OVERVIEW (August 2, 2023)
If, after reading this review, you want to purchase a paddle at a discount, go to this website: https://vaticpro.com?sca_ref=3361890.s4CsK5dJII
I finally got my Alchemy paddle and, as usual, Vatic delivered a great product. Regarding feel and power, it is at least the same as the Flash (14 MM), if not a bit better in each department. The measurement of feel and power is, on my part, purely subjective, and I found no negatives in the paddle and a great deal of positives.
The major difference, in my opinion, is the “smile” on the face of the paddle. This is another area in which Vatic has set a new standard. It has an edge guard in the smile. See the image below.
Compare that to two other paddles with smiles in the face.
They do not have edge guards in the smile.
Does this make a difference? I don’t know. I am not convinced that these smiles make the paddles more aerodynamic, not, at least, to make a difference in swinging. I do know this, however—I play with my index finger on the back of the paddle, and the paddles with holes in them facilitate that kind of grip. I can actually hook the tip of my finger in the smile. Having an edge guard makes the hole smoother and there is less friction om my finger. That is a big plus.
That edge guard is supposedly removable, but I am not going to mess with it.
Here is what Vatic has to say about the paddle (with my comments in parenthesis):
- Surface – Raw TORAY T700 Carbon Fiber with heat compressed texturing
- Aerodynamic hole
- Foam Inject Walls for an increased sweet spot and added control (as well as less vibration)
- Thermoformed edges and a Unibody Construction
- Throat hole has a modular clip-on guard that can be removed to reduce weight (like I said, I’m not going to mess with that)
- Average Weight – 13.5mm: 8.3-8.5 oz [8.0-8.3 without guard] (I got 13.5 MM and it weighed 8.3 ounces, just about perfect for me)
- Average Weight – 16mm: 8.5-8.7 oz [8.2-8.4 without guard]
- Total Length – 16.5 Inches
- Width – 7.5 Inches
- Grip Circumference – 4.25 Inches
- Grip Length – 5.5 Inches (elongated for 2-hand backhands)
- Grip has 2 polyurethane inserts to absorb shock and help with tennis elbow (big plus! I’ll get into that in a bit)
- Core – Optimized C7 Polymers and high-grade performance Honeycomb
- Core Thickness – 13.5 & 16mm (I got the 13.55 MM – I prefer thinner paddles)
- Edge Guard: Anti-Abrasion TPU (Nice!)
This paddle is soft and quiet, and is excellent for dinking. The handle, with its polyurethane inserts, seems to make the paddle feel lighter than it is. Again, this is subjective on my part, but that is the sensation I got.
This is a powerful paddle, yet not crazy powerful (I have some extremely powerful paddles that are not so great on control).
Because of its light weight, I can take a pretty good two-handed volley stroke with the Alchemy. I am also slowly getting back to my one-handed backhand (after shoulder surgery) and used this paddle quite a bit with no issues. I attribute that to the foam edging and handle inserts.
Two-handed ground strokes
The longer handle makes it perfect for anyone with a two-handed backhand (and a two-handed backhand dink, which is what I use now).
I was able to put BIG topspin on my serves, as well as hard/soft sidespin. Soft sidespin serves kicked away from my opponents.
The Alchemy costs about $40 more than the Flash. Is it worth it? Well, if you want soft feel, a heavier paddle that does not seem heavy, a paddle with a “smile”, and a paddle with at least the same performance as the Flash (again, subjective on my part) then yes, absolutely.
It is, by the way, a LOT less expensive than other paddles with the same specs/performance.
For my review of the Vatic Flash, follow this link: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/vatic-pro-flash-review/
For my review of the Vatic V7, follow this link: https://theadventurousboomer.blog/review-of-the-vatic-v7/