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This week I want to talk about some molds from Innova that may surprise you.
MVP and Axiom rightly get the credit for having the first overmold discs and I believe the most overmold discs as well. Unless there’s some company I’m not familiar with.
MVP first got the Ion approved in 2009 so they’ve been making discs with that weighted outer rim for 14 years. And I think they’ve changed the sport with it.
They’re famous for having the 2 pieces of plastic together. That black rim is recognizable for most disc golfers even from a distance. Let’s look at Innova overmolds and how they’re different.
Innova has 3 overmold discs at the moment. The Nova, Atlas, and Avatar. Since at Sabattus we carry a lot of Innova products I thought I’d spend some time talking about discs that I don’t see people gravitate toward as much of but I think are still decent options for some players.
Here’s a video of Dave Dunipace talking about the Innova overmold discs back in 2014.
The Atlas was the first PDGA approved, so let’s start with that one.
It debuted in June 2013. I think that’s probably about the time my dad started throwing the disc. His is star plastic, we carry the XT plastic ones here at SDG. The main difference between those two is the heartbeat. The star ones are flatter and they tend to be a little more stable. But if you like something that you can depress the top and hear it “pop” you’ll love the XT ones.
The XT Atlas is backhand stable and has a distinct late hyzer for advanced skill players who are able to get the disc up to speed. It’s not something you’re going to be able to forehand unless you have a lot of touch and low speed forehand control. Arthur, Danielle, and I spent some time trying to forehand these discs, but we weren’t very successful. I’ll try to shoot more video to compare these discs in the future. If you’re into content of seeing people throw more discs, let me know what discs you’d like to see compared in the comment section.
I think that one reason why the Atlas isn’t as popular as other discs is the technical skill required. It’s less forgiving than other discs like the Mako3 or the Jay which have similar numbers. And in my opinion requires slightly more speed to get going. The Atlas functions as a longer, faster Roc. I think it maybe the nubs on the bottom that deter people from picking up this disc and trying it out.
In my 4.5 years experience working in the pro shop there are 2 things that will make a disc golfer immediately put a disc back on the rack.
1. There is a bead on the disc.
2. There are nubs on the bottom.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a disc down if it doesn’t feel right in your hand. In fact, I encourage players to feel about 5 molds before they make a purchase to make sure it does feel good in their hands.
Back to the Atlas.
While the Jay and Atlas share the same flight numbers I think it’s important to look at both of them closely and see the differences between them.
The Jay is straighter, it’s like a torque resistant Mako3 and I’d say has more forward glide. It also has a little more glide. If you’re a very accurate backhand player I think the Atlas is more your speed.
Where the Atlas excels is on a slow hyzer shot. You can release it flat and expect it to curve. A mid that’s less stable you’d need to put it on hyzer yourself. Always buy a disc that does the work for you.
Let’s get to the Innova XT Nova, the most popular of the Innova overmolds. PDGA approved in September of 2013.
It’s a disc that was incredibly popular in 2015-2018 and then it fell off the face of the disc golf world when Paul McBeth left Innova to sign with Discraft.
I know he’s a Discraft guy for the next 10 years. I’ve been following the pro scene since 2010 so I think of him as Innova. In my head sometimes I forget he traded his Roc for a Buzzz. And I think of him as maybe the best to ever throw the Nova. He had the touch with it that was absolutely brilliant.
The Nova is straight at 10 feet, it's straight at 110 feet, it’s straight at 175 feet. This disc has a little flip up to it, but not much and then it holds that line and glides. Throwing it further than 200 and you’re going to start to overpower the disc and make it flippy.
I remember one random dubs partner throwing the Nova in for birdie from 100 feet. So I went and bought a Nova the next day. Fun story about that. Chris was my random dubs partner, then the guy who I bought the Nova from, and later I started working with him at Sabattus. I guess we’re Nova buddies?
The Nova has really fallen out of favor in the last couple of years. Paul McBeth making gorgeous shots aside, I think one reason has been the lack of durability between the plastics. People are throwing these 2 speed discs as hard as they can and the XT plastic and pro plastic rim don’t handle tree hits all that well. They can split if you throw hard and then gripping becomes slightly more difficult.
The Nova is meant for those short approach shots of 150 feet or less. It’s also not getting the hype machine that is Simon Lizotte making videos. Which is one of the reasons I think the Glitch has been so wildly popular in the last 6 months.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like the overstable approach disc slot, try approaching with the Nova. I think it’s a great forgotten disc in an era of high glide putters.
The Avatar is a stable to overstable mid that I honestly don’t have too much experience with. I won one a few years ago as a CTP and I ended up giving it away to a school. It’s not something we carry at SDG, because there’s not as much demand for it. I can’t think of anyone I know right now who bags one. But I’m sure someone will read this blog and show me their Innova Avatar in the next week.
The Lion shares the same numbers as the Avatar and the Lion has enjoyed lots of folks throwing it for the last couple of years. I see it made in Halo plastic, I see it in stock stamps in multiple plastics, it’s definitely the more popular 5-4-0-2 disc from Innova.
So where does this leave Innova as an overmold company?
I think the Nova was a success, and I’d like to see more people throwing this disc. It’s a really great straight thrower with tons of glide. I think the Atlas is fine as niche disc. My dad loves his and uses it for soft flex shots around 150 feet. He’s a real wizard in the trees with that disc. I think the Avatar is not as popular, and might be Innova’s last foray into the overmold plastic game.
Are you a fan of any of these discs? Is there something from Innova you’d like to see reviewed? I always love hearing from you guys about what you’d like to read in my blogs.
Let me know in the comments.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397