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JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 - pickleball paddle review

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Brandon Mackie

Published on: Jul 14, 2023

The JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 pickleball paddle on a blue background

The JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 is an all-rounder that looks to bring power, performance, and control to the games of advancing beginners, intermediates, and seasoned pros alike.

This is a heavyweight paddle, built for none other than world #1 Ben Johns himself, aimed at players who want to take their all-court game to the next level.

I was excited to get my hands on this paddle after hearing so much about it. I spent hours putting it to the test to see if the hype and price are justified. Read on to learn why we gave it the top spoaert in our best pickleball paddles list.

My verdict5.0star iconThe Hyperion CFS 16 is the cream of the crop—JOOLA really knocked it out of the park with this one. Whether you're an advancing beginner, intermediate, or pro, this paddle seriously raises your performance. The heavy head weight can take getting used to, and I did feel a bit slower to react during some fast rallies. However, the increased power and precision I was getting on dinks, serves, and backhands made me forget these issues. For me, this is the best pickleball paddle ever designed. There's a reason Ben Johns' name is on it.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You want an all-court paddle.

    The Hyperion remains the best blend of power and control.

  • You want to raise your game all-round.

    If you want additional power, spin, and precision, this is the one for you.

  • You like heavier paddles.

    If you like to feel some heft in your paddle, this one weighs in at 8.4 oz.

Pass if:

  • You prefer lightweight paddles.

    The head-heavy build is this paddle's most-cited negative.

  • You want a cheaper paddle.

    If you're on a budget, this isn't the paddle for you.

  • You're a complete beginner.

    New players may want a lighter, more beginner-friendly paddle to ease them in.

Paddle Weight

8.2–8.6 oz (Standard), 7.7–8.1 oz (Swift)

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Carbon friction surface (CFS)

Core Material

Reactive honeycomb polymer core

Core Thickness

0.63" (16 mm)

Edge Guard

¼" overlapping paddle face

Sweet Spot

Medium

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Review summary

The Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 from JOOLA is an excellent paddle for anyone looking to up their game, regardless of their current level. For advancing beginners and intermediates right up to the GOAT Ben Johns, this paddle gives players a consistent edge over their opponents.

I'd call this an all-court paddle. It can improve your dinks, 3rd shot drops, serves, groundstrokes—just about every shot you hit in pickleball. You'll feel the paddle's power on your first few shots, but control is its secret weapon.

Watch my unboxing video here:

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Even when my opponent returned deep and I attempted what is usually a more difficult and lower-percentage drop, I could still place my shots with good accuracy.

Then there's the spin. I could load my serves up with lots of power and spin, and consistently hit strong topspin forehand drives. I felt confident enough to try more one-handed backhands and backhand slice returns, and was thrilled by the zip I was getting.

While the higher price may not appeal to beginners, the Hyperion is worth every penny if you're ready to advance your game. While the heavier head might turn off some players, this was overshadowed by the many positives. The added stability, accuracy, spin, and power in my game let me forgive the extra half-ounce or so.

Watch my first reactions here:

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Pros:

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  • Weighted head and stability makes every shot feel solid and controlled

  • Great for the short game, with precise dinks

  • Power and topspin on serves puts opponents on the back foot

Cons:

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  • Heavy head sometimes made me slow to react in fast kitchen exchanges

  • Slower backhand flicks and countering speedups in more advanced games

  • Slightly 'poppy' feel can take getting used to

Features

JOOLA might be newcomers on the pickleball scene, but they've been leaders in the ping-pong industry since the 1950s. They made quite a splash in the pickleball world when they partnered with world #1 Ben Johns to create the Hyperion CFS 16.

They set out to make a paddle that elevates the performance of almost any player, right up to the pro level. So, how does all this high-tech paddle wizardry benefit you on the courts? Let's explore the unique technologies and attributes of the Hyperion.

Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 pickleball paddle

Carbon friction surface

The Ben Johns Hyperion has a unique carbon friction surface (CFS) on the paddle face. JOOLA claims that this generates extra power as well as a ton of spin for improved control, even on power shots.

