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DHS Hurricane 3 Table Tennis Rubbers Series Review with Unboxing Videos!

14 September 2016  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

dhs hurricane 3 rubbers 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 3 - Introduction

As discussed in my recent review of the DHS Hurricane 8 series, I have developed an interest in sticky Chinese forehand rubbers as a means to compensate for the reduction in spin that the shift to the new 40+ plastic balls has resulted in. The DHS Hurricane 3 rubber range is very popular on the circuit and is known as the rubber of choice for many Chinese national team members. The super sticky topsheet comes with a wide range of sponge options. I set out to evaluate four of them, i.e., Hurricane 3 (mid-hard, 38-40 degrees), Hurricane 3 Neo (mid-hard, 38-40 degrees), Hurricane 3 Provincial Neo (40 degrees), and Hurricane 3-50 (mid-hard, 35-37 degrees). As a reminder, 36, 39 and 40 degrees on the DHS scale correspond to ~45, ~51 and ~53 degrees on the ESN scale, respectively.

All of the rubbers are covered with thin protective sheets. The DHS Hurricane 3 Neo sheets come in a simple blue/green paper wrapper inside a vacuum-packed plastic bag that preserves the rubber’s freshness. The Hurricane 3 and Hurricane 3-50 sheets come in purple and gold cardboard packaging and are not vacuum-packed. The Hurricane 3 topsheet has ~13 pips per 5 cm in the horizontal direction and ~22 pips per 5 cm in the vertical direction. The uncut sheets weigh 58 g (Hurricane 3, 2.20 mm black, 168 mm x 166 mm, four corners cut), 59 g (H3 Neo regular, 2.20 mm black, 163 mm x 162 mm, four corners cut), 61 g (Hurricane 3 Neo Provincial, 2.15 mm black, 164 mm x 156 mm, two corners cut), and 65 g (Hurricane 3-50, 2.10 mm black, 169 mm x 166 mm), respectively. The sponges of the Hurricane 3, regular Hurricane 3 Neo, and provincial Hurricane 3 Neo are slightly rippled, solid without pores, and have a light-orange color. The regular Hurricane 3 Neo has an excessive fish smell, which is less pronounced in the regular Hurricane 3 and, especially, the provincial Hurricane 3 Neo. While the Hurricane 3 sponge is non-sticky like in most other rubbers, the sponge of the regular Hurricane 3 Neo is very sticky. The sponge of the provincial Hurricane 3 Neo, on the other hand, is covered with a rubbery/plasticky substance and is much less sticky than the regular Hurricane 3 Neo. Clearly, the Neo versions have undergone some sort of chemical/booster treatment from the factory, which also is suggested by their slight doming. The regular Hurricane 3, on the other hand, does not dome. Neither does the Hurricane 3-50, which has a completely different, much softer, red sponge, which is non-sticky and much less smelly. A quick blind press test revealed the following order of hardness (from firmest to softest): Hurricane 8 hard > Hurricane 8 mid-hard > Hurricane 3 > provincial Hurricane 3 Neo > regular Hurricane 3 Neo > Tibhar Evolution MX-P > Hurricane 3-50 ~ Andro Rasant Grip

Testing procedure

I attached brand-new DHS Hurricane 3 sheets on the FH side of an OFF rated 5+2 composite blade with three layers of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue. I used Xiom Zava short pips in my BH. I evaluated the rubbers in the following order over 1-2 sessions using 3-star seamless 40+ plastic balls and primarily playing practice matches: Hurricane 3 Neo provincial version, Hurricane 3 Neo regular version, Hurricane 3, and Hurricane 3-50.

Hurricane 3 (mid-hard, 38-40 degrees, 2.20 mm black) – excellent value for the money

According to DHS, Hurricane 3 was designed for top players who care not only for highest speed and power but who also are looking for good control to enrich their attacking game with all possible combinations. The surface is described as “sticky”, the sponge as “medium hard”, and the recommended strategy as “ALL-OFF”.

