Paddletek Tempest Wave – My Favorite Pickleball Paddle

Barrett Kincheloe article, Gear, review, Reviews 23 Comments

Note: The white grip you see on the paddle is an overgrip that I put on all my paddles. I forgot to take pictures of it before I put the grip on. The grip that is used for this paddle is a black Gamma perforated and ribbed grip. It does not come with the white grip shown in this article.

The Tempest Wave is one of the most popular paddles in the pickleball world. No matter where you go to play pickleball, you’ll probably see this paddle being used. Believe me, it’s for a very good reason which I will explain to you today. I’ve reviewed quite a few paddles on Pickleball Kitchen, but I took extra time working on this considering its popularity. Today, I’m going to be telling you what I think of the Paddletek Tempest Wave.

In general, the Paddletek Tempest Wave is a masterpiece of paddle design and construction. The paddle has everything that you could possibly want including power, touch and ball control. I recommend this paddle to absolutely everyone regardless of skill level. However, if you’re a beginner you may want to get a paddle that’s less expensive. The Tempest Wave is a bit pricey, but the value you get is outstanding. You can check out my other paddle recommendations here.

Starting simple

In order to get into the details of the Tempest Wave, we first need to start with the basics. Let’s briefly go over the specifications of the paddle.

Specifications:

  • Core: polymer
  • Face: graphite
  • Average weight: 7.6 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 ⅞”
  • Paddle width: 8”
  • Grip Circumference: 4 ¼”
  • Grip type: black Gamma perforated ribbed
  • Handle length: 5 ¼”
  • USAPA approved

One word: standard.

In terms of the specifications, nothing is unique or special about this paddle. But it’s also one of the most popular paddles and is used by professional players.

Mind-boggling, I know.

The only thing that could remotely be considered unique is the slightly longer handle, but that’s not a big deal.

The Paddletek Tempest Wave is a deceptively simple paddle. On the outside, the paddle is visually bland, standard-looking and uninviting. But like a seasoned monk, the Tempest Wave is a humble masterpiece waiting to be unleashed.

Even though I’ve played with this paddle a lot, this paradox alludes me. How is it possible that such a standard paddle in an already crowded space became so popular and so widely known?

Honestly, I don’t entirely know. Clearly, it’s a combination of exceptional engineering and high-quality materials, but it will most likely remain a mystery that I won’t be able to solve. I can only tell you how it performs. But first, let’s get a bit more detailed about the construction.

The building blocks

Like I said earlier, the Paddletek Tempest Wave is a pretty standard paddle.

This includes the size. The 8” width of the paddle is suitable for pretty much everyone regardless of skill level and also provides a large sweet spot.

The polymer core is also a standard in the industry and has grown in popularity ever since it’s introduction. I won’t go into too much detail about what polymer is, but it’s basically just plastic that works very well for pickleball purposes. It’s known to give pickleball players tremendous control at the net while still keeping the power necessary to smash the ball when needed.

The graphite face is also a great choice for the Tempest Wave. Graphite is popular throughout the sporting world because it allows manufacturers to make their equipment lighter and more flexible like with golf clubs. In pickleball, graphite faces are used to make a paddle lighter, but also to add an “attack” feeling to your shots. Every strike with a graphite face feels hard, fast, and tactile. These shots feel great with this paddle.

There’s no such thing as a silent pickleball paddle, but the polymer core does dampen the sound in case that’s a concern for you.

One aspect of this paddle that attracts a lot of people is the weight. As you probably know, weight is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a pickleball paddle. The Tempest Wave averages around 7.6 oz, making it a midweight paddle. The great thing about this is that it’s not too light, but not too heavy either. You can maneuver the paddle easily with your hands, but you still get plenty of power when it’s needed.

But this specific weight, combined with the great construction creates an incredible force to be reckoned with. I think this is the reason why the Tempest Wave is so successful. Every aspect of the paddle beautifully synergizes with all the other parts. The polymer core gives you great ball control and finesse while the graphite face gives you that “attack” feeling off the face. Combine this with an easy to wield paddle gives you one of the best paddles on the market.

