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Selkirk SLK Halo Power and Control Series Review

Selkirk went absolutely nuts in 2022, and it's a good thing they did. They were getting dangerously close to falling behind the industry curve in late 2021, but they sorted that out with a bang.
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Their Vanguard 2.0 series was a massive improvement on the first generation, and their Power Air paddles put them right back at the top of the innovation game. They could have stopped there, with those two fantastic lines complementing each other and pushing the needle in both power and control, but they've decided to do one better and released the SLK Halo line.

This is technically part of their lower-end lineup; SLK paddles are made in Asia rather than in their flagship US factory. That's all good and well, but the Halo series is in no way, shape, or form "low-end." 

Starting with the price, they retail for $189.98, which puts them firmly at the top of "takedown" designs. In fact, they're almost double the price of the $99.98 Franklin X-1000 and Head Extreme Elite 2023. That's your first hint that they're not really a lower-end offering. Your second? They play nothing like those paddles. Don't get me wrong, those are great options, especially at their price, but the SLK Halo series competes with the best of the best in most performance metrics.

Selkirk offers the Halo paddles in two different shapes (XL and Max) and two different thicknesses (Control and Power). They all feature a T700 Raw Carbon fiber hitting surface — Selkirk's first foray into the uber-popular top sheet — and a Rev-Core Polymer core. Let's take a look at how each of these paddles performs.

SLK Halo Power (XL and Max) - $189.98


Let's start with the Halo Power XL. The paddle is 16.4" long with the carbon top sheet sandwiching a 13mm core. As you should expect from a paddle with a thinner profile, it's very powerful; the most powerful in the line. 16.4" is "extended length," so you've got tons of leverage and a super responsive core to make the ball rocket off the paddle-bed. My demo weighed 7.7 ounces, which falls in the middle of their ridiculously wide 7.5-8.0 ounce tolerance range. That's light, especially for an extended paddle, and when you combine the weight with the thin core, the paddle is more maneuverable than most others out there. Of course, the low static weight comes at the expense of some stability and top-end power, but that's to be expected from a sub-8.0-ounce paddle.

The Halo Power Max doesn't pack quite the same punch as its longer brother, but its shorter 16" length gives it even more maneuverability. This is the most maneuverable paddle in the Halo lineup, as you would expect from the thinnest and shortest. It's rapid — one of the quickest paddles out there — and excelled at the net. I reacted instantly to powerful passing shots and adjusted quickly to drop shots throughout the kitchen.


Spin-wise, the Power Max and XL are very similar. As you should expect from raw carbon top sheets, these produce a ton of spin. It's leagues beyond any other paddle at this price range and can even compete with most top-end options in pickleball. Of course, since you get a little more leverage with the XL, you'll get a few more RPMs on your shots, but the difference is almost negligible. Selkirk is changing the game by giving us a top sheet this good on a paddle at this price, and hopefully, it makes other brands follow suit. 


The core on the Halo Power series is the only area where I tell myself, "OK, it lacks a bit compared to the industry-leading paddles," but considering the $190 price tag, it's still one of the best out there. The 13mm Rev-Core Power core was good in terms of touch and feel, but it didn't have that special something like some of its pricier competitors. Looking at top-top-end paddles like the Joola CFS or Selkirk Power Air series, their cores are unique and offer a "wow" factor. They don't feel anything alike but have industry-leading sensations in at least one area. That's not the case with the SLK Power series. Here, the sweet spot is pretty small and not as defined as on other paddles. The ball pocketing was also a tad harsh. Of course, a bit of lead would help cushion the ball into the paddle bed a little more, but you would sacrifice its great maneuverability to get there.


SLK Halo Control - $189.98


The thicker 16mm core is the only thing that separates the Halo Control from the Power. As you should expect from a thicker paddle, there is far more softness and control. The harshness I felt on the Power series is completely gone, and the sweet spot feels more plush and defined than on the thinner paddles. Expect the Halo Control paddles to feel excellent when going for resets and dinks. I loved the Control Max for these types of shots. It's wider than the Control XL, so the sweet spot is more forgiving, and I didn't have to be as on top of my game for touch shots.


The Power paddles feel more powerful because the response off of the paddle bed is so instant. You get the sensation that your ball just rockets off, which it does because it loses less energy during impact. 

But power isn't necessarily just a feeling of pace. It also refers to the depth of a shot at a certain swing speed. Because there's more material on the Control paddles, there's also more mass behind the ball when you hit it. In racket/paddle sports, we refer to this as "swing weight." This extra swing weight helps to push the ball deeper with the Control than you would with the same swing speed with the Power paddles. Think back to grade 11 physics: F = ma. I still won't say these paddles are as powerful as the Halo Powers, but they certainly get close.

Of course, you lose out on maneuverability with the chunkier Control paddles. They won't be as quick at the net and don't slice through the air as efficiently on groundstrokes. 


Spin is fantastic on the Halo Control, even better than on the Power. Because the thicker core makes the ball dwell in the paddle bed a little longer, it also gives it more time to dig into the carbon fiber and benefit from all its gritty texture. Again, the 16.4" XL performs slightly better here due to the extended length, but the 16" Max is also excellent. 


Final thoughts

It's extremely exciting that Selkirk has decided to release a price-point paddle that can compete with the most expensive, even if that price point is close to some top-end paddles. These paddles haven't broken pickleball to a point where there is no reason to go for something more expensive, but they're certainly giving us some food for thought in that regard.

I'm also a huge fan of the simplicity behind the line. If you're looking for control and softness, go for a paddle in the Control line. If you're looking for a powerful response and extra maneuverability, go for one of the paddles in the Power series. Narrowing it down to shape then comes down to personal preference.



You can take a look at the paddles online or come in to try out some demos and get a better feel for which one works with your game.

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