Playing Impressions

I went into this test with low expectations because how good can a $17 rubber be, right? Well, it turns out, pretty darn good! First off, I was blown away how light the rubber is, weighing only 43 gram when cut to my 157x150 mm test blade. I have heard and read everywhere that the Hurricane 3 rubbers are supposed to be so heavy. Not the case! In fact, I have only tested two inverted rubbers that weigh less than the regular Hurricane 3, namely the drastically softer Gewo Proton Neo 325 and 375! The response on FH drives is surprisingly non-metallic for an unboosted Chinese rubber. FH loops felt far less “Chinese” than I expected. Sure, the throw angle is medium at best and loops are best played with considerable wrist action and a big swing. However, engagement of the wrist also results in a unique arc, in which the ball dips shortly behind the net, resulting in a distracting kick off the bounce. The rubber’s slow speed and the lack of a catapult effect gave me a lot of confidence to precisely ‘titrate’ the amount of power that I wanted to put into shots. As a consequence, I was able to impart tremendous amounts of spin on opening FH loops. This gave my training partners many problems and their blocks had a tendency to go too long. The feeling on loops is a little softer compared to unboosted Hurricane 8 sheets. The Hurricane 3 is not a very forgiving rubber – poorly executed loops were likely to miss their target by a considerable margin. My test setup gave me plenty of power to loop at close, mid, and far distance from the table. Flat hits are the Hurricane 3’s weakest suit – I found myself miss several easy smashes. I largely ascribe these errors the rubber’s tackiness – resulting in extended dwell time and, accordingly, greater bat angle sensitivity. Blocking is good as the rubber can absorb a lot of incoming kinetic energy due to the hard sponge, but again, the tackiness means that good timing on blocks is required as the ball otherwise misses the target. Aggressive, as well as, passive serve returns and touch shots are easy to execute with the Hurricane 3. The rubber’s tackiness made it easier for me to lift and flip on short serves, and impart massive amounts of backspin on pushes, which I could keep nice and low. At the same time, the Hurricane 3 is more spin-sensitive than other rubbers, which requires a little bit of getting used to. However, my guess is that that the rubber will be easier to play with once the extreme tack has diminished a little bit. The Hurricane 3 truly shines on serves, although the Neo versions allowed me to impart even more spin.  

Conclusion

The DHS Hurricane 3 rubber has one of the best price/performance ratios. It is an excellent and spinny rubber that allows players to use a mix of strategies, although hard-hitters - playing with little emphasis on spin - probably should look elsewhere. Depending on the speed of the blade that the Hurricane 3 is combined with, this rubber can be suitable for players at all levels, from beginners to professional players. Its low weight renders it particularly interesting for kids.

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

Hurricane 3 Neo regular version (mid-hard, 38-40 degrees, 2.20 mm black) – faster and bouncier than regular Hurricane 3

DHS states that the unique combination of the Neo sponge and Hurricane 3 topsheet enables stable, high-speed attacks that maximize the player’s striking potential. The rubber is recommended for an attacking strategy with high speed and low fast loop with strong spin.

Playing Impressions

Although four grams heavier than the non-Neo version, the DHS Hurricane 3 Neo still is fairly light, weighing only 47 g when cut to the 157 x 150 mm test blade. This renders it on par with Donic’s Acuda Blue P1, 1-4 grams lighter than the Xiom Omega V range, and at least 6 grams lighter than unboosted Hurricane 8 rubbers.

The DHS Hurricane 3 Neo is noticeably springier and softer in feel than the regular Hurricane 3. Accordingly, the feeling on FH drives is almost like with harder European rubbers, except that the ball sticks to the rubber for a fraction longer due to the extreme tackiness. In my opinion, the regular Hurricane 3 Neo has the lowest throw angle of the evaluated range, and as a result many of my loops clipped the net or simply went too long. To overcome this, I had to use more wrist and upward brushing motion. Loops against backspin require considerable physical effort, a more open bat angle, and excellent timing, as the balls otherwise are caught in the net. Flat hits were slightly better than with the regular Hurricane 3 due to the weak built-in catapult, although the rubber’s tackiness still resulted in several unforced smashing errors. In my opinion, the softer sponge renders the DHS Hurricane 3 Neo more sensitive to incoming spin than the regular Hurricane 3, which affected my blocking and passive serve return game. I also found that short returns have a tendency to pop up a little bit higher, giving my opponents unnecessary third ball attack opportunities. “One-and-a-half bounce” serves were particularly challenging to return with pushes as I lost confidence to aggressively cut into the ball because of the springier sponge; instead, I relied on low spin touch pushes, which were difficult to execute because of the aforementioned spin sensitivity. The rubber’s high grip aids in the execution of flips, but above average wrist action is necessary to compensate for the low throw. The Hurricane 3 Neo is outstanding for serves, allowing me to impart very high spin levels on the ball and to control ball placement with high precision.   

Conclusion

The DHS Hurricane 3 Neo is a super tacky rubber for a controlled spin-offensive game, catering to players who enjoy low throw rubbers and who play with a lot of wrist. I prefer the harder sponge and more linear feeling of the regular Hurricane 3, as it allows me to dose my power more accurately on all shots. Nonetheless, an excellent rubber.

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

Hurricane 3 Neo provincial version (40 degrees, 2.15 mm black) – an excellent choice for spin-focused attackers

Playing Impressions

While a couple of grams heavier than the regular Hurricane 3 Neo, the provincial Hurricane 3 Neo is still not as heavy as I had initially expected, weighing 50 g when cut to the 157 x 150 mm test blade. That’s 1-2 grams lighter than Tibhar’s Evolution MX-P, Xiom’s Omega V Asia, or Gewo’s nanoFLEX FT48, and 3-7 grams lighter than unboosted Hurricane 8 rubbers.

