Recently, Selkirk “released” their latest paddle. I have put the word released in quotations because what Selkirk has done, is best described as unique. The paddle in question is the Invikta Project 002, and you cannot simply buy it from Selkirk or Pickleball Central for that matter. It is only available from Selkirk Labs, a separate website and from an inferred separate organization.
Reading from their site, they imply that Selkirk Labs is some ultra-progressive group of engineers and scientists that are working in secrecy with top pro Tyson McGuffin to develop and produce only the most innovative and groundbreaking equipment. And you cannot simply purchase the paddle form Selkirk Labs. You have to apply for membership like it’s some sort of secret brotherhood/sisterhood where only a few will be admitted.
Per the Selkirk Labs website, by being accepted as a member, you gain access to products in their beta phase. That is, products that are not in their final stage of development. It is implied that your access will allow your feedback to help develop the next groundbreaking Selkirk design by being able to buy first. Membership allows you the “privilege” of buying the Invikta Project 002 paddle for the low low price of $333.00. Per their website, the paddle comes with a high-end paddle cover that looks like something out of a Louis Vuitton catalog. It also comes with, get this, a wallet sized stainless steel certificate of authenticity along with its own velvet sleeve, like someone out there producing knock of Selkirk Paddles and there is a need for such over the top authentication program. Per their own words, this certificate of authenticity is valued at $33.00 dollars, and the “Louis Vuitton” case, valued at $88.00 dollars. Which brings the value of the $333.00 dollar paddle down to an acceptable $212.00 dollars. However, you don’t get that choice. No, if you purchase the new Invikta Project 002 you have to walk around like some Kardashian with you red leatherette paddle cover…and maybe a handheld poodle. I suppose you can also flash your certificate of authenticity card at the court, like some James Bond type, pinky held high, and prove your membership to “the club”.
So at least the paddle has an above average warranty. Nope, no it does not. In fact, it has less warranty than a regular Selkirk paddle. Regular Selkirk paddles come with a lifetime warranty, which I know personally, they are very glad to honor. The Invikta Project 002 only comes with a one (1) year warranty. And they tell you up front that the paddle will not be warrantied if it begins to rattle…like they already know this is going to happen.
Finally, they tell you that this paddle is not made for the ordinary player. In fact, they state that this paddle is best suited for players with a ranking of 4.5 or better. With this stipulation, along with the implied limited membership, Selkirk has developed an air of exclusivity when in fact most likely none exists. You see, you can’t make money if you choose to only sell your product to a select few, even at $333.00 a paddle.
Finally, it has been rumored that the next generation of this paddle will be edgeless. That would be great, except that Gearbox has been doing this for years, not to mention the ProKennex line and the Diadem Icon both which have their versions of edgeless designs. Each of which were rolled out without the buyer having to become a member of some secret society.
So, power to Selkirk if they get people to buy into their ruse. I truly believe the Invikta Project 002 is going to be a great paddle. I have no reason to believe otherwise, as Selkirk has a long history of making a good product. It’s not even the price that I objected. I can even admire the marketing ploy. However, you won’t get me to purchase a $333.00 dollar paddle knowing that per their own description is not a fully developed paddle and that should only sell for $212.00 because the other expenses are folded in to two items I don’t need or want.
I can only imagine this will entice the other paddle makers to artificially inflate the price of their paddles as well. It seems that providing less for more money is the going trend in pickleball these days, and this will only stop until we the consumers say, enough! Unfortunately, they know we are all pretty much addicted to the sport…and we “aint gonna” play with wood paddles.