One of the cool things about starting out on a new hobby is that you can get to witness the improvement of not only yourself, but everyone around you. It’s fun seeing people improve at a sport. But with that improvement comes more challenge for you.
In pickleball, the higher skilled your opponents are, the more likely you are to play a dinking game at the net. And with a dinking game comes the requirement to have finesse and control over your shots.
To make a long story short, most of the people that I play with have improved to the point where a solid dinking game is now an imperative. Over the last few months, I’ve done a tremendous amount of research about aluminum paddles and where they belong in the pickleball world. I’ve heard about the finesse and control they offer for their wielder, but have never tried one myself. Well, I tried one. And today, I’m going to be reviewing one of the best aluminum paddles on the market, the Selkirk 300A XL aluminum pickleball paddle.
Like a lot of Selkirk paddles, the construction of the paddle is excellent. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with Selkirk. There’s not much to say about the face of the paddle itself. The graphics are very well done yet not splashy or aggressive. As usual, the Selkirk logo is placed directly where the sweet spot is. Also, the edgeguard is minimal and simple.
This paddle has two different sizes. Each one will give you a different playstyle considering the difference in weight. One is a “large” size and the other is “x-large”. Keep in mind, that I’m using the word “large” because that’s how it’s used on pickleball stores online. However, the the “XL” paddle is closer to what we would consider a normal sized paddle. That’s the paddle that I’ll be reviewing for you today. Let’s look take a look at the overall paddle, then the differences between the two versions.*
Selkirk 300A Aluminum Paddle
- Core: Aluminum
- Face: Graphite with UV vinyl laminate
- Grip circumference: 4.25”
- Grip type: Gamma perforated cushion
- USAPA approved
Here are the main differences between the “large” and “XL” versions.
- Weight: ~6.5oz
- Paddle length: 15 1/8”
- Paddle width: 7 3/4”
- Weight: ~7.5oz
- Paddle length: 15 3/4″
- Paddle width: 8”
The biggest difference between the two paddles is the weight. Keep in mind that weight differences between the same pickleball paddle can vary, but on average you will see a 1 ounce difference between the large and XL versions. This is a huge difference. You can find both of these versions for purchase here on Amazon.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section]
The reason why you would want to use the “large” version of the Selkirk 300A aluminum paddle, which is the lighter version, is because you experience arm or wrist fatigue while playing with a heavy paddle. That is pretty much the only reason. Otherwise, the XL size will work fine for you. The XL size is also larger so it will offer a larger hitting surface and thus a larger sweet spot.
The grip may be a bit different than what you’re used to. I’m not sure if this is the case for all Selkirk paddles, but for the 300A, the shape of the grip is more of an octagon than a circle or oval. Selkirk is using the non-ribbed Gamma tape for this paddle instead of replacing it with the ribbed version that you see on the Selkirk 30P XL Epic Enrique Ruiz paddle. Because of this fact, the shape of this grip stands out more. The shape itself is sort of like an octagon, instead of being rounded and smooth. If you come from using a paddle that has a rounded grip, you may find the grip awkward to hold.
The aluminum difference
I’ll have a big article coming out soon about the differences between the 3 types of pickleball paddle cores, but for now I’ll just briefly talk about aluminum paddles.
Aluminum core paddles have mostly the same design as the other paddles in terms of the honeycomb pattern, but are completely different in terms of performance.
Here are 3 things you need to remember when using an aluminum paddle:
- It will most likely be lighter than the paddle you’re currently using. This will make the transition period of switching to an aluminum paddle more difficult
- You will lose a lot of power, however…
- You will gain a tremendous amount of ball control and finesse
Aluminum core paddles are known for their finesse and “touch”. Touch is a word that people use for shots that are delicate, but require precision. The reason is because aluminum cores, unlike nomex cores, absorb a lot of force when the ball strikes the paddle. The ball doesn’t explode off the face like it will with other paddles, especially nomex. This gives you far more control over the way your shots perform, hence giving you more finesse and control over the court. But again, you lose a lot of power in the process. Your drives won’t be as powerful, but they will be more accurate.
This paddle also comes with a graphite face. We all know and love graphite faces, but this is a very interesting choice for an aluminum paddle. You would think that a paddle that offers a lot of control and finesse would give even more in the realm of spin, but not for this paddle. Graphite faces don’t give you nearly as much spin as fiberglass faces; fiberglass being the most commonly used face for aluminum core paddes. Don’t worry though, you can still apply spin with this paddle, but not as much as one with a fiberglass face. So even though you lose some spin, you still get that great “pop” feeling from the graphite face.
As you can imagine, the Selkirk 300A “large” version is a great paddle young children due to how lightweight it is. Kids can have a hard time swinging a paddle, especially if they’re under the age of 6. So getting them to use a paddle like this won’t fatigue their arm, and they’ll spend more time playing!
The sound aluminum paddles make can also be a consideration to make. If you have a polymer core paddle, then get used to your paddle being a bit more vocal. Aluminum paddles aren’t as loud as nomex, but they’re pretty close.
My personal experience
My experience with the paddle wasn’t the best, but this has nothing to do with the quality of the paddle. This is simply because the weight of the paddle is too light for me. Like I said earlier, finding the correctly weighted paddle for you is very important for you.
I wanted to try this paddle out because I noticed that I was playing at the net way more than I usually do. Using a paddle that offers much in terms of the dinking game can be a great boon for your pickleball game.
In general, if you’re looking for a paddle that is lightweight, easy on the arms, and gives you a ton of finesse, this paddle is going to be a great one for you.