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ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" - pickleball paddle review

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Jan 17, 2024

The ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle on a blue background

The ProXR Pickleball Zane Standard is the standard-shaped version of world top player Zane Navratil's signature paddle series. "The Standard" comes in both 14 mm and 16 mm paddles, and I played with the 16 mm version.

Zane is famous for his nasty spin, and I love to play with big spin too. Read my ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" review to get my honest thoughts after a month of testing this paddle.

My verdict4.5star iconThe ProXR Standard is my sleeper pick for 2024. It's a monster for spin, good for your touch game, and has solid power too. Few paddles fit my game better than this one, and I now see why it's the go-to paddle for the "king of spin", Zane Navratil.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You like to play with spin:

    I can hit the same kind of big spin as Zane Navratil with this paddle.

  • Control is important for you:

    I'm impressed at how good this paddle is on touch shots.

  • You like forgiving paddles:

    the big playing surface gives you a large sweet spot and plenty of forgiveness.

Pass if:

  • You like really powerful paddles:

    the power here is enough for me, but it's not 10/10 like the Bread & Butter Filth.

  • You need extra reach:

    the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power plays similarly but is longer than this 16" paddle.

  • You hit two handers like Zane:

    there's not much room for that on this 5 ¼" handle. Try Zane's "Signature" paddle with its 6" handle.

Paddle weight

8.2 oz

Paddle length

16"

Paddle width

8"

Handle length

5 ¼"

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Review summary

This is the standard-shaped version of Zane Navratil's paddle from ProXR Pickleball. As you'd expect from the "king of spin", it's one of the best spin paddles I've played with so far in early 2024.

It's also a good control paddle with lots of forgiveness. It has more than enough power to suit my game too.

While it looks like a fairly standard black paddle, I think the bright blue touch and Zane's signature look cool. He's one of my favorite pros to watch.

It's comfortable, with an 8.2 oz weight that feels light yet powerful. The grip is good as well. I can play with this paddle all day without tiring.

Watch my initial thoughts on this paddle:

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The most impressive attribute here is the big spin you can get. Zane is famous for bending spin shots around the post and hitting virtually unreturnable "chainsaw" serves that are now illegal. So, it's no surprise that this paddle is one of the best for spin I've played with so far.

I can hit HUGE topspin—the kind that dips the ball right on the line at the last second. I haven't attempted any of Zane's "banana shots", but I feel like I definitely could with this paddle.

Control is the next best feature. It's great for my touch game. From what I can tell, this paddle isn't thermoformed (ProXR don't specify), so you don't get that stiff, overly poppy feel.

With the great spin, I can easily place third-shot drops at my opponent's feet and set up points. The nicely balanced weight helps here.

This is a forgiving paddle thanks to its standard shape. The shorter handle gives you more playing surface on the face, which extends the sweet spot. I'm getting minimal mishits and feel confident on technical shots.

Brandon Mackie holding the ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle

Power is a bit light, but I don't need much power in a paddle as I can already hit pretty hard. So, if you don't mind amping up the swing speed, you'll be happy with the power you can get. However, if you tire out quickly or want even more power, check out my list of the best power paddles for 2024.

That said, the ProXR Pickleball Standard still has way more power than you'd typically get in forgiving control paddles like the Paddletek Bantam ALW-C.

There are a couple of small drawbacks with this paddle. For one, I'm used to playing with elongated or hybrid paddles, so I miss the extra quarter- or half-inch reach when defending lobs or hitting reaching volleys.

Another thing is the short handle (5 ¼"). I'm not too bothered by this personally, but it will challenge players who hit two-handed backhands. If that's you, consider the Zane's elongated "Signature" model instead.

Pros:

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  • Big spin

  • Good control and forgiveness

  • Nice weight distribution

Cons:

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  • A little light on power

  • Limited reach

  • Short handle

Features

ProXR made their name with their patented handle technology, first used in MLB baseball bats. They've brought their innovative ideas into pickleball and now make paddles for top pros.

Let's take a look at the features of Zane Navratil's standard-shaped paddle.

T-700 "ultra-raw" carbon fiber

I'm not sure what "ultra" means here, but I'm guessing it helps with the spin. Before testing this paddle for myself, I saw an Instagram video of Zane hitting his signature serves to recreational players at the Milwaukee Beer City Open, and they were virtually unreturnable.

So, going into my testing, I was expecting to get big spin out of this paddle. It delivered.

Shock Foam edge guard

This paddle series marks the first time ProXR are using their "Shock Foam" edge guard tech. It's the same thing we've seen from the JOOLA Perseus and Vatic Pro Flash, where foam is injected into the walls to extend the sweet spot for more consistency. This also makes the paddle more stable by minimizing vibrations.

