A couple of years ago, the Idaho-based Selkirk Sport announced that they planned to discontinue most of the company’s older-technology-powered paddles and replace them with two top-of-the-line series of professional-grade paddles – the PRIME series and the AMPED series, respectively. The newcomers have been shining bright on the pickleball scene ever since especially in competitive circles thanks to the proprietary FiberFlex technology and state-of-the-art polypropylene cores.
With the AMPED line being the family-run company’s flagship line, the Prime series shares a key element that has made both series stand out: a ‘soft’ unibody design that combines a FiberFlex fiberglass face and a (soon-to-be) patented core for maximum performance.
At first, Selkirk fans were reluctant about the new FiberFlex technology as many of them thought that they would lose power over control and speed. However, they soon noticed that the new paddles offered plenty of ‘feel’ for the ball, helped them easily block hard shots, while the extra softness also added consistency to their dinks and drops like very few professional paddles did. And when their game got more aggressive, the ball just popped off the paddle with unbelievable force. Professional and recreational players alike were sold.
The PRIME Series
Prime is a product line that went live in 2018, featuring models that are improved versions of the company’s existing paddles (like the tremendously popular 20P Epic composite or the 30P Epic graphite paddle – 30P Epic was discontinued last fall and replaced with the AMPED Epic model).
The Prime line features the proprietary FiberFlex technology, large sweet spots, just like AMPED, and a X4 Core (a less thick version of the X5 core). So, what sets the two series apart? Slight improvements in technology and design and the price tag. We recommend PRIME for absolute beginners to advanced users that want a competitive and durable paddle but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a high-end one.
The PRIME Epic is the revamped version of Selkirk’s original Epic product line, which includes the 20P and 30P paddles. It is a very balanced paddle with a nifty touch and competitive power. Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
Also, it has a relatively large sweet spot, a longer handle (5-1/4”), and a classic shape. It is lightweight with a medium circumference grip but can hit hard, with incredible precision and control. The PRIME Epic paddle is perfect for tennis players who are into pickleball but are accustomed with the long handle and wide reach of tennis rackets.
The Prime S2 is the upgraded version of the Pro S1C polymer paddle, one of the brand’s best paddles for spin. Unlike its sibling, the Prime S2 comes with improved surface texture for extra spin on the ball and greater control of dinks and power in shorts. It hits hard and its light weight makes it excellent when playing at the kitchen line. This paddle has the largest face in the series and a slightly shorter handle than the PRIME Epic. Yet, despite its generous surface area, it manages to be medium weight. This paddle is an excellent all-around option for those looking to boost their consistency on the court.
The AMPED Series
Selkirk unveiled the AMPED product line in the fall of 2017 and extended the line with several lighter paddles sporting the X5 core. AMPED paddles are currently some of the most expensive pickleball paddles on the market, but for advanced and professional players constantly looking for quality gear, the investment is well worth it.
AMPED series is using state-of-the-art technology to achieve even greater durability and performance than its predecessors. It comes with an updated core (the X5) that is slightly thicker and less noisy than the earlier generations of poly cores (20P, 30P, etc), aluminum cores (300A, 200A, etc.), and even the X4 core. Also, all the AMPED products sport high-end prints added in-house to the paddle surface.
According to the manufacturer, AMPED has managed to achieve the perfect balance between power and control (every pickleball player’s dream) for an ‘ultimate all-around solution’ thanks to the brand’s patented materials and designs. Intermediate to advanced players have confirmed that the FiberFlex surface offers incredible touch and the new core offers more power. The entire AMPED line is USAPA-approved and certified for quiet green-zone use.
The AMPED Epic comes with a classic paddle shape and a long handle, which makes it ideal for tennis players and playing singles. It is the most versatile pickleball paddle in the series and it looks awesome. The lite model is recommended for both beginners & intermediate players that have no previous experience with the sport.
Thanks to the technologies packed into it (the X5 core and FiberFlex), the Amped Epic is a bit thicker and softer than older EPIC models. It is a great paddle if you’re on the fence about which paddle is right for you.
The AMPED S2 is for those of us looking for consistency as it sports the largest sweet spot and face in the entire AMPED line. It comes with a slightly shorter handle than the AMPED Epic (4.5″ vs. 5.25″). For power players, we recommned the medium weight, but beginners should get the lightweight version to avoid elbow and shoulder issues after long continuous play.
The perfect blend of touch and power, the AMPED S2 will take even professional players by surprise. All in all, it is a solid performer, with superior touch, control, and plenty of power. A truly balanced pro-level, pickleball paddle.
With a generous hitting surface and short handle, the AMPED Omni is ideal for finesse players. The lightweight version offers plenty of speed at the net while being very easy on the joints. It has a short handle but comes with extra reach, making it perfect for playing singles just like Maxima (see below). But unlike Maxima, the Omni has a square-off paddle head instead of a rounded face.
The AMPED Maxima is the longest paddle in the series (17” long, which is the maximum permitted by the USAPA and has the longest reach which makes it a perfect fit for tennis players and single players switching to pickleball. Maxima will offer these two categories of players everything they need: generous reach and long baseline shots. This pickleball paddle also comes with tons of power and spin. But if you like to keep the longer paddle face and would rather use a square shape, we recommend getting the Omni.
The Invikta (‘Invincible’) is the latest addition to the series. For its construction, Selkirk teamed up with national pickleball champion Tyson McGuffin to create a paddle that could offer accuracy, power, and extreme reach without compromising on any of them. The end result? Invikta has the best from all worlds as it incorporates the latest and greatest pickleball technology.
Just like the Omni, the Invikta has an elongated hitting surface and extra reach, but unlike the Omni, it has a longer handle and is mainly power-oriented. A longer handle is great for general drives and smashes. McGuffin, who is known for its unusually fast and powerful serves, has been consistently using this paddle and winning match after match like there’s no tomorrow. This paddle was designed with the power player in mind.
With its extra thickness and patented materials and design, Selkirk’s AMPED line looks like a game-changer in the world of pickleball, However, advanced players that are used to the explosive pop of graphite paddles might need some time to get used to the extra softness of AMPED FiberFlex paddles. These paddles are great for beginners as most of those players usually don’t have any prior experience with other pickleball paddles.
Nevertheless, the added thickness of the AMPED line is there for a reason. You’ll be able to perfectly deflect power shots at the net since the X5 core was designed to easier absorb power from shots. Also, AMPED’s wider surface will enable more experienced players to spin and cancel spins more easily.
The AMPED series is a pro-level product line that will propel your game to a whole new level. As one user put it, after trying AMPED, you’ll realize that the paddle can make a lot of difference, not just the player. Still, if the price looks prohibitive, you can always try the brand’s PRIME line.