Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Review

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Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Review

The Vanguard Power Air series pickleball paddle is the official release of the Selkirk Labs Project 002. Selkirk labs strive to take all R&D feedback to add that into official releases at a (slightly) lower price.

The Vanguard Power Air has a unique design with a massive hole above the handle in the grip. Furthermore, it’s an edgeless pickleball paddle. Selkrik has been marketing the Vanguard series for power and spin, which I dive into in this review.

But is it right for you?

I personally tested, played, and drilled with the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air to see if that paddle is worth the hype (and the price).

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Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Paddle Specs

Vanguard Invikta

Vanguard Invikta

Power 9.5

Control/Feel 7.5

Spin 8.5

  • Face Material: Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber
  • Weight Range: 7.7oz – 8.1oz
  • Core: Polymer
  • Grip Length: 5 1/4″
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Length: 16 1/2″
  • Width: 7 3/8″

Vanguard Epic

Vanguard Epic

Power/Pop 9.0

Control/Feel 8.5

Spin 9

  • Face Material: Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber
  • Weight Range: 7.7oz – 8.1oz
  • Core: Polymer
  • Grip Length: 5 1/4″
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Length: 15 1/4″
  • Width: 8″

Power Air S2

Power Air S2

Power/pop 8.5

Control/Feel 8

Spin 9

  • Face Material: Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber Blend
  • Weight Range: 7.7oz – 8.1oz
  • Core: Polymer
  • Grip Length: 4 3/8″
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Length: 15 3/4″
  • Width: 8″

My Personal Thoughts

The Selkirk Power Air excels at power (I know who would ever have guessed that?) and quickness at the net.  The Power Air felts so light in my hands and I was speeding up everything looking for the next fire fight.  The spin is great and I loved ripping drives and serves with this paddle. The control is ok but the sweetspot is small.  Off center shots are loud and drop in power quickly.  This paddle is for an aggressive player that has a need for speed. 

Selkirk Power Air Pickleball Paddle Review

Spin

The Vanguard Power Air kept the same fiberglass, carbon fiber face as The project 002, which creates a boatload of spin. In my experience, this was one of the easiest pickeball paddles I’ve used to generate spin on all shots, from top spin drives and overheads to dinks and resets with backspin.

My style of play does not usually require a lot of spin, but there was certainly an advantage in getting my drives to drop a little quicker and my dinks drop shots to land a little softer.

The serving was the most fun with the Vanguard Power Air. This paddle has so much pop, and when paired with the ability to generate spin, I was much more confident and risky with my serves which led to more points.

Power And Control

This paddle was shockingly powerful across all models. The 13mm crore and the fiberglass carbon fiber hybrid face have so much pop off the face and feel very solid without sacrificing control.

The invikta model was the easiest to generate power with since it has a slightly longer and thinner face, but across the board all models excelled in power.

The one thing I did notice is that the Invikta did not feel quite as springy as the Selkirk Labs Project 002, but the sweet spot did feel slightly larger so that could have been some feedback that Selkirk implemented.

As far as control goes the Selkirk Power Air was surprisingly easy to control. The seemingly larger sweetspot and no edge guard made this paddle very forgiving. If you hit it off the edge it doesn’t feel great but you can get away with keeping it in play.

Since the Epic and S2 have a slightly larger hitting surface, you’ll feel more forgiveness and stability with those models, especially during hands battles, but the Invikta still shocked me.

I’ve been using the Selkirk 2.0 Vanguard Invikta and didn’t find it all that stable or maneuverable, so the stability of the Power Air was pleasantly surprising.

Feel

If you’re looking for a very soft pickleball paddle, the Selkirk Power Air is not for you. Althought it wasn’t rock hard, it’s not as soft as some of the T700 Raw Carbon Fiber Paddles on the market today.

The Power Air did take some getting used to for dinks, drops and resets, but once I played of a couple games I didn’t have any trouble executing soft shots.

The feel felt a little firm, but the performance and playability was still pretty good especially or a paddle oriented to power.

Durability

This was one of the biggest drawbacks for me. The Paddle looks so pretty in my opinion, but the white paint over a black, edgeless face makes it very easy to ding up which is especially painful considering the price of this paddle.

I recommend adding some electrical tape around the edge. It won’t affect the play or weight, but it’ll protect the edges of the Power Air to avoid any major scratches or dings.

Other than that, the paddle holds its performance. After a couple of months of use, the power, spin, and face texture still perform the same, unlike the Hyperion, which lost it’s face texture after a couple of months.

Benefits and Drawback of the Selkirk Power Air 

The biggest benefits of the Power Air are the power, spin, and maneuverability at the net.  This is a bangers dream paddle.  The biggest drawback to the Power Air is the small sweet spot which leads to bad shots when you don’t hit it right.  It is also hard to reset with the paddle as it takes time to get used to how fast the ball comes off the Power Air. 

Selkirk Power Air Invikta Vs. Selkirk Labs Project 002 Paddle

Selkirk Power Air
  • Weight: 7.7-8.1oz
  • Length: 15 ¼”
  • Paddle Width: 8”
  • Grip Length: 5 ¼”
  • Tickness: 13mm
  • Face: Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber Blend
Selkirk Labs Project 002
  • Weight: 8oz
  • Length: 16.5”
  • Paddle Width: 7.375”
  • Grip Length: 5 ¼”
  • Tickness: 13mm
  • Face: Hybrid carbon fiber and fiberglass

The main difference between Power air and Project 002 is the power. Project 002 had a noticeably smaller sweet spot, and because of that, it had a lot more pop.

Power is fun, but when you’re sacrificing control, it can be an issue. Project 002 was a nightmare for me to control. My dinks and resets were so unpredictable. If I hit it in the center, my dinks would go too high; if I hit a drop off the edge, the ball went nowhere.

The Selkirk Power Air Invikta is a much more well-rounded paddle where nothing is sacrificed. I get control, spin, and power all in one. The face is much more forgiving and predictable.

Who Should Use The Vanguard Power Air?

People who like to play pickleball fast should use the Vanguard Power Air.  If your game consists of a lot of drives, speedups, hand battles and poaching then the Power Air is for you.  You can still hit good drops because of the great spin but you should be looking to play aggressive with this paddle.   

Final Thoughts

I’ll admit I was kind of turned off by the high price point, but after testing the Power Air, I understand the price. You truly are getting what you paid for. It’s a very well-rounded pickleball paddle for all types of players.

It may take some getting used to, but once you dial it in, it’s a great and durable (after adding electrical tape to the edges) pickleball paddle.

It performs similarly to the $220 Joola Hyperion, but the face texture will hold a lot longer.

Written by:

Jacob Hoisington

Jacob discovered pickleball when he one day was biking past local courts and started a conversation with some players. He asked what they were playing and got invited to a beginner’s night where he got hooked on the game. As a long-time doubles’ tennis player, pickleball was a natural fit for Jacob. His first love of the game was trying different paddles as there were so many and ever since he has become obsessed with trying every paddle, he can get his hands on. Jacob appreciates that pickleball is accessible to anyone while still offering competition.

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