Don’t be fooled by how light this racquet is, you can access some serious power too…
How does it look?
It comes as no surprise that a racquet named the ‘Vapor’ comes in such a light colour scheme, the racquet is clean white, and features bursts of yellow to give it an eye-catching appeal.
The Vapor has a traditional frame shape with a bridge, and comes strung with Harrow’s own red and white Barrage Pro strings.
How does it feel?
As soon as I picked up the Vapor, I instantly felt how light the racquet actually was, with a fully finished weight of 140 grams, it is very light!
This level of lightness definitely worried me at first, as I consider myself to have a pretty big swing, however, after a few practice swings, I was delighted to feel that this racquet is actually quite head heavy, which assisted my swing perfectly!
I couldn’t wait to give it a shot on court …
How does it play?
After a few lengths, a few drops and a few volleys I began to really enjoy playing with the Vapor!
This Harrow racquet has a stiff construction, which I personally quite like! The sweet spot is a little smaller due to the 470 cm2 head size, but after a few minutes of adjusting, it’s easy enough to find the sweet spot with every shot!
It has a dense string pattern of 14 x 19, especially given the smaller overall head size, giving you more control over the ball as well as being slightly more durable which is always a plus!
I would say that in terms of balance it is perfect for allowing good control as well as access to power. If you’re looking for a lightweight racquet that packs a punch, the Harrow Vapor is ideal!
Control, power, and maneuverability. Just a few of the many things the Spark has to offer! …
How does it look?
Harrow have used a black colour scheme with punches of lime green all over the frame, giving it a nice eye-catching pop! It also comes strung with Harrow’s zingy orange Barrage Pro multi-filament string, slightly on the softer side, this string is great for control and assists with putting some slice on the ball if that’s your style.
How does it feel?
I’ve never been one to fully appreciate a light squash racquet, but after trying out the Harrow Spark, I feel like a changed man!
With an ultralight finished weight of 135 grams, (much like it’s bestselling brother, the Vapor Ultralite), this racquet allows a great amount of maneuverability which is a massive help for getting you out of sticky situations in the front and back corners.
The Spark is also ever so slightly head-heavy, which is not too obvious at first, but after a few practice swings, you begin to feel it assist with a purposeful swing! Meaning that despite the racquet’s light weight, power is definitely an option should you need it.
How does it play?
Upon striking the ball it is immediately obvious that the Spark is a stiff racquet. The sweet spot is a little on the smaller side, this may be down to the slightly smaller head size of 470cm2, but once I found it, each strike felt silky smooth!
The Sparks 14 x 18 stringing pattern combined with the smaller head, helps to access control, but you can still deliver a heavy punch to the back if you find that sweet spot!
I would say that the Harrow Spark is primarily a performance racquet, the most notable qualities being it’s ultralight weight, and stiffness, I would recommend this racquet to anybody looking for control and mobility, but for a player who also looks to pack a punch every once in a while!
This racquet is designed with the opportunistic shot maker in mind…
Used by the baby faced assassin, Karim Abdel Gawad!
A few words from the man himself: “the balance, the flexibility, the weight and the grip, I feel it’s perfectly matched with my game, so I really recommend anyone who likes the short game to play with this racquet.”
How does it look?
Similar to it’s brother (the Spark), the vibe has a black colour scheme with powerful punches of green, making it a sophisticated, yet eye-catching racquet!
It also features harrow branding across the frame and comes with black and white T300 strings.
There are also several signature versions of this racquet as well such as the Karim Abdel Gawad version and our very own #TeamCT member, Nick Sachvie’s version.
How does it feel?
Although slightly heavier than the Spark, the Vibe is still an incredibly light squash racquet!
With a finished weight of 140 grams and an evenly balanced feel, after a few practice swings, the Vibe felt very maneuverable and I could access a fast swing using minimal effort.
I knew for a fact before I even set foot on court that this is racquet was going to be great for quick reactions and being able to take pace off of an opponent’s powerful shot at a moments notice!
How does it play?
After a hitting a few lengths back to myself, I felt so in control of the ball! The Vibe has a flexible construction, allowing me to feel the ball really well.
