New decade, new game ball: Wilson AVP Optx beach volleyball
It has just been officially launched and we were lucky enough to already get a hold of the new AVP Optx game ball by Wilson. Being introduced for the pro players at last September’s AVP Hawaii event, the new model has already been widely discussed by professional and recreational players.
Wilson says they put in two years of research to develop this new version of the official AVP game ball. Two years is quite a lot for a product of rather limited complexity as a volleyball. So what’s new?
Not that much is our impression. One important feature being marketed is the visual spin technology that uses strategic color variance to enhance the eye’s ability to detect spin on the ball. This goes hand in hand with the new design of the ball in yellow, black and orange and the enhanced ball tracking feature. The new color palette and graphics are supposed to allow for improved ball tracking in diverse environments. This effect is should even be reinforced with polarized sunglasses. So far, so good. What do the pros say?
Pro feedback after the Hawaii event has not been consistent. Some say the new version is very similar to the previous AVP game ball but confirm improved ball visibility in some environments. Others claim it to be somewhat slippery but that could have also been due to the high humidity at Waikiki Beach in September. A further observation has been confirmed by Wilson today. On their social media channels, Wilson says:
Every new Wilson ball is slightly smaller due to the stitching not having expanded yet. After a couple weeks of break-in, the ball will be similar in size to a heavily used ball you might be measuring it against. The material and construction is the same as the previous AVP Game Ball model.”
We have just received the ball and have not yet tested the Optx but we are excited to do so. Especially how it compares to the (now heavily discounted) previous version and the current Mikasa ball that is being played on the FIVB World Tour. With the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, AVP pros might be better off playing with a model as close as possible to the FIVB standard.
Stay tuned for our upcoming review!