JOOLA JOOLA Zhou Qihao Hyper ARY-c 90

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I switched to the Zhou Qihao Hyper ARY-c 90 about a year ago. I have commonly used softer outer layer blades with more touch like hinoki outer plies. Previous blades I was using were the Aruna (discontinued), Rossi Emotion, Santoru KL-c Inner etc. These are all hinoki outer plies and the earlier two were much softer blades. So this was a big change up for me, moving to a Koto outer blade which is much stiffer.

Quick disclaimer - I actually work for JOOLA, BUT I am going to give my best honest and well rounded review of this blade based on my experience using it.

This blade gets a fairly reasonable amount of speed on the ball, it is in my opinion better paired with a firmer rubber on the more dominant side, so I have actually ended up just scaling towards firmer rubbers over time. I used AGR (50 deg) for quite a while and have now upgraded to the 52.5 degree Dynaryz ZGX. I'm finding the combining this stiffer blade with a hybrid rubber works fairly well and I can get a really nice clean bite in my contact and good power. I think in terms of generating your own power into the ball the blade is great. The flip side of this is that there is not much vibration in the blade so it requires a decent technical precision and a fairly accurate contact in order to make a good standard of stroke. Overall I'd say it's a little faster than something like a Viscaria blade, you can get out more power when you put more energy in but it's fairly mid-range overall.

Ball Feedback:
The feedback feeling on the ball contact is very clean, it has a basically crystal clear ball feedback. This is one of the absolute strengths of this blade I feel. There is almost no vibration through the blade. Very different than I was used to but I have become quite fond of it.

Spin and Control:
I think the blade offers a great level of spin and control, again without much vibration and springy it can be easier to control an incoming ball if you have the right rubber combination. Sometimes the ball doesn't sink in as much because the blade is quite stiff, so there need to be some angle adjustments here when controlling incoming spin and speed. The opening ball can have a solid level of rotation but can be a little slow, unless you implement more of a snap through the stroke. Again with this blade it has a high potential so you really get out what you put in, and the ceiling limit is quite high for this in both speed and spin terms.

I found the adjustments a little challenging initially because I was going from softer springier blades to one that is stiffer - especially on the outer layer.

What I can say about this blade is that in my opinion it is JOOLA's best quality blade yet. It is a blade that was created over a year of collaboration with Zhou Qihao, and one that has seen his results really elevate - so we know that this blade is suitable for high level players. For reference point, ZQH was still using butterfly blade while we were in the process of developing this, and his results on the international stage really weren't that strong during that time. We have seen him play some amazing table tennis since and seeing what he can do with this blade is really amazing, and a testament to the production quality as JOOLA's blades continue to improve.

I plan to continue using this blade and it has really grown on me and become a favourite, the stiffness in the blade presents the perfect opportunity for me to control the pace of my own game and choose when to unlock more speed and power. It is very much a blade that offers a strong power output and is very clean. Great for players who are looking for precision for their shots.