When I first started playing Pickleball, I decided to buy the ProKennex Ovation Flight paddle without first demoing it. On paper, it was exactly what I was looking for: fast at the net, spin generating, and easy on the elbow. Coming from the tennis world, I was familiar with the ProKennex brand and thought it would be a good beginner paddle. For the most part it was a great paddle – but my main gripe with it was that I found it difficult to “reset.” My friends would whack their drives hard at me, and my paddle could not absorb and handle the return volley.
ProKennex Black Ace Pro vs Pro Flight Pickleball Paddles
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ProKennex significantly improved on the previous Ovation Flight series with a couple key features: better spin and “resettability”. The increase in spin is palpable and is due to their use of Toray 700 carbon fiber on the face of the paddles. I am now able to reset and volley back hard hits coming at me while at the net. I could not before when using the Ovation Flight series. One difference to note on the Kinetic Pro Flight is that it has a “diamond frost” face which translates to a smoother feel than the more textured raw carbon face of the Black Ace Pro.
Here are the reasons to go with either ProKennex model.
The handle itself feels really nice. It’s probably the best feeling handle of all of the paddles I’ve played with. It has a nice spongy feel with a little give in it. It is also tacky so it does not slip out of my grip easily. Unfortunately, it’s not for you if you have a two handed backhand.
If you have tennis elbow or your elbow gets sore after a few hours of Pickleball, you should definitely give this paddle a try. The hits feel and sound satisfying and do to their use of tungsten beads in the paddle which also serves to dissipate the energy away from your arm while also adding weight to it to provide a bit more pop.
Aerodynamic at the Net
If you are reacting slow at the net during hands battles and feel that the paddle is slowing you down, you should consider the ProKennex brand. The thin, edgeless, and aerodynamic design makes it really easy to switch from forehand to backhand and back to forehand while battling at the net – likely faster than any 16mm paddle that I have played with.
While both the Black Ace Pro and the Kinetic Pro Flight are significant upgrades to the previous ProKennex generation of paddles, if you are trying to choose between the two, my advice is to go with the Black Ace Pro. In addition to the raw carbon fiber face (vs the diamond frost), the other major differentiator between the two is that the tungsten beads go all the way into the handle giving you more vibration damping than the Pro Flight. Also… the black color design just looks cooler to me!