A long grip gives you more options

The only truly unique component of this paddle is the 5 ¼” handle. I’m dedicating an extra section to it because there are some cool things that you can do with long handles that oftentimes gets overlooked.

First and foremost, long handles are fantastic options for former tennis players. Although I wouldn’t 100% recommend this paddle to experienced tennis players (I would actually save that for the Paddletek Element), but it can still be a great option.

But the main point I want to make with long paddle handles is that it can give you more flexibility over how you manipulate the weight of the paddle. Check out this image:

That’s me holding the paddle in two different ways. The example on the left shows me gripping the paddle towards the bottom of the handle. The image on the right shows me choking up on the paddle. See the difference?

Here’s how this works. Assuming that the handle is long enough, choking up on a paddle gives you more control and maneuverability over the paddle. Try this out on a paddle you have laying around. Try to swing the paddle both ways. Notice the difference in how the weight feels? The reason this happens is because you’ve moved your hand closer to the center of gravity of the paddle. This makes it easier to swing.

This is great for when you’re at the net and you need to be swinging the paddle quickly. It’s true that you lose a lot of power when you choke up on a paddle, but it’s almost not going to matter when you’re at the net.

It’s also effective for quick overhead smashes. Since the paddle feels “lighter”, your overhead smashes will be easier to perform, making it less likely that you hit them out of bounds. If none of this makes sense, leave a comment and I’ll help you out.

Personally, I love having this option. Long handles give you so much more flexibility in how you want to play the game. If you like having this feature, then you’ll love the Tempest Wave.

The paddle is known for its performance, but not for its visual design. Paddletek clearly didn’t spend much time on the visuals for the paddle face, but for most people that is perfectly OK. The paddle comes in blue, red and pink. They also released a slightly more expensive special 2017 US Open version. It looks much better than the original and comes in the same set of 3 colors.

How the paddle performs

Let me tell you a quick story about my first experience with this paddle. Back in September 2017, I interviewed Heather Canny about pickleball venue coordination. Getting a pickleball venue together is way more difficult than most people realize and I wanted to get the inside story of how it works.

When we were done with the interview, we walked out of her office and onto the gym floor where we play pickleball. We were just talking casually when she picked up her new Tempest Wave that she had just received. I was eager to try it out since I had seen it everywhere. I distinctly remember my first experience with the paddle. I was bouncing the paddle up and down on the face and was absolutely amazed.

Most of my attention was focused on the sweet spot. It was the most solid and “soft” feeling sweet spot I’ve ever experienced. At that point, I was beginning to understand why this paddle is on the expensive side. It left an impression on me.

Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be happier with this paddle. It’s everything that I would ever want in a paddle. Let me talk a bit more about what to expect with the Tempest Wave.

What to expect

The Paddletek Tempest Wave has a phenomenally solid feeling. A word that people typically use for this feeling is “soft”, but that’s not what I mean. The paddle feels powerful to use but still has great finesse and control. This is why I use the word “solid.” It can be aggressive and allows you to attack the ball, but is great at the net for the ever important dinking game. Basically, it gives you the best of both worlds.

All paddles can apply spin to the ball, but like most graphite faced paddles, the Tempest Wave doesn’t do this in any extreme way. Fiberglass faces are better suited for this. If you want to check out a paddle that can apply ridiculous amounts of spin then check out the Selkirk AMPED Epic.

You can expect plenty of power with this paddle as well. The combination of the midweight nature of the paddle and the graphite face creates a tool that you can comfortably be aggressive with. There’s nothing better than that solid feeling of a hard strike with a graphite face. It’s truly fantastic.

I recommend this paddle to everyone

Like I said earlier, the Tempest Wave is one of, if not the best paddle on the market. Very few paddles come close. One of the only paddles that I see coming close to this would be the Selkirk 30P XL or the Enrique Ruiz version of it. Because of this, I recommend the Tempest Wave for absolutely everyone. Let me break it down.

Beginners

I almost never recommend expensive pickleball paddles to beginners. It’s risky to do this because some beginners don’t get hopelessly addicted like others do. But I’m making a rare exception in this case and with some reservations.

