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JOOLA Scorpeus - pickleball paddle review

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Published on: Dec 1, 2023

The JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle on a blue background

I was really excited to get my hands on the JOOLA Scorpeus to see how this one compares to JOOLA's Perseus and JOOLA paddles. With all the attention those two get, the Scorpeus flies under the radar, but I'd heard from some players that it's a hidden gem.

Read on for my honest JOOLA Scorpeus review. Note that I tested the 16 mm Collin Johns signature paddle (the 14 mm is Anna Bright's signature paddle).

My verdict4.5star iconDon't sleep on the Scorpeus. The JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus may get more attention, but the Scorpeus is right up there with it and solves what I think is the Perseus' biggest flaw: its frustratingly small sweet spot. The Scorpeus is a top-notch control paddle. While it's too soft for my play style, I highly recommend it for any strong defensive players.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You're a defensive player:

    this paddle just wants to play defense and excels on blocks and resets.

  • You prioritize your touch game:

    this is one of the best control paddles I played with in 2023.

  • You play doubles:

    this paddle will suit you, especially if you play alongside an aggressive player.

Pass if:

  • You need power:

    this is a control paddle that's light on power, so try my top power paddle of 2023: the Bread & Butter Filth.

  • You want lots of spin:

    there are way better spin paddles, like the Legacy Pro.

  • You're on a budget:

    at $250, this is a pricey paddle. Check out my top paddle under $100: the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.

Paddle Weight

7.8 oz (14 mm paddle) / 8 oz (16 mm paddle)

Paddle Length

16"

Paddle Width

8"

Handle Length

5 ¼"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Carbon friction surface

Core Material

Reactive polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

14 mm or 16 mm (0.55" or 0.63")

Sweet Spot

Medium

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Review summary

The Scorpeus is a top-notch control paddle that just wants to play defense. The Perseus wasn't my favorite, but this paddle surprised me. Firstly, it's quick in the hands—one of the fastest paddles I've tested so far. I see now why it fits Collin Johns' defensive game so well.

For me, the square shape of the Scorpeus doesn't look as good as the elongated Perseus. However, my biggest gripe with the Perseus was its small sweet spot. With the Scorpeus, the larger surface area gives you a larger sweet spot and more forgiveness.

Watch my first thoughts on the JOOLA Scorpeus:

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Like the Perseus, the Scorpeus feels light in the hands at 8 oz. That's a full 0.5 oz lighter than the JOOLA Hyperion. I can really feel this in how quick the paddle is at the kitchen. I'm in front of fast volleys more than I'm behind them, which I liked.

What stands out most after testing this many times is the good control the Scorpeus offers. It's definitely a control paddle. Third-shot drops and long dink rallies all feel pretty natural.

Like I said, the Scorpeus just wants to play defense. Thanks to the light weight, I'm able to block hard drives relatively easily. It has a stable feel too, which also helps on challenging blocks.

There are some things I don't like with this paddle, though. Just like the Perseus, it's light on power and lacking in spin. It feels weak on putaways. My volleys, serves, and drives don't go as deep as they would with a paddle like the CRBN-2X Power Series or the Legacy Pro.

Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle

I also find the Scorpeus to have too much pop at times. I have had a few routine drops and dinks that flew on me, giving my opponent an easy putaway. You'll find this poppiness in all thermoformed paddles, but I was still surprised since the Scorpeus is such a good control paddle.

If you're looking for lots of power and spin, you'll be let down by the Scorpeus. However, if you're a defense-focused control player, I think you'll like it. It plays a lot like the Perseus but with a larger sweet spot, though slightly less power.

Pros:

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  • Super lightweight, making it quick at the kitchen

  • A really stable paddle, which helps on blocks and resets

  • Larger sweet spot than the Perseus thanks to the square shape

Cons:

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  • Quite poppy for a control paddle

  • Volleys and drives don't land so deep

  • Weak on putaways

Features

The Scorpeus comes in 14 mm and 16 mm versions. Anna Bright plays with the CFS 14, while Collin Johns plays with the CFS 16 (the version I tested).

JOOLA is one of the best-known names in pickleball. With the launch of the Ben Johns Hyperion in early 2022, they set the trend in paddle design that everyone's been following.

Paddle tech has improved at a crazy rate since then, so JOOLA have a ton of challengers now. I found the update to the Hyperion, the Perseus, not as impressive as I'd hoped. Spin and forgiveness were too big letdowns when compared to the Hyperion.

Let's take a look at the design of the Scorpeus and see how it compares to other JOOLA paddles.

Fully encased carbon frame

This is what JOOLA call the unibody design we're seeing everywhere now. They didn't have this in the Hyperion, and they got a lot of complaints about that paddle snapping. Almost all premium paddles have this type of build now—even some cheaper ones.

What it means is that the carbon fiber extends down from the face into the handle, reinforcing it. This makes the paddle stronger and more durable. From my testing, the paddle felt durable.

Hyperfoam edge wall

JOOLA were one of the first companies to create this kind of tech, which involves injecting foam into the walls of the paddle. This is meant to add more stability to shots and enhance the sweet spot.

It's funny, though, because I feel like the sweet spots on the Perseus and Scorpeus are smaller than the Hyperion. I'm not sure why this tech is getting worse. It's possible they compromised this feature to get the weight down to 8.0 oz. Speed is likely a tradeoff compared to the Hyperion.

