Blade: Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive (Cpen) - 94 grams
FH: Yinhe Big Dipper, Black, Max - 39 Deg sponge - 44 grams (cpen cut with 1.5cm gap)
BH: Andro Hexer+ (old rubber), Red, 2.1mm - 38grams (cpen cut with 1.5cm gap)
Total weight - 178grams
Warm up and first impression
My first impression was - huge catapult effect - It didn't feel like a Chinese tacky rubber.
It took me around 5 balls before getting the ball onto the table. First five balls, my first touch made the ball go 1meter off the table (I normally use H3 or TG3 on the forehand).
I had doubts that this is a 39 deg sponge, feels more like 36 deg. Maybe it got to do with the factory tuned sponge.
FH Top spin
After gettting used to the pace of the rubber, I was able to generate powerful top spin forehand shots - having high spin and power behind the ball.
As per my previous review above, there isn't a lot of tack in the top sheet (I will explain further), but with a power shot, I was able to grip deep into the sponge and release the ball with extreme precision and spin. The feeling of this sponge is similar to DHS Provincial and more leaning towards National sponge! I'm sure the pretune effect is making it so great, so I actually want to test one without the tune, so I will need to wait a couple of weeks and remove the layer at the bottom and test again.
Yinhe told me, they will be making "provincial" version of this rubber, I can't wait for that.
During warmup, the arc was huge - because I wasn't able to control the rubber yet.
But once I was able to control the rubber slighty better , I could generate low arc and high arc - depending on my bat angle and contact point (of the ball arc)
This feeling is the same with a boosted H3 commercial or provincial H3, just below national H3.
It is very easy to use (a bit too fast and powerful for my students though)
BH Cpen Traditional block
I didn't try a SH backhand, or Cpen RPB (Didn't have enough time as I was doing all this in a coaching session)
The traditional block (passive) arc was quite high, but with a power added traditional block, the arc can get pretty low and more tricky for the opponent.
Again the same feeling as a boosted H3 commerical or prov and just below nat H3 rubber.
I do believe this rubber can work for RPB or normal shakehand play.
I wasn't used to the big catapult effect, as most of my serves was eating too much into the sponge, thus pushing the ball long.
My spin was not as powerful as my H3, but I have to say, service is the most difficult part of the game to master, so I do believe if I had more time to use this rubber, I am able to control it fully.
At the moment, I can only control it 50% and able to do ghost serves, down the line on the white line and side spin onto the base white line and off the right hand side of the table.
Long serve was very easy to do, but overall my service quality, placement etc was not good.
There is plenty of spin, so I don't have doubt that the rubber is good for service, I just need more time to train myself with it.
Getting the ball on the bounce (short balls), I manage to use only the tack of the topsheet and only using the sponge when required. So this is like 2 gears - soft sponge and hard sponge basically. My placement was great, and few times my opponent only got there after the second bounce (wide fh short). Placement - great, spin - almost great.
I did some underspin feeding to my students. Extreme spinny. I can use only the top sheet tack or also can eat deap into the sponge. If I go deep into the sponge, my students will net the ball with a top spin shot (didn't adjust in my change of action). I did notice that my deep into the sponge feed, to shoot out faster and longer - same as a Tensor rubber
So I think I need to serve with this "2 gear" action - Topsheet with little sponge, or with lots of sponge.
But so far for both chop and service - I do wish for a bit less catapult effect.
I think the sponge is too soft for a rating of 39 Deg. I actually want to try 40 or 41 Dec, or 39 with no tune.
The top sheet is just perfect - not too tacky and feels like a provincial H3 top sheet. It also has great grip due to a pretty elastic top sheet - what makes this nice is that one can use the tack when required (short movement or just contact the top sheet), or go further into the sponge and grip the ball like a Tensor rubber and when doing that, you have a best of both worlds (slight tack + tensor like sponge)
I think this rubber is great for players who want tacky rubber but on a softer sponge, or Tensor like sponge. Or Euro style game, but want a Chinese like forehand or play. Best of both worlds and I didn't even know such rubber exists.
The marketing of this rubber states this is a forehand rubber, but due to the soft feel, I would say, this can work on the backhand too. Also the rubber is not heavy compared to a H3 (50grams vs Big Dipper of 44 grams cpen cut). My rating of the soft feel is medium - medium hard, or around 36deg - same as Tenergy 05 +/-.
Also note, this is designed for the new ball. And I have notice much more spin from a topspin game than that of a regular H3 boosted (all other new poly rubber state more spin....I haven't tested other rubbers yet, so maybe if true, this is a pattern).
For example on the more spin, my student uses a TG3 Neo, and tried out my setup. I was choping with a TSP P4 Curl on a TSP Balsa 3.5 (Def+) and with the TG3 he was netting 50% of the balls. With the Big Dipper, he net less than 20% of the ball. I'm sure he will buy a Big Dipper tomorrow
It is really like a provincial H3. However maybe due to the factory tune, the sponge has a lot softer feeling.
More gears - especially away from the table
One can play more passively - unlike traditional hard sponge which requires more active strokes
More difficult to generate spinny serves