The Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control is the latest pickleball paddle to come out of Australia and it's winning over a lot of fans. I've heard people claim it gives the JOOLA Hyperion a run for its money at a much lower cost, so I decided to put it to the test and find out for myself.
Read on to see if this paddle is really as exciting as people say it is.
Our verdict5.0This is it folks: the Double Black Diamond Control has our vote for the best pickleball paddle of 2023 (so far)! Ever since the JOOLA Hyperion was released, challengers have raced to take over its top spot. This paddle is one of the few to succeed. It genuinely does have the ideal blend of power, control, and spin. It also retails for a lot less than its competitors, making it one of the best-value paddles on the market today.
Buy or pass?
You want an all-court paddle.
This paddle really does balance control with awesome spin and power.
You want a more affordable elite paddle.
Currently priced at $180, this is much cheaper than its $250 rivals.
You want a user-friendly performance paddle.
Most thermoformed paddles feel stiff, but this is more user-friendly (like the Hyperion).
You prefer elongated paddles.
At 16 ⅓" in length, the hybrid shape gives it less reach than an elongated paddle.
You like to play a soft game.
This might be too poppy for you if you don't need power in your game.
You tend to pop up shots.
This fell just below a 10/10 for control, so consider the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash or the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power for elite control.
7 ½" – 7 ⅔"
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After unboxing this paddle, I knew straight away it was impressive. The CEO of Six Zero claims he spent 18 months designing every element—and it shows.
I could already tell from the materials and how the paddle felt in the hand that it would play well. Plus, the pink cherry blossom touch adds a little variety to the common black design of modern raw carbon paddles.
Check out my initial thoughts here:
As this is Six Zero's control paddle, that's what I want to mention first. I had excellent accuracy all over the court, and a lot of finesse at the kitchen line. Thanks to the large sweet spot, mishits were far rarer than the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, which I tested the week before.
This is much more than a control paddle, though—it packs a serious punch too. The ball came fast off the face, and I could play an aggressive game when I wanted to.
The final component that makes this an excellent all-court paddle is its spin, which I go into more detail on below. Nowadays, every paddle claims to have the perfect mix of power, control, and spin, but this one truly delivers on that promise.
Another thing I liked was the lack of stiffness. While other thermoformed paddles like the Volair Mach 1 played stiff as a board, this one had a more plush feel. This is rare for a thermoformed paddle.
Overall, I felt that the Double Black Diamond Control was everything the JOOLA Perseus should have been. It's almost 0.5 oz lighter than the Hyperion, but even more powerful.
The only drawback for me was the time it took to get used to how this paddle plays. It's a bit poppy off the face, and the hybrid shape can take adjusting to if you're coming from an elongated paddle.
You might miss that extra reach at the start, but on the flip side, it has a bigger sweet spot. So, if you keep playing with it, you're likely to end up loving this paddle.
Great accuracy on hard topspin serves, volleys, and overheads—especially awesome on resets
Great spin and power for a rounded, aggressive, confident game
Large sweet spot, with fewer mishits than elongated paddles like the CRBN-1X or the JOOLA Perseus
Poppy face for a control paddle, affecting my drops and occasionally my dinks
Adjustment period if you're coming from a pure control paddle—I kept taking swing off at the start to get the control I needed
Disappointing grip quality, feeling sweaty and slippery in hot weather
Six Zero, a brand from Australia, burst onto the pickleball scene with thermoformed paddles to rival top brands like CRBN and JOOLA. What's surprising is how much cheaper their paddles are.
I had a lot of fun testing this one, so let's see what tech they used in the 'DBD Control' and what that means on the court.
Toray 700 Japanese nano-engineered carbon fiber surface
You might have heard about 'T700' (or 'Toray 700') by now. This is the cutting-edge carbon fiber being used on pickleball paddle faces. It's really effective at generating spin, but not all paddles that use it achieve the same results.
The face of the DBD Control definitely has a more premium feel and advanced texture than similar paddles I've tested. It's not sprayed on like the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta, so it should last a long time. This surface feels like a step up even when compared to the Perseus.
I was impressed by the spin when play-testing the DBD Control. I've seen this paddle test at spin rates of 2,000+ RPMs and can say it generates more than enough spin to play an advanced game.
Carbon fusion edge technology
Every company seems to have a different way of describing it, but this is basically the foam-injected perimeter design we're seeing everywhere now.
In the DBD Control, a thin layer of carbon fiber also acts as a seam to fuse the top and bottom faces of the paddle. Six Zero claims this gives it an enhanced sweet spot and a tighter, crisp feel.
