For the past two years Rock-it Pocket Lacrosse has been working with the Epoch Lacrosse Company on, first the design of, and then the research and development for the first head model with the EPOCH brand, The Hawk, by Epoch.
It has landed. We are pleased to jump into 2015 by announcing the “Launching” of the Hawk lacrosse head by Epoch Lacrosse.
Pictured below is an early edition Hawk (382C) in a decorative box that Epoch recently sent to us. Nice, huh?
The Hawk by Epoch Lacrosse is a lacrosse head designed for the offensive-minded, highly skilled lacrosse player who likes to have a high pocket. It is not a component for a “beginner’s” stick. It is not specialized to just one position, size, or age. It is meant to be an offensive weapon for shooters, and a great offense-minded head.
Laid Back Technology
- A different way to off set things.
- High Pocket, no whip.
- Offers at least ½” more pocket depth below the slap check coming! The ball can hide that much farther than off-set-at-the-throat. That is a lot! It is legal for every level and in every way, including table measurements.
- Lightness and balance is obviously and best achieved in the top part of the head with the Hawk. It makes the head really feel like it is part of the handle, and not a component stuck on the end of the shaft.
- Grooves on the scoop make ground balls pick up rotation so it almost feels like it picks up the ball automatically.
- The grooves can also work on the shots and throws. It depends how the release point is set.
THE HAWK BY EPOCH REVIEW (Updated Jan. 14, 20, 25, Feb.3, 2015)
IT’S LAUNCH TIME
For two years the Rock-it Pocket Lacrosse team has been working with the Epoch Lacrosse Company, first on the design, and then the research and development of that company’s first head model. The Hawk by Epoch Lacrosse is here and so is some new technology for lacrosse stickness. It is ACTUALLY in the mix now, on the market, on call, launched! Happy New Year!
AN EPOCH BEGINNING
When we began the project, we absolutely did not want to just copy things that are already out there. We wanted to challenge ourselves to design something more than just another piece of plastic. Epoch has been developing lacrosse gear for a while, and the Epoch series of carbon fiber shafts are special, and that is easy to feel right away when when you hold one. The company’s attention to quality and detail gave us hope as well as confidence from the first meeting, and throughout the process that product quality and process accountability were high priority for Epoch. The Epoch Hawk uses the finest plastic technology.
We did not come up with the Hawk design as a head that is meant for only one specific position. At the same time we designed the Hawk with the offensive minded player very much in mind.
HIGH POCKET, LITTLE WHIP!
Recent lacrosse trends have shown that more players than ever before, especially shooters, want high pockets in their sticks, and for a variety of reasons. With this in mind, that fact became the challenge. We wanted to specialize in and explore the top pocket phenomenon for a bit. We set out to nourish the high pocket thinking, and to build a head where the pocket can be high up in the head without somehow looking/feeling like it was forced to be there against its will. We wanted the pocket to sort of want to go ‘home’ up high in the stick. With the boys in the back at Rock-it Pocket we had already been fooling around with some old heads and a band saw, searching for a keyhole that might open that top pocket door in a new head design.
MID POCKETS ARE CONSISTENT WITH A LITTLE WHIP
At Rock-it Pocket we often encourage mostly middle pockets to people unless the player really knows exactly what he wants that is not a mid-pocket. We think mid-pockets are generally more versatile because there is more ‘margin for error’ and the player can get the pocket to best carry out its throwing responsibilities with pockets placed in the middle. Middle pockets are capable of retaining the ‘holdability’ needed to get the shooter’s hands extended for top-shelfing shots, etc. Snagging or whipping is much less likely with mid pockets because the ball rolls/gets rolling in and up the track more easily when it is not tucked too snugly in underneath a hockey lace or something. That middle section of the wall is where the wall is generally tallest (2”) and the pocket depth potential is greatest with greater sidewall width. Therefore pockets almost always end up being easier to make or place in a head when these types of things like maximum depth wall spot are taken into account.
