The Hurricane 3 NEO is probably the most iconic rubber on the market. Top Chinese players learned how to play table tennis with this rubber and they still use it to this day, for good reason.
Thousands of players around the world also choose it because of its superb spin and incredible value for money.
According to Revspin.net, it is the second most used rubber in the world.
This rubber is unique because of several different factors, such as its very high sponge hardness, its dense sponge, and its high tackiness. It is so special, in fact, that it should be used adopting different techniques than with most other more conventional rubbers.
For example, Chinese-style players usually have longer strokes than European-style players. By adopting these strokes, they try to make the most out of this rubber’s speed and spin capabilities, which are best in class for those who know how to use it.
In our review, we found it to be an excellent rubber for those players who like to play a spin-based, active game.
We recommend it for offensive players who like to play a physical, active game with powerful strokes, and for allround players who know how to benefit from this rubber’s exceptional control and spin capabilities.
Perfect for: Forehand loopers of all levels who want to attack their opponents actively with superb spin, great control, and linear power delivery. 0-10+ years of playing.
Table of Contents
Design of the Hurricane 3 NEO
The Hurricane 3 NEO has a very unique design. The rubber is composed of a 100% sticky topsheet, it has no grip.
If the rubber gets wet, it will not grab the ball, so players living in humid areas will encounter problems when using this rubber.
I remember when I used it a few years back and the humidity levels were above 95%, this rubber was unable to grip the ball, while the European grippy rubbers could.
It was very frustrating to sign up to a tournament only to realize that humidity on that day was super high and my rubber couldn’t grip the ball properly anymore.
The sponge is very dense, not at all porous. The Hurricane 3 NEO is offered in 5 different hardnesses, 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41 degrees.
The one we tested was 39 degrees in hardness, and I would classify it as a really hard rubber, around 51 degrees ESN.
It also feels harder than it is because of its low passive speed. You have to work quite hard to get speed and spin out of this rubber
If you are going to use the Hurricane 3 NEO unboosted, we recommend using the 37 or 38 degree variants. Hardnesses above this level become too difficult to use without a booster.
Speaking of which, the sponge comes pre-applied with factory booster and glue. You can apply glue to your blade and stick the rubber to it with the factory applied glue.
This sponge is known to react very favorably to boosters because the speed of this rubber is quite low. It does not have a strong rebound effect at all. Boosting it makes it a lot crisper and responsive while retaining and even enhancing its characteristic spin.
If you want a reactive rubber, we recommend that you boost your Hurricane 3 NEO, or buy a hybrid rubber like the Yasaka Rakza Z or the Butterfly Dignics 09C. These last two rubbers are also tacky but have a much more reactive sponge than the Hurricane 3 NEO.
In practice, the Hurricane 3 NEO excels at serve and receive, spin shots, and counterloop rallies due to its sticky topsheet and hard sponge combination.
My initial impressions were just what I remembered from my years of playing with this rubber.
A bounce test reveals that the rubber’s tackiness prevails over the bounce effect. The first time I bounced the ball on the rubber, the ball just stuck to the rubber. This tells us how little this sponge makes the ball bounce and how strong its stickiness is.
The sponge feels dead compared to European sponges, it is not the slightest bit reactive. It delivers a neutral hand feel because of its hardness and lack of bounce.
The Hurricane 3 NEO in 2.15 thickness, cut for my Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, weighs 53 grams. It is a heavy rubber, so we recommend taking this into account when building your setup.
I glued the Hurricane 3 NEO to my Tibhar Stratus Power Wood and tested it on the forehand side, as it’s a hard tacky rubber.
On this occasion, I did not test it for my backhand, but I have in the past. The reason why we are not evaluating it on the backhand side is that the hardness of the rubber, its stickiness and its flat throw make it too difficult to use. It is already very difficult to use on the forehand side.
If you want to use the Hurricane 3 NEO on your backhand, we strongly recommend that you buy the 37 degree version, as it’s considerably softer and much easier to use than the higher hardness variants.
We are also testing this rubber out of the package, without the use of boosters.
This review is based on 10 hours of playing matches and drilling with several different partners, all the way from early intermediate to advanced level.
The videos in this review were taken from a session with the advanced offensive player.
Driving and looping
Looping is the best attribute of this rubber. Driving, not so much.
Drives have a large degree of control and safety, and that’s all we can say. It is difficult to make drives that compromise the opponent with this rubber because of the low speed.
