Pickleball has been around for longer than you might realize, with the first ever game of pickleball taking place in 1965.
But it’s only in recent years that pickleball has really exploded in popularity, and now the game has developed a professional league while earning scores of devoted fans.
And with this increase in popularity comes a rethink of just how we play pickleball — and what we use to play it with.
Pickleball equipment is developing fast to keep up with the increasing skills of pickleball players, with paddles optimized to improve play.
Leading this technological achievement is the Rogue2 Second Generation, a pickleball paddle that revitalizes the core with proprietary gel technology. But can this new design really improve your play?
Or is the classic core still the best? Find out with our review of the Rogue2 Second Generation paddle.
About Rogue2 Second Generation Pickleball Paddle
The core is one of the most important aspects of any pickleball paddle. Carefully engineered, the core provides the paddle with the pop and control necessary for winning points. For most manufacturers, the go-to core material is honeycomb polypropylene.
But the Rogue2 does things differently. Designed and developed in Bellingham, WA, just a short drive from where pickleball was founded, the Rogue2 uses a proprietary gel-core technology to build the paddle.
This gel-core is designed to increase the sweet spot, reduce miss-hits, and dampen uncomfortable vibrations. It’s paired with a fiberglass face and vibration-reduction handle, for intermediate to advanced players.
It all sounds pretty fantastic, but in this guide, we’ll take a look at how well the Rogue2 Second Generation actually performs.
What We Like About The Rogue2 Second Generation Pickleball Paddle
The gel-core of the Rogue2 paddle is an impressive design, and you can feel the balance it brings in every swing. Let’s explore all the things we like about the Rogue2.
The Rogue2 Second Generation uses proprietary gel-core technology to develop a paddle that optimizes performance. But what does gel-core mean and what does it do?
The gel-core of the Rogue2 is actually a hybrid design, blending the traditional polypropylene with a gel-based damper rod.
A layer of honeycomb-cut polypropylene serves as the main interior of the paddle, creating a light yet rigid inner layer that provides the force and pop behind your hits.
This polypropylene has then been infused with gel technology. The gel-core makes the polypropylene into a more forgiving material, limiting rotational inertia for a paddle that feels steady in the hands.
The gel-core places the mass of the paddle at the edges, allowing for a bigger sweet spot that improves accuracy and consistency.
The gel-core also helps dampen the vibrations of the paddle. When you’re returning a powerful ball, the vibrations on impact are cut. You can retain control of your paddle without losing responsiveness.
It all sounds pretty impressive, and the incredible thing is, it actually works! The gel-core hybrid technology increases the sweet spot while balancing the paddle, for stable and consistent shots that will win you points.
Vibration Damping Carbon Fiber Throat Reinforcement
If you’ve played against some particularly aggressive players, then you’ll know how one good hit can ricochet along your arm.
Your pickleball paddle should help reduce the effect of a powerful return, helping you to maintain control over the paddle, without losing the responsive touch.
Vibration reduction is an area where the Rogue2 excels. Fitted with a carbon fiber reinforcement at the throat, even forceful hits can be dealt with. You won’t feel your arm rattle apart every time you try to return the ball!
This is advantageous for everyone, but it’s particularly useful if you have a weakness in the arm or wrist. As the paddle helps dampen the force, you can play for longer without pain.
The heavy texturing of the fiberglass face ensures that this is a paddle that can provide spin. Made from fiberglass, the Rogue2 grabs the ball before letting it go, allowing you to direct your shots with a quick spin making them difficult to return.
But what really makes the fiberglass facing special is the incredible durability. This is a paddle that you can keep on playing with, and it’s able to withstand even forceful hits, over and over.
The fiberglass face has to work to protect the innovative core of the Rogue2, and the strong build ensures the core keeps providing pop for longer.
The fiberglass facing does add some weight to the paddle, and at roughly 7.8oz, it’s on the heavy side of midweight. But this is a decent payoff for durability, and as we’ll cover below, there are some advantages to increased weight.
The Rogue2 is a midweight paddle, weighing between 7.6oz and 8oz (with an expected weight of 7.8oz). This is partly due to the fiberglass surface, but also the result of solid construction.
For the impressive durability of the Rogue2, you’d expect a little added weight.
And weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Rogue2 is a powerful paddle, adding pop to your play and leaving your opponents stunned. Just at the heavier end of midweight, the Rogue2 offers an impressive combination of control and strength.
Made In The USA
The Rogue2 paddle has been designed and created in Bellingham, WA, just a short drive from the origin of pickleball itself — Bainbridge Island!
So, when you use your Rogue2, you know it has been relentlessly tested in the outdoor recreation haven of the Pacific Northwest, a place so inspiring it led to the creation of pickleball.
Is it time to introduce your pickleball talents to the rest of the world? If you’re a talented player looking to make a mark on the world of professional pickleball, the Rogue2 is a USAPA-approved paddle. It’s been tested and sanctioned for tournament play.
What We Don’t Like About The Rogue2 Second Generation Pickleball Paddle
The gel-core is undeniably impressive, but has its development overshadowed the rest of the Rogue2? In this section, we’ll take a look at the features that don’t quite hit the mark.
A lot of development has clearly gone into the face and core of the Rogue2 pickleball paddle. And while the grip doesn’t exactly disappoint, it can’t quite live up to the promise of the head.
The handle measures 5”, with a 4 ⅛” circumference. It’s a decent size, with a hybrid shape that’s particularly useful for those coming to pickleball from other racquet sports. The long handle is best for those who like two-handed play.
The handle is covered with WINN Dri-Tac Grip, which is fine, but not fabulous. After intense play, you might find your grip feels a little compromised.
A grip cover can solve this, so it isn’t a big problem, but hopefully, the next generation of the Rogue2 puts more emphasis on the handle.
The Rogue2 is a premium paddle, more expensive than a beginner’s pickleball paddle. And to be honest, this isn’t a paddle that a beginner would get much use out of.
It’s heavy and powerful, meaning it’s better suited to those who already know their way around the court.
There isn’t much to fault when it comes to price. As a U.S.-made paddle with developing technology, the larger expense is easy to justify. And compared to some premium paddles, the Rogue2 is a bargain.
However, you’re paying for that core technology. And most of us haven’t had a chance to test out the hybrid core. So, if you’re willing to pay for the Rogue2, you need to trust that the gel-core is going to deliver.
Yes, we’ve listed weight as both a pro and a con, and there’s a good reason for that! The Rogue2 isn’t a lightweight paddle. Weighing an average of 7.8oz, it’s a midweight design with some obvious power.
However, for those who are used to lightweight paddles, the Rogue2 will take some adjustment. It’s more likely to tire out the arms and wrists, which can make play uncomfortable.
In time, you should be able to adjust to the feel of the Rogue2, but that learning curve can be tough.
Final Thoughts On The Rogue2 Second Generation
It really is all about the core with the Rogue2 Second Generation, a pickleball paddle that uses a proprietary gel-polypropylene hybrid material to increase the sweet spot and improve consistency.
You might not be able to see what makes the Rogue2 so great, but you should feel it in every swing.
This impressive core is protected by an equally important face. Made from fiberglass, the textured face adds spin while protecting the core, ensuring this is a paddle with long-term durability.
The handle can’t quite live up to the promise of the rest of the paddle, but that isn’t to say it’s a bad handle. If you like your games long and intense, it might be worth investing in a grip cover.
Overall, the Rogue2 Second Generation is a hard-hitting paddle with improved control and a natural swing.