So, I got my OB Classic Pro shaft on Monday.  Even though I was pretty sick, it was impossible not to get some table-time with a new shaft.

To sum up: I LOVE THIS SHAFT!!!!

The details: I ordered it from AZBMarketPlace, and I had them swap out the default everest tip for a Kamui Black Super-Soft.  Now, this is different from my normal tip, which is a Kamui Black Soft.  Although, honestly, I’m not sure I can really tell a difference in the hit just yet.  I’m too new to the shaft to be able to feel the tip by itself.

This shaft is 11.75mm, about 1mm thinner than my playing shaft.  Initial observations are that it is a great deal stiffer than my stock Lucasi shaft; which I hadn’t really expected, but so far, I really like it.  The tiny ferrule looks a little strange at first, but is quickly forgotten.  In fact, the tip is actually taller than the ferrule at this time.  I need to reshape it a bit as it’s very flat, and I prefer more of a dime-ish radius tip.

You might recall that after my put the Black-Soft on my regular shaft I wasn’t sure how I liked the sound of the ping – it sounded… “plastic-y” to me.  Well, this shaft is entirely different sound… it has a very good wood-based ping sound; I very much prefer it to my regular shaft.

There is one thing that will take some getting used to: the laminate lines running down the length of the shaft.  98% of them are so near identical it’s not an issue, but there’s 1 in particular that’s quite a bit darker than the rest.  It stands out like a seam; although I know it’s not.  It does distract the eye a bit at first.  A slight turn of the cue removes the distraction so, again, not really an issue; just something I noticed.

Now – as for playability… I just love it.  I feel like I’m hitting the cueball more accurately, and I can more accurately control just how much english I’m applying.  1-tip, 2-tips in any direction; they are entirely different areas of the cueball; not nearly as close together as the older shaft appeared.  The shaft doesn’t flex nearly as easily or as much as my stock Lucasi; but it also doesn’t bouce and vibrate like the old either. 

Deflection? There’s such a thing as “deflection”? Not really. Not hardly.  My standard deflection test is to put the cue ball on the headspot and an object ball on the 2nd diamond frozen to the rail.  I shoot to make the OB and send the cue ball 3 rails back across the headstring using inside english.  With my stock Lucasi shaft, in order to make this shot, I have to aim at center object ball – nearly exactly straight as it lies.  With the OBCP, I only have to adjust my aim about a tip’s width from the ghost ball+objec ball line of centers to make the ball.  For nearly all shots that are less than “hard” power – I don’t have to compensate for deflection – AT ALL (exceptions, of course for full-table length cuts, etc).  For any soft or medium power, if I missed the shot, it was because I compensated for my old shaft, not the new one.

Because of this new “nearly pure aim” ability – I’m able to slice balls in I could never hit before with a consistency I never had before.  For example: object ball 2-balls off the rail at the diamond just passed the side pocket.  Cue ball across the table, 1 to 2 balls higher than ob.  Cut the object ball into the corner, using inside english to hold the cb under the side pockets.  That’s a shot I would *maybe* make 1 in 10 times before.  Monday night, I made 7 out of 10, and 4 in a row even.

After I did some more drills and played some “Equal Offense”, I was invited to play in the 1p round-robin happening a table across from me.  I agreed and we played.  After running the last 4 to win the 1st rack, 3 shots into the next rack, my opponent makes a mistake and leaves me a clean shot.  I start making balls… and continue to make balls.  Shooting almost without fear, I’m playing position routes up-table like I’m playing 9-ball… Before I know it, there’s nothing left down table and I have 9 balls. Only needed 8, but ran 9!!  I didn’t believe that I had just ran out, but when talking with the railbirds, they confirmed it.  True – I got lucky with the layout, but I also played the proper patterns. Had to – otherwise I would not have gotten out.  It’s not the shaft, but also not worrying about deflection when needing to around the stack with inside is a huge relief.

For a “new” player – this is golden.  For an “old school” player, they’ll hate it.  Me… I love it and can’t see going back to a stock shaft for anything.  Sorry custom cue-makers, if I ever order a cue, I might just get the butt and forgo the shaft entirely, unless they can make an ultra-thin shaft as well.