I will say that the sweet spot on the Scorpeus is a definite improvement over the Perseus.

Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle

Lower weight

When you add in foam injection on top of carbon, most thermoformed paddles end up weighing 8.2 oz or more. So, I'm impressed that the Scorpeus is only 8 oz. It's got a swing weight of 112, which is one of the lowest I've seen in a thermoformed paddle.

This makes it way more maneuverable and lighter in the hands than the Hyperion. It also solves the other main complaint of the Hyperion: its head heaviness.

Thermoformed

Thermoformed paddles usually have a great mix of power and control but a stiffer feel and a poppy face that takes some getting used to. I'm used to it, but it can be challenging for beginners and early intermediates.

The Scorpeus has that characteristic pop and stiffness, but it has less power than most thermoformed paddles and more control.

Carbon-charged surface

JOOLA made their name in pickleball with their "carbon friction surface" on the Hyperion. This changed the game and now everyone uses a textured face to get lots of spin.

What's more, JOOLA now add a "carbon-charged surface" on top of their carbon friction surface. This extra bonding is designed to strengthen the paddle face. While it does make it a lot poppier, I think it's leading to less spin in their paddles.

Both the Perseus and the Scorpeus generate less spin than the Hyperion.

Performance

7/10

Power

10/10

Control

8/10

Spin

8.5/10

Forgiveness

9/10

Weighting

9/10

Grip

10/10

Durability

9/10

Aerodynamics

Power: 7/10

I scored the Perseus 8/10 for power, so I'm knocking a point off for the Scorpeus CFS 16. From my testing, this is a defensive paddle. I struggle with putaways and winning points.

At one point, I played a drill game with five people and rotating. For what felt like forever, I didn't win a single point, but I did give up a single point.

That's how I see this paddle—it's the perfect complement in doubles if you're with an aggressive player who puts points away. This is exactly the dynamic of the Johns brothers: Collin plays defensively and sets up Ben's putaways.

The 14 mm version might have more oomph, so is worth checking out if you want power.

Control: 10/10

Control is without a doubt the Scorpeus's greatest strength. Collin Johns is arguably the best defensive doubles player in the world, and I feel like I channel a little Collin in my game with this paddle.

It performs best on blocks and resets against hard drives. It's just light and stable enough to hit these hard shots under pressure. Drops and dinks are also on point. If you're a defensive player, you'll enjoy what this paddle has to offer.

Spin: 8/10

Spin is adequate, but not enough for my game. I rely on hard topspin for my serves and drives, and I did feel let down here. You simply can't spin this paddle like you can the Bread & Butter Filth, Legacy Pro, and CRBN-3X Power Series.

Forgiveness: 8.5/10

I'm going up a half-point here compared to JOOLA Perseus. I find the sweet spot larger on the Scorpeus, so I have fewer mishits. The square shape really helps to improve that, but still, I feel frustrated with the forgiveness on this line of paddles. They could be better in my opinion.

That said, they are built for professional players, so forgiveness won't be as high on their list. So, the more advanced you are, the more you'll get out of this paddle.

Weighting: 9/10

JOOLA made the right call making this 0.5 oz lighter than the Hyperion. This gives the Scorpeus more maneuverability and greater control on touch shots. More advanced players will also really appreciate the opportunity to customize with lead tape.

Grip: 9/10

As with the Perseus, I really like the improved grip. A lot of folks complained about the Hyperion's ribbed grip, saying it wasn't very comfy and got dirty quickly because of its white color. As well as being gray, this new grip feels way better so should age better.

Durability: 10/10

I can't fault JOOLA on durability. Once again, they've made a paddle that's built with quality materials and a solid edge guard. I already know from experience that this paddle is going to outlast most others.

Aerodynamics: 9/10

The lighter weight and round top shape definitely help to boost the Scorpeus' aerodynamics compared to the Hyperion. Thanks to the extra swing speed I can generate, I manage to load up spin despite this paddle not being the best for it.

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 Scorpeus 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.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz

Pricing

The Scorpeus is priced at $250, the same as the Perseus. This makes it one of the highest-priced paddles you can buy. With so many excellent paddles available at much lower costs, are JOOLA paddles still worth it?

Value for money

I have to admit that there are paddles in the $150-200 price range that rival the Scorpeus. The Vatic Pro Flash, for example, is one of my favorite control paddles and costs just $139.99. That said, I still think the Scorpeus justifies its price tag. Let me explain why.

This is a great paddle from one of the top brands in pickleball. It's going to last you a long time and is super reliable. It's even the paddle of choice for one of the GOATs.

So, if you're an advanced player who prioritizes a defensive control paddle, and you've got the budget, I'd say this is worth $250 for you. Just know you're paying a premium for the Collin Johns signature.

Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Scorpeus pickleball paddle

Bottom line

This paddle is for anyone intermediate and up who wants to play a competitive game. It can also clearly be used to great effect by the most advanced players out there, like Collin Johns. The player this most suits is a defensive one who has an aggressive doubles partner.

If you struggle with mishits, or if you're a big spin player, I'd say this paddle is a miss for you. Go for the CRBN-1X Power Series or the Legacy Pro instead.

You also have to be comfortable spending $250 on a paddle. If budget is an issue, look at the Volair Mach 1 ($140), the Vatic Pro Flash ($140), or the Bread & Butter Filth ($165).

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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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