Easily one of the most highly anticipated pickleball paddle releases in 2023, the Joola Perseus – Ben Johns’ signature paddle — released last month in not only a 16mm option but a thinner 14mm option for those looking for a bit more power.
With releases such as this, I would generally go for the thicker-core 16mm option of the same paddle, but I wanted to explore the possibilities of the thinner 14mm this time around and share my experience. We follow up the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air review with the Ben Johns Joola Perseus 14mm pickleball paddle.
The thermoformed, unibody construction that generally adds a bit of pop to paddles is enhanced in power by the 14mm core thickness which returns more energy than its 16mm counterpart. Minimal effort is required for deep serves and the Joola Perseus easily pushes through the ball on groundstrokes.
The Joola Perseus 14mm packs enough power that even at a stock static weight of 7.8 ounces I felt better using it than adding any extra weight. Even weighted (8.4oz) at the bottom corners where it would have less influence on power, the lead tape had to come off after a while. The Perseus 14mm felt perfectly stable and relatively controllable at the stock weight.
Spin generation from the Joola Perseus and its Carbon Friction Surface could easily be a pro or con, depending on the user. I decided to place it as a pro because, to the naked eye, the Joola Perseus seems to generate a slightly above-average amount of spin. Even the 1700+ RPM numbers coming from other reviewers tell me spin is a little more above average than I thought. However, I do understand that for a highly anticipated paddle retailing at $250, some players would expect more than just above average.
While on the spin, I do want to note I too found inconsistencies with the grit of the Perseus on its face. For mine, it was noticeably grittier as it headed down towards the throat of the paddle — somewhere nobody should want to hit at. Nevertheless, I was satisfied with the spin I got from the hittable areas of the paddle face.
If you are in need of something that won’t slow your hands down at the kitchen line then the Perseus 14mm will make a great shield. Under pressure, the low swing weight makes this paddle reliable against constant attacks requiring switches from forehand to backhand.
The ease of swing is the biggest factor in making the Perseus 14mm more appealing to more beginner pickleball players, if nothing else.
This is based on personal preference, but I just am not a fan of handles with a 4.125″ circumference. I’m not walking around with Kawhi Leonard-sized hands, but I immediately sigh whenever I pick up a paddle with a thinner grip.
If you are like me and have an interest in the Joola Perseus 14mm, but do not like thinner handles, then I would suggest trying out a few different overgrip options based on what you know works for you.
Partially due to the 14mm having a thinner core and a 7.5″ width, you may not feel the biggest sweet spot in this paddle. The issue I have is that there are just as thin or even thinner paddles currently available with even less hitting space that seem to have more of a sweet spot than the Joola Perseus.
Hits off the sweet spot are not terrible, it’s just when you finally find the sweet spot you notice just how much better you can control certain shots. I just would just like to swing with a little more confidence when playing with a paddle at this price point.
The Joola Perseus 14mm is a good paddle, but far from my favorite to play with. I wouldn’t call anything about it frustrating in my experience, it just does not blow me away in any capacity.
I know I did not specifically point to control as a pro or a con. That is because I felt very neutral when it came to controlling shots, even with a bit of a small sweet spot. I believe the stable feel of the paddle coming in under 8oz offset the sweet spot and prevented many out-of-control shots that may have otherwise occurred from the paddle. But overall it could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.
Overall, I think the Joola Perseus 14mm is best suited for more singles-oriented players as well as advanced and intermediate players that are looking for a paddle they can grow their skills with. This could be the case for beginners as well, but at $250 I would highly recommend going with a smaller brand offering similar specs and performance for up to $100 less. Even if you are new to playing, but want to emulate the top player in the game and spend that type of money — check out the 16mm (or demo both if you can) — it will be a little more forgiving to begin with, but similar enough to grow your skills with.