I can confirm that this tech works as expected. The sweet spot is nice and large. Plus, the paddle is very controlled and really stable.

Having now played with several paddles with this tech (as opposed to an edgeless design), I much prefer the foam injection. I'm glad to see it used here.

Standard shape

Measuring 16" long by 8" wide, this paddle gives you a wide playing face for control and forgiveness. However, it also means a little less power and reach compared to an elongated paddle.

It's important to note that the handle is 5 ¼" long, so two-handed backhands won't be easy if you like playing with them.

The ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle on a court
The ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle on a court

Performance

7.5/10

Power

9.5/10

Control

10/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

9.5/10

Weighting

8/10

Grip

9/10

Durability

8/10

Aerodynamics

Power: 7.5/10

Since this isn't a thermoformed, elongated, or heavyweight paddle, there's no reason to think it would score high marks for power. However, power was definitely adequate for me.

I like to swing hard and don't need much power from a paddle. You can always throw a little lead tape on there to boost the power.

Control: 9.5/10

What you might lose in power, you gain in control. I'm surprised by how much this paddle helps my touch game.

I'm always a little shaky on my third-shot drops, especially in the first game or two of a session. However, with this ProXR paddle, I managed to drop them from my very first shot. There are few paddles I can say that about.

I feel confident in long dink rallies with The Standard. My shots just feel precise—whether it's an angled overhead winner or a simple passing shot.

Spin: 10/10

You'll feel a little bit like Zane wielding this paddle. Spin is excellent—10 out of 10.

I notice it most on big topspin drives that dip on the line. Also, on third-shot topspin drops that have so much spin they dip at my opponent's feet. Against less experienced players, I can win the point outright.

I also like to hit a hard backhand slice return. I can put a lot of backspin on the ball. Again, especially against less advanced players, my opponent often hits their third shot right into the net. Point over.

Forgiveness: 9/10

You get a big sweet spot with the standard shape, and with that comes lots of forgiveness. So far, I haven't had many mishits, pop-ups, or flyers.

When playing doubles at my local courts with other rec players, my teammates often say they like playing with me as I didn't make many mistakes. I'd put this down to the consistency of this paddle. It simply won me more games. I'm now packing this paddle in my bag every week.

Weighting: 9.5/10

This plays light in the hands while still packing decent power. That means the weight design is working as expected, which is sadly not always the case with other paddles.

Grip: 8/10

ProXR pride themselves on their grip designs, but I haven't found anything particularly special about this grip. That said, it is plenty sufficient and holds up well in long play sessions.

Durability: 9/10

With the carbon build, foam edge guard, and high-quality materials, there's no reason to think this paddle won't hold up over time. The paddle face has that built-in texture, not a sprayed-on grit, which I love to see. That means it shouldn't wear down any time soon.

Aerodynamics: 8/10

While I didn't notice any special aerodynamic features, this paddle plays light without any drag or head heaviness. A solid 8/10.

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 Zane Navratil "Standard" paddle makes the list:

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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

The Standard Zane Navratil paddle from ProXR Pickleball currently sells for $210, definitely a unique price point. I'm not aware of any other paddles at this price.

This places it between the CRBN-2X Power Series and Paddletek Bantam ALW-C (both $230) on one side and the Gearbox CX14E ($200) and Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control ($180) on the other.

The ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle resting against a net
The ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" pickleball paddle resting against a net

Value for money

Personally, I still consider the cheaper rivals from Six Zero and Bread & Butter to be better value for money. That said, I do think this ProXR paddle is worth the price if it suits your playing style (like it does mine).

It's a pro-level paddle. If you compare this to its more expensive rivals like the JOOLA Collin Johns Scorpeus or the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta (both $250), this is a good deal.

Professional use

Who uses the ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard"?

Zane Navratil actually uses "The Signature" in this range. It's the elongated version. "The Standard" has the same construction and spin, but is shorter, wider, and more control-oriented.

Navratil is currently one of the top in the world for men's singles pickleball. He has 18 APP Tour gold medals, 2 PPA Tour gold medals, and is a 2x MLP champion.

Players using the ProXR Pickleball Zane Navratil "The Standard" paddle during a pickleball game

Bottom line

I like this paddle for early intermediates all the way up to pros. It suits intermediates well because it's so good on control. For those at the 3.5-4.0 level, this is an area of your game that will win you more games than having big power.

This paddle is great for pros because of its spin potential. The only player who won't be fully satisfied with this is a pure power player. You'll be happier with any of the thermoformed carbon paddles out there, especially the B&B Filth, Six Zero DBD, and CRBN-1X Power Series.

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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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