessarily the paddle. Don’t get me wrong, a paddle can help, but it’s only the paddle’s weight and weight balance that will make the biggest difference.
So in other words, the Outbreak gives you plenty of power, assuming that you’re swinging the paddle correctly in the first place. The softness and sponginess of the paddle face will not affect the kind of power you get. The weight of the paddle and your mechanics, however will.
It’s a bit top-heavy
The Outbreak is a midweight paddle that averages around 8.0 oz. That’s standard for midweight paddles. But as I said earlier, the important element to understand is where that weight is. Is the weight more towards the handle, or is it near the top of the paddle?
Sometimes the handles of pickleball paddles can be very lightweight. This means more weight will be towards the end of your paddle. Therefore, your paddle is top-heavy, similar to the Onix Outbreak.
If you like this kind of feel, or if you’re a previous tennis player then you’re probably going to like this paddle a lot.
How to control the Outbreak
The Onix Outbreak is a gentle giant. At one end, you can incredible feel and touch on your dinks. But at the other end, you get plenty of power because of the paddle’s weight. Learning how to control these two extremes is the key to wrangling this beast.
The answer? Practice.
I know, that’s boring. Actually, drilling is a very fun thing to do, but if you’re not used to something like the Outbreak, then it’s just going to take time. If you really like the paddle, but you can’t quite get used to it, keep playing with it until your brain and body get used to it.
Some minor gripes
There is one very minor gripe that I have about the paddle, and that’s the edgeguard. It’s made out of a shiny plastic material that has a grip to it. When I was testing out the paddle indoors, I noticed that if I ever hit the floor with it, the edgeguard would grip the gym floor and my paddle wouldn’t’ go anywhere.
Obviously, there’s some user error going on here. Your paddle doesn’t ever need to hit the floor. Also, this applies to gymnasium flooring, not tennis courts.
The other extremely minor gripe I have is the lack of a lightweight option. Lightweight versions of paddles are extremely popular these days. And for good reason. The lighter the paddle, the more flexible you can be at the kitchen line. Also, a light paddle would be a perfect pair with the extreme touch the Outbreak offers.
However, this is easily fixable. I would love to see Onix make a lightweight version and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
Are you getting an Outbreak?
If you’re currently playing with an Outbreak, or you’ve tried it, please leave a comment and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!