Pickleball Gear

Paddletek Tempest Wave II - pickleball paddle review

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Jun 14, 2023

The Paddletek Tempest Wave II pickleball paddle on a blue background

The Paddletek Tempest Wave II is a lightweight, control-focused paddle that's ideal for any intermediate player looking to step up their precision game.

After getting my hands on the Tempest Wave II, I immediately put it through its paces on the courts. I'm here to share my thoughts and help you to decide if it's the right paddle for you.

Update: The Paddletek Tempest Wave II has been discontinued and replaced by the Tempest Wave v3. The Wave v3 features Paddletek's 'ICED carbon surface', which has more grit for longer-lasting spin. Watch out for our full review of the Wave v3, coming soon.

Our verdict

The Tempest Wave II is Paddletek's intermediate offering in the ever-popular Tempest line. It's a control paddle. This makes it ideal for intermediate players as they bring more 'touch' shots into their game, such as drops and cross-court dinks.

While it doesn't pretend to be a power paddle, it has just enough to offer players with a 3.0–4.0 pickleball score a complete game.

While advanced players will miss some performance aspects like power and spin on their serves, intermediate players won't find much better. This is especially true at this price point.

Watch my unboxing video here:

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Pros

✔️ Great control, especially during dink rallies and on the 3rd shot drop

✔️ Good feel—it's responsive and feels alive in your hands

✔️ Maneuverable, with a lightweight feel that allows for quicker hands than you’re used to

✔️ Consistently accurate on the serves

Cons

❌ Lacking power, especially on overhead put-aways at the net

❌ Volleys don't always go deep or fast enough to put my opponents on their heels

❌ When playing against 4.5+ players, I lacked spin and drive on shots to play a more advanced game

Review summary

The Tempest Wave II from Paddletek is a control-focused paddle that'll help you along your route to mastery of the precision game. It's best suited to intermediate players looking to nail their dinks, drops, and strategic shots.

The consistent accuracy of my shots was what impressed me the most with this paddle, both in my serves and throughout long dink rallies. It also felt light and nimble in my hand, which gave me a quicker response time and helped me to win more points.

The paddle can generate enough power to perform as an all-rounder, but only with considerable effort. So, if you're exclusively looking for a power paddle, this isn't the one for you.

If you're exclusively looking for a power paddle, this one isn't for you. That said, this paddle can still generate enough power to perform as an all-rounder.

Pickleball player showing off the Paddletek Tempest Wave II paddle

Buy if:

✔️ You're an intermediate player. The Tempest Wave II helps you to fine-tune your precision shots and progress to the next level.

✔️ You favor a control game. This paddle offers pinpoint accuracy and is highly responsive—perfect for drop shots and dink exchanges.

✔️ You prefer a lighter paddle. This paddle's weight makes it easy to control and highly maneuverable in the hand.

Pass if:

You're a power player. This is not a power paddle, and it doesn't pretend to be one.

You hit big drives and serves. Generating extra swing speed to hit hard serves and drives is a challenge.

You're an advanced player. Paddletek offers better performance models like the Tempest Wave Pro for advanced players (4.5+).

Specifications:

  • Paddle weight: 7.4–7.8 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 ⅞"
  • Paddle width: 8"
  • Handle length: 5 ¼"
  • Grip circumference: 4 ¼"
  • Paddle face material: Carbon fiber
  • Core material: Carbon fiber and polymer honeycomb
  • Core thickness: 0.5" (12.7mm)
  • Edge guard: ⅛" shock guard
  • Sweet spot: Large

Features

Since 2010, Paddletek has been innovating the pickleball world from its headquarters in Michigan. They've grown from a family business to become one of the world's leading paddle manufacturers, and they proudly produce all of their paddles in the USA.

The Tempest series of paddles are designed to prioritize precision and control. The Wave II fits this bill to a tee.

Paddletek even nicknamed this paddle the 'Control Freak'. With a name like that, let’s take a deeper look at the main features and paddle technologies that give this paddle such accuracy.

Watch me test the paddle's features:

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Carbon fiber paddle surface

The Tempest Wave II features a textured carbon fiber face. This material is now the go-to option for high-performance pickleball paddles because it's ultra lightweight while still being super strong and stiff.

The carbon fiber itself is manufactured with a weave pattern that creates a rough, textured surface. This increases friction on the ball to give players grip, allowing for better shot placement and accuracy.

Pickleball player showing off the Paddletek Tempest Wave II

After testing the paddle, myself, I found it to be true. The ball often landed exactly where I wanted it, and my serves were dead accurate. I don’t think I missed a single serve in 5+ hours of testing.

It's this level of accuracy that makes the Tempest Wave II the perfect choice for strategic players who love the dink game. The velvet-textured surface on the face gives good control over the ball too.

Tempest PolyCore with graphite

Paddletek’s in-house 'Tempest PolyCore' technology reduces the paddle weight without reducing too much power.

After testing it myself, I found this paddle to be one of the lightest I've played with. I’ve never felt like I had super-quick hands at the net, but I started to with this paddle.

While shot power wasn't quite as much as I wanted, it still offered enough for fast, deep serves and solid drives. I just had to swing hard enough!

Grip

The Tempest Wave II features a cushioned, high-tack performance grip. This feature means you can keep a firm hold of your paddle when performing precision dinks and sneaky spin shots.

