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DHS Hurricane 8 Hard and Mid-Hard Table Tennis Rubbers Review with Unboxing Videos!

06 September 2016  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

About the Reviewer

Patrick Hrdlicka is a table tennis enthusiast, who was introduced to the sport by his parents at the age of six. Patrick progressed to play in the highest national cadet and junior team leagues in his native Denmark and was among the top 40 players in his age group, which fostered several long-standing members of the Danish National Team. With college looming, Patrick quit the sport for almost twenty years. During this hiatus, he obtained a Ph.D.-degree in chemistry and accepted a position as professor of chemistry at the University of Idaho.

At the beginning of 2014, the mid-life crisis and yearning for table tennis grew too strong for Patrick and he decided to pick up the sport again. Bitten again by the table tennis bug, he plays 4-6 times per week. 

Since his comeback to table tennis, he has enjoyed combining his analytical and experimental skills with his love for table tennis, testing and reviewing a wide range of table tennis equipment.

DHS Hurricane 8 - Introduction

The recent change from celluloid to plastic balls automatically reduced the amount of spin in table tennis, fueling frustrations in players like myself, who base their game on strong serves, spinny serve returns, and loaded loops. However, even with the ball change, I noticed that certain players were able to maintain very high spin levels. Invariably, I found that these players use DHS rubbers. Not having played with Chinese rubbers since my early childhood, I was skeptical to try them out. However, encouraged by a couple of my regional table tennis colleagues, I decided to give the DHS Hurricane 8 mid-hard and hard rubbers a try (39 and 40 degrees hardness, respectively).

The DHS Hurricane 8 has been around for a while, appearing on the List of Approved Racket Coverings (LARC) in January 2011. DHS describes the Hurricane 8 in the following manner: “Hurricane 8 is specially designed to compensate the spin and speed loss of the 40+ plastic ball. The sponge of the Hurricane 8 is a hard high-density Chinese style sponge, but it is a new type with 15% more elasticity. The top sheet of the Hurricane 8 has more stickiness than Hurricane 2 Neo and Hurricane 3 Neo rubbers.”

The DHS Hurricane 8 topsheet feels very robust and is very tacky compared to European or Japanese rubbers (can lift a ball for 1-2 seconds), but it is less tacky than the DHS Hurricane 3 series. There are ~13 pips per 5 cm in the horizontal direction and ~22 pips per 5 cm in the vertical direction. DHS uses the same topsheet in both versions. The orange sponge has no visible pores but does have relatively pronounced “ripples” or waves. The uncut DHS Hurricane 8 sheets are very heavy, weighing 79 gram (mid-hard, 169 mm x 166 mm) and 71 gram (hard, 170 mm x 166 mm), respectively. Like with all commercial-grade DHS rubbers, all four corners are cut off the sheet. The rubbers dome slightly and give off a distinctive and pungent smell that is reminiscent of organic amines as in decaying fish. The two DHS Hurricane 8 rubbers are, by a long margin, the hardest rubbers that I have tested so far.

Testing procedure

I used brand-new black 2.2 mm DHS Hurricane 8 sheets in either 39 or 40 degree hardness (also called mid-hard and hard, respectively). I attached the rubbers on the FH side of an OFF rated 5+2 composite blade with three layers of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue, playing with Xiom Zava short pips in my BH. First, I evaluated unboosted rubbers in order of decreasing hardness over 1-2 days each, playing against my usual training partners using 3-star seamless 40+ plastic balls (warmup and light FH drills for 20-30 minutes, then ~20-30 sets). After this initial round of testing, I applied three layers of Falco Long Term booster on each rubber over the course of 48 hours and allowed the excessive doming to subside over the next ~5 days. I then reattached the boosted sheets to the test blade with an additional glue layer and re-evaluated the boosted rubbers in order of increasing hardness.  

Unboxing Video (40 degree version - hard)

Playing Impressions - 40 degree version, unboosted

As stated in the introduction, the 40 degree Hurricane 8 is a heavy rubber, weighing 53 grams when cut to my 157 mm x 150 mm blade, which is two grams heavier than other heavyweights such as Tibhar’s Evolution MX-P or Xiom Omega V Asia. The DHS Hurricane 8 has the characteristic metallic Chinese rubber feel and sound to it. By itself, the rubber is rather slow. However, because I paired it with a very fast composite blade and since the rubber has minimal catapult, I was able to put a lot of physical effort into my shots, allowing me to generate a lot of pace on the ball, while maintaining excellent control. FH drives feel ok but do not have the crisp feel of European/Japanese rubbers. FH loops and loop-drives have a unique arc and kick to them, which make the opponent’s life very difficult – I can best describe the shots as having a flat trajectory to begin with, which is followed by a very strong dip shortly behind the net, and a strong kick off the bounce. Looping against heavy BH spin is a breeze because the ball sticks to the rubber, which gave me a little more time to guide the ball over the net with tremendous amounts of spin. However, it is important to have good timing and footwork – shots hit out of position, careen far beyond the table. Needless to say, that I didn’t observe any ball slippage. Flat hits played without topspin are not the H8’s forte since the throw angle is very low, often causing the ball to clip the net. Combined with a fast blade, a lot of pace can be generated for controlled smashes. Blocking is controlled - the rubber can absorb a lot of kinetic energy, which allowed me to play very controlled active or passive blocks depending on the amount of contact pressure that I applied onto the blade. The rubber’s tackiness, however, does require some time to get used to as blocks ‘stick’ to the paddle for a fraction of a second longer than with non-Chinese rubbers, thusly being a little more sensitive to bat angles. The hard version of the DHS Hurricane 8 is truly outstanding in the short and touch game. The rubber can ‘eat up’ most of the spin that is on a ball, which allowed me to return the ball with a very flat arc and with a lot of backspin. Aggressive serve returns are also easy to perform – the tacky nature of the rubber gave me a little bit more time to execute and lift flips over the net in the desired direction. The rubber is well-suited for serves, but high swing speeds are necessary to generate very high spin levels.          