Having tested the paddle myself, I can confirm this paddle generates an insane amount of spin. I was able to generate consistently-aggressive topspin serves.

The way this works is a little different to most other paddles. In the Hyperion, the grit isn't applied on top of the face like in the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta. Instead, the textured friction is built into the paddle face itself for longer-lasting quality.

This is a crucial difference. While grit-covered paddles feel impressive out of the box, they wear down more easily over time. I'll continue to test my Hyperion over a longer period to see if its excellent spin holds up longer than grit-applied paddles. However, one month into routine playing and it's looking promising so far.

Hyperfoam technology

JOOLA injected foam into the perimeter of the paddle, being one of the first to experiment with this technique. Combined with its extra-thick polymer core (16mm/0.63"), this increases the size of the sweet spot. This in turn improves paddle stability and maximizes ball control.

While this extra foam and thick core are what make the head heavy, the paddle still felt rock-solid and stable in my testing. My shots were consistent and accurate, and there's no question this paddle increased my success on difficult shots.

Curved head

The so-called 'Aero-Curve' feature adds an aerodynamic element to the paddle. The design is meant to increase swing speed by minimizing drag. It does also make the paddle face look smaller than it really is—a bit of an optical illusion.

I found that the shape of the head curvature did help to offset the head heaviness slightly. It didn't have the aerodynamics of my Selkirk Power Air Invikta, but it was maneuverable enough to win fast kitchen exchanges.

Brandon Mackie displaying the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperions CFS 16 pickleball paddle

Carbon-forged handle

The handle is made from carbon, making it strong enough to offset the power of the head. This is supposed to smooth out play by absorbing shocks and more evenly distributing the paddle weight.

By far my favorite part of this paddle is the handle. It has a natural feel that's almost hard to describe—and one I haven't found in any other paddle.

Elongated anti-slip handle

The sure-grip handle felt more natural and comfortable than any paddle I've played with before. The perforated and ridged design means minimal moisture from sweaty hands. I tested this in the hot Arizona summer, and it held up in sweaty play.

The handle just had a great feel, and the extra space at 5.5" gave me plenty to hold onto. This was still true during my two-handed backhands. People complain about the grip's color choice (white), but I'm more concerned about performance than looks anyway.

Watch my review of Hyperion's grip:

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Design and feel

Straight out of the box, I knew this paddle would perform well on the court. Kudos to JOOLA—the premium materials and thoughtful design were clear to see.

Let's talk about the looks. Sure, the modern black-and-white look is a little boring, but done right, it does look effortlessly elegant. With Ben Johns branding all over the place, you're instantly reminded that you're playing with the GOAT's paddle of choice. It may be the placebo effect, but I certainly felt confident on the court wielding this paddle.

But how does it feel in the hand? I hear lots of complaints about the ribbed grip, but personally, I didn't have any issues with it. I tested it in +100ºF Phoenix heat, and there was no slippage. It was the perfect size for my hands, and I felt like I could have played for hours with no dip in comfort level.

Brandon Mackie gripping the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 pickleball paddle with two hands

The heaviness is the most commonly cited negative. Surprisingly, I didn't notice this in my first testing session. However, by the next session, I did start to feel that the heaviness was slowing my reaction time down during faster exchanges and returns.

Things improved once I got into my flow. The feeling of confidence and stability I got from this paddle made me quickly forget these critiques. With shot after shot hitting the perfect place, my touch game was on fire. I'm starting to understand why JOOLA engineered the paddle this way.

Performance

9/10

Power

10/10

Control

9/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

7/10

Weighting

8/10

Grip

10/10

Durability

9/10

Aesthetic

Power: 9/10

The weighted head definitely pays off in your power game. You can generate a ton of power with this paddle, getting that extra zip when you need it.

There is some poppiness, as noted by other reviewers. The ball tends to pop up a little too much, which can be a problem against advanced players. Some of my digs, drops, and volleys popped a little too high for me, giving my opponent an advantage.

It's something you get used to, and is by no means a dealbreaker. For starters, it's not as poppy as the Selkirk Power Air Invikta.

