Selkirk Power Air Brought Me Back
You ever try a new paddle and think, “This paddle feels too good?” Like it was made just for you and your game?
I had that happen at the Hertz National Championship PPA Event in Lake Nona, Florida. At the end of a day competing in the Senior Pro Mixed Division, as I stood, with my new Selkirk Power Air Invikta paddle in hand, next to my partner Leslie atop the podium, I thought, “back full circle.”
The reason is that the paddle I was using was from the same company that I played with when I first started playing pickleball. We had completed the circle, so to speak; I was closing out 2022 with the same paddle company that accompanied me as I started my pickleball journey back in 2015.
In this article, I share my experience with the Selkirk Power Air paddle and give you my thoughts on its play after playing with it at the PPA tournament. At the end, I will share with you the characteristics of play for which this paddle is particularly suited. If that is your style of play, then you will want to give the paddle a turn in your bag to see how it does for you.
Getting started in the game
It’s Fall 2015, my wife Jill and I are starting to play this sport called “pickleball.” We have been borrowing open play paddles and are now ready to buy our own paddles. But what paddle to buy?
Even though there were many fewer paddle options back then (it seems like there is a new paddle each week), I was reluctant to just trust our game to chance. As is my nature, I researched paddles – all the paddles. There were several interesting options: Onix, Paddletek, Prolite, and Gamma. But the more I researched reviews, paddle manufacture, etc., the more I became convinced to put Jill and my game in the hands of one brand: Selkirk.
This was well before Selkirk was the well-known paddle company it is today. Selkirk was not known in Florida at that time. It was mostly a “western” paddle.
Making my decision, I pressed “Buy,” and two Selkirk Epic 20 paddles were on their way: orange (for me) and blue (for Jill).
Since 2015, I have tried dozens of different paddles. Carbon and fiberglass. Traditional honeycomb core as well as alternate cores. Paddles from pretty much every major paddle company and many smaller ones.
Most currently, I had been playing primarily with the Diadem Icon paddle. It was unlike any other paddle I had played with – until now. I’m still a fan of the Icon paddle, and Jill and CJ still primarily play with it – but for my game, there is a new top paddle in the bag.
Trying out the latest in paddle technology
Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Mike Barnes, Selkirk’s co-founder, to go over THE 2023 Pickleball Summit (put it on your calendars: June 25, 2023). As happens, we migrated to paddles and their evolution – I am a sort of paddle nerd, and Mike is obviously a paddle expert, so it was only natural that paddles would make their way into the conversation.
I mentioned to Mike that Selkirk’s Ampd line had not suited my game and that I had since migrated from Selkirk paddles. Mike asked what paddle I was playing with now, and we discussed a bit about my style of play.
Without hesitating, Mike said, “We have a new paddle that I think you’ll like. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.” The next week I had a Selkirk Power Air Invikta in my hand.
Like most players, I enjoy trying out a new paddle.
It’s a chance to see what the paddle manufacturers are coming up with to give us an edge out on the courts. I had just been trying out the Revolin Pure Control paddle – its face is made from hemp and flax seed fibers – and enjoyed the control and feel of the paddle.
I was looking forward to trying out the new Selkirk open “throat” design as I had not hit with that sort of paddle yet.
When I received the paddle, the first thing I noticed was how different it is from most traditional power paddles. It is made as a unibody – meaning it is all one piece with no separate edge guard around the paddle. The edge guard in most paddles is needed to hold everything together, and paddle failure can often be attributed to an edge guard coming loose. The Selkirk Power Air appeared to be of solid construction without any extra parts that might fail in the future.
The paddle also felt surprisingly light. Although the paddle I received came in at right about 8 oz. and is a Midweight paddle by that standard, it did not feel heavy to hold or to swing (if you are not familiar with the concept of swing weight, which is key to how the paddle actually impacts your arm, wrist, and hand check out this video where I explain it in some detail). The lightness of the swing with the paddle was surprising given the length of the paddle, a half inch longer than the Icon. Usually, longer paddles feel heavier as you swing them due to being longer levers.
The weight may have to do with the open-throat design of the Power Air, as it appears to allow Selkirk to move some of that material to the end of the paddle without increasing the head weight of the paddle.
Check out the latest from Selkirk Paddles
Straight to the fire: playing the paddle at PPA Lake Nona
The Thursday before my tournament, I was able to get on the court with my friend Tyson (we call him the “original” Tyson, not to be confused with Tyson McGuffin) and hit some with the Power Air. The Power Air paddle is a power paddle (it is in the name, after all, ☺), and I could definitely feel a difference in the depth of my serves and returns as well as my drives. Surprisingly, though, I did not experience a noticeable loss of control. To be fair, though I do use the soft game, hitting soft is not the focus of my approach to competitive pickleball.
