selkirk amped lightweight

Selkirk Lightweight AMPED S2/Epic/Omni/Maxima Paddle Review

Barrett Kincheloe article, Gear, review, Reviews 25 Comments

Back in late October 2017, I was giddy waiting for a package in the mail. I remember checking the tracking code every hour or so just to see when my baby would arrive. Inside that package was the brand new, revolutionary new paddle from Selkirk called the AMPED Epic. Once it arrived, I immediately took it out for a test drive and loved it. That review, which you can read here, is one of the most popular articles on this site and for a good reason!

But over the course of a few months, people decided that the new AMPED paddles were a bit too heavy. So in response to this, Selkirk made a lightweight version of the AMPED series. I’m very grateful to them because they sent me four of them to review for you. Very little has changed regarding the construction, it’s just lighter! I’ll be reviewing the lightweight version of the paddles for you today, and I’ll be talking about the four versions individually.

Before we begin, I want to let you know that Selkirk did send these paddles to me for free, but I’m not being paid to do this review. I will be linking you to their website in case you want to pick up a paddle or two! OK, enough of all that. Let’s get started!

What’s the deal with AMPED?

Before we talk about the different versions, I want to give you a general rundown in case you’re new to this series or new to Selkirk in general.

Selkirk is known for making some of the highest quality paddles in pickleball. They love making their own proprietary materials and the AMPED series of paddles are no different.

There are four types of paddles in the AMPED series. They offer the S2, Epic, Omni, and Maxima. Each version is made of the same materials. They’re different only in shape, size, and weight. The S2 and Epic employ a traditional paddle shape while the Omni and Maxima are elongated or “blade” paddles.

The AMPED paddles from Selkirk are special because they are using patent-pending materials and technologies. They’re not just using “stock” or “factory” stuff like a lot of other manufacturers do. There’s nothing wrong with using “factory” stuff, but Selkirk wants to take it to the next level.

Polymer ‘X5’ core

Like the vast majority of polymer cores out there, Selkirk’s cores are made of polypropylene; or in other words, plastic. But this plastic isn’t like any other. What Selkirk calls their “X5” core is a thicker version of the typical polymer core. And when I say thick, I mean it. This is the thickest core that you’ll ever see in the pickleball world.

You’d think that this would give the paddle much more weight, but even with the lightweight versions, they somehow managed to keep the weight down. This is remarkable.

What this translates to are power and control. The strikes with this paddle are incredibly soft, but they have tremendous power behind them thanks to the core but also the fiberglass face. With the Selkirk AMPED paddles, whether it’s the lightweight version or not, you can have your cake and eat it too.

What this also means is that is that you will be much more effective at blocking power shots with these paddles. This is due to the thickness of the core. Much more force is absorbed into the paddle, so the ball doesn’t explode off the face like nomex paddles do. If you ever have issues playing against power players, or you tend to pop your opponent’s power shots into the air, then the lightweight AMPED paddles will help with that.

‘FiberFlex’ fiberglass face

The fiberglass face that Selkirk is using is also a great addition to the paddle. I’m not sure what makes their ‘FiberFlex’ fiberglass so unique compared to others, but I will tell you one thing, this face can deploy an enormous amount of spin on the ball.

I’m serious; it’s insane.

I’ve seen some forehand cuts of mine that have moved 5-6 feet in the air sideways.

Being a spin player isn’t always the best idea because it can be a risky way of playing, but if that’s your cup of tea, then you’re going to love these paddles. It’s a bit more difficult to get spin with the Omni and Maxima, but it’s great with the Epic and especially the S2.

So what’s changed?

Let’s move on to how the lightweight AMPED versions differentiate themselves from the originals.

The only thing that has changed since the first AMPED release is that these paddles are much lighter. Although this is the only technical difference, the reduction in weight is significant and changes how the paddle performs.

Note: the grip on the original paddle seen above is an overgrip that I applied. The grip you get on both types of paddles is what is shown on the lightweight version.

Weight reduction

The amount of weight that’s been shaved off the lightweight AMPED paddles is significant. For most of the versions, Selkirk has reduced the weight by at least a half ounce. That means that an 8 oz AMPED Epic now weighs around a midweight 7.5 oz, sometimes lighter. If you’re not familiar with how paddles work, just a half-ounce reduction in weight is huge. This means a few things which I will talk about next.

More quickness, less powerful

As you know, with a reduction in weight, you also get a reduction in sluggishness. This is what I love about the new lightweight AMPED paddles. The reduction in weight is so significant that you can react much quicker to most situations. A lighter weight paddle will also give you quicker strokes, especially on your overhead smash. You can always tell when someone is using a paddle that’s too heavy for them because their overhead smashes are constantly going out. The lightweight AMPED paddles will help you with this problem.

