Note: I have not been compensated by Diadem for this review.
I recently got a demo paddle from Diadem – the Icon.
I wanted to compare it to the two paddles I currently use, the Selkirk AMPED Invikta Paddle – Tyson McGuffin version, and the Gearbox GX5 Green Power Pickleball Paddle. I also have a Gearbox GX5 Red Control Pickleball Paddle, but I feel that I have more control with the Gearbox Power paddle. Go figure. Finally, I have two Head paddles, but I have stopped using them. They simply did not give the performance I expected.
So, here are the tests I conducted.
The Icon was great for dinking. I did not have to provide much in the way of force to get the ball to the place I wanted. Similar for the Gearbox, but I felt I had more control with the Icon and better placement. I had to provide more “oomph” with the Selkirk, and having to provide more power can be counterproductive.
The Icon and Gearbox performed about the same. Once again, though, I had to provide a bit more of a swing for the Selkirk.
Third Shot Drop
This is where the Icon really outperformed the other two paddles. No matter how soft or how hard the feed to me was, I felt that all I had to do was pick a target and the ball landed where I wanted it to. The Gearbox seemed to lack the necessary force to do the same, and the Selkirk simply did not hack it.
When we were in North Carolina, I played with a few 5.0 players. I have always been one who tried to hit lasers to my opponents, but not these guys. Their goal was to hit a relatively low shot that landed deep in the receiving court. Not necessarily hard, mind you, but deep. I cannot get a soft, deep serve with the Selkirk. Maybe it is just the design of the paddle. I can, however, hit lasers with it.
I can also hit lasers with my Gearbox and the Icon but, for the long, softer serve, the Icon was better than the Gearbox. It fits better with the game I am trying to perfect.
I can rally all day with any of the paddles but, and, this may be my imagination, I felt that I was getting the ball deeper with the Icon. Also, my backhand required less effort.
Some people have said that Gearbox paddles give them “pickleball elbow.” I have to agree.
Also, the Icon has a softer feel, but does not give up anything in power.
Finally, my wife, Donna, has switched from her Prince paddle to the Icon, despite that fact that Tyson McGuffin autographed her Prince paddle. She will never get rid of it, mind you.
So, I have place two orders for the Icon, one for me and one for Donna.
Here is a link to the paddles: https://www.diadempickleball.com/