Ted from NC asks: “having only played a few games, I don’t know how graphite and fiberglass paddles differ. I’ve tried both and don’t see that one is any more effective than the other.”
ANSWER: A traditional paddle is made up with both a face (skin) layer and a core (the guts). Each paddle can be made up of a variety of material combinations—each offering a different feel and weight. Because of the numerous combinations of materials and blends a graphite face paddle with an aluminum core (Pickle-ball Inc’s, Attack paddle) feels different then a graphite face with paper core (Vortex, Elite Graphite or Champion), but both paddles are called graphite. Interesting stuff …
Face materials are generally either graphite or fiberglass; whereas, the core’s material can include paper, aluminum or wood. The fiberglass face can be stronger and more durable, but is lighter than graphite. Pickle-ball Inc’s fiberglass face paddles are the Legacy (currently my favorite) and the Champion Aluminum. Another layer to factor into the feel of the ball could be if the face is painted or not. My guess is the paint layers are so thin one could not feel a difference – but you never know… So with two different face options and three different core options there becomes numerous combinations of paddle feel and weight to choose from.
There are other non-traditional paddles out there, and I have seen some with vinyl and aluminum faces and other unknown (top secret) materials.
I hope my explanation of paddle materials helps you Ted, because one fiberglass paddle vs. another fiberglass WILL feel and play different depending on the face, core, and weight.