This racquet also has a 500cm2 head size which is on the larger side, this gives the racquet a very generous sweet spot, and allows the player to have a reasonable margin for error in the event of a mis-hit.
Again, due to the lightweight nature of the racquet, you can access some serious whip through the ball if you’re looking to generate some power with a short, deceptive swing!
I’ve got to admit, I certainly felt my inner Gawad when I tried this racquet out!
The flexible construction allowed me to feel the ball so well, and, having access to this level control without losing power makes this racquet a win-win!
If you’re the type of player who likes to be able to control the ball in a fast-paced game, I’d recommend the Harrow Vibe. Side note: if you like slamming the ball into the nick every now and again, this racquet has my approval, but really, who doesn’t love that?!
A lightweight shoe that lets you feel the court with every stride… If you want to maximise your speed and explosive movement, the Gel Blade 6 is absolutely ideal!
From observation, the Gel Blade 6’s most notable feature is it’s very thin sole. It is important to note that for this shoe, performance is the number one priority!
In a way, the Gel Blade 6 could almost be considered a minimalist shoe, its a squash shoe stripped down to the basics, and it allows your body to maximise it’s natural movement, and do most of the work without relying on the shoe. The Gel Blade 6 is extremely lightweight and fits nicely, holding your foot strongly in place without being too rigid or stiff, in fact it is pretty flexible!
The shoe comes with NC rubber on the sole to improve traction, and Asics’ famous gel cushioning system in the heel, however there is none in the forefoot, which allows you to be extremely low down to the court! Being close to the court is ideal for any player wanting to focus on speed, explosive movement and, changing direction as fast as possible.
One fact about me: I tend to burn through squash shoes pretty fast! I purchased my pair of Gel Blade 6’s at the start of the season and they’re holding up beautifully so far, I have zero complaints! This is most likely down to Asics’ use of ‘High Abrasion Rubber’ on common wear points on the shoe.
Some sacrifices must be made! Due to the Gel Blade 6’s dedicated focus on performance, it does mean that you will be trading off comfort and stability for speed and more efficient movement. If you consider yourself to have a heavier stride and are looking to minimise your risk of injury, you may prefer to consider a shoe with a little more support and cushioning!
Interested in learning more about indoor court shoes and how they may benefit your game? Download our guide to buying indoor court shoes by clicking the image below …
Life and squash continue to be rich with competition and high caliber play.
had the pleasure of playing in the Canadian Masters Team Tournament in the
lovely (yet bitterly cold) Gatineau, Quebec at the very gracious and
accommodating Club Sportheque. I was witness to some phenomenal squash and
experienced some wonderful team bonding that I will treasure. I think it is
important for people to know that those opportunities don’t disappear after
juniors. They are still out there, and they are a heck of a lot of fun!
this in mind, I thought I would outline what my weekend with Team Ontario was
Canadian Masters Team Tournament is an event where each Provincial or
Territorial Squash Association in good standing with Squash Canada is eligible
to enter a team (with the hosting province allowed to enter 2 teams into the
is the pinnacle of the Masters squash circuit. An event that not only pits the
best each province has to offer in the sport, but also a time to catch up with
friends you have met over years of competition. You get to meet people of like
mind and spirit. The atmosphere is filled with enthusiasm, camaraderie and the
sense of pride in representing one’s province.
year there were 8 provinces represented – Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Maritimes,
New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, for a total of 9 teams (with
Quebec#1 & Quebec #2).
In order to qualify for the Masters Team in Ontario, a player must win
their division at the Ontario Masters Championships. The team is then comprised
of 7 players that fit within the following age categories:
40+, 45+, 50+, 55+
40+, 45+, 50+
each of these spots has been filled, players are then ranked in order of skill
The competition is set up in pool play. Playoffs are a cross-over of pool placement (Pool A #1 plays Pool B #2, etc.). These culminate for the Sunday morning finals. This is where things get really interesting!!
