Kit review: Kookaburra 2018
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Posted on Saturday, 21st October 2017 -
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This time of year for retailers and cricketers alike is possibly the second most exciting time of year, behind the start of the season. With the Lords trade show having been and gone in Mid-September and October nearly over already, when November comes around it means the new 2018 ranges start to come in store just before the Christmas rush.
Kookaburra, being one of the "big 3" in terms of cricket manufacturers in the world alongside Gray Nicolls and GM, naturally we have high expectations year on year for what they are to come out.
Going in to the 2018 season Kookaburra have made a few changes to their ranges, the models they are carrying into next season are as follows:
- Kahuna: Now into its 16th year, this range is Kookaburra's main one and which they base a lot of their other products around, for example, they use the colour scheme from the Kahuna to their wicket keeping equipment and to some of the bag ranges.
- Blaze: Now it its 2nd year, the range which has been developed in partnership with England limited over wicket keeper Jos Butler. A change from last years red and orange stickers, Kookaburra have instead gone for predominantly black stickers with orange edging so still carrying the visual imagery you would associate with a "blaze" but now, in my opinion, looking a lot smarter.
- Surge: Another one into its 2nd year with Kookaburra and similar to the Blaze has had a colour reinvention going from the two tone dark blue combination for 2017 to a dark and light blue combination which is a lot more striking for 2018.
- Ghost: The purists favourite, now into its 3rd year with Kookaburra. The Ghost keeps it simple with its subtle white and grey colour scheme. The only one in the range with a sausage finger design on the gloves.
- Fever: NEW for 2018, the Fever has replaced the Fuse and Zinc in the Kookaburra ranges. Coming in two different colour schemes for 2018, either, fuscia/black/yellor or black/silver/yellow.
The Kookaburra bats for this year all follow the same shape and profiling of previous years for the Kahuna, Blaze and Surge. The only difference being the new Fever range which has a mid sweetspot. However in the Fever range there are three bats, two of which are similar only different in terms of quality of the wood (Fever 300 & 800) and then there is the Fever Max. The Max is designed to be the biggest possible bat it can be while still conforming to the new MCC laws, so if you are looking for a big bat with an impressive sweetspot that is very well suited to English wickets then I believe this may be the bat for you.
For the other bats, where as the differences may be cosmetic, in my opinion they are possibly the best looking bats on the market. The Kahuna is an icon of the sport now with it being into its 16th year like I have mentioned previously, with its iconic two tone green colour scheme and impressive all round shape of the bat too makes it one of the best bats on the market and a personal favourite of mine. The Blaze has been one of our best sellers this year, whether the influence Jos Butler has had on that I'm not too sure but it is also a very good well suited to English club wickets. With its mid blade sweetspot position is a good bat for players who play off both front and back foot with the intention of attacking the opposition bowlers. The Surge, in my opinion, is the most striking of the Kookaburra range with its light and navy blue colour scheme and distinctive graphics on the stickers too make it a real standout compared to some of the other bats on the market. The Surge has also had a bit of a subtle change in terms of profiling for this year really optimising the low sweetspot and enhancing the toe to give it an even better pick up.
All of their ranges come in full matching sets of softs so if having all your gear matching Kookaburra have you covered on that front. For 2018 Kookaburra have made some interesting changes to their pads and glove ranges, some conventional and some going against the norm.
In the gloves, Kookaburra have now got 3 different fastening styles; the conventional style where it folds into your wrist (the Ghost & Kahuna), a reverse style fastening going the oppostie direction (the Surge) and then a over the top fastening similar to that of golf and football goalkeeping gloves (the Blaze and Fever). Alongside altering the style of fastening on the gloves, Kookaburra have also adapted something which hasn't changed since the 1980's. In all of their pro range gloves Kookaburra have moved away from the traditional sweatband wristband to a modern and more absorbant neoprene material.
Continuing their trend of making changes to go against convention, Kookaburra have taken that step into one of their pads as well. Rather than having a traditional high quality, top spec pro pad for their Kahuna range they have changed the inner protection material making it more mouldable to each individuals needs and feels. The material used for the Kahuna Pro Concent Pad is 3D moulded and protects the wearer even more so than a traditional pro level pad. This may not be for everybody, but in my opinion it is the best top level pad on the market.
An area where Kookaburra have improved upon last season is in their helmets. They have improved on 2017's pro 400 & pro 800 models and come back with the pro 600 and pro 1200. Still giving cricketers a cheaper alternative to that of Masuri or Shrey but now with much better quality that wont go missing in some of the higher adult leagues. Kookaburra have also this year brought out a neck guard, which conveniently and securly fastens on to the adjuster strap at the back of all of their pro range helmets, so whether you have a new one for 2018 or one of the models I mentioned previously the neck guard will still attach on to it.
The final area I am going to talk about is the bag range. I am a big fan of the Kookaburra bags having got myself the Pro players wheelie prior to last season and knowing it fits my full range of batting and wicket keeping kit into with ease. The new range they are bringing out are looking more of the same shape rather than having a traditional shape kitbag in their lower ranges before changoing to the shape of the high end ones which look better suited for car boots and under changing room benches. The colour schemes as well match the Kahuna and Blaze more this year.
Have a look at the new items and let me know in the comment section below what you think.