It had been a while since the store had received one of Head’s signature “blacked out” new lines. The most recent one from the Austrian giant had come in the shape of a tear drop, 100-square-inch players’ frame that later became the ever popular “Gravity” line. The Gravity took the tennis world by storm combining a forgiving, large sweet spot, with a comfortable, controlled response.
Two months ago, our beloved head rep bestowed us with a new blacked out frame, and we could instantly tell it would be an amazing racket. Right of the bat, the racket looked different, combining an almost Yonex-esque squared off head, with a more controlled looking throat section. The beam was fairly thick at around 25 millimeters, but the flex was remarkably soft.
Instantly, this new racket, with its gorgeous Bianchi celeste writing “You Got this” on the side, reminded me of two rackets.
The first, and more obvious, must be the Clash line from Wilson.
The tennis industry is clearly going down a new road with the tweener style of rackets introduced in today’s market. As we all already know, the Clash really broke the mould for tweener frames. Once stiff, powerful, and sometimes uncomfortable rackets (i.e. the Pure Drive), thick beamed, forgiving, “power” tweeners seem to be going down a different road these days. A flurry of 100 square inch, soft flex frames have come out in various different shapes and styles.
The “Boom”, as it seems this line will be called, does just that. It is a powerful racket, with a high launch angle and a forgiving sweet spot. The 16/19 string pattern as well as its elongated head shape make this racket a weapon from the baseline on both backhand and forehand wings. Unlike the Clash, the Boom has a more pure graphite feel. The Clash’s FreeFlex technology can make it feel as though the graphite “bottoms out”, and hard hitters can lose their feel in the string bed. There does not seem to be this issue with the Boom.
The second, and far less obvious racket the Boom recalls, is the old line of gold Head Instincts.
Before turning itself into a stiff, powerful, Pure Drive style of racket, the Instinct line fused both power and control. The head size was always bigger than the company’s traditional players’ frames, however, the gold Instincts had a soft flex, tighter string pattern, and a distinctive square shape that the Boom seems to have adopted. Having extensively used an Flexpoint Instincts, it offers the same forgiving feel of more traditional tweeners, but maintains control and precision from the soft flex and precise ball pocketing.
Old Instincts remained evergreen in the world of tennis with both Richard Gasquet and Ivo Karlovic remaining loyal to their frames deep into their careers. The similarities between the Boom and the gold Instincts shows a clear pattern from the Head brand in taking on successful designs of years past, and modernizing them into current rackets. (Head also did this when they introduced the Gravity line, clearly modelling it after their very successful first Speed rackets). It is, however, important to emphasize that this racket is not simply a paintjob with the old Instinct underneath. Head have modernized the line in doing away with the tight 18/19 string pattern in favour of a more relevant 16/19, and while the shape is similar, it is not identical.
It also seems as though each type of player will enjoy different versions of the Boom.
While we were given a light, thick beamed, 100 square in version of the frame (the Boom Team), there will also be a “Pro” variation with a 98 square inch head size and a thinner profile. This version will certainly appeal to the bigger hitters out there who may not need help with depth, but still want a fairly powerful, soft and very spin friendly players’ frame. The Boom MP will represent the middle of the line. With an average weight and slightly thinner beam that the Team, it will likely appeal to the widest player base. Finally, there will also be a Boom Team L. With the L standing for light, and coming in at 15 grams lower than the Boom Team, this racket will require the least amount of effort to swing and will be best for players with a short, compact stroke, who want easy depth on the court, without sacrificing comfort or feel.
Only time will tell how popular the Head Boom is. While it may not take over from the Clash as the most sold racket in this category, it will certainly give that racket a run for its money. The Boom is a phenomenal frame, and will explode the racket scene when it releases in early 2022.