Loops are the best attribute of this rubber, although it has many peculiarities compared to European rubbers.
Looping with 60% force is not effective with this rubber, due to its low passive speed. The Hurricane 3 NEO shines when you hit the ball hard. The harder you can hit, the better, as long as you don’t flat hit the ball.
This rubber’s design makes it linear, that is, shots with low acceleration go very slow, and shots with a lot of acceleration go very fast.
However, most of the time we are not hitting 100% speed loops, so this strength of the Hurricane 3 NEO is a liability most times. If we hit a loop with 70% force, European rubbers are much more effective.
It all depends on your technique and your physical strength and how much acceleration you can achieve with your strokes. Many beginners who try the Hurricane 3 NEO don’t like it because they find it hard to produce spin with it.
I found that to generate the same speed as I do with my usual rubber, the Rakza Z, I had to perform longer strokes, and this hindered my form and my recovery times a lot.
I wanted to compensate for the lack of speed by adding more force with my arm or with my shoulders, which is technically wrong
Loops travel low to the net, and the throw is quite flat. This can generate quite a few unforced errors, either by clipping the net or by hitting the ball long.
When conducting practice drills, I found that the Hurricane was an amazing rubber. When I knew where the ball was going, I could hit it really hard and the rubber really stood out.
However, when playing matches, it was hard for me to use this rubber correctly. If I wanted to attack my opponent with strong loops, I needed to extend my stroke.
To give me the time required, I needed to accurately predict where my opponent was going to place the ball and move early. It’s a risky move.
This can be attributed to the fact that I am not fast enough with my movements, but it is also testament to the unforgiveness of this rubber.
If you’re caught off guard, which happens a lot in this sport, you won’t be able to execute a good shot. With European rubbers, many times you can just snap your forearm and hit a decent loop, with the Hurricane 3 this is not possible.
Open ups against backspin imparted great spin if you timed the ball right. If you didn’t, then you’ll probably hit the ball long or dump it in the net. This rubber is very unforgiving.
It’s not easy to lift balls, you have to do it yourself. The rubber has more than enough grip, but you must have good technique to lift the ball since the rubber is very hard and slow.
Counterloops with this rubber were excellent. The rubber is super stable and it is very easy to absorb incoming spin and turn it into topspin of your own. In addition, the hardness helps a lot to control the counter topspins, you never lose control of the ball.
Overall, loops were good but very physically demanding. Honestly, I prefer hybrid rubbers to Hurricane on most strokes, but counterloops and loops with 100% force were an absolute pleasure to hit.
When you time shots well with this rubber, it works like no other.
Serve and receive
Serve and receive with the Hurricane 3 NEO was great, and it’s one of the many reasons why players prefer it over European rubbers, especially at the higher levels.
When you get to a certain level, if your push goes long, it’s going to be attacked every time. The Hurricane 3 NEO’s tackiness and lack of speed makes it super easy to absorb the incoming spin of the ball and keep touches short.
Serving with this rubber was amazing. You can really accelerate into the ball and you’re going to get more and more spin, without needing to worry about it drifting long. My serves were absolutely loaded with spin and super controllable in both placement and depth.
Receiving, as we said before, was excellent, especially pushes.
Forehand flicks, however, required some getting used to, as the throw angle is very low and the rubber is hard. In this area, I definitely prefer European rubbers, they make it a lot easier to spin the ball with shorter strokes such as flicks.
Blocking and chopping
Blocks were definitely controllable with this rubber, though the low passive speed made them super ineffective. If I were to switch to Hurricane, I’d try to block as little as possible.
When I used it a few years back, I would never block. Even if you’re caught off guard, I recommend trying to add some action to your block and driving or counterlooping the ball instead of blocking it to add some degree of difficulty to your opponent.
If your opponent loops to your forehand side and you block the ball, you basically lose the point since you’re going to return a slow, medium height ball that they can loop with even more power.
Chopping was good, it’s clearly better than European rubbers in this regard. Chops had a lot more spin and it was easier to negate incoming spin on chops, you can really soak up the energy from your opponent’s loop.
To sum up, the Hurricane 3 NEO is an excellent rubber for those players who like to play the game with a physical, spin-oriented approach.
If your footwork is sound and you loop with power, then this rubber could be the right choice for you. For most players, though, I think European rubbers are easier to use and actually perform better in most shots that are played in a match.
If you’re going to use this rubber, I strongly recommend boosting it, as the process will make the rubber a lot more effective and easier to play with.