The Santoru 3K-C Carbon is the fastest blade in the Santoru series. The Santoru series blades are made in China, but the quality of the blades is topnotch with a semi-smooth finishing. Like the Xylo series, the handles are very comfortable to the hand. Despite having semi-smooth handles, I never experienced slipping during loops. When I first saw the 3K-C label in the blade I thought of the carbon fiber weaving used in the construction of this blade. In my opinion and I might be wrong, JOOLA labelled it as 3K-C for 3K Carbon fiber weave. Without getting too technical, 3K Carbon weave is a type of carbon fiber weave which has 3 thousand carbon filaments per weave.
This gives the 3K-C blade the necessary stiffness for speed and power. The stiffness is unlike known traditional pure carbon blades in the market wherein similar construction will yield a totally stiff blade giving you less control and harder to produce topspin upon contact unless you are a higher-level player. The 3K-C has a combination of both soft and hard feeling upon ball impact and the presence of ball feel is still there despite having the stiffness of a fast carbon blade.
I can compare it to some of the known blades in the market that have somewhat the same construction. I can think of the Primorac Carbon but the Santoru 3K-C is not as blazingly fast. You see, the Primorac’s TAMCA fibers feels harder than the 3K-C’s. I am not sure if the TAMCA fibers are 5k or 6k weave. I tried searching for 5k fibers but only found 6k fiber weaves unless the TAMCA fiber design is exclusively produced only for that brand. Nevertheless, the 3K-C blade is already a very fast blade.
When I tested it using both the Rhyzer 48 and Pro 50 rubbers, I felt the ball left a little early than I needed it to. This was due to my stroke being used to slower tacky rubbers. I also adjusted my arm swing from a full swing to a medium swing and also my ball contact. I had to switch to a ball contact wherein I would need to hit through the sponge more instead of thinly brushing the ball against the topsheet. This is mainly due to stroke preference based on the rubber and blade used. I prefer mostly blades that are like the JOOLA Xylo 7 that is a 7 ply all wood. It is not hard to adjust to the blade’s speed especially for players who are used to having very fast blade, but there are adjustments that need to be made.
Although the Rhyzer Pro 50 has a hard sponge at 50 degrees, I was able to brush the ball more easily than with the Rhyzer 48 when using the 3K-C blade. I believe JOOLA made the 3K-C as a fast blade, but did not forget the importance of control. For all they care, they can just make a rocket type blade that will give a player all the speed in the world, but lacks control. Also, with the present rubbers such as the Dynaryz and Rhyzer series, you would not want a blade as fast as the TAMCAs.
The 3K-C due to its stiffness, produces a medium-low to low arc when looping. Even at late point of contact when looping, the arc it produces is not high. When I used an old sheet of JOOLA Golden Tango PS on the 3K-C, the arc was a bit higher at medium low height. I also felt more comfortable looping the 3K-C since it was tacky and a bit slower than the Rhyzer rubbers. I would recommend players to hit through the sponge when using this blade as you can maximize the power of the blade – more on power and speed and a bit less on the spin side. Though with skill, this can be easily compensated and almost equalized.
For delicate shots such as drop shots and very short pushes, it would take a bit of adjustment and skill if you are using bouncy rubbers. When receiving short serves, the typical characteristic like any other fast blade is that the 3K-C has a bit more bouncy response therefore one has to adjust the angle and also the tightness of grip to compensate for the bounce. This is aside from the fact that you have to take the ball early. For short serves, I did not make any adjustments because even with fast rubbers such as the Rhyzers, shorts serves were easy to execute.
I would recommend this to advanced level players only since this is one fast blade to use. Players who play at middle distance will love the 3K-C and even enjoy counter looping with this blade away from the table. This is viable near the table if you would use a slower rubber or have the necessary skills but I am placing this blade as a mid-distance blade to far distance blade due to its tenacity and power. The price is also 120USD so this is at mid-range price and affordable for a lot of serious players.
Known in the industry by his username, Yogi_Bear is a table tennis influencer, equipment expert, and frequent contributor on the table tennis forum Table Tennis Daily. He is an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Level 1 Coach and ITTF Level 1 Coaching Course Conductor.
You can find this review, originally published on Table Tennis Daily, here.