Sunday morning at the Canadian Masters Team Tournament.
is a deep seeded sport rivalry between the provinces.
and self-respect are on the line (not to mention some butts to cover from some
friendly ribbing over beverages).
has fought hard and done their part in gaining the opportunity to take home
some shiny gold. There are 5 matches worth of wear and tear on each of the
competitors’ bodies. There is the smell of BENGAY and A535 in the air. Coffee
(and in some cases Coca Cola) helps to kick-start the adrenaline and shake off
the weariness of the weekend’s toll.
atmosphere is buzzing and so are the bodies.
Alberta versus Ontario striving for gold.
a hard position to play (especially when our guy is a night hawk and not an
early bird). Scott Kemp Gee always puts 100% into his match. He leaves it all
out there on the court (including a little skin on the floor). The match was
compelling and entertaining with both players showing moments of brilliance. It
certainly woke up the crowd and got all of our blood warmed. Unfortunately the
match went Alberta’s way.
fashion-focused Lisa Bogdan was up next. These two ladies were so evenly matched
you could tell it was going to be a barn-burner right from the start. The match
up was back and forth like a tug of war – the crowd up and down like a roller
coaster. First game to Ontario. Second game to Alberta. Third game to Ontario.
Fourth game to Alberta. Fifth game goes to extra points 14 -12 … to Alberta.
is new territory for the team. We haven’t been two games down in a fixture all
court comes our soldier, Walter Bentley. Chills and fever coursing through his body
over the past few days, he is there for the team and continues to battle on. As
much as he had in him, he gave. Regrettably Walter fell victim to his opponent
and Ontario is suddenly down 3 – 0 in matches.
OH!! We are in a win or die scenario now. Next up – me.
court with the pressure of knowing we have to win or gold is no longer
attainable was an interesting feeling to say the least. Ontario has had a
dynasty of wins in this tournament and I did not want to be part of knocking
that dynasty down. My opponent was fast, she had a wicked drop shot and I was
slow off the mark. First game goes to Alberta. Thankfully in between game 1
& 2 I received some fantastic strategy advice from my seasoned and
experienced teammates. They said exactly what I needed to hear. I came back out
on court focused with a game plan. That plan turned into a win. Alberta 3 –
Ontario 1! We are still in it!
Sly is a marksman and an absolute master of the game. His court movement is
easy, his shot selection enviable. He not only has to win to keep us in the
hunt, but to cover his banter and rib poking from the evening before (all in
good fun)! Right from the warm up on, Dave was comfortable and confident. His
sniper racquet on form brought us our next needed victory. Albert 3 – Ontario
to the pressures of competition, our stoic Elka Markus is up to the task. She
takes the first two games with smart and gritty squash. Alberta takes the next
game, making the crowd jittery with nerves. Not Elka. Unflappable, she comes back with more
strategic and brilliant play. Now things are really interesting Albert 3 –
Ontario 3. Tie-breaker takes the gold… no pressure!
Zen master, Don Lee takes to the court with an air of calmness (that seems
perpetual with Mr. Lee). Never looking panicked or rushed or stressed, he
floats to the ball and strikes like a viper. He, too, goes up 2-0 in games. Our optimism
grows. To keep things interesting Alberta’s player digs in. The 3rd
game is grit, grind, and guts – Alberta takes the game. Still (seemingly)
un-phased, calm and serene Don has a full out back and forth battle in the
fourth. The crowd is into it, jumping, clapping, guffawing with each and every
point. For the sake for drama they take it into extra points. Everyone on the
edge – Don WINS 14-12 in the 4th! We did it! Coming back from a 0-3
start to a 4-3 victory! What a team!
an absolute honour to be a member of this year’s team. It was a pleasure to get
to know some of my fellow Masters better, and spend some quality competitive
time with them. The support, the comfort, the advice, the hugs and pats on the
back, the cheering, the reassurance, and overall encouragement of this team for
one another was the magic ingredient that got us through a nail-biter of a
those of you who think that squash life is over at 40 and beyond, I highly
suggest you check out Masters Squash. It will certainly challenge that belief!
“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind” (Jackie Joyner-Kersee).
We now see ‘Eye’ everywhere we look in the world of squash, and there is a reason for that…
I firmly believe that the one thing every squash player has in common is passion.
I personally find the sport more addictive than any other, and I think that this passionate attitude is something that is shared throughout the entire squash community.
