If you read my post about Putting Shafts in Holes carefully, you’d have noticed that I rock some dated shafts.
My gamer is half a d-pole length Warrior Krypto Pro that a teammate broke on me in high school in 2005. I cut it down afterward and started using it again in 2009. My backup is a DeBeer titanium Triax that I ordered in 2004 when I was playing box. Sure, I’ve broken a few other shafts along the way, but somehow these two elder wands have managed to pass the test of time.
The old age of my shafts is primarily why I was so excited when Epoch Lacrosse, the producer of a new line of lacrosse shafts called the Dragonfly that aims to change lacrosse stick technology forever, sent SSL two of the shafts from their new lineup, the C30 and the X30.
These shafts, which are both made of the same Aerospace-grade carbon fiber produced with the help of True Temper, have two distinctly different cross-sections. The X30 has what Epoch is calling an Xtreme Concave cross-section for players who like more feel and distinct ridges. Meanwhile, the C30 is your standard minimally concave cross-section. Personally, I figured I’d play with the most similar cross-section to my gamer, so I went with the C30 for the test run, the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase sponsored by Vitality.
The first thing I noticed about the shaft pulling it out of the box is the Slip/Grip. Reminiscent of the Krypto Pro Diamond, it has a textured grip that allows your shaft to feel the same whether you’re playing in Hawaii or Maine, shine or rain. I ALWAYS tape the top 9 inches of my stick where I cradle one-handed, and I decided not to with the C30 to see if the Slip/Grip works as well as the admittedly high-maintenance system I devised years ago. With gloves on, it really feels great; I wish the top 9-inches of my other two sticks had this stuff on it so I wouldn’t have to re-tape it every few months (or weeks during season). It won’t get in the way of those of you who only put a bit of tape where your hands go, but it is a permanent alternative for those guys who like tape all over. Epoch achieves this feeling by applying a clear coat with thousands of tiny silicone particles, so it won’t tear your gloves up like the Diamond texture did, and it’ll never fade.
The other thing I REALLY appreciated that Epoch had the foresight to produce is the foam filler inside the top 1.5 inches of the shaft. By keeping the screw completely still no matter how much stress is put on your head, this nifty feature ENSURES you’ll never get the same break I have in my Evo Pro X6. That’s enough for me to switch over in itself. I hope they can figure out how to put this in their alloy shafts.
One of my biggest concerns with this shaft before I took it out was the bend factor. I know flexible shafts create additional torque (the ball sits under your shooters longer during your throwing motion), and in my experience, this can create whip. Even putting a significantly heavier/lighter shaft on your gamer can make it throw differently, regardless of bend. With the C3o, not only was I throwing exactly the same, but I really like the snap feel you get out of it. Every time you make a nice hard pass you can feel that extra force, like you strung your sidewalls with elastic. I could get used to this.
I haven’t put a ton of stress from checks on it yet (I’m an attackman with no wrap-check, so I don’t have a lot of tools in my belt), so I can’t attest to the strength it’s been advertised to have, but all signs after pretty strenuous use point in a positive direction. While remarkably similar to my seven year-old shafts in all the best ways, it also feels like I’m holding an entirely new creation at moments with my helmet and gloves on. The material and weight distribution is not even throughout the shaft; Epoch has engineered it to “feel right” in a player’s hand, and I noticed it cradling with one hand, it almost stays vertical on its own.
I’m pretty convinced these advances in shaft technology are the future of the sport. I’m gonna put this thing through hell in the NCLA this year and see if it comes out the other end in one piece. My feeling? It won’t even lose its Slip/Grip.
Epoch will also be launching a line of Advanced Alloy shafts called the Legend that will use a new production process that ensures the structural integrity of each individual alloy shaft.
Before Vegas I sat down with Epoch’s Principal, James Miceli for an information session on the incredible amount of thought and R&D that have been invested in this line. I’ll bring you that interview next week, when Epoch launches something new…