Personally, this was one of the reasons why I stopped playing with the original AMPED Epic. It was too heavy, and I like to play a quick game. My strengths lie in my reaction times and quickness. The paddle was too heavy for that game. But now that the lightweight versions are out, I can play faster and be more comfortable on the court.

As you’d expect though, you won’t get as much power because of the significant drop in weight. It also won’t feel as explosive or have that “pop” feeling because it’s a fiberglass face and not graphite. This is normal and expected.

The question to ask yourself is “how much power you need in your game?” Think about this carefully. How powerful does your smash need to be in order to put away the ball? If you dialed it down a bit, would the opponents you typically play with be able to get them? Probably not.

Change is hard

There are only a few minor gripes I have about the lightweight AMPED paddles, and they are fixable. As I talked about in my previous review of the regular AMPED Epic, the sheer increase of thickness in the paddle is unlike anything we have ever seen. It comes with the benefits of having more power and control, but you lose some of the tactile feedback you get in your hands when you strike the ball.

That tactile feedback is essential for figuring out how hard you’re hitting the ball. Obviously, you can feel where you’re hitting the ball, but sometimes it can be hard figuring out how far you’re hitting it based on what you feel in your hands. This is especially true for the third shot drop.

But this isn’t a downside. It’s just something that you will have to get used to. If you’ve been playing pickleball for a long time, or if you’ve been playing with a graphite-faced paddle, then getting used to any paddle from the AMPED line, whether it is the regular or lightweight version, may take some time. The key is not to get frustrated.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t happen to everyone. Most people that I’ve heard from who have these paddles never had this issue, or they got through it just fine. It just depends on your game. Once you get used to it, this is a paddle that will up your game considerably. It will take time and patience.

The other very minor gripe is that since the paddle is so thick, scooping up balls on the ground is harder to do. Very rarely will the ball every roll onto your paddle smoothly. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to bend over to pick up balls all the time, then that may be a consideration for you. For most people though, it’s not a big deal.

Let’s move on to the specifics of each version!

Important note: The weights that you see below are just averages. Sometimes they can be lower or higher than what’s listed.

S2

Specifications:

  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: ~7.5 oz – 7.9 oz
  • Paddle length: 16″
  • Paddle width: 8″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 4.5″
  • USAPA approved

The S2 is very similar to the Epic version with only two differences. One minor difference is that the S2 is .25″ longer than the Epic. But the major difference is the handle. Interestingly, the handle on the S2 is slightly shorter than the Epic. But although the handle on the S2 is shorter, the length of the paddle stays relatively the same.

What this means is the face of the S2 is a bit longer since it has more room to work with. This makes S2 a traditional paddle, but with a slightly longer face than usual. In fact, it’s more like a weird combination of the Epic and the Omni. But what does this mean regarding performance?

A bigger sweet spot!

Seriously, the sweet spot on this thing is fantastic. I compare it to the Tempest Wave, a legendary paddle that has one of the best sweet spots in the pickleball paddle world. I’m not that good at math, but I’m pretty sure that the S2 has the largest surface area of all the lightweight AMPED paddles. This makes it not only a great paddle for people with accuracy issues but is also a solid choice for beginners. I love the S2 for this purpose. Combine all of the other benefits of the AMPED lightweight series, and you’ve got yourself an awesome paddle.

There’s one other aspect of this paddle that you have to be aware of. The handle is .75″ shorter than the Epic’s handle, but both paddles are pretty much the same height. This means that the paddle is going to ‘feel’ slightly heavier than usual, even though it’s not by much. The reason is that the shorter handle causes you to control less of the paddle’s weight than what you would be controlling with the Epic. It’s the paddle’s center of gravity playing a trick on you.

What does this mean for you?

It’s not a huge difference, but the handle will feel slightly heavier in your hand and thus may feel a bit heavier to swing on overhead smashes. But it’s a small price to pay for the great control and accuracy you get with this paddle.

Head on over to the Selkirk website to read more.

Epic

Specifications:

  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: ~7.3 oz – 7.7 oz
  • Paddle length: 15.75″
  • Paddle width: 8″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 5.25″
  • USAPA approved

Of course, the Epic is my favorite paddle out of all of them. I’ve not only played with the original AMPED Epic, but also the 30p XL Epic. I consider the Epic version of the AMPED series to be the “normal” or “traditional” paddle. It’s shaped like any other pickleball paddle, and personally, I love that. It’s also the cheapest version of the four.