Once again, I was surprised how responsive the provincial DHS Hurricane 3 Neo felt on FH drives. The rubber also produces a flat arc on FH loops, but the throw angle is slightly higher than with the regular Hurricane 3 Neo, resulting in better clearance over the net, fewer balls going too long, and better control on aggressive shots. In my opinion, the kick off the bounce is a little bit more pronounced than with the regular version, but still less pronounced than with the DHS Hurricane 8 rubbers. The control on FH loops is excellent with brand-new sheets, but decreased slightly as the topsheet started to lose a little bit of its tackiness after ~4 h. The provincial version felt a little harder, enabling me to play with greater physical effort and, thus, faster than with the regular Hurricane 3 Neo when playing aggressive shots, such as loops against backspin. As with the previous rubbers in this series, flat hits and blocking are not the rubber’s strength – the quality of the shots is blade angle dependent, quite possibly because the rubber’s stickiness results in slightly longer dwell time. However, I had better control on these shots than with the regular Hurricane 3 or Hurricane 3 Neo. The provincial Hurricane 3 Neo shares the regular Hurricane 3 Neo’s tendency to pop up balls when playing short and/or touch shots, unless the shots a timed perfectly. The provincial version feels a little less spin-sensitive than the regular version, possibly due to the harder sponge, which provided better control on passive, as well as, aggressive serve returns. The rubber’s low innate speed gave me some difficulties when returning “one-and-a-half” bounce serves with pushes, as the ball frequently went too short. However, when timed right, the returns have high levels of spin. The provincial Hurricane 3 Neo is perhaps the best service rubbers that I have tried. The combination of tacky topsheet and optimally balanced sponge hardness, allowed me to impart massive amounts of spin on serves, regardless of their length.

Conclusion

The 40 degree provincial DHS Hurricane 3 Neo rubber has perhaps the best mix of characteristics for aggressive players of the four rubbers that I tested here. It has a hint of a catapult, which gives it a little bit better feel on loops, serves, and smashes than regular Hurricane 3, while only having a minor impact on the short and touch game. If I was on a budget, I could see myself use the regular Hurricane 3 (or Hurricane 3 Neo) for practice and the provincial Hurricane 3 Neo for tournaments. Because the rubber is relatively slow it can be used by players on all levels – the rubber’s speed can be calibrated through appropriate blade selection.      

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

Hurricane 3-50 (mid-hard, 35-37 degrees, 2.10 mm black) – tacky topsheet + speed glue sound and feel

DHS describes the Hurricane 3-50 as “…a tacky rubber which produces a characteristic low arcing ball flight from middle distance. The underlying 50# sponge is produced with great sponge elasticity, which enables and maximizes a strong spin effect with use of the wrist. Hurricane 3-50 is the first choice for players who prefer to drive-loop and topspin. It integrates tacky rubber with elastic sponge. The sponge is receptive to ball contact while the rubber friction grips and holds the ball. Such a combination provides the player with great ball feeling with every shot and suits players who want to exert a fast, stable loop attack.”.

Playing Impressions

Going into this test, I really had no idea what to expect from the relatively uncommon combination of a very tacky topsheet and fairly soft sponge. The DHS Hurricane 3-50 weighs 48 g when cut to the 157 x 150 mm test blade, which is similar to the Hurricane 3 Neo sheets, suggesting that the soft sponge is made of a higher density material.

I was completely baffled after hitting the first couple of FH drives. Speed glue sound and feel!!? That was the last thing I was expecting from a Hurricane 3 rubber. FH drives and flat hits produce a very loud clicking sound, which serves as a useful auditory tool to adjust the bat angle. Needless to say that the feel on FH drives and smashes is very crisp. The sound is less pronounced, but still quite present, when looping. The throw angle of the DHS Hurricane 3-50 is the highest in the tested series, but, unfortunately, at the same time, the rubber also is the slowest in the series. As a result, looping against heavy backspin requires fast swing speeds to ensure that the ball makes it over the net. The feeling and control while looping is great and shots can be executed in a very controlled manner. The lower firmness of the sponge relative to the other Hurricane 3 rubbers, unfortunately has the consequence that it is relatively easy to hit through and lose spin-contribution from the sponge. It was very obvious that my practice partners had an easier time blocking my FH loops when I played with the Hurricane 3-50, relative to the other Hurricane 3 rubbers. Another problem brought about the softer sponge is that the rubber is very spin sensitive, which rendered short play, serve returns, and blocking a little more challenging. Of the four rubbers tested, I found the Hurricane 3-50 to be the weakest of them on serve returns and the best in flat hits. Serves with the Hurricane 3-50 are spinny, but less so that with the other rubbers in this range, as the sponge seems to contribute little to the this.      

Conclusion

The DHS Hurricane 3-50 is for those players who haven’t been able or willing to make the full switch to Chinese rubbers, and who yet like the idea of a tacky rubber that helps them in flips and short fame. The Hurricane 3-50 reminds me of a tackier, significantly slower, and slightly softer version of Tibhar’s Evolution MX-P. While I didn’t evaluate the Hurricane 3-50 as a backhand rubber, I could easily see it put to good use there.  

Serves: 9/10
Serve receives and short game: 8.5/10
Looping: 9/10
Flat hitting: 9.5/10
Blocking: 8/10

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