My first Ross Lady blade
name: "White Shadow"
composition: White Obeche ~ Spruce ~ Kiri ~ Basswood ~ Walnut
handle: Orange Agate ~ Bocote, Ziricote ~ Bocote
I was willing to go on this as an experiment, and if something went wrong (blade would not suit me at all) I had a plan B: "put the blade on a stand somewhere in the house for everyone to admire as a piece of sports ART".Expectations
1) No balsa in a blade at all.
2) Total weight with edge banding less than 94g (lighter is better)
3) Backhand should have at least medium hard feeling (better harder than softer) and speed about def+ / all-
4) Forehand should have a feeling between soft and medium and speed in between all- all+
5) Blade should be stiff, flex: none to minimal (better none, but if there will be some, i will manage survive)
6) Not head heavyResults
1) Ross suggested Kiri core and thank God Kiri doesn't feel like balsa (I hate balsa), though it still has some small catapult.
2) Blade: 82g, total setup <= 160g. This is a really good thing for me, because since I don't have the time to fully heal my shoulder injuries and 160g doesn't stress my shoulder too much, where my current competition setup( defence II, hexer ps, milky way 955: weights ~174g) feels too heavy and causes some pain when playing.
p.s. Edge banding was a great decision, added 2-3g to total weight is acceptable in my opinion.
3) Hardness is almost spot on, speed on bare blade is about def+ but with rubbers glued it feels faster, like my current Defence II (fine for my game-play)
4) Feels soft, speed with glued rubbers is < than defence II.
5) Blade seems quite stiff to me with a tiny flex that helps on pushes, but forces me to concentrate more when flat hitting.
6) Balance is just great
7) Handle looks and feels even better than I imagined How does it play?
Since this is some sort of a combination blade and I play with LP on one side, I will be reviewing sides separately.Backhand (walnut outer):
I've decided to try P1R (red | 1-1,3mm) for the first time and... It feels just great, very easy to play with.
- Lots of spin on chops. Can add strong sidespin too.
- Though it reacts to incoming spin it's still easy to push balls back or to return no spin balls
- Blocking is just crazy. I can choose to return low spiny balls when chop-blocking or floating no spin balls that just stops in the air at the end of table when blocking in a conventional way with some added wrist movement.
- Best part for me is that most of my chops go deep or very deep without too much effort (like good old times when I was playing mat pro and C8). This rubber just feels right on this blade.
p.s. I can tell that this setup has huge potential if I'll decide to invest time in it.Forehand (obeche outer):
this is where things get complicated..
First my idea was to glue spinart onto the blade and just win using spin manipulation. I've tried that and spin amount was huge, but since spinart was totally new and I haven't used it for a couple of months I just totally sucked at attacking. Since I've had league finals coming in 11 days I've decided to postpone further testing of spinart (because I would have to change my strokes for attacking and also play with spinart for at least a few more sessions just to make this rubber alive)
So.. Yesterday I glued my beloved Hexer powersponge onto the blade and..
- Can feel some small catapult (that I'm not a fan of), but in time I could get used to it
- Can produce more spin on the ball than with defence II
- Easier to control pushes, they have heavier underspin.
- Less speed on full-power loops and smashes than with defence II.
- Blocking and control of the ball: everything is great until catapult kicks in. I'm still not used to it.
- Compared to defence II way more balls go long on smashes due to catapult and soft rubber-blade combo. I think everything will be fine once I get used to it.
- Now the best part: funkiness. Yes you heard me right.. I can't say why it's happening but it's happening. While my opponents could judge fly path of the balls from defence II easily, because it was quite linear, they can't do that with RL blade and Hexer PS. Now if I add just a lil bit of wrist movement ball curves really nice. Sometimes it jumps up after a bounce, sometimes it don't. Sometimes it curves or even slows down a bit after bounce and that totally messes up the timing of my opponents. (oh, the ball we used was new, round, even, hard *** ball)
My thoughts: I think this is a really great blade that I might start using as my main blade for the next season if I will get over the "catapult" thingy.. On the more current note I think I should try hexer ps on the harder side and P1R on the softer, that should give me more control on smashes :/