It is a rebirth for Ektelon, the first company to manufacture racquetball racquets. The company is unveiling many new products including racquets, shoes, eye guards, bags, and gloves. Scott Winters, Vice President for Ektelon states that it is a “completely new revamped line of products” and that in his 20 years with the company they have “never put out this amount of new product, ever.” That means racquetball players worldwide can look forward to a ton of exciting innovations and new products coming their way very soon.
Let’s start off with the racquets. Ektelon is coming out with eighteen new racquets. That’s right: eighteen. Some are brand new and others are updated versions of current proven performers. The racquets are separated by power level (ranging from 1000 series to 4000 series) and players can look forward to new innovative material technologies incorporated into their top-line frames. The most revolutionary of these is a new woven fiber composite, TeXtreme®, developed by Oxeon, a Swedish company which has successfully introduced this material into many of sports including: Formula One racing, NHL hockey and biking. This material innovative spreadtow material, which is 20% lighter than other carbon fabrics on the market, increases frame strength and improves torsional stability. This means more power, control and frame durability for players and Ektelon is thrilled to be releasing into the sport of racquetball.
Players will see this new technology in the 4000 power level series racquets. TeXtreme®, will be integrated at the top and bottom corners of the racquets. These frames will have increased stability and a high level of power. Ektelon will also be expanding their extreme stringing pattern (ESP) technology, which includes 12 main strings into eleven of the new frames as well. With the lower number of main strings, the string bed will be more elastic and the payoff is extreme power for those power hungry players.
Also, the 4000 level racquets will feature the Double Power Ring (DPR). The mains will wrap around two power rings in the throat of the racquet, which will increase string length and boost power.
The 4000 series will consist of 5 racquets and range from 150 grams to 180 grams. There will be 4 Toron variations and an updated Re-Ignite. In addition, the EX03 Toron will come in a very light, 150-gram frame. These premier racquets range from $199.99-229.99.
Within the 3000 power level series, Ektelon has 3 new racquets. These racquets feature Carbon Kevlar—an incredibly durable, stiff material that will be placed at the top corners. These quadraform frames feature a combination of power and control. There are generally more main strings with these frames so they are geared towards players that use more finesse, but also still want to put pace on the ball. Players will see a new 170-gram O3 White with ESP, a 165 gram O3 Tour, and a 170 gram O3 Red. These new upper end racquets will range from $99.99- 149.99
Next comes the six new racquets within the 2000 power level series. These quality, affordable racquets are designed for the more amateur player. Graphite and aluminum graphite will be the primary materials used in these to keep these racquets affordable. However, Ektelon is integrating their extreme stringing pattern all the way down to this level, which is very exciting.
The frames are named either Thunder or Lightning and the only differences are the weights. The Thunder with 100% graphite construction will come in 170,175, and 180 grams and the graphite/aluminum Lightning frames will be offered at 190, 195, and 200 grams. These mid-priced racquets will range from $49.99-99.99.
Finally we come to the four new 1000 power level series. These starter racquets are equipped with bigger head sizes and the Triple Threat® technology at the top corners. Triple Threat® consists of titanium, copper, and carbon material at 10, 2 and 6 o’clock on the frame to produce a bigger sweet spot. Also, the addition of tungsten will reduce arm shock. Players will also see ESP integrated within the Power Ring Rebel racquet. These racquets are also designed for beginners, but are a fantastic starting point for new players and will no doubt entice players to purchase a higher end Ektelon frames as they develop their skills.
It is absolutely remarkable how many new and updated racquets Ektelon will be releasing. Scott Winters attributes this to the “focus and dedication to the brand by new ownership that which is allowing us to get back to basics of being the technology leader”. On a personal note, I cannot wait to play test their new frames and I know that many other players are looking forward to the releases too.
Ektelon players will also have 4 new shoes to test. The incredibly popular T-22 will be coming out in a new color scheme in white, black, and energy blue. This shoe has been the top shoe in racquet sports and is incredibly durable for indoor and outdoor play. Ektelon’s mesh upper design will provide breathability and keep the shoe well ventilated.
There will also be 3 other shoes released. The NFS Attacks (2 mids and 1 low) are the “first shoe Ektelon has developed from the ground up”, states Scott Winters. NFS stands for natural foot shape and has been used in previous shoes. This spacious shoe will cushion during play and allow movement without jamming the toes. In addition, these sharp looking Attack’s will be breathable and lightweight. Color schemes available will be white/black/red, black/red, and yellow/white/black. This stylish footwear will be durable, comfortable, and look great. Another positive move from Ektelon.
Players will also see some new eye guards on the market. The popular Speed model will be coming back, but now available in white. The More Game, another bestseller, will feature some upgrades including vented lenses to increase airflow and reduce fogging. Ektelon will have two of these new More Games, one of which will feature a blue lens. This specialty lens will filter out bright colors in indoor courts allowing the player to see the ball more clearly. It is absolutely ideal for players with sensitive eyes that can have trouble in bright courts.
There will also be a pink/black pair of the Scopa Slim that is tailored to narrower faces. The color scheme is geared towards female players and will be breathable and lightweight. In addition to protection, players will be equipped with eyewear that looks stylish and will not fog up easily.
Another exciting area of innovation for Ektelon is their glove line. Long time players will see some of the same gloves they have grown to love but with some updates and new names. Six gloves in total with new backings and more neoprene in the dive finger area to protect the players and increase comfort.
Everything will be upgraded and renamed. The new names will still contain their familiar roots. The Ektelon Classic is becoming the Classic NXG (next generation) glove. It is one of the more popular models and will now have a more premium, kangaroo and sheepskin leather palm.
The Coolmax Extreme, Air O Max, Maxtack Premium, O3 Tour should also sound very similar to the current gloves on the market. Look for some upgrades with these as well. And Ektelon will be also introducing a new top of the line glove. Even though it will be their most expensive at $19.99, the new Ruben Gonzalez Legend will be a great choice for beginning and advanced players.
All of the updates will be every bit as durable and comfortable as the current models that players love. Finding the right pairing of glove and racquet will be no issue considering the bounty of options Ektelon will be producing.
We have finally reached the last category of the new products being released: bags. There will be four new models released and players will be able to pick the one that best suits their game style. The new Team Tour will be the biggest size and have a lot of compartments for the avid racquetballer. It can be worn as a backpack and will even include a laptop compartment. This is a very versatile bag and will be great for the top level player that carries a lot of equipment.
The Team Tournament will have only 1 racquet compartment, but will also accommodate a lot of equipment. Both options are very durable and will feature new designs in red and black. Also, Ektelon’s signature flame will be proudly displayed.
Now those bags are for the more serious players, but Ektelon will have two others that will be ideal for the traveling player or the weekend warrior. The Team Backpack will be great for a player that needs to pack just enough to get through a one or two day tournament. And the Team Tote is a compact, sleek bag that easily will hold a racquet, can of balls, gloves, and eye guards. Perfect for the beginner or infrequent player. The options are endless and accommodate any level of player.
So that is everything new. It is without a doubt one of the most impressive new product line releases by any racquetball company. Get excited for all the new options to try and critique. Considering Ektelon’s excellent reputation as one of the top names in the sport and a leading innovator of racquetball technologies, we can only look forward to what the future will bring. However, let us not get too ahead of ourselves and enjoy this latest release. I know I will be hitting the courts as soon as these new products hit the market. Enjoy players!