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  1. Manto76 is offline
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    Manto76 is offline
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    Review: Vodak Hinoki Carbon Off

    VODAK Hinoki Carbon OFF

    VODAK Hinoki Carbon OFF

    Available at: (The website is in Czech but if you open it using Google Chrome it will automatically translate the site for you.)

    Composition: American Hinoki - Am. Hinoki - Carbon - Ayous - Carbon - Am. Hinoki - Am. Hinoki

    Dimensions: 157mm x 152mm
    6.1mm thick
    105mm handle (by request)

    Construction: I know I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record as I’ve said the same thing about the other Vodak blades I’ve reviewed, but these blades really do surpass the quality of mainstream commercial offerings. As I’ve said before: Excellence is obvious when you see it and this is it.

    Tested with: Stiga DNA Pro H (max.) FH, Stiga DNA Pro M (max.) BH

    First impressions: The Vodak Hinoki Carbon OFF feels immediately, and significantly, different to the two Vodak blades I’ve previously reviewed. First, the balance is ever so slightly towards the head, whereas the other two had a lower balance point. Second, it has a softer contact. This is because the two outermost plies are American Hinoki whereas the other two I’ve tested had Koto and Limba outer plies respectively. Although this blade provides a fairly soft contact it is nevertheless stiff and very solid. It feels like playing with a velvet-coated hammer!

    Comparison: It’s difficult to compare this blade to anything else I’ve tested as I’ve not used any other blade with double Hinoki outer plies. I’ve tested the Gewo Aruna Hinoki Carbon OFF which has a Hinoki outer but only one, followed by Koto and it isn’t even remotely similar. The Gewo Aruna hinoki has some flex and a light, crisp contact; the Vodak Hinoki Carbon OFF is solid, stiff and powerful yet with a soft contact.

    Speed: This is a powerful blade. Faster than the Gewo Aruna Hinoki Off and a touch faster than the Xiom Stradivarius (the old one) but with a more ‘solid’ feel. You certainly can play it at moderate speeds the double Hinoki outer is actually very nice for low-to-moderate impact shots but when you engage the carbon it hits like a hammer.

    Arc / trajectory: Medium-low on moderate power shots, and low and direct on hard ones. For the first little while I found I was either hitting too softly (which is not my natural style) or overshooting the end of the table. I struggled to find that ‘comfort zone’ where the shots just flowed easily. After a little while, though, I realised I just needed to take one step further back from the table (so, to about 80-90cm behind the table) and swing naturally from that position and then the fun started! The long, low trajectory makes it great fun to loop hard into the corners and those shots are just never coming back!

    General play: I won’t offer a shot-by-shot breakdown of the blade’s playing character, I’d rather just say that it took a bit of adjustment but once I was used to it I had no trouble at all playing any shots I wanted to with good control. Overall I’d say the blade is best suited to OFF players who like to play from about 80-90cm behind the table. It would also work well for those who like a soft contact but still want the solidity and power that’s available when you really hammer the shot.

    Highlight: Having said I won’t comment on every shot, I do want to highlight two favourite shots with this blade: backhand power-loops and forehand punch-blocks. The combination of ‘bite’ that the soft contact provides with the hard carbon near the core just feels amazing when you rip those Kreanga-style backhands across the table! I absolutely loved drilling that shot with this setup, and I found it easy to vary the placement from down-the-line to cross-court and likewise easy to vary between a moderate power version of the shot and outright blasting of it. Great fun! Re blocking: the soft American Hinoki with the hard carbon support results in fantastic blocking control. On passive blocks it seems to absorb the impact well, but aggressive punch-blocks are where it shines.

    Overall: Yet another top-class blade from Vodak. If you’re looking for a stiff and very solid blade that has a soft contact then this might be the one. In fact, I’m not sure there’s anything else that offers that combo.

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  2. yogi_bear is offline
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    Master TTD Member 2,801 5,890
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    yogi_bear is offline
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    Master TTD Member 5,890 2,801
    Vodak Hinoki Carbon Off+ 90-gram, 6mm thickness blade was tested with several rubbers – Xiom Omega 5 Asia & Tour, DHS Hurricane 3-37, 8-80, 8-37 rubbers. The market is flooded with Hinoki-Carbon blades for several decades now. In the 80’s and 90’s up to the early 2000’s, Hinoki -Carbon blades are a quite a trend. The construction of those blades has a similar principle – Hinoki as top ply followed by a carbon layer in which Butterfly is famous for its TAMCA material or Tamasu Carbon. I remember these were the years the ball was at 38mm up until Oct 2000 and when using these heavy hitting blades, it was way a lot faster and less controllable than the ones we have today. If you compare the blades of today to the blades we have decades ago, the stiffness is quite more profound. The changes in ball size and material plus also the development of better and faster rubbers (with better surface grip for non-Chinese ones), changed the approach on playstyles and racket equipment combinations. Nowadays with the newer balls, the latest rubbers are already very fast and trending towards having very hard sponges. Going back to Hinoki-Carbon blades of today, I would see a lot of Hinoki-carbon blades that are bordering only on an Off+ blade and not as a true Off+.The Vodak Hinoki Carbon does not feel like the old Butterfly Carbon blades. The TAMCA layers are too stiff which also reduces the feel of the blade. The Vodak Hinoki Carbon blade has the stiffness of the known carbon blades but the good feel is there. It is not as fast as the mentioned blades but the borderline off to off+ speed is good enough considering that we can just attach modern fast ESN rubbers to this blade. Speed is not everything in a racket but control and feel are. Honestly, the closest feel I had with the Vodak Hinoki Carbon is that of the Andro Ligna Off because it has this metallic feel when the ball hits the blade. It does not feel very stiff but rather medium stiff. I cannot say it is stiffer than Viscaria. The speed is very good in which it is not too hard to control and there is accuracy on your strong shots like loop drives or even just pure looping shots. There is a fairly enough amount of flex that you can loop underspin easily. The Gewo Aruna felt stiffer than the Vodak Hinoki Carbon but it was not hard to loop with. The Vodak Hinoki Carbon therefore is easier to loop.I felt the Vodak Hinoki Carbon is more suited to power shots that rely less on spin and more on hitting. If you hit more through the sponge and brush a little bit, the Vodak Hinoki Carbon is good at this kind of shots. Suffice to say that far distance from the table, the blade will sustain the needed amount of power at that distance. Looping is really good but I felt it offers much more potential for counter looping away from the table instead of just spinny looping. AT most, I suggest this for players at mid-distance and far distance from the table. The type of rubber still affects the distance you play but generally with ESN rubbers, I personally think this is the best distance for the Vodak Hinoki Carbon blade.Overall, an excellent quality blade with performances comparable to mainstream blades but with a much lower price.

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