I have played racquetball for 43 years. I started playing on 3 wall outdoor courts in a park across from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, CA when I was 17 years old (it was a 5 minute bike ride from my home). I loved the sport and eventually I bought my own racquet stringing machine because I wanted to experiment with varying string tensions, string gauges, string brands and string types (mono, multifilament, gut, etc.) I understood the trade-offs between looser tensions (power) and tighter tensions (control). This knowledge and understanding translates to understanding how Gearbox SST achieves power vs control in their pickleball paddles by varying carbon fiber properties and orientation to alter the stiffness of the materials. I get it, I have a Design Engineering BS degree from Brigham Young University, having focused heavily on the inter-relationship between materials and manufacturing technologies.
My first Gearbox paddle was this GH7L. I bought it because I came from a racquetball background and Gearbox was a reputable racquetball company, and because the price was under $100. I liked that it was elongated considering I am somewhat short in stature. I did not love the handle being as short as it was, but I didn't know enough at the time to consider that an issue, and it suited me for a time. Eventually, as I purchased other paddles, my friends all used this one and they came to like it quite a bit. In fact, one of my friends ended up buying it from me.
My second Gearbox paddle was the original Gearbox Eight (Red). I bought it because it was teardrop shaped, and that's the style racquetball racquet that I play with (Ektelon ESP Pro Toron). Apparently when Gearbox first made these teardrop paddles, they didn't take into consideration neighborhood noise ordinances, consequently, they could not achieve USAPA approval with that paddle. It sounded thunderous when I hit an overhead smash but I wanted a legit paddle, so I bought the new and improved Eight (Neon Green) that had noise dampening engineered in.
My next Gearbox paddle was the GX6 Power 7.8 (Greenish-Yellow). I had a hard time adjusting to this paddle. Friends used it and loved it, but I tended to hit everything too hard, I struggled to adapt to the SST stiffness of this paddle. I certainly appreciated the robustness in design, I wanted to like it so badly for that reason, plain and simple, I just couldn't hit well with it. That led me to experiment with other paddles. Having just introduced my son to the sport, he did a lot of online research and decided that the Paddletek TS-5 was the holy grail of paddles. He purchased it which influenced me to try the Paddletek Tempest Wave II and later the heavier Bantam EX-L.
I liked the Tempest Wave II quite a bit, but eventually decided to explore what all the hype was with Selkirk and their AMPED line of paddles. I got a deal on two Maximas on ebay and then decided the Selkirk Invikta was for me. I started with the heavy but with a hurting elbow decided to try the Invikta light. I eventually returned back to the Gearbox GX6 7.8 Power and played much better with it. That became my paddle of choice. I then ebayed all others and focused on the Gearbox SST family of paddles.
These (above) are the various paddles that I tried in search for the Holy Grail of pickleball paddles. I never had any moments of brilliance with the Gearbox Eight (green), the pink Paddletek Horizon nor with the red/black Paddletek TS-5. I did have moments with the red/white/blue Paddletek Bantam E-XL, I loved the graphics of that paddle, but preference would go to the Selkirk Inviktas and the Tempest Wave II so there was no point really in keeping any of the others. The Gearbox GX6 still had an asterisk, because I did have moments of brilliance with it, as did some of my friends. Several people wanted to buy it from me, and because I wanted to like it, I just kept trying it until one day it just started working. It became my "go to" and all other paddles would eventually be sold off.