The other thing I like about this paddle is the long handle. If you’re a tennis player with a vicious backhand, then this is the paddle for you. Personally, I’m not a tennis player and believe me, you don’t want to see me play tennis. But I use the long handle more as a tool to make the paddle more responsive. It’s so long that you can move your hand up and down depending on what your style is. If you want more power, you can move your grip down toward the pommel. But if you want more quickness and better reactions, you can move your grip up towards the face. Most players probably won’t use this, but it’s there in case that’s what you want.

In general, this paddle does it all. It doesn’t excel in any area, but it doesn’t have downsides in any areas either. Like I mentioned in my previous review, it’s got power, spin and everything in between. If you’re looking to get a lightweight AMPED paddle, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Check out more about the paddle here including pricing.

Omni

Specifications:

  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: ~7.3 oz – 7.7 oz
  • Paddle length: 16.25″
  • Paddle width: 7.25″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 4.25″
  • USAPA approved

The Omni has been a very popular paddle shape over the years. Selkirk has been producing great paddles with this shape for a while now, and the AMPED Omni is no different. Sporting an elongated or “blade” shape, the Omni gives you tons of control and more paddle face than most other paddles like it. This is a very interesting paddle.

First, to properly understand the Omni, we have to look into its shape and size. A lot of players are intimidated by elongate paddles, and that’s understandable. But what’s going on with the paddle size? How much height are you gaining with the Omni compared to a paddle like the Epic? Let’s do some math to find out.

With the AMPED Omni, you gain some, and you lose some. Fortunately for you, what you gain is greater than what you lose with one caveat which I’ll talk about later.

The total length of the lightweight AMPED Omni is 16.25″. The length of the Epic is 15.75″. However, the shorter handle is also a consideration for how long the paddle surface area is. Because what matters here is how long the face is, not necessarily how long the paddle is. You’re gaining face length by taking into account how short the handle is on the Omni. What this means is that when you include the differences in the handles, you’re gaining a total of 1.5″ in face length. But what are you losing in exchange for this elongation? As you already know, you lose width, but not as much as you think.

The total loss in width compared to the Epic is only .75″. But the key thing to remember is that this is the total width, which means that you’re only losing .375″ on each side, which is a bit over a 1/3″. So altogether you gain 1.5″ in total face length while only sacrificing 1/3″ on each side.

Not bad.

So what’s the caveat to this? You have to be comfortable with using a very short handle. If you’re comparing the Omni (4.25″) to the Epic (5.25″), you’re losing a solid inch of handle length. That is a huge difference. And believe me, you can feel the difference. The paddle feels heavy when you’re holding it because all of the weight is so far away from your grip (center of gravity).

But as I said earlier, you gain an immense amount of control, reach and face surface area. So if you’re comfortable using a short grip, then you’ll be fine with the Omni. You can expect yourself to be gripping the bottom of the paddle itself along with the handle. So if you have small hands, you should be fine. But if you have huge hands, check out the Epic instead.

Personally, the Omni didn’t work out for me. How a paddle feels in my hand is an extremely important requirement for me. And the Omni just felt cramped. Please remember that this is just my personal opinion. I know many readers here on the site and people I play with who swear by the Omni and other paddles like it.

Read more about it on Selkirk’s website.

Maxima

Specifications:

  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: ~7.3 oz – 7.7 oz
  • Paddle length: 17″
  • Paddle width: 6.875″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 5.25″
  • USAPA approved

I have never played with any of the Maxima paddles that Selkirk has put out over the years, so I’m really happy to have finally tried one. The lightweight AMPED Maxima is a long, slender, and lightweight paddle that’s great for people who have strength and accuracy.

This paddle is difficult to use for obvious reasons. It’s very slender and thus unforgiving. With narrow paddles comes the requirement that you have great accuracy and control over your stroke. What I found with the lightweight AMPED Maxima is that my forehand strokes were phenomenal, but my backhand strokes were terrible. Now, this has nothing to do with the paddle itself, but it has everything to do with a paddle this skinny. Slender paddles like this are for your forehand stroke, and you know what that means. Power!

Beleive it or not, this is a power player’s paddle. It’s for people who hate the backhand and want their forehand in play all the time. I’m not kidding when I say that you can destroy the ball with this thing. Furthermore, you can swing this paddle much faster than the others not only due to its lesser weight, but also the fact that there’s less wind resistance when you swing. Similar to other slender paddles like this, you can whip this thing hard. It’s essentially just a baseball bat, and it’s a blast to play with.

Having said all that, It’s best to stack and always play on one side of the court. If you’re right-handed, only play on the left side of the court. If you’re left-handed, play on the right side. This will give you constant access to your forehand which is what you want with this paddle. I’m not saying that using your backhand is impossible, it’s just much harder with a paddle this skinny.