If your budget permits and if you 100% know that you’ll be playing pickleball for a long time, then this paddle will give you a great start into pickleball. If you want to buy a paddle and get it over with, this is a great option.  As long as you take care of it, the Tempest Wave will last you for years. Considering its quality, this may be the first and last paddle you’ll ever own.

Intermediate players

The type of player that can benefit from this paddle the most is the intermediate player. A lot of intermediate players are using paddles that not only don’t fit them but aren’t very high quality. If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, then this is a phenomenal upgrade for you.

This is also true if you’re using a paddle like the Onix Z5 or a similar nomex core paddle. If you notice that you lack control at the net or hit your shots too hard, then definitely give the Tempest Wave a look.

Advanced players

There’s not much to say here, but this is also a great paddle for pickleball veterans. This paddle compliments the control and consistent dinking game that you’re already used to. But if you’re playing with something like the Selkirk 30P XL or the Paddletek Element then a transition to this paddle may not do much for you.

In closing

I am more than impressed with the Tempest Wave. If I had to give it a numerical rating, it would stand as a 10/10. I recommend this paddle to everyone regardless of skill level. Have you played with this paddle before? Let me know in the comments what you think about it!

Comments 23

  1. Great reviews! You’ve sold me on either the Amped Epic or the Tempest Wave. I’ve taken up Pickleball at age 70 and love it! Having had tennis elbow in the past, do you think the Amped
    new, hyped X5 polymer core is better than the Tempest polymer core?
    Again, thanks for such enlightening reviews.

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      Thank you, I’m glad they were helpful. I would just go with the AMPED Epic. It’s such a solid paddle, it’s super popular and I’ve never known anyone that doesn’t like it. Let me know how it works out for you! Welcome to pickleball!

    2. In the chain of comments you said you played with the Tempest Wave for a year before switching. What did you switch to. I saw you really liked the Poach Advantage so that would be my guess.
      I am looking to buy a new paddle and am seriously considering the Poach Advantage.
      George

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  2. I am currently using the “Helo” and I do like it. I recently borrowed an Bantam TS5 and immediately noticed the increased improvement in the feel or touch of the ball. I also noticed less power for the fast game.
    Does the Tempest Wave have a similar feel of control as the TS5?

  3. Hi Barrett, I am ready to purchase a paddle but I am torn between the Element and the Tempest Wave. I have been playing Paddle Ball for 6 months with a borrowed Element paddle. I have tried other brands but keep coming back to Paddletek. My instructor raves about the Tempest Wave. I was an avid tennis player in my 20’s and occasional player since, however took up pickleball at 60, now addicted ! Instructor ranks me as intermediate and competitive. However I am 5’1, a woman and have some tennis elbow, lol. Looking for recommendation on the best paddle.

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      Hey Debra,

      The Tempest Wave is amazing. I used it for a solid year before switching to another paddle. Keep in mind that they just released the Tempest Pro (reviewing coming soon), but it is significantly more expensive. I would go with your instincts. It sounds like you’re leaning towards the Tempest Wave, so I would just go with that! And I wouldn’t worry about the Pro version or now.

      1. Great review. Torn between the Wave (which I have just tried for a day) and Tempest Pro. No dates on the comments so do you have any idea when your Pro review will be up? (I’ve playing for 2 years, addicted, 72 yo 4.0, very good at net but lost half a step so really try to manage the point.). Moving from Z5.

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          Thanks! I’m not going to do a review of the Pro because there’s not much difference between that and the Tempest Wave. I was pretty disappointed really. The pro is just a bit thicker and thus, a bit softer.

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  4. Hi Barrett – Great review!! I am a 5.0 Tournament Tennis player and been playing Tennis for 40 -45 years. A Tennis Friend introduced me to Pickleball about a month ago and I am now addicted to Pickleball. I would characterize my Pickleball game as aggressive but can also play with fianese and getting much better at the dink game. Looking for a top notch paddle and loved the reviews I have read on the Tempest Wave. I understand there is a New Tempest Wave out but has been out of stock but read it will be available sometime in Aug. What are differences between the two paddles and which one would you recommend for me and what weight should I look at. Will appreciate your feedback.

    Thanks……… Steve

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      Author

      Hey Steve, thanks for the comment.