From my testing, I can confirm it works as advertised. This paddle has a larger, more forgiving sweet spot than most elite raw carbon paddles I've played with. It also adds power, which has not been the case with many raw carbon fiber paddles to date.
Most thermoformed paddles I've played with feel stiff and poppy. I'd been playing with the Volair Mach 1 FORZA before this, so I was expecting a similarly stiff feel here.
However, I was surprised to find the DBD Control way less stiff than I expected. It was a lot more plush and natural and was easy to get a feel for this paddle from my very first warm-up dink.
Novice players may still find it a bit stiff and difficult, but I think if you stick with this paddle for a few weeks, you'll get used to it and see the benefits.
Raw carbon paddles tend to be more control-oriented. As a power player, I'm always anxious to see how they perform on power. This one delivered big time.
I could play a really aggressive game with hard drives, commanding putaways, and deep, fast topspin serves. I couldn't help keeping my opponents on their toes.
For a control paddle, this has amazing pop. While it's less powerful than some pure power paddles like the Selkirk Power Air, the Pro Kennex Black Ace, and Six Zero's own Black Diamond Power, it's still one of the most powerful paddles currently on the market.
If you're a doubles player who needs a more balanced game with touch and control, this paddle will suit you better than those.
This paddle is great when it comes to control and accuracy. I could hit hard topspin drives, hardly ever missing one. I could also place wide cross-court dinks right where I wanted.
I won many points in my first training session returning a pop-up ball with a wide overhead volley that landed right on the line. I also managed to put precise angles on volleys and overheads.
This paddle feels solid and stable and excels working up at the kitchen. It's also scarily good on resets. I was hitting the kind of resets that left my opponent wondering "Wait… what just happened?!" when they thought the point was over.
If it hadn't been for the poppiness of the face, I'd have given this a 10/10. It can take a little getting used to—especially if you struggle with popping up on drops and dinks.
People talk a ton about this paddle's spin generation, and I knew the moment I unboxed it that it was going to be a spin machine. It had such a premium texture on the face.
My testing confirmed that this one is for the spin devils. I got the same spin I love from the CRBN-1X Power Series—a really hard topspin drive that sinks right at your opponents' feet. I think the DBD Control even exceeded the CRBN for spin.
This is right up there with the most elite raw carbon fiber paddles. I could load up topspin, sidespin, backspin—anything I needed.
Like any high-end performance paddle, you need to hit near the center to unlock its full potential. That said, this paddle had a larger sweet spot and more forgiveness than many others I've used, including the JOOLA Perseus and Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.
Six Zero added small design elements to expand this paddle's sweet spot, and it really shows. When I mishit, the ball didn't just die. Even when I hit the ball near the throat (usually a completely dead part of the paddle), the ball would go over the net, at least keeping the point alive.
I don't often give top marks for weighting, but I think Six Zero nailed the weight distribution here. It plays with all the power and stability of the 8.5 oz+ JOOLA Hyperion, but they were able to take a full 0.4 oz off it.
This lightness made it more maneuverable, which gave me quicker hands at the net during fast kitchen exchanges.
Oddly, I was disappointed with the grip. For such a high-performance paddle, I expected a little better. I tested this in the hot Phoenix summer and, after about 90 minutes, the grip already felt sweaty and slippery.
That said, this is easily fixed with an overgrip, so I can't knock the paddle too much.
The T700 carbon fiber is super premium and I just know this paddle will stand the test of time. It's also got that edge guard which always helps durability. It feels sturdy and top-quality in my hands.
Despite taking some getting used to on reaches, I really liked how the hybrid shape made this paddle so quick. It flew through the air faster than the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash and the CRBN-1X—two paddles I tested recently that felt kind of sluggish.
Currently priced at $180, the Six Zero DBD Control is about $70 cheaper than the JOOLA Perseus, the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power, and the Selkirk Power Air. It's about $20 more than the Volair Mach 1 FORZA and the Legacy Pro. So, how does it stack up against these?
Value for money
This paddle outperforms all those I just mentioned. It's seriously good value and would be even if it was $250. The fact that it's $180 shows why it's on backorder for almost all of 2023.
Any player from 3.5—5.0 can get something out of this paddle. Intermediates wanting to play a more advanced game will definitely love it.
If you're ready to bring more power and spin to your touch game, this is for you. If you found the Hyperion too heavy, this is an excellent alternative.
If you're sick of top brands increasing their prices, and you don't need the prestige that comes with the JOOLA or Selkirk names, you've got to check this out. The main reason people might choose something else is if they want a totally control-focused paddle with less pop. Otherwise, I can't recommend this paddle enough.
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