The 4.25" grip fits most players' hands, and the 5.25" handle length helped in generating a little more power. The length also allowed for comfortable two-handed backhand shots when I tried them.

Player on the pickleball court showing off the Paddletek Tempest Wave II

Design and feel

But how does the Tempest Wave II perform when it comes to looks and overall quality?

This paddle offers a classic, sleek Paddletek design. It has a great pop of color against the modern, black aesthetic. It's also available to order in five bright color profiles. Personally, I tested the 'Aurora’ purple design.

The Paddletek Tempest Wave II resting against a pickleball net

The paddle feels light in the hand without ever feeling cheaply built. You can appreciate the high quality of materials, which you'd expect from Paddletek. The paddle is responsive, and feels alive in your hands without being too poppy.

With a weight range of 7.4–7.8 oz, the Tempest Wave II feels light on the courts. I found it quick when reacting to fast volleys and drives up at the kitchen line.

It gave me quicker hands than I'm used to during fast kitchen exchanges and when returning a hard drive from banger opponents.

The half inch (12.7mm) thick Tempest PolyCore uses vibration-damping technology to deliver a smooth shot that's easier on the hand and arm.

This really makes a difference on longer sessions—you'll be able to play for longer without your arm tiring out. I personally tested this over two, 2.5-hour sessions and never felt fatigued.

Performance

Control: 9/10

The level of control with the Tempest Wave II is its top feature. This paddle really shines on the 3rd shot drop and during dink rallies up at the kitchen.

During cross-court dinks, I could place shots just over the net with a wide angle, which helped me keep control of points and led to many good setups for put-aways.

My serves may not have gone on-the-line deep, but they were extremely accurate. In 5 hours of testing with this paddle, I don't think I missed a single serve.

Spin: 7/10

The spin on this paddle is good, but not great. Compared to one of my go-to paddles, the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta, it is less grippy and offers less spin. This led to a few of my strong forehand drives sailing long, and I also hit a few forehand returns long when trying to return extra deep.

I missed the advanced spin when trying to hit a surprise swinging forehand volley when my opponent gave me enough depth to work with. The spin just didn't catch like it does with the Power Air Invikta.

The Wave II's textured carbon fiber works a treat for shot placement, but it doesn't achieve as much spin as you might expect.

Power: 6/10

The Tempest Wave II does its best to generate as much power as possible, but this is definitely not a power paddle. To play a power game, I found that you have to swing much harder to generate more swing speed. Over a 3+ hour session, that approach became tiring.

At some point, I thought I had a point-ending put away, but it would come off the paddle a little slow and short in the court. This gave my opponents a doable return and easy reset. This was disheartening after all the work to set up the point for a sweet put away.

I was initially worried I wouldn't have the same power or depth on my serve that come with more advanced pickleball paddles. However, this wasn't necessarily the case. While I had to swing hard, I could routinely hit serves with decent speed and depth.

Weighting: 7/10

The Tempest Wave II is listed as a midweight paddle. However, I'd say it's more on the lighter side, since midweight paddles usually range from 7.3oz–8.4oz. The Wave II comes in four weight options, from 7.4 to 7.8oz.

The light weight can take some getting used to, especially if you play with a heavier paddle like the Joola Ben Johns Hyperion, or struggle to get power on your shots.

Grip: 8/10

The grip felt good and relatively unnoticeable (which can be a good thing for grip). The grip felt on the cheaper end, on par with my budget PCKL Launch Series paddle. But I tested this in the hot Phoenix summer, and never had issues with the paddle slipping out of my hands.

Durability: 9/10

Manufacturing all their paddles in the USA, Paddletek is known for quality. And despite its light weight, the paddle felt solidly built. The addition of the edge guard will also help the paddle survive the damages of daily court life.

Soft game: 9/10

The Paddletek Tempest Wave II really shines on touch shots, such as drops and precision dinks. These are the shots you need to advance your pickleball pickleball game, which is why I think this paddle is a great choice for intermediate players.

What paddle is 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:

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

This paddle clocks in at $129.99, which is dead in the middle of the price range for paddles. I'd say the paddle is very well priced given the intermediate positioning.

Value for money

The Tempest Wave II delivers massive upgrades over many beginner paddles, especially from budget brands selling exclusively on Amazon. While it won't deliver elite performance like the Selkirk Power Air Invikta, it’s exactly what you'd expect for half the price.

The paddle is built to last and comes with a limited lifetime performance guarantee. For the frequent player, it will prove to be well worth the investment, and help you progress your game quickly.

Bottom line

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is an excellent intermediate paddle that will help you move to the next level. It's not going to impress those looking for raw power, but the accuracy and ball control it achieves are great for the price point.

For any intermediate player wanting to progress their soft game and develop their finesse, I’d say the Paddletek Tempest Wave II is a winner.

The enhanced ball control will help you to develop your touch and mastery of the short game—a must-have on your journey to the advanced level.

The paddle's consistent accuracy over longer dinking rallies is particularly impressive. This is one of the reasons I gave it 4.5 stars in our list of best pickleball paddles, despite the fact I'd have preferred a little more power.

Why not try it out for yourself and see how it performs against the competition?

This article contains affiliate links from which we receive a small commission from sales of certain items. As a brand associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

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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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