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Review: Hurricane Classic 08X

11 June 2021  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

DHS Classic 08X 

     This time around, I was given the opportunity to try out the DHS Classic 08X blade, which the 2019 Chinese National Champion and modern defender, Hou Yingchao, is rumored to be using. According to DHS, the speed characteristics and enlarged head size of the 08x afford a perfect feeling for all-around and offensive strategies.  

     The Classic 08X (08x) arrives shrink-wrapped and resting on cardboard padding inside a sturdy, metallic silver box that features a high-class magnetic closing mechanism. A large yellow “08” sticker adorns the front of the box.       

     The 08x has a thick ayous core that is surrounded by a thin layer of carbon felt, a relatively thick penultimate ply, and a very thin outer ply. The playing surface (presumably limba) is straw-colored with a beautiful vertical grain that is devoid of text. The light-brown handle is featureless except for a simple oval plastic lens on the FH side listing “08” and “DHS” in gold font on a black background. A large circular plastic tag, silver and gold on black adorns the bottom of the handle. There are no tags on the BH side of the handle. 

     The 08x has an oversized playing surface (~164 mm x ~154 mm, height x width) with a thickness of 5.9 mm. The FL handle has the following dimensions: length ~100.7 mm, width ~26.2-34.7 mm, and height ~21.4-25.1 mm. The build quality of the 08x is good, although the wings have sharp edges. The test blade weighed 87 g and produced a very low pitch of ~1119 Hz when bouncing a ball on the naked blade, which is consistent with being labeled as a slower blade.   

Testing Procedure

     I tested the brand-new blade as-is without any additional varnishing/lacquering. I attached well-used sheets of DHS Hurricane 3 (2.15 mm, black, provincial version, 40-degrees orange sponge) and Spinlord Waran II (2.0 mm, red) short pips on the FH and BH side, respectively, using one layer of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue. I tested the setup over 4-5 practice sessions playing a mix of regular and match-like drills against my regular high-level practice partner using Neottec Neoplast Pro 40+ or Nittaku J-Top training balls


Playing Impressions

First Impressions

     Unsurprisingly given its large surface area, the set-up felt quite head-heavy (183 g), even though I used 158 x 151 mm FH/BH sheets that far from covered the entire surface. As a left-hander, I found the sanding of the blade wings to be inadequate, and as a result, I developed blisters between my thumb and index finger.  


     The 08x is quite slow (ALL+) and produces deep, pronounced vibrations on FH and – especially – BH drives, where I use the comparatively softer-sponged Waran II. To my surprise, the 08x felt relatively rigid, without feeling thick nor “pingy”. The ball trajectory is relatively short and quite flat, but sufficient to provide adequate clearance over the net, resulting in good consistency.      

FH looping With An Inverted Rubber

     The 08x’s head-heaviness helps generate forward momentum on FH loops, but its modest speed, renders it challenging to produce fast loops. However, consistent with it being a more defensively oriented blade, the 08x has an above-average dwell time, which in turn allows for the generation of high amounts of topspin, especially when contacting the ball a little later than usual, which my hitting partner, at times, found challenging to control. The moderate speed of the 08x allows for good control of ball placement, which also can lead to direct points.

    Greater-than-usual effort is needed when playing FH topspins from afar. Given the increased physical effort, it is even more important than normal to be properly positioned relative to the ball. As mentioned, the 08x is surprisingly rigid, and I found this characteristic to be beneficial on these higher impact shots, which I was able to execute with good consistency.

BH Topspins With Short Pips

     I struggled on third-ball BH attacks against long pushes. The trajectory of these shots when executed with the Waran II short pips was lower than usual and many of the topspins hit the top of the net. When using a more open bat angle, the resulting shots were too easy to counter. A little frustrated, I twiddled my Hurricane 3 into my BH and found the 08x to work well for regular BH loops, which were consistent and loaded with topspin.   


     The H3/08x combination is capable of absorbing high amounts of energy and therefore works well on passive FH blocks, although the shot trajectories are noticeably shorter than with other blades. Basically, if I was able to get my paddle on one of my practice partner’s high-powered FH loops, I was able to return the shot. The H3/08x combination also worked well on aggressive FH blocks and counter-drives, allowing me to produce highly angled shots with relatively short trajectories.   

     Passive BH blocks with the comparatively softer short pips were a little less consistent as the blade felt a little thinner and bouncier on those shots, with some blocks going long. Conversely, I found the Waran II/08x combination to work very well on chop blocks, which were aided by the slow, rigid nature of the blade, which increased shot consistency.


     Unsurprisingly, considerable physical effort is required to produce fast smashes. However, it is possible to land winning shots, in part due to the blade’s relative rigidity. 


     My FH flicks had a tendency of going long, despite being only moderately fast, almost as if the long dwell time led me to overdo the shots. My banana flicks and regular down-the-line BH flicks against short pushes worked reasonably well, but I struggled to produce a sufficiently high arc on my regular diagonal BH flicks, which might be related to the impact of the oversized blade relative to the timing of the shot execution. Irrespective of the underlying reason, my consistency of those shots was lower than usual. 


     I felt very comfortable playing long FH and BH pushes with the 08x. The moderate speed and extended dwell time instill a feeling of prolonged contact and allow for the production of spinny pushes which are challenging to topspin against. Short pushes are also easy to execute with the 08x and the reverberating vibrations provide a lot of feedback to the player. In fact, I found the blade almost too slow and had to use a more powerful stroke to ensure that the ball made it across the net.  


     I felt that the H3/08x combination instilled a feeling of extended contact and – accordingly – high spin levels on backspin serves. In contrast, I found it challenging the make fast and dangerous topspin serves due to the blade’s moderate speed. 


     Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, I found it quite challenging to BH chop from afar with the short pips. Despite using ultra-soft hands, I often overshot the table, feeling that the blade was too rigid to give me a sufficiently long contact to take the pace off the ball. I succeeded occasionally, but my consistency was – paradoxically – lower than with other, faster blades that I have recently evaluated


     The DHS Classic 08x is a relatively slow blade with a surprisingly stiff feeling that produces strong reverberating vibrations. As such, it is not geared towards all-out aggressive players. I also have a hard time seeing the 08x being used by modern defenders operating far from the table as its stiff nature, at least in my non-expert hands, compromised chopping with short pips. Rather, I could see two types of players benefit from this blade: i) spin-oriented all-around players using the blade in combination with a bouncy European-style rubber, ii) push-blockers operating close to the table using a slow and thin pimpled rubber, and iii) a combination of the two.


About the Reviewer

     Patrick 'Pong Professor' Hrdlicka is a table tennis enthusiast with a Ph.D. in chemistry who combines his analytical and experimental skills with his love of table tennis in order to test and review a wide range of table tennis equipment.