      I have heard something about a new tempest wave coming out as well, but so far I can’t confirm this. The paddle is so immensely popular that it wouldn’t surprise me if they came out with a “pro” version similar to what they’re doing with the EX-L and TS-5. The inventory issues with the current Tempest Wave seem to be affecting the price, so I would wait. But yes, it sounds like the Tempest Wave would be an excellent paddle for you.

      In terms of weight, since you’re a 5.0 tennis player, you can probably get away with wielding an 8.0oz paddle. Most of the Tempest Waves are in the 7.7 range and that’s still fine. People are going more lightweight these days though. People are more than happy sacrificing power for more flexibility and quicker reactions with a light paddle.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Can anyone out there help ???
    I looking for the older version of the tempest . The smoother non graphite finish paddle.
    I had one and broke it and now I’ve been having to borrow one and return it after every tournament.
    Julie

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      Hey Julie, I think I know what you’re talking about, but I’m pretty sure those versions are now discontinued. You may be able to find it on eBay, but that’s as much as I know. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find it!

  6. Hi Barrett,
    How does the Paddletek Tempest Wave compare to the Selkirk Amped Epic. I can’t decide between the two paddles. I am athletic and a 4.0 tennis player. I have played pickleball for about a year and want to invest in the best paddle. I love spin and touch/drop shots. Thanks for your opinion!!
    Janice

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      Author

      Hey Janice,

      I understand the dilemma. I was in the same spot.

      Overall, the Tempest Wave is going to give you more attack and explosiveness while the AMPED Epic will give you more softness and touch.

      I think your choice should be dependent on the conditions that you’re going to be playing in. Are you playing indoors with JUGS balls? Those things bounce a mile high so everyone uses a power game. Are you playing against 4.5/5.0 players outdoors with Dura Fast 40s? Then you’ll want the AMPED Epic. Does that make sense?

      In general, I would go with the Epic since you’re a previous tennis player. It will give you tons of room on the handle and should fit your needs very well. Keep in mind that it may take you awhile to get used to the paddle because it’s much thicker than most. But stick with it and you’ll eventually get used to it.

      I hope that helps and welcome to the site!

  7. Super review! Thank you so much for taking the time to give us such a comprehensive over-view of the Tempest Wave. I have been playing the game for almost two months. I play tennis three times a week and now pickle ball four times weekly to really learn the game.
    A friend gave me the Tempest for a gift and I loved it from day one! I played with it for five weeks and said…….the touch is awesome and the power is great….. and now I think I want a more “powerful” paddle.
    I purchased the selkirk Omni based on one of your reviews. It is the amped series. It had tons of power and real nice touch. I played with it for five or six outings and left my tempest at home. Again, I really like the Omni.
    Well……I decided to pick up the Tempest to compare after playing the other paddle and see the difference. It was like reuniting with an old friend. I could play much quicker with the Tempest. I returned so many hot shots at me and the Tempest never let me down. My feeling was simply the way you stated it in the review. It was part of me….an extension so to speak. Plenty of power and after playing with the Omni….the Tempest had such sweet touch that I had not felt with the Omni. I may have developed better touch if I played longer with the Omni, however once I went back to use my Tempest I just can’t seem to put it down.
    Hope this helps someone out there that feels that power is the end all of the game. The Tempest has plenty when you need it and so much touch and control when it is a must!
    Thanks again for your website. I always read what you have to share!

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      You’re welcome and thanks for the comment.

      I have tried tons of paddles (I’ve lost count) at this point and I always go back to the Tempest Wave. It is truly a masterpiece. The AMPED Omni is a great paddle, but it is vastly different than the Tempest Wave. I’m glad you tried both and I hope both reviews have helped you.

  8. Great review Barrett! I’m a huge fan of the Tempest Wave and I’ve played with many other Paddletek paddles, they’re a great paddle manufacturer. I’m curious, do you play with any other Paddletek paddles? Was the Tempest Wace your first Paddletek paddle? How do you feel it compares to the Bantum?

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      I’ve played with quite a few paddles from them including another favorite of mine, the Phoenix LTE. Way too light for me, but somehow, still works. Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of the Bantum at all. To me, it’s night and day when you’re comparing it to the Tempest Wave.

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