Serves: 9/10 
Serve receives and short game: 10/10
Looping: 9.5/10
Flat hitting: 8.5/10
Blocking: 9/10 

Read Hurricane 8 Hard Customer Reviews & Get Our Best Price >>

 

Unboxing Video (39 degree version - hard)

Playing Impressions - 39 degree version, unboosted

For reasons that I cannot explain, the 39 degree DHS Hurricane 8 sheet that I used weighed significantly more than the 40 degree version, i.e., 57 grams when cut to my 157 mm x 150 mm blade. Batch inconsistency? Thicker sponge? More factory tuning? I don’t know, but it sure is heavy! As might be expected, the overall characteristics of the 39 degree H8 are quite similar to the harder 40 degree H8. The 39 degree version is slightly softer and bouncier than the 40 degree version, meaning that looping requires a little bit less effort, which I actually think is a disadvantage, as full effort shots now have an increasing probability of going long. I also had slightly less control in my short game, whereas my serves were slightly spinnier. I found shots from mid-distance to be a little easier to execute with the 39 degree rubber relative to the 40 degree rubber. However, the differences between the mid-hard and hard versions are minor, less than 5-7% in my opinion.

Serves: 9.5/10 
Serve receives and short game: 9.5/10
Looping: 9/10
Flat hitting: 8/10
Blocking: 9/10 

Read Hurricane 8 Mid-Hard Customer Reviews & Get Our Best Price >>

 

Playing Impressions - 39 degree version, treated with three layers of Falco Long Term Booster

Treatment with the Falco Long Term booster added five more grams to the rubber, yielding a slightly softer sheet weighing a whopping 62 grams. I was, quite frankly, a little disappointed with the feel of the boosted 39 degree DHS H8 rubber relative to the unboosted version. To me, the booster treatment reduced the rubber’s unique Chinese characteristics. For example, looping and flat hits require less effort but are also less controlled, resulting in more balls either going long or clipping the net. In other words, the margin for error is smaller. The rubber’s bouncier nature also rendered it a little more difficult to execute short high spin serves.

Serves: 9/10 
Serve receives and short game: 9/10
Looping: 8.5/10
Flat hitting: 8.5/10
Blocking: 8.5/10

Playing Impressions - 40 degree version, treated with three layers of Falco Long Booster

Booster treatment increased the weight of the 40 degree DHS Hurricane 8 sheet by 4 grams, yielding a sheet that weighed stately 57 grams. In my opinion, the effect of the Falco Long Term booster was more beneficial on the harder H8 version. The boosted rubber is a little peppier, but doesn’t lose its fundamental Chinese characteristics. Full effort loops and flat shots are slightly faster but still very controlled. The slightly softer sponge allows for higher spin on slow and fast shots. The arc and kick on loops is very similar to the unboosted version. My short game was only minimally impacted by the boosting process.  

Serves: 9.5/10 
Serve receives and short game: 9.5/10
Looping: 9.5/10
Flat hitting: 9/10
Blocking: 9/10

Get Falco Tempo Long Booster >>

 

Conclusion
The DHS Hurricane 8 excels in the serve and return game and provides tremendous amounts of spin and control on loops. It is a fairly slow rubber that requires a lot of physical effort to generate high speed levels. Accordingly, the DHS H8 works best in combination with a fast composite blade played close to the table. In my opinion, the boosted 40 degree DHS Hurricane 8 represents the best balance between Chinese characteristics, ease of play, spin and speed. However, for those of us who don’t like to play with boosted rubbers in sanctioned tournaments, the unboosted 40 degree DHS Hurricane 8 represents an almost equally good choice.

Recommended player type
In my opinion, the DHS Hurricane 8 is most suitable for players, who like to play with great physical effort and who want a linear, spinny, and controlled rubber that allows them to play a balanced game. I do have two hesitations with this rubber. First off, its massive weight renders it less suitable for kids and others who play with two regular/inverted sheets. Secondly, the huge swing necessary to generate fast shots may impede a player’s ability to return to a neutral position, rendering it easy to be caught off balance.

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