Eye Rackets support this ideology, and that is why they have flourished!
With Eye, the focus is on squash and nothing else. Founded (2010) by squash players, for squash players they only sell squash equipment. This focus has given Eye the ability to consistently make multiple ranges of outstanding products. From racquets and bags to shoes and clothing there are products tailored and refined to suit every single style of squash player!
Supported by the best…
Some of the most well-known names in PSA squash show their undivided support for Eye. Sponsoring world-renowned players like Paul Coll, Borja Golan, and Mazen Hesham to name a few!
Even post-retirement, former world no.1Amr Shabana works tirelessly as a brand ambassador alongside Jonah Barrington.
If that doesn’t boost Eye’s credibility, I don’t know what else does!
At Control the ‘T’ Sports, we’ve recognised Eye for it’s great product line that caters to players of all styles. We try our best to stock an extensive variety of Eye products so you can find the best ones to suit you!
Eye have two ranges of racquets in terms of frame shape, the V.Lite series and the X.Lite series…
The V.Lite range consists of racquets with a teardrop frame shape and come with either a fanned or traditional string pattern. The teardrop racquet head generally allows delivery of powerful shots, however, the V.Lite series consists of several racquets that also focus primarily on either control or power (the best of both worlds)!
With a vast choice of weights to suit your desire, the V.Lite Control range racquets range from 110 grams to 130 grams (each racquet going up by 5 grams each time). The control that these racquets provide can be attributed to the stiffness of the frame and the dense 14×18 string pattern. However, the V.Lite Power range has a 12×17 string pattern, allowing a much greater level of flex from the string which is a massive help if you’re looking to strike the ball with pace.
If the teardrop head shape isn’t your thing, the X.Lite range should be right up your street! The X.Lite racquets all have a traditional racquet frame with a bridge, this shape attributes more to control as the head size is generally smaller and the string has less give. Again, much like the V.Lite range, there is an option for control and an option for power, and again the main difference between the two being the string pattern (control: 14×18 and power: 12×17).
S-Line Indoor Court Shoes
Coming in a wide range of vibrant colors, from electric purple to neon yellow, the S-Line footwear range are an essential piece of eye apparel. Used religiously by pros such as Paul Coll and Diego Elias, you can be sure that this is a footwear line that you can trust!
Designed to last with quality in mind, shoes from the S-Line range have a very well protected medial side to protect against drag. They also feature a mesh upper that helps reduce weight, and is great for letting your foot breathe, which I find is a massive help during a tough game!
The heel comes with a great amount of cushioning, adding comfort whilst giving added support to the wearer’s heel, which as we all know, is an area that takes a lot of stress on the court!
Note: fitting wise, S-Line footwear fits slightly smaller so I would advise considering going a half-size up when purchasing! However, they do break in a bit after some use!
Bags, clothing, and accessories
Feel like you’re just missing something from your squash gear? If you’re looking to top off your kit with some clothing or accessories, Eye is the brand to look to!
Eye’s performance line V-neck shirts are a stylish option, they come in a range of colours and are very comfortable to play in. They can also be mixed and matched with different Eye racquets and wristbands, as Eye use the same colour schemes across their product range!
And you can pack it all into one of Eye’s squash bags, coming in a range of different sizes, colours, and styles to suit any player’s needs!
I would also like to make an admirable mention of Eye’s PU Replacement grip, up until now I religiously used Karakal grips, but after trying Eye’s grip out, my stubborn mind may have been changed…
To check out what we carry from Eye Rackets click on the View in store button below!
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, this racquet will not give you superpowers. But after watching some of Paul ‘Superman’ Coll’s performances using the V.Lite 115, it does make you wonder how he does it…
Credit to paulcoll.com
Performance and stats aside, every player wants their racquet to look good. The V.Lite 115 uses a slick black and white colour scheme with a strong pop of purple, making the Eye branding more recognizable without the racquet being too bright!
On any Eye racquet, my favourite design aspect is on the butt of the racquet, a classy silver Eye logo on a brushed golden background, this shows your opponent you mean business as soon as you spin for serve…
It also features Paul Coll’s signature just above the grip, which might help you summon the power of the pro, should you need it!