This paddle is just plain ole’ fun. If you’re a power player and you want to smack the ball as hard as you can, then this is a great paddle for you. All you need is accuracy and a lot of stamina!

Check out more about the paddle here.

Conclusion

Selkirk, once again, has amazed me with this set of paddles. The lightweight AMPED paddles are fun to play with and a welcome addition to any pickleball player’s arsenal. The wonderful aspect of these paddles is that they offer a little bit for every kind of player. But if you’re not sure which paddle to choose, I would just go with the Epic. It’s a bit cheaper than the rest, and it’s a solid all-around paddle.

Have you played with any of the lightweight AMPED paddles? I would love to hear what you think. Post down below in the comment section!

Comments 25

  1. Pingback: The Best Pickleball Paddles To Look For In 2019 - Holy Family Pickleball Club

  2. Barrett, thanks for the excellent review of the AMPED paddles. I just received my S2 midweight, and after playing with it for the first time, it is clear that it is vastly superior to my previous paddle. While my old paddle had a small sweet spot, the S2 has a HUGE sweet spot with the benefit that shot speed and direction are highly consistent. It immediately upped my game. Whether playing soft shots or hard drives, I feel like I can put the ball confidently where I want. This paddle is so much better than my first paddle, and my advice to other players regarding paddle selection is that you get what you pay for, so if you can afford it, a paddle like this will definitely improve your game.

    1. Post
      Author

      You’re welcome, David.

      The S2 is great, isn’t it? It’s amazing what happens when you switch to a paddle like that. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  3. Comparing mid and light weight paddles, the black coating is now white. Is there a difference in texture between the black and write coating? You and others have commented earlier that there is some issue with the black coating on middleweight. Thanks.

    1. Post
      Author

      Personally, I don’t think there are any issues with the black coating. It’s hardly noticeable, but some people don’t like it. Keep in mind that for the lightweight AMPED paddles, there is no white coating, it’s just “blank” if you know what I mean. From what I’ve seen, the lightweight ones are much more popular. Let me know if you need any more help!

  4. I have the AMPED Epic lightweight and am loving it. According to the package it came in from Selkirk it weighs in at 7.3. This is noticeably lighter than my AMPED Epic paddle that I bought previously. So here’s my question, how can I add .2oz to bring it up to 7.5oz? My internal 6th sense is telling me the 7.3 is just a shade too light and I’m losing a little power. I really don’t want to spend another $130 so I wanted to throw this question out there. Love your website, YouTube channel and especially the podcast!!!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Scott, good to hear from you again. Yes, the Lightweight versions are significantly lighter. If you want to get it a bit heavier, apply some lead tape to the top of the paddle directly on the edgeguard (not the paddle face). You should be able to do that a few times to get it up to 7.5 oz. Pickleball Central should sell some. Hope that helps!

      P.S. – I remember your previous comment about wishing we would produce more podcast episodes. I’m pleased to tell you that they’ll be coming out every Monday morning from now on. Enjoy!

  5. Barrett
    I’m just getting into Pickleball and find your site very helpful
    Now to my question the Omni is a doable weight for me at 7.3 to 7.7 you have mentioned in another article that oblong paddles are not good for newbies
    Here is my concerns I have a fused neck held together with metal plates. This limits the amount of neck bend I have both looking down and up
    So the extra total length I would get using the Omni would be of huge benefit since it could allow me to get to shots before they get to close for me to see well or in some cases move back a bit to respond
    The handle size isn’t a consideration since I have small hands for a man ( when I could golf my glove size was small) again you mentioned this paddle to be a touch wider than other oblong paddles
    So would you think this might be of benefit for me?
    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Jake, glad you’re enjoying the site and I’m glad it’s helpful!

      Welcome to the game! Elongated paddles typically aren’t great for beginners, but it sounds like you have a different situation. I think it will be fine for you, but it will require practice. I would actually go for either the Paddletek Horizon or the Helo. Both are 17″ long which is the maximum length allowed. The Omni is fine too, but you won’t get as much length. The Horizon and the Helo will be a bit more narrow than the Omni though. I think either of those will be fine.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Barrett, thanks for the informative write-up! I started playing pickleball last Christmas and as a racquet sport enthusiast since childhood, I quickly developed a feel for the game. Living in Canada, about 7 hours drive from the Selkirk facility in Idaho, a lot of players here use their paddles so after a few weeks play I bought a Selkirk PRO S1G+. It’s a graphite face paddle and others have found it on the heavy side, though I only notice the weight when I’m reacting to shots at the kitchen, especially when I’m starting to tire.

