Grays GR7000 ProBow
With stock grip 6/10
With over grip 8/10
So my initial knock around with the stock grip I found i could get really really good power from hits and slaps but every when i was striking the ball cleanly I would feel it through all the joins in my hands, i don't know it its just that my hands are 1/1 000 000 exactly the right size to have all my knuckles resting exactly on the angles of the octogrip or its something that everyone gets when using the octogrip handle. I can only describe the feeling as feeling the stick vibrations on my knuckles, it was painful but it just felt uncomfortable.
I stuck a over grip on and i didn't experience this problem afterwards. It was very easy to smash the ball into the corner of the goal and it found it really easy to place the ball into the roof of the net. Comparing it to even the GX11000 the power out put from even minimal effort strikes seemed to be really high, this was apparently a bit of a learning curve as small tap hits for weighted passes suddenly were being over hit (from the teammate who uses the GX7000 Jumbow usually), with about 10-20 mins of use I got a rough handle on this and i imaging with any sticks with a couple of training sessions with the stick I could have got it nailed down as well. It was really easy to keep slaps flat and get a lot of power with the GR7000 which made a dream to play balls to the back post in the game I used the stick for.
Super easy to flick the ball with this stick. It is a extreme low bow and the rail helps to hold the ball on the stick to really get a great roll down the stick and generate the real power on the flick meaning firing it to the exact spot you are aiming at. A small controlled lift is also super easy because of the bow to take the ball over a flat stick or a small lifted pass. the thin head also made it really easy to get under the ball to lift the ball on open stick and on reverse. Superb stick for flicking everyone who tried the stick agreed that this is the real strong point of the stick, it is what it is expected from a dragflicking stick but its still awesome that it does it so well.
With stock grip 8/10
With over grip 9/10
So I nocked a point off the stock grip score for the issue that I found with open stick hitting, I don't want to repeat myself as I think its a small issue as most people put on an over grip anyway.
Hitting tomahawks with this stick was beautiful. The dragflick rail makes the reverse edge extra fat so its so easy to hit on reverse its actually kind of difficult to miss hit them. It was so easy to keep the ball flat I felt super confident playing passes (which I usually reserve for playing passes in the opponents 23m), I will admit it was only in a friendly inter-club game where i was testing this stick but it was still different to be confident enough to play a pass from half way to top D on reverse. The only reason It looses out on a 10 (and possibly being one of the nicest sticks I hit with on reverse is that I found it hard to lift the ball on reverse shots, I was with a lot of practice able to get the ball to lift consistently, but it was always a conscious thing when I wanted to lift the ball rather then I want to hit the ball there and then doing hitting the ball, if that makes sense. I imagine this would vanish with consistent use of the stick but I only had limited time to use the stick before the christmas break.
Really nice stick to dribble with good feel on the ball, nice soft feel when you are controlling the ball, not as responsive as other sticks that I use normally (highly stiff sticks) but definitely more responsive then the other two sticks i was testing against which surprised me I thought that the GX11000 would be a better feeling stick for my tastes. I didn't really feel any benefit from the octogrip handle for added control over a normal circular grip in testing the dribbling or controlled touches/one touch passes/deflection shots, which I thought was meant to be the main reason for the shaped handle. There was a really nice balance to the stick that I had for test, the balance point was was 390mm up the stick which gave the stick a light feel on the ball but gave it a feel of momentum when hitting.
When I first heard about the dragflick rail on the probow I was really sceptical, even after being told that it was really good for dragflicking, but i am officially converted. It was odd at first as i could see the bobbling up and knocking against the rail at the top of the stick (our home pitch is not amazingly smooth), but it was really easy to control the ball and put it into the bottom and top corners, i did have a little issue when i was trying to hit the top of the backboard, either getting it mid height in the net or mid way up the backboard, I think this might have lack of experience with the stick, me being more used to the traditional groove in the shaft. I could get a lot of power and made the GK feel a bit silly with a few flicks (one went over his right shoulder).
With aerials the stick was brilliant, I was able to throw a few aerials in the game i used the stick in and was able to but the ball about 60 yards down the field with out any real effort, even thought i was using a shorter stick then I'm used to. I put the ball onto the end of a team mates stick every time or dropped the ball into the gap for a team mate to run into. After the game we were having a quick round of cross bar challenge I hit the cross bar on the first 3 rounds from the 23m line and was then sent to halfway line, while I got pretty close (one on the roof of the net) i wasn't able to hit the bar at that range, but thats more my ability rather then the stick itself.
in summary I really liked this stick it had a really nice balance for feel on the ball and had good hitting power. but this stick really shone for flicking. The rail really adds a lot of control to the flicks and dragflicks and allows you to carry more momentum through the flick. The retention of the flat face to the shaft also takes away a lot of the negatives associated with having a groove on the face, slaps are easily controlled with any section of the shaft. What is also really nice is that the touch compound on the stick goes up to the 'A' in Grays
I have had 2 people express interest in buying this stick from me the player who is using the GX11000 and another player from my club who currently uses a Grays GX8000 scoop (he also loved the octogrip handle).
I am not a fan of the octogrip handle, from speaking to people either you love it or hate it, I have yet to have anyone say its "ok" or "alright", but part way through I put a chamois over grip on and i couldn't feel the corners on the octogrip any more, I have heard the same with the Grays cushion grips as well, which is why on hitting which was the only area I felt the octogrip had really effected I have added a score for with and without over grip score.
During this testing I was comparing the GR7000 Probow stick to last years GX7000 Jumbow that a member of my team uses and a GX11000 Probow from last year that a fellow coach uses.