I’ve played with the Maverix Havik-16 Power over the course of at least five to six weeks now and here are my final thoughts on how it performs. How does it compare to big brand power pickleball paddles like the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air and Joola Perseus 14mm? Keep on reading for all the details.
On the eye test alone, the Maverix Havik-16 Power isn’t the highest-spin paddle on the market, and it doesn’t even seem to be the highest-spin paddle I’ve tested, but it’s close. Other paddle reviewers who have tried out the Maverix Havik-16 Power seem to share the same sentiment. It falls within the high-spin category, just a touch below top-tier spin paddles.
What is most interesting about how the Maverix Havik-16 Power achieves high spin is the fact that the raw Toray T700 carbon fiber face has such a fine grit that it almost feels smooth to the touch. Despite this tactile feel, the paddle gets a good enough bite that you can let shots rip while keeping the ball inbounds due to the nice dip of the ball in the air when generating topspin.
While control and feel are not the best aspects of the Maverix Havik-16 Power, they still are beneficial to those used to playing with thermoformed paddles. Like those paddles, this one has a bit stiffer feel coming off the face, however, the sweet spot performs well for all types of strokes on the pickleball court.
Once I was able to adjust to the poppiness of the paddle, the soft game became easier as I was able to find more consistency on resets, down-the-line (directly in front) dinks, and cross-court dinks. As far as more aggressive, powerful shots like overheads go, I had little trouble placing the ball where I wanted to, when I wanted to. The same can be said for attacks where I am looking to place the ball at my opponent’s left or right shoulder, left or right pocket, or feet.
I still would like to work on my third shot drops a bit more with the Maverix Havik-16 Power, but I can say that I made a lot of progress getting it down from the beginning of testing to now. What is most interesting about the control aspect is that I felt that I played better with the Maverix Havik-16 Power immediately after switching from a more control-oriented paddle than I did using it exclusively for one day/session. Maybe it was just a matter of being too excited about the power of it and I was less focused on controlling my shots, but that was my experience.
Pretty much everything I like about the Maverix Havik-16 Power starts with how it’s built. Maverix took the time to engineer what they call a Hybrid-Thermoformed paddle to get the best out of it. The hybrid, octagonal-like shape literally cuts corners you would find in a more traditionally shaped paddle but enhances performance by reducing swing weight.
Thermoforming, which is a heat molding process that allows the paddle to be fully wrapped in carbon fiber around the edges and through the handle, helps give the paddle a stiffer, stable, and powerful feel, hence the name Havik-16 Power.
In addition to Hybrid-Thermoforming, the paddle is balanced out by foam injection along the inside edges of the paddle, which in turn opens the sweet spot a little bit more for efficiency when striking the ball.
Pop and Power
On shorter strokes, the ball felt crisp coming off the paddle when I played with the Maverix Havik-16 Power. If I needed to add a little punch to certain shots, this came in handy as it took a bit of time away from the opponent to respond. As I was able to get more control of the paddle with playtime, these shorter swing shots became more and more comfortable.
For big swings, I had an even easier time. Plowing through the ball on groundstrokes and overhead shots never was much of an issue for me, and I enjoyed every second of hitting a pickleball around in this manner, even when unsuccessful as I could easily define where I went wrong rather than blaming the paddle.
When it comes to the downsides of the Maverix Havik-16 Power, I can’t really think of anything other than it’s a paddle that takes some getting used to. Inexperienced players and those that never played with or do not enjoy thermoformed paddles and the power they come with may not find this suitable. Fortunately, Maverix is releasing a Control version of the Havik-16, which I’m excited to try out as well.
To be fair, I also want to note that the perceived smoothness of the raw carbon fiber hitting surface may be off-putting for some. But if I’m being honest, it does not have much, if any, negative impact on the spin generation of the Havik-16 Power. Also, I’m not even sure if this fine grit is a one-off manufacturing instance. For all I know, other players could have noticeably grittier paddles of this model with even more spin than I get, which isn’t bad to begin with.
While I’ve had to make my own adjustments playing with the Maverix Havik-16 Power, I honestly feel like it’s my favorite power-oriented paddle. Had I played with this in my first few months of playing pickleball, I may have hated it, but I now feel as though I can take advantage of its features and benefits properly.
At $155 (or a little over $130 with my discount code RWPB15 at Maverix Pickleball), I think this is a great value for those looking for a quality thermoformed or advanced paddle. What separates the Maverix Havik-16 Power from my previous favorite, the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air, is my experience with the stability and plow-through power. Though the Power Air felt a little lighter on the swing and worked well for me on flick shots, I really enjoyed playing with a less flashy, more tried-and-true style of play than what the Havik-16 Power offered.
I’ve been playing a little more with control-oriented paddles since wrapping up testing with the Havik-16 Power, so I’m not quite ready to say it is my favorite paddle overall, but I will say when it comes to singles or a need for me to add a little pep to my shots, I will go back to the Maverix Havik-16 Power.
Use code RWPB15 for 15% off on Maverix