    Given that you’re familiar with the S1G+, any thoughts on how the lightweight AMPED technology would compare to my current paddle? I favor control more than power and I like to hit spin and roll shots to maneuver opponents out of position. Two of the guys I play with recently switched to AMPED paddles (not the lightweight version) and have struggled with their new “feel”.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Dave, thanks for the comment.

      Considering what you’ve said about your style of play, the AMPED series is right up your alley. Those paddles get a crazy amount of spin and maneuverability. However, like I said in my review and with what your friends are saying, they are hard to get used to. The AMPED paddles are very thick, and with all that thickness comes lack of feel. That’s because the paddle absorbs a lot of the force. If you can get used to it, then it’ll be great, but if not then you may struggle. Hope that helps!

  7. Barrett –

    Do you have any info on the new Selkirk Invikta? I noticed a lot of the Selkirk players playing with it during the U.S. Open. It is supposed to be out this month (May). Looks like a cross between the Maxima and Omni shape, with longer handle 5.25 inch.

    I also noticed many midweight Selkirk Amped paddles at the Open,
    Love my Omni, Amped, Lightweight

    1. Post
      Author

      Interesting. I’ve never heard of that. Do you have any pictures by any chance? I’ll keep my eye on it.

  8. I just started playing and I love pickleball! I wanted to upgrade my paddle and after my research concluded to go with either the tempest wave or amped epic lightweight. It seems as though the tempest wave is sold out in most places and not readily available so I just purchases the lightweight epic. I can’t wait to try it out!

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      Author
  9. Borrowed an S2 for a week and was ready to purchase it until someone let me play one game with their OMNI. Say what you want about center of gravity but it seems this paddle doesn’t twist in your hand on a mishit out on the edge the way virtually every other paddle does. I have a large palm but shorter fingers, in golf what they would call an extra large cadet. The handle does seem a little cramped but it’s something I can live with. Considering many of my mishits are when I strike a ball too close to the handle, it seems this puts those shots a bit more up into the paddle surface itself. Playing in a strong wind I’ve hit shots out on the tip that cleared the net and virtually every other paddle (including the S2) would have put those shots into the net. I’m a guy in his mid 60’s with a strong 4.5 game, some medals under my belt, and I love this paddle.

    1. Post
      Author

      So you’re using the Omni instead of the S2?

      That’s an interesting point you make about mishits on the edge of the paddle and near the handle. I haven’t thought about that. Thanks for the insight.

  10. Thanks Barrett, excellent point about weight feels different in the palm of your hand versus when it’s held away from you via the handle etc. I’ll swing the ones I’ve ordered for several weeks then make a decision.

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      Author
  11. From reading your reviews it appears that you feel that the 8oz Amped S2 or Epic is too heavy. Other paddle resources describe the 8oz as a low medium or high lightweight. If a tenth of an ounce weighs roughly the weight of a copper penny, what weight of S2 or Epic would you get to really notice/feel the difference? I just ordered a S2 and a Epic both in 8oz and may have made a mistake. They are returnable or exchangeable but that’s more time and shipping costs. Shoud I try 7.8 or go all the way down to 7.5? Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for addressing this. I’ve been thinking about rewording the way I talk about what is heavy, light or midweight because it’s pretty subjective. To someone who has no arm strength, 8 oz may be very heavy for them. But for someone like me, it’s more of a midweight paddle. I’m still pondering how to do this.

      But in general, the regular AMPED S2 and Epic are definitely not lightweight paddles by any means. I think it’s safe to call them midweight paddles and I will probably edit my writing to reflect that. I don’t know anything about your levels of strength or about your game so it’s hard to give specific advice. But considering that your name is Eddie I assume that you’re male so you’re more likely to be fine with the 8 oz paddles. I talk often about how I like 7.4-7-6 oz paddles, but that’s just because I value quickness and reaction time over power.

      I like your penny analogy. You may not notice the 1/10 difference, but going higher you definitely will. Remember, you don’t hold the paddle directly in your hand like you would a penny. You hold it away from you with a handle so it feels heavier than what it actually it is. That’s the center of gravity for you! Let me know if you have any other questions. Rest assured, I think you’ll be fine with the ones you bought.

  12. I’m waiting for my lightweight Epic to arrive. I’ll let you know what I think. Thanks for the reviews.. it’s interesting to learn about the nuances of ea. paddle in your opinion, plus the tech. behind different models. TY

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      Author
  13. Haven’t gotten to play with an AMPED paddle, but really want to thank you Barrett for all of your updates. Especially love the paddle reviews and your tech/geek speak. Looking forward to the next podcast.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences/knowledge.

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      Author

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