I next purchased a new Gearbox GX6 8.5 Power Joey Farias (blue) paddle. I loved it and that became my new "go to" paddle, but not long after that I saw a great "buy it now" deal on ebay for a package of 4 Demo Gearbox paddles (slightly used but practically new): GX6 8.5 Control (red), GX5 8.5 Power (blue), GX5 8.5 Control (yellow/orange) and the GX5 7.8 Power (green). It was like Christmas, I had too many new toys to play with. Two weeks later I saw a screaming deal on a used GX5 7.8 Control (red) and won the auction. I was only 1 paddle shy of having the full collection, the GX6 7.8 Control (green). My son had purchased that one brand new from Gearbox but he hated it from the get go, said it was WAY too light. He ended up selling it to a friend and taking an immediate $45 hit/loss. His dislike caused me to hold off on pursuing ownership of that one. My son then fell in love with my GX6 8.5 Power Joey (blue) and has been using it ever since, so I made it his college graduation gift. For a while, my paddle of choice became the GX5 7.8 Control (red), I fell in love with that thing (and can be seen pictured with it with my son holding his blue GX6 Joey Farias on the News page of this site. Then one windy day I felt like I was struggling to get the ball into the opponents side of the court with that paddle being so light, so I switched to the heavier GX5 8.5 Control (orange) and had moments of brilliance with it so that became my new "go-to" paddle, for a good while. I did miss the extended length of the GX6, a clear trade-off for the agile feel that it had at the kitchen. I had to figure out if I wanted to focus on the long game (power) or the short game (control). I opted to go for the best of both worlds, the GX6 8.5 Control (red) would give me some control while offering me the power of the fulcrum effect of the elongated paddle (and the much needed extended reach). At this point I saw a screaming deal on ebay for another GX6 8.5 Power (blue) because it was quite scraped up (literally chewed up) on the edge. I knew this would not impact the integrity or playability of the paddle at all, it just looked bad cosmetically so I scored it for $65. Since I ALWAYS use Gorilla tape to protect my paddle edge, I knew the "homelessness" of my new paddle would be hidden :). That beat up used blue Joey became my new "go to" paddle (February/March 2021), it still serves me well today. I finally bought the green GX6 7.8 Control to complete my collection and had a week or two of utter brilliance with that paddle and then I went into one of the worse slumps that I've been in since I started playing this game. I probably wrongfully blamed the paddle (it's never the wand, it's always the wizard). My beat up blue Joey pulled me out of that slump and I am back to playing pretty well (for now). Ironically, my original 7.8 Power (greenish-yellow) that I loved first is now the GX6 that I'd least turn to (that and then the green 7.8 Control). I clearly like the heavier paddles better, but I can do some amazing things with those light ones, but they change my game from what "the typical" is. What can I say, I'm a power player... My new current go-to paddle (4/2021) is the Red Control 8.5 GX6. UPDATE (5/2021) - with tournaments now behind me, I decided to experiment again with some of the other paddles. With the heat of the summer, I now find the original greenish-yellow GX6 7.8 Power to again be my "go to". So, this is what happens when you are a dealer and own every paddle that Gearbox makes, you just keep changing. If something is working for me, I stick with it. If it isn't, I try something else.
Back to my story... Since I had been lending out my paddles for everyone else to try, letting them benefit from my investment, I essentially got Gearbox a dozen or more new customers, and I wasn't trying to convert people, they just did so all on their own. People out of curiosity tried them, most of them almost immediately recognized what I recognized, how great (different) they feel, and most people become hooked immediately (unlike me) and are sold. I thought, "These things just sell themselves, I should look into becoming a Reseller, I know these things inside and out and I know that the engineering is superior to any other paddle on the market, I completely believe in them, why not?" Hence, I am now your nearby neighborhood favorite Authorized Gearbox Reseller!
Having become an Authorized Gearbox Reseller, I purchased for myself these two new CP7 honeycomb paddles that are shaped identical to the GX6. I have tried them and I can say I do like them quite a bit. If I was on a budget, I'd buy one of these in a heartbeat over the Selkirk Invikta (or any other honeycomb paddle out there). The challenge, whether to buy the 8.5 or the 7.8? They are much better than my GH7L was. These are brand new models and didn't exist in 2019 when I bought my GH7L.
Gearbox has a new "traditional" shaped honeycomb paddle too, it is very reasonably priced, especially when you compare it to all other honeycomb paddles on the market. Unlike the CP7s above that differ in weight by color, there is nothing different about these two GH7+ paddles save the colors. They are both 8 oz in weight. I much prefer the CP7 over these, but then again I favor the elongated GX6 over the traditional shape/size GX5. I still MUCH prefer SST technology over honeycomb!