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Air UpUpUpUp Rubber Review

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© 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Defensive Thoughts

Long range chopping was good - UpUpUpUp provided excellent feel and control, and good spin variation, provided the player has the technique to take advantage of this. Since UpUpUpUp has plenty of grip, it is up to the player to manipulate the spin, since not much passive spin reversal will be achieved.

While close to the table, the control is excellent (for such a grippy rubber, it doesn't really jump off the bat when blocking a heavy loop, which is intriguing), but the rubber is on the slow side with little spin reversal. Unfortunately, it's not really slow enough to allow easy double bounce returns against strong loops, so I wouldn't recommend it for passive play close to the table.

Offensive Thoughts

It is much easier to attack with topspin with UpUpUpUp than with my Destroyer rubber (I didn't make anywhere near as many mistakes with UpUpUpUp), but on the other hand, I felt that I got less reward for the attack. The rubber grips so much that my attacking strokes were producing a decent amount of topspin, making it easier for my opponent to handle, since the resulting ball spin more closely matches what they would expect from the stroke I played. (When attacking with Stiga Destroyer, a stroke that looks like heavy topspin will tend to have either very little topspin, float or a little backspin, depending on the incoming ball spin). So I'd say that what you gain in ease of attacking, you tend to lose in the effectiveness of your attacks via deceiving your opponent. A bit of a wash really.

Overall

As with most long pips, Air UpUpUpUp is a niche rubber, rather than a silver bullet capable of solving any problem. It's got great control, it allows the player to manipulate the spin manually rather than passively, and it's pretty darn good at attacking successfully. On the downside, there's little spin reversal, it's not all that fast when blocking and pushing (which gives opponents more time to adjust), and when attacking, it gives a result that is a little too much like a conventional rubber for my liking, making it less effective at throwing my opponents off.

My bottom line: for a new long pip player, a player who wants great control without much passive disruption or spin reversal, a player who wants to be able to attack almost at will with the long pips, or who doesn't have a lot of time to practice with their long pips, this is a rubber that's well worth considering. And considering the price is around the US $20 mark, it's pretty good value as well.

For someone like myself, an experienced long pip player who does have more time to practice, my Stiga Destroyer is a little harder to handle, needs stricter long pip technique, and requires a bit more decision making regarding when I can attack and when I have to defend, but it provides better results when I get it right. So while I think Air UpUpUpUp definitely has something to offer many players, it's not quite what I need in a long pip, so I'll be sticking with Destroyer for the 2012 season.

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