Control: 10/10

Control is the Hyperion's main strength. I was impressed with the pin-point accuracy I got, from routine dinks to challenging 3rd shot drops from the baseline. This outweighed that poppy feel, as my shots consistently went where I wanted them to.

Spin: 9/10

The spin on this paddle is amazing, especially on strong topspin serves and when I hit 3rd shot drives. It doesn't have the crazy spin of my Selkirk Power Air Invikta, but it's not too far off. I'm interested to see if how the spin holds up over time with the in-built carbon friction surface.

Forgiveness: 9/10

Since the grip is long and cuts into the playable face, many people think the Hyperion's head looks small, and assume it doesn't have a hugely forgiving sweet spot.

I was pleasantly surprised, however. My mishits were few and far between, and all that weight gives this paddle a lot of stability.

Weighting: 7/10

The main complaint about the Hyperion is how heavy it is (8.4 oz). Much of this is loaded into the face thanks to an injection of foam around the perimeter.

Initially, I found the weight criticisms less of an issue, but as time went on, it became more noticeable. The heaviness was slowing down my reaction time in fast kitchen exchanges. I felt a little slower to the ball than I would've been with a lighter paddle.

This was especially true when playing against opponents with quicker hands than mine, or those with a strong drive game. I was also a little slow on backhand flicks and countering speedups in more advanced games.

Some players may find this paddle less maneuverable, especially in fast kitchen exchanges. Also, if you like to custom-weight your paddle with lead tape, this will probably be difficult as there is already so much weight built into the face.

Grip: 8/10

A lot of online complaints mention the ridged grip, but I didn't have a problem with it personally. It stood the test of the Arizona sun with no slippage. It felt consistently solid, comfy, and well built.

Since the handle is pure white, it's bound to get dirty. However, I personally care more about performance than appearance. If you really dislike the ribbed grip, though, you can easily use an overgrip, and your problem is solved.

Durability: 10/10

No faults here whatsoever. The ultra-premium materials shine through, resulting in a really solid paddle. A thick, solid edge guard protects the paddle. The carbon surface is engineered for longevity, and the carbon-forged handle feels superior to most others.

Aesthetic: 9/10

I really like the sleek look of this paddle. A shiny black with some cool modern touches—it's simple and elegant. The Ben Johns signature, rather than feeling cheesy, adds a professional quality that reminds you that you're playing with the same paddle as the world's greatest.

Is this paddle right for you?

Before buying a paddle, it's important to make sure it fits your game. That's why I created a 30-second quiz that recommends the best paddles for your play style and budget.

Give it a try and see if the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion makes the list:

Find the perfect paddle

Find the perfect paddle

I've personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.

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Pricing

At $219.95, the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 is at the higher end of the scale, but still not the most expensive paddle on the market. In my honest opinion, it's 100% worth the price tag.

Value for money

There's no denying this paddle is really well designed. You're getting your hands on a premium paddle, made with cutting-edge technology in every aspect. Not only that, it's long-lasting. The textured face and handle are durable enough to last game after game, carrying you through as you progress.

The biggest draw by far is its performance on the courts. More than other premium paddles, like the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta or the CRBN-2X Power Series, the JOOLA Hyperion delivers a better all-court performance.

It's more forgiving and beginner-to-intermediate-friendly than many $200+ paddles. This reason alone makes it a wise investment for anyone ready to up their game.

The JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 pickleball paddle resting against a pickleball net

Bottom line

It's rare to find a paddle that can elevate the game of players at almost any level—from beginners up to the world #1, Ben Johns. If you can get used to the heavy head, you'l have a solid all-court paddle that'll help win you more games. Between its power, control, spin, this paddle can do it all—a claim all paddles make, but few deliver on.

This is an excellent investment for advancing beginners and intermediate players looking to take their game to the next level. Even those looking to become professional pickleball players would benefit from this paddle.

You can expect to see a lot of these making an appearance in the paddle saddle at your local open play. Why not try it out for yourself and see what all the fuss is about?

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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