In a year of faceoff guys receiving criticism from the NCAA rules committee that many, to include myself, feel is highly undeserved Epoch has come out with something for us that is the ultimate gift with the F30. Shafts have been made for big shooters, big hitters, and goalies but the faceoff guy has typically been neglected in the specialty design process when it comes to shafts. The F30 has worked hard designing a shaft for fogos who have worked hard at their craft creating a tool that not only gives a great advantage at the X but afterwards as well. Being a faceoff specialty shaft this review is going to be geared mostly towards fogos.
Shape 10 out of 10
The Moto Grip design is amazing. There’s just no other way to put it, the shaft conforms perfectly when setting your hands for the faceoff. The Moto grip is similar to a tear drop shape on a women’s shaft but with a flat notch at the back allowing for a strong grip when fighting for control. As you move down the handle the F30 goes back to a standard octagonal at just the right spot to really gain a tight grip with your bottom hand during the faceoff but also both hands when powering through a shot. During a two hand cradle it feels natural having the Moto Grip up top and took no time to feel like this is how things should be. The change in shape on handles has been done before but normally it creates weak points, Epoch has made the F30 in a way were no matter the check you feel solid during the shape change with no issues. For a faceoff guy the shape of the F30 could possibly be improved 10 out of 10.
*Note from Leanne Johnston a former D1 Women’s 2 time All American, current coach, and sister to Notre Dame’s Assistant Coach Matt Karwick. The shaft creates a great shape for women’s players who like the tear drop shape but want more power behind their shot. The Moto Grip creates a great feeling for cradling and the bottom is perfect for shooting hard.
Weight 10 out of 10
Epoch always makes their handles light and the F30 is no exception. It’s a feather in your hands but it doesn’t feel like you could break it in your hands. A light handle for a position that requires speed is always good, every ounce you don’t have to move is another step towards winning the ball. No body building needed here 10 out of 10.
Grip 10 out of 10
With the new regulations on tape for faceoff guys and the confusion with refs grip is incredibly important on a shaft when going to the X. More than once I’ve seen confused ref call a faceoff guy for having any tape at all towards the top of their stick causing problems for faceoff guys. Epoch has given us the answer in their Slip/Grip technology. The only tape we used on the F30 was to keep the end cap on because the shaft had enough grip for a full torque on a pinch and pop or while moving the ball back. Fighting for the ball we never felt the shaft twisting back on us and confidently fought for the ball. The grip isn’t tacky though like a rubberized grip would be so sliding your hands during a check or when getting ready to shoot felt natural thus the slip in the Slip/Grip name. If any company has perfected the grip feel on a shaft it is definitely Epoch 10 out of 10.
Durability 9 out of 10
Never worry when throwing or taking a check with the F30. It is super sturdy and takes really hard checks like a champ. The F30 does not have any shake to it during a check making it feel strong in your hands. The only knock on durability is that fogos go through a lot of heads and this is a unidirectional shaft to get the full benefit of the Moto Grip shape. Screwing heads in and out of the same hole since most of us tend to find a head and never try to change, hence the cost of an OG Blade being so crazy high, this hole could end up becoming bored out and we can no longer rely on taping the head to the shaft. There are products on the market that would allow you to refill the bored out hole (such as JB Weld), allow for drying and then redrill which is why the F30 lost only 1 point here 9 out of 10.
Face Off Technique 10 out of 10
This is a specialty shaft which means it gets a specialty section. The F30 is the perfect shaft for every faceoff guy, hundredths of seconds can mean winning so any advantage should be taken. The Moto Grip shape provides an advantage to both Moto Grip and Traditional Grip users. The Moto Grip is shown how I like to faceoff in the Moto Grip technique but we did test it traditionally and the shaft still sits perfectly in your fingers without a second thought. This versatility is something that every faceoff guy should have in their bag of tricks.
The Jam is a key move that when done correctly goes down the line just over the ball edging out the other players head and allowing you to bump the ball backwards or go into a pinch and pop. Jams become a pain when you get caught going over the ball and the Moto Grip provides yet another advantage. The shape of the shaft makes it slide under an opponent’s head like a knife completing a jam that would normally be a struggle with ease. The way that the F30’s Moto grip shape is done as well makes the bump on the ball much easier than a traditional octagonal shape where the shaft could roll over the ball again.
Clamping with the F30 is just unfair. It may be mental but it really does feel must faster when performing a clamp whether forward, back, or to a 45 it is just easier. We all know how to do it and have made it natural with practice but the F30 just gives the feel that it is more fluid. We may not be moving faster but with the F30 in our hands we certainly feel like we are.
Every player should have these 2 techniques and though there are more they are the ones we focus on most which is why I focused mostly on them and really found that in any technique the F30 is the best handle I have ever had the privilege to face off with. If you’re a fogo or the parent of anyone who faces off for their team this is a must for the holiday season 10 out of 10.
Looks 10 out of 10
The Epoch design is always uncluttered and well defined. The F30 looks amazing and the Pantone 382c color way that is Epoch’s trademark is just perfect for marking the Moto Grip placement and letting the refs know “hey there’s no tape on my head.” Let everyone know that you are ready to dominate the X with the F30 10 out of 10.
Overall 9.8 out of 10
BUY THIS SHAFT, I REPEAT, BUY THIS SHAFT. If you faceoff and you want the advantage buy the F30 it is amazing, I gave mine to one of my players shown in the video who has worked all year to earn a prize from me and with him being a faceoff guy there is just no way I couldn’t give it to him. It was incredibly hard to even let it go though as a faceoff guy the F30 has become my go to handle and will be a regular in my bag very soon. Overall absolutely the best shaft for anyone facing off in the game period 10 out of 10.