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Review: Sharping 2

22 January 2021  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

DHS Sharping 2 

     As someone using short pimples in the backhand, I always follow releases of new pimpled rubbers with interest. This time around, I was given the opportunity to evaluate the DHS Sharping 2 rubber. DHS describes the Sharping 2 as a controlled medium pip rubber that feels “solid and permeable”, is "weird and fast but still stable" and “suitable for fast attack with loop play”. 

     The rubber is shipped in a shiny blue cardboard wrapper that lists the rubber characteristics on its back. The topsheet is matte with a high density of relatively wide pips (top ~2.1 mm) that have a pronounced truncated cone shape (base ~2.7 mm) and ribbed tops. The pips do not look particularly long to the naked eye. The lemon-colored sponge has faint ripples, is without pores, and is very firm and heavy. The sheet, which has four cut corners, weighs 64g out of the package (height x width: 170x165 mm) and 49 g when cut to the 158x151 mm test blade, rendering it the heaviest and hardest pimpled rubber that I have tested by a long distance. The sheet has a faint rubber smell and curls toward the sponge side.      

Testing Protocol

      I evaluated the Sharping 2 (red, 2.0 mm) using a Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition blade and a 40-degree DHS Hurricane 3 provincial blue sponge in my FH. I attached the rubber to the blade using three layers of Revolution 3 medium viscosity glue. The test set-up weighed 180 g. I evaluated the set-up over four sessions, playing a series of regular and match-focused drills against a high-level practice partner. Nittaku J-Top training balls were used throughout the test. 


Playing Impressions

Initial Impressions

     The test set-up felt substantially heavier compared to my regular set-up which has Spinlord Waran II short pips in my BH. A simple bounce test on the rubber-clad blade suggested that the Sharping 2 is slower, more absorbing, and less bouncy than the Waran II.

BH Drives

     As expected, given its hard nature, the Sharping 2 feels quite solid during BH warm-up drives, producing a slightly more muffled sound than the Waran II. The trajectory of the ball has a higher arc than conventional short pimpled rubber and is accompanied by some wobble, as the pips are bending (or at least, that is how it feels). I found it important to stay low to the ground and use a flat stroke, as the ball otherwise had a tendency of floating long, despite the rubber not feeling overly fast (OFF-). Once I adjusted my stroke mechanics, however, I enjoyed good consistency on these shots.

BH Blocks

     During BH-block warm-up drills, the Sharping 2 felt reasonably solid. According to my practice partner, the blocks were accompanied with less spin-reversal than with the Waran II, rendering it easier for him to re-loop against them, though I am not sure I agree with his assessment. The ball certainly seems to be floating more. Just as with BH drives, it is important to use a more closed bat angle and/or flatter stroke mechanics, as the ball otherwise grips the topsheet and is catapulted beyond the table. This is easy to ensure during regular drills, but my error rate went up during match-like play. With the paddle being heavier than usual, I was not able to transition back to a neutral position as quickly as usual. I found it beneficial to move slightly further away from the table, as this gave me a fraction more time to get into position for the block. An attentive style is required when using this rubber as the margin for error is lower.


BH Loops VS Backspin:

     Initially, my consistency on BH “loops” against long backspin pushes was low. It felt as if the hard sponge and topsheet failed to engage the ball to bring it over the table, or if I hit the ball with more gusto and upward motion, the grip of the topsheet caught the ball and blasted it past the end-line. My practice partner, on the other hand, who tried my paddle for a brief period, was able to flat hit through my backspin as if he had played with this rubber his entire life. After making some adjustments, entailing stepping back from the table ever so slightly, and using shorter and flatter stroke mechanics, I was able to improve my consistency on BH openers against backspin, although my shots only were moderately fast, requiring good placement to become dangerous. 

BH Flicks VS Backspin

     The margin for error when executing BH flicks against short backspin pushes is rather small. If you hit the ball a little too late, the topsheet will grab the ball and increase your risk of overshooting the table. If you hit it too early, it becomes challenging to lift the ball over the net. The stroke needs to be timed well and executed with a mostly flat stroke at the ball’s zenith to ensure a high-quality BH flick.

BH Short Push

      The rubber’s OFF- level speed was beneficial when playing short pushes as the shots could be played short and reasonably low.     

BH Long Pushes 

     The Sharping II generates a peculiar dead feeling on long BH pushes. In fact, the first couple of pushes went straight into the net. As I learned to get more underneath the ball, I was able to impart high levels of backspin, rendering it quite challenging for my practice partner to execute powerful loops.    

BH Chops From Long Distance

     I quite enjoyed this rubber when doing long-distance chops. When executed with full commitment, the chops become loaded with spin, rending it challenging for my practice partner to re-loop.  

Final Thoughts

      The DHS Sharping 2 is a peculiar medium pimple rubber. It is firm and heavy, yet the pips feel as if they are bending giving it a softish and bouncy feel and producing a wobbly ball trajectory that can be challenging to control and play against. Players who master to flat hit the ball at the perfect moment will have a dangerous weapon on their hands as the Sharping 2 is uncomfortable to play against. The topsheet is grippy, which means that you can impart surprisingly high levels of spin on the ball, but this also renders the Sharping 2 surprisingly spin-sensitive. Lastly a word of caution: I observed a concerning amount of topsheet crumbling after the first practice session and a continued deterioration in subsequent sessions. If you play in sanctioned tournaments, you might need to bring additional sheets as a back-up. The Sharping 2 is otherwise an interesting choice for anyone who wants to make their opponent’s life a little bit more difficult.       

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.