Review of the Hudef Pro Paddles

UPDATE 3

I just received a demo of the Hudef Viva Pro 14MM. As expected, because it is thinner than the 16MM version, it has more power. It is perfect for experienced players who have a great deal of control. I let a person at my club, who has the 16MM version, use it. She is a good 3.5 player, and said that the 16MM was powerful enough for her, and that the 14MM version was a bit too powerful for her game.

UPDATE 2

A solid 3.5 lady at my club, who had been playing with the Diadem Icon, bought the 16 MM Viva Pro and here is what she had to say about it: “I found that my ball goes further without much effort.” That is a testament to the power of the paddle.

UPDATE 1

I had the opportunity to play competitively with the Viva Pro and Apex pro and I have to change my review a bit. The paddles have more power than I thought and I was able to put big spin on my shots, especially my serves. I hit one top spin serve that my opponent was going to let go, thinking it was out, and it dove down and landed about a foot inside the baseline. An easy point. Again, these paddles are about 2/3 the price of similar paddles, and you might want to check them out.

If any Hudef paddle in this review captures your attention, go to https://hudefsport.com and use the code “Greg” at checkout.

ORIGINAL REVIEW

Before I review the Viva Pro and Apex pro, I want to discuss the Hudef company, a leader in innovation in the pickleball paddle business.

If any paddle in this review captures your attention, go to https://hudefsport.com and use the code “Greg” at checkout.

HUDEF 6.8

The Hudef 6.8 is unique in its design, using what the company calls “through-Rod Engineering” to increase power. Read my review and get more technical information here: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-hudef-6-8-paddle/

The 6.8 paddle is only 11 MM thick, making it the thinnest paddle I have ever used, with the exception of one Gearbox paddle. It is a powerful paddle, the most powerful paddle I have. I had shoulder surgery in October of last year and have been sticking to paddles with more control. I took it our yesterday to play doubles and had a hard time adjusting to its power.  If you are very certain of your control abilities, and are looking for a powerful paddle, then the 6.8 might be for you.

The only other “pure power” paddle I have is the 13 MM Master Athletics P2XL. It, too, has a unique technology, and has better control than the 6.8. Read my review of that paddle here:

NEWERA

The NEWERA paddle has an EVA foam core, which makes is ineligible for USAPA approval. If you are not going to play in sanctioned tournaments, and you need a paddle with power, this is another powerful paddle. It’s hard to say how responsive it is, however. I only used it for a day or two because it was very thick (22 mm) and just didn’t feel right when I was using it. Less experienced players who are unaccustomed to pickleball paddles that are 16mm thick or thicker might like it very much. Read my review of that paddle here: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-hudef-newera-paddle/

VIVA PRO AND APEX PRO

I would compare these two paddles to several other control/power paddles I have reviewed, and give links to those review below.

Bread and Butter Filth: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-bread-and-butter-filth-paddle/

Vatic V7: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-vatic-v7/

Vatic Flash: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/vatic-pro-flash-review/

Six Zero Double Black Diamond: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-six-zero-double-black-diamond-14-mm-paddle/

All the above paddles have more power than the Viva Pro and Apex pro, with similar control behavior.

Testing

I ran my standard set of tests.

Dink straight on and cross court

Both paddles performed very well, with me and another player successfully getting more than 200 dinks in a row.

Windshield wiper dinking

Again, the paddles performed quite well. I didn’t keep count of how many times we crossed back and forth, but we had to quit at one point because we were winded.

Volleying

Effortless volleying.

Ground strokes

Great top spin and under spin. I really enjoyed returning serves with underspin using both paddles.

Serves

Great top spin serves and side spins.         

Lob off a dink

One paddle seemed lighter than the other, so I hit a few long lobs before settling in. Both performed well.

Summary

Both paddles performed as you would expect any new Gen 1/Gen 2 paddle to perform, albeit with a little less “pop” than the one mentioned above. So, what makes them different?

Before I answer that, let me give the specs of each paddle.

VIVA Pro

  • Face: T700 raw carbon fiber
  • Thermoformed edges injected with foam
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Weight: 7.8-8.3 OZ (mine was 8.0 ounces)
  • Core Material: Polypropylene Honeycomb
  • Length: 16.50″
  • Width: 7.40″
  • Thickness: 0.55″(14mm)/0.63″(16mm)
  • Grip Length: 5.5″ (great for two-handed backhands)
  • Grip Circumference: 4 1/8″

VIVA Apex

  • Face: T700 raw carbon fiber
  • Shape: Wide body
  • Weight: 7.8-8.3 OZ (mine was 8.0 ounces)
  • Core Material: Polypropylene Honeycomb
  • Length: 16.06″
  • Width: 7.90″
  • Thickness: 0.55″(14mm)/0.63″(16mm) (I tested the 16 mm version)
  • Grip Length: 4.90″
  • Grip Circumference: 4 1/8″(14mm), 4.25″(16mm)

So, you see that the APEX is shorter and wider than the Pro. When I first used the Apex, I thought it was heavier than the Pro, but it turned out that the weights were the same. I think the reason I thought it was heavier was the difference in shape—the center of gravity was different than the Pro.

Of the two, because I use a two-handed backhand, I preferred the Pro, although I thought the Apex was a bit more powerful.

How do these paddles stack up against other paddles I have tested? See below:

Any of the TMPR paddles I tested: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/tmpr-review-summary-and-paddle-information/

GABA Rogue: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-gaba-rogue-paddle/

Holbrook Pro E Mav: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/holbrook-mav-pro-e-review/

Quantum Pro 2.0: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/quantum-pro-2-0-paddle/

A big difference between these paddles and the Pro and Apex is the price. The Pro is $99 and the Apex is $89.

How does Hudef do it?

Both paddles are either Gen 1 or Gen 2 paddles. Gen 1 and Gen 2 are manufacturing technologies, although I think most players think the terms have something to do with carbon faces. Anyway, what does that mean for keeping costs down? Although the company does not use this term specifically, I can tell by reading about their manufacturing processes that they practice “mass customization.”

So, what is mass customization? Mass customization makes use of flexible computer-aided systems to produce custom output. Such systems combine the low unit costs of mass production processes with the flexibility of individual customization.

When I had my own consulting practice, I worked with one of the first companies to practice mass customization. The company, which I cannot name because of an NDA, manufactured parts for automobile companies. My role was to determine, based on available stock, demand, manufacturing and delivery times, when the company had to roll over to a new product.

The company did not have multiple production lines. It had only one. “Rolling over” to a new line meant changing the software used to control the automated manufacturing of products. The company was able to tweak their products based on last minute requests from customers (all companies in the auto supply business now use mass customization for thermoformed products, such as steering wheels).

So, Hudef is announcing two new products at the same time, both thermoformed. This tells me that the company is making these products using computer-aided manufacturing software and, because it can produce multiple products from the same line, it is keeping costs down. If you want to delve into this topic, read up on autoclaves.

Mass customization is the wave of the future for pickleball paddles, which is good news for the consumer.

SUMMARY

Each of these paddles is an excellent choice for the budget-minded player who needs control over power. That’s not to say that a player who can generate a lot of power on their own should not use these paddles. They have sufficient power for most players.

If any paddle in this review captures your attention, go to https://hudefsport.com and use the code “Greg” at checkout.