After hitting with the paddle that Thursday, I felt good enough about this new Selkirk paddle that I put it in my tournament bag and planned on starting with it. My backup paddles were the Revolin Pure Control paddle that I had been playing with for the past 2 weeks (Side note: the Revolin is a solid paddle. Traditional in build except for the use of an interesting hemp and flax seed-derived face. The paddle has excellent feel and control and is, in my opinion, one of the best-looking paddles on the market) and the Icon (a paddle I knew well, having been my primary paddle for the last year).
I ended up relying exclusively on my new black and white Selkirk Power Air Invikta during the tournament. The paddle helped Leslie and me advance through the winner’s bracket without losing a match. Even though it was only my second time playing with the paddle, I felt that I could control the shots I needed most – my thirds and resets – while gaining awesome power and spin on my drives and putaways.
The only shot that I never dialed in to my satisfaction on the day was my usually reliable lob. I think it had to do with the extra “pop” delivered by the paddle.
While enough of the lobs worked to get the job done, a few of the lobs that felt good off the paddle had too much energy in the shot and landed deep (if you do not know what shot energy is, you really should join us inside the Pickleball System – you will learn shot energy and much more so that you can diagnose and correct your shots in real-time, just like we do when we play. We make it easy for you – ThePickleballSystem.com). I have been able to fine-tune my lob some more since the tournament, but the difference in the power of the paddle is noticeable.
The advantages I gained on my other shots more than made up for the lob.
There was one shot in particular that stood out. It occurred at the end of the day, during the gold medal match. Our opponents were using the traditional stack. I knew exactly where I wanted to put the ball as they were moving into their formation out of the stack.
On this particular shot, I got set and swung my paddle with an inside-out forehand to the opposite edge of the court, about halfway between the net and the baseline. It is a shot that I have hit before, but never quite like this. The ball dipped in a manner that was much sharper and more acute than I had ever hit in my hundreds (thousands?) of times hitting the same shot.
My hypothesis as to how I was able to hit that shot at such an angle and with such a dip owes to three factors:
- The paddle can be swung faster than a traditional paddle that lacks an open throat.
- The paddle provides loads of spin to the ball (the spin was evident on other shots as well).
- The paddle has more “pop” than a traditional paddle, creating more ball velocity off the face of the paddle.
Is this now my go-to paddle?
The Selkirk Power Air Invikta allowed me to hit the shots that I needed on that tournament Saturday: deep serves and returns, controlled third shots, well-shaped volleys, and the forehand drives that are part of my strengths as a player. Once the dust had settled and the last paddles had been tapped at the net, I stood next to Leslie on the podium with my new paddle framing out the Mixed Senior Pro gold medal.
Seeing that photo reminded me of other similar photos along my journey where my Selkirk paddle helped me make it to the podium. Life has a way of completing the circles you start along the way.
Until further notice, I will be seen swinging a Selkirk Power Air Invikta at tournaments and wherever you may find me on the court.
Might the Selkirk Power Air Invikta be right for you?
- are a converted tennis player looking for maximum accuracy and spin on your drives and volleys or
- are looking for a fast hand speed paddle that you can whip around from side to side as the battle unfolds or
- want additional dexterity with your paddle, particularly for better backhand volleys,
then give this paddle a try. While I found that the paddle had sufficient control for my style of play, you will feel a definite difference if you are coming from a pure control paddle. The ball pops off this paddle more than it does from a paddle like the Revolin Pure Control or the Vanguard 2.0 series from Selkirk.
If you are interested in adding the Selkirk Power Air or Vanguard paddles to your bag, visit Selkirk.com and use code ADV-SYSTEM to receive a gift card** with purchase. Please note your gift card will be issued by the Selkirk Team 7-10 business days after their order has been completed.
*The Selkirk links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase we receive a small commission. Please do not purchase anything that is not inline with your budget or your pickleball goals.
Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.
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Have played Gearbox (old model) and Icon over the last 18 months. From my tennis background I just like the feel of those paddles. I’ve tried the thinner thickness Pursuit and CRBN, but quickly go back to the Icon. I prefer the wide body design. I’m concerned that the Invicta may offer too much power. Do you think the Epic would play similarly to the Gearbox and Icon?
Hi Kevin. If you like the Gearbox and Icon paddles, and given your tennis background, I would recommend giving the Power Air a whirl. I like the way the Invikta works for me but the Epic is substantially similar. Not sure if you saw but we have a code in the post that can help :).