Have you heard about the Origine tennis racquet? Well join the crowd because this new racquet has only been visible for a short time as far as I can tell.
The Origine racquet is the creation of a group of composite gurus that have introduced flax fibre as a component fibre! Flax, of course could not, by itself, withstand the rigors of aggressive play so a healthy percentage of graphite is combined to produce an interesting racquet. As you know flax is a totally renewable resource that grows in the ground not in chemical furnaces. So, there is a definite eco bent to this product. In addition to this tennis racquet Groupe-Origine is producing a golf shaft.
I met with a Groupe-Origine representative recently in Orlando and will give you my initial comments here. Some today and more later as I receive input from “hitters”.
First, this racquet is not expensive and it shows. Not from a performance perspective but only as a function of aesthetics. You can tell that the force here is fibre technology not beauty. I am way more critical of racquet components than most people so keep that in mind as we go forward. The flax fibre is visible under a heavy clear coat, I feel, is showing some cracking that may be wrongfully considered a serious crack in the racquet.
That racquet I worked on is 27.56 inches long (70mm), weighs in at 10.62 ounces (301 grams), a swing weight of 10.9 ounces (309 grams). The 100 square inch (645cm) head size is ideal but the length should be reduced to 27.3 inches (69.5cm) maximum. The racquet has an arm friendly flex of 58 on the RDC. I think this and the natural vibration damping properties of the flax fibre were the design goals of this racquet.
The racquet uses a full composite configuration which means the grip shape and size is is produced by the composite and not a molded on component. This is typically a less expensive manufacturing method.
The racquet was received with a very ordinary string so that went away in a hurry. I selected a RAB Sensor Fibre string in a 17 gauge to maximize the performance of the racquet. I used a reference tension of 55 pounds. The racquet is a 16 x 18 pattern which makes for a really easy racquet to string. The cross string holes need to be larger to accommodate hybrid configurations. I used a two piece format with the cross strings starting at the top.
The RDC string bed stiffness was 54 and the Flex Four string bed stiffness was 57.5. A very friendly number!
The racquet is out for hitting so I will add more as I receive feed-back.