Weighting and balance
With a frame weight of 115 grams (and a finished weight of 154 grams), the V.Lite is more on the light side and the grip heavy balance point further adds to that feel. This enables delivery of a fast swing and minimizes the risk of losing control, this is especially beneficial for players with a smaller swing.
The V.Lite’s balance point isn’t too head light either and I personally found the balance point to be perfect for me! Although I like to have control over power, I was still able to access powerful strikes when I needed to.
Connection with the ball
One of the most prominent features I noticed on the racquet was the sturdy frame, built to assist direct response, this means that control and feel of the ball are two of the key elements of this racquet. Although it has a slightly lower density string pattern (14×18), the prominent element of control is actually further enhanced by the fanned string pattern, which increases the stiffness of the string bed.
With the teardrop head shape having a slightly smaller head size of 477cm2, the V.Lite 115, this racquet is designed for a player who is capable of consistently hitting the sweet spot.
The V.Lite 115 Control does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s a light, sturdy racquet, and I believe that it is an ideal fit for any player who either already prefers control, or for any player looking to further improve their control.
Full disclosure: I have never given lighter squash racquets a chance at all, I have always preferred racquets on the heavier side. But I think the X.Lite 120 might have just changed my mind…
Used and endorsed by 4 times world champion Amr Shabana, if it’s good enough for the best, you already know this racquet is one that you can trust.
At first glance
A smart black and white colour scheme that features a classy burst of purple. It catches your eye without blinding you, and if colour coordination is important to you, it will match well with most of your squash outfits!
The X.Lite 120 uses a traditional frame shape, featuring a bridge. In the past, I have mentioned my preference of the teardrop head shape, but as stated at the beginning of this post, this racquet may have just swayed me in the other direction…
In hand feeling
The moment you try a practice swing you will feel how responsive this racquet is. The X.Lite 120 is also ever so slightly head heavy which allows you to get some weight behind your shot, meaning power is very much still an option.
I also believe that I have found a new love for the Eye PU grip that comes with the racquet, it is soft but not too soft and is very grippy even in a sweaty hand! After using Karakal PU super grips since I started the sport, I think it may be time for a change…
Making contact with the ball
A very generous sweet spot is provided by the 14×18 string pattern and larger head size (490cm2), giving access to a terrific balance of power and control.
With a feathery light frame weight of 120 grams, the racquet is perfect for whipping fast, deceptive shots at the last second to fool your opponent. Alternatively, this can also act as ‘a get out of jail free card’ when retrieving difficult shots from the front of the court, using a bit of wrist, you can flick it high and deep to get out of trouble.
It took me a second to realise why I found it so easy to retrieve shots that were tight to the side wall. The X.Lite 120, like all of Eye’s racquets, doesn’t actually come with a bumper! Although there is a slight increase in the risk of the frame cracking, I would personally say that the reward outweighs the risk, especially as retrieving tight shots could mean the difference between winning and losing!
Final thoughts: the X.Lite 120 is absolutely ideal for any player looking to control and feel the ball, without losing the ability to strike the ball when needed! It is very clear why this racquet is used by one of the best players of all time.
A display of sheer consistency, strength, and skill was shown at the Black Bull Open by Karim Abdel Gawad. If beating Elshorbagy (world no.1) 3-0 in the quarter-finals and Momen (world no.4) 3-1 in the semis wasn’t enough, winning 3-1 against Farag (world no. 2) in the finals was the icing on the cake for the Egyptian pro.
Steady beginning (the first game)
The start of the first game appeared to favor Farag initially taking a 5-3 lead, however, Gawad quickly warmed up and found his pace. Firing a series of purposeful lengths using both pace and depth, Gawad began to dominate the T. Once his rhythm was in place, Gawad proceeded to confidently take a number of superbly accurate shots to the front, constantly mixing it up by throwing some crosscourt drops and quick boasts to keep Farag guessing. Gawad took the first game 11-6, looking incredibly strong by the end.
Upping the ante (the second game)
As soon as play began in the second game it became very clear that both players were fully in the zone, Gawad upped the pace by hitting a flurry of powerful lengths that were low on the front wall but still managed to reach great depth, forcing Farag to begin lifting the ball to get out of trouble.
