After having read almost every conversation in these forums on grippy and non-grippy short pips, I thought I would add the following comments which may benefit those in my 75-80 (or less) age group....
Actually, I think your observations are good for the younger age brackets as well. Over the last five years or so I have been shifting from an all forehand, power looper approach with Japanese/Korean penhold to a quicker short pips game based on blocking and hitting. Short pips are definitely a godsend for this style and my control has improved, though I also tend to be "streaky' in my play, maybe due to the lower margin for error of the pips.
Some area of confusion still remains in watching the McAfee videos. McAfee is a top ranked senior and I am constantly amazed at the difficulty his US2100+ opponents seem to have with his smooth, seemingly lazy strokes....
I find that my less spinny pips sometimes give my more experienced opponents greater trouble as they are used to heavier spin. With basement players, they actually have less trouble, just like a dead ball serve is almost useless.
Whatever, I am still in the learning process by studying his videos, tempted to follow in his grippy sp + ALL combo blade, but perplexed by the fact that my experience prefers the non-grippy sp + hard OFF blade approach. Hope this helps the veterans out there.
I also prefer a faster blade, though I have gone to thinner sponge. 1.5 seems plenty and even 1.2 sponge as with my Armstrong pips seems to work fine as the blade provides the speed on hard hits and the thinner sponge allows better control on blocks and over the table. If you want to try something grippier but still very fast, the new Friendship Legend 105 seems a souped up version of 799. I'm using it on an all wood Off blade, works quite well.