Joola generated the most anticipation in the history of pickleball with its latest paddle launch. The newest additions to the lineup are the Perseus (comes in 14mm and 16mm) and the Scorpeus (comes in 14m and 16mm).
The Perseus is their elongated shape (represented by Ben Johns) and the Scorpeus is their standard shape (represented by pros Anna Bright and Collin Johns).
So how did this paddle generate so much hype? With thermoformed paddles taking over the scene it seemed like Joola had been left in the dust at least with the amateurs.
I was seeing most people swap their Joolas for a Legacy, a Vatic, a SixZero or a CRBN. Even Joola reps I know were using non-Joola paddles. But Ben Johns kept Joola on the radar by dominating with the Perseus while it was in its beta form.
Then we had an incident where Lea Jansen was using a Perseus and was beating Anna Leigh Waters during a match. ALW’s mom said the paddle got 3x spin and 2x power as a regular paddle in a mid-match interview.
This happened during a very popular singles match and gained a lot of traction around the pickle sphere.
Let’s dig into what’s new before we find out if the hype was worth the wait as I dive into the Ben Johns Perseus 16mm.
The Perseus brings charged carbon surface technology (Joola’s carbon fiber surface), hyperfoam edge wall, fully encased carbon paddle (thermoformed), feel-tec pure grip (I do like it), and a reactive polymer core.
Joola Perseus CFS 16 Review
The first thing you must consider with the power of this paddle is it does range 7.8oz-8.2z which is on the lower end of weight for paddles and on the lower end of thermoformed paddles if you get one on the lower end of the range.
The power is good, and it has more power than Gen1 Carbon Fiber paddles. The Perseus 16mm does not have the power that other 16mm thermoformed paddles have especially compared to the Legacy Pro and the SixZero Double Black Diamond 16mm.
Adding lead tape helps increase the power and the stability but might be a problem if you want this paddle for the lower weight.
Another area that I found frustrating was the lack of power the farther away from the sweet spot I got. Even the Hyperion felt better than the Perseus when hitting off-center shots.
Overall if you want a power paddle this isn’t it, but it does have good enough power if you like the other attributes of the paddle.
The spin of the Perseus is great and reliable. I was able to consistently hit deep topspin serves and keep my drives in. The maneuverability of the paddle is excellent which let me hit rolls with ease.
The 5.5 inch handle let me whip my two-handed backhand from anywhere on the court. Now the question some of you will ask is the spin better than the top-tier thermoformed paddles?
Well, it is close, but it is just a bit below. The charged carbon surface technology Joola uses is different from the surfaces used by the other companies, and it might be holding it back just enough not to compete at the top in terms of spin.
With that said, it is mainly noticeable when you are trying to max out your power and spin on drives and serves. I didn’t feel anything was lacking on dinks, rolls, and speedups.
The Perseus is on the softer side of thermoformed paddles, and it shows when it comes to feel and control. Transition resets felt good with the Perseus and blocks were great as well.
The one issue is with high-speed balls is if you get too far off the sweet spot then the ball reacts a lot differently. The sweet spot is a bit smaller than the Hyperion’s and it can be remedied a little with lead tape.
Placing drops and drives was no problem. Hitting your target zones with this paddle is a breeze.
Dinks and speedups are the strong points for this paddle because it is extremely maneuverable at the net. If you value your hand speed and dinking then I would try this paddle out.
Joola said their new Charged Carbon Surface Technology will make the grit last longer than the Hyperion’s and I haven’t heard much about it yet. I haven’t noticed any drop in the spin from the paddle, but it took about a month of heavy use on the Hyperion to see the dip.
The real issue Joola had was the handle breaking and that issue has been resolved with the new construction. I haven’t heard of any Perseuses breaking so everyone can buy this with a peaceful mind knowing they won’t have to send it back in every month to get a new one.
I also haven’t had any issues with the edge guard coming loose.
Joola Perseus Pros/Cons
One of the biggest pros of this paddle is how fast it feels in your hands. Hands battles with this paddle was my favorite part of using it.
Price must be considered a con if that is a factor for you because at $250 it is at the top of the range of paddle pricing (if you don’t count Selkirk’s jaw-dropping $333 labs paddles).
If you really enjoy using the Hyperion but were frustrated by the handle snapping, then the Perseus could be the paddle for you. The one advantage the Hyperion has over the Perseus is it is softer, but the Perseus has more spin and power. The build quality seems to be excellent, and I haven’t heard of a delamination issue with the Perseus. With all the delamination issues other thermoformed paddles have had this a good highlight for the Perseus.
Let’s get to the most important question. Should you buy the Ben Johns Perseus CFS 16 (say that 10 times fast)? If you want one of the highest build quality thermoformed paddles on the market and don’t mind spending at the top of the price range I think this paddle will be a fit for you. If you are ok with sacrificing the highest-end spin and don’t mind adding lead tape to help out with the power and smaller sweet spot then you will enjoy this paddle. If hand speed at the NVZ is your top priority then you definitely can put this paddle on your list.