Once again dominating the T, Gawad was eager to take advantage of any loose shots made by Farag by cutting them off very early and placing them tight into the front corner, this lead to a few unforced errors and incidents of contact due to the high pace, but both players (mostly) kept their cool!
This game was tight throughout and Farag managed to get a game ball opportunity at 11-10, however, Gawad delivered an impressive flurry of deception using huge racquet prep only to take the ball to the front, fooling Farag, the audience and myself on multiple occasions! Gawad took the second 13-11.
Turning point? (The third game)
The third game seemed like a turning point for Farag as he began effortlessly placing the ball to the front at every opportunity, landing in and around the nick every time! Gawad seemed a little too relaxed, intensity had faded and he seemed to be a lot less on the ball than he was in the first two games.
Farag’s quick lead left Gawad needing to catch up fast. Although he put away a few astonishing winners, Gawad made several unforced errors and Farag took the third 11-7. Gawad seemed tired, maybe he was using this game for a brief rest? This would be understandable after having such tough games prior to the final!
Finishing strong (the fourth game)
If your expectation for this game was for Gawad to still be fatigued, you would be sorely mistaken… Gawad came on as strong as he did in the first and managed to take the fourth and final game 11-8.
I believe that the reason behind Gawad’s victory in this match was his outstanding shot selection, having the ability to execute the right shot accurately every time during a fast-paced game is a very difficult thing to do, but Gawad pulled it off flawlessly.
As a whole Gawad’s performance was incredible throughout the tournament and I don’t think anybody can deny that he thoroughly deserved the win!
As somebody who has used Tecnifibre racquets religiously for a good few years, I’d like to assure you that my opinion of this racquet is completely unbiased!
For me personally, how a racquet looks is a really important factor when I’m looking to buy a new one. In terms of aesthetic, the Carboflex uses a combination of black, red, blue and white (geared towards the French flag), which I find gives it a great overall professional vibe.
The teardrop head shape is something that Tecnifibre has managed to perfect over the years. In my days as a junior I was insistent on using a traditional racket frame shape with a bridge, this all changed when I won an old model Carboflex 130 in my local club’s raffle, thanks to this I have sworn by the teardrop head shape ever since.
Balance and weighting
As a UK Squash player myself, I would say that I have a reasonably large swing and I’m certainly the type of player that likes to take his space! I found that, as the X-Speed is slightly on the head-heavy side, it manages to do an awesome job of assisting a big swing, and also allows a smooth follow-through without throwing you off balance.
I usually like my racquet frames to weigh anything between 130 and 140 grams, the Carboflex frame weighs in at 130 grams, which is slightly on the lighter side than what I would normally prefer, however it has definitely given me a new appreciation of racquets that weight a little less. Obviously, there are racquets available that are considerably lighter than the Carboflex range, and this is a factor that comes down mainly to personal preference.
How it feels
The 14 x 18 string pattern is on the less-dense side, and definitely gives a slightly softer feel when striking the ball. This enabled me to be able to feel the balls contact with the strings a whole lot better which boosted shot accuracy significantly. I actually found the sweet spot to be on the large side which is relatively forgiving, it gave me some leeway on shots where I may have miss-hit the ball if the sweet spot were smaller.
The 500 squared cm head size further attributes to the forgiveness of the Carboflex and gives the user a very generous surface to hit on. Composed of Basaltex, graphite and iBlades on either side of the frame giving it an increased level of stiffness and stability, I believe this racquet hits the ideal level of sturdiness without losing feel of the ball. An ideal combination for any Squash player.
A racquet you can trust
It goes without saying that any squash racquet endorsed by highly respected players is one that you can be sure to trust! Tecnifibre’s current reputation for producing excellent squash gear used by countless pros backs this up nicely. The X-Speed has been seen in the hand of some great players such as Marwan El Shorbagy, Gregoire Marche and Nouran Gohar.
If you’re the sort of player who’s looking to step up their game and access a new level of play, the X-Speed Carboflex 130 is, in my opinion, an ideal racquet to do so!