AN EPOCH MANTRA – COME ON UP TO “LAID BACK”
So off we set, or, we set off to get on the yellow brick road. Our first step in the process was to sort of step away from all of that step-back technology that is fundamental to most all current lacrosse head industry models available on the market today. We wanted to do that without losing the off set head-feel players demand. Instead we have used something we call a “Laid Back” profile design. From the throat and handle, all the way to the tip of the scoop, the top of the Hawk sidewall line stretches and bends back and the ultimate pocket place for the ball in the Hawk is at the very top or end of the stick, allowing for longest possible stroke potential, just as the young CANADIANS had intended 30 or whatever years ago when they would bend their aluminum poles back by banging them on the fence or whatever until the head set back just right to achieve a longer stroke and a harder shot.
The ‘Laid Back’ HAWK also lays the scoop blade down towards the ground, leaving less plastic to interrupt the flight path of the ball on throws and shots, and so the weight up top is also not ‘front loaded’ towards the release point. It (plastic scoop blade) tries to stay out of the way as it were when it is time to release the ball.
LIFE IS A GROOVE
From golf we know that grooves affect ball rotation in some big time way, shape or manner. We put grooves in the middle flat part of the scoop of the Hawk to add rotation to the ground ball rolling in the stick when scooping. It works! The ball jumps in the pocket!
The going OUT part of that groove thing is that if you are one that likes the ball to tick the plastic upon release, then these grooves would contribute to that spin increase with the ‘going’ out groove as well. The scoop shape helps, too.
NEVER GET OVER YOUR HEAD
This Hawk head is not for beginners. In general high pockets are probably not best suited for entry level, but besides that, there are things designed into the Hawk that have a preciseness where if player can do more, so can the stick. For example, if the ball is scooped in just the sweet spot by one who can, then Hawk will be the magic wand, and you will be able to capture one-handed sprinting pick-ups like a magician. If you miss it might get ugly, because the blade is indeed wide, but only in the center part, and it (blade) is not thick, making scoop angle a key for lightning quick pix…
So high pocket, little whip was a concept that had been on the back burner at Rock-it Pocket and that particular and specific challenge was our perhaps lofty head design target from day one. The Hawk is built for the SHOOTER. The head features and specs make it ‘outfitted’ for the player with great or advanced offensive skills.
WHIP IT GOOD
One of the tricky parts of playing with pockets placed high in the head is that high pockets can/tend to be ‘whippy’, and that factor can decrease the overall performance by decreasing the consistency of passing and shooting and thus stealing some versatility from a stick’s capability. The harder one shoots, the more strength and or ability it takes to make soft touch passes as easily as the cranking shots. The laid-back design makes the whip number # on a stick easily tweaked 1-2-3-4- for different playing styles.
We have tried to make whip something that the player controls, and not something that controls the player!
GETTING CENTERED – Farther, faster, higher
There is a reason Barbarian catapults launched the rock placed at the very top of the pult!
The Hawk feels rightly or best balanced with the ball a little farther away from the throat than most, and so we quickly felt comfortable in thinking that that part of the mission was accomplished, but the truth is that during the development process it also became clear to us that you do not have to really try to put in a ‘high pocket’ because if the particular pocketeer just inserts more or less a normal/‘middlish pocket’ in the Hawk it will feel centered, but it will also act like a high pocket for shooting and general maneuvering. Well, that is without the whip part that is usually there. Also the stick feels light as a feather, especially when put on an Epoch Dragonfly because of where the ball sits, and it feels really the lightest, with the ball in the stick and way up high in the pocket.
THE PROFILE (please turn to the side) – IT’S THE LAW
The shape of the Hawk face when you look straight at it reveals sidewalls that are pretty much visually equidistant up and down, and being equal distance up and down helps to make the channeling any pocket easier. Looking straight at the face opening of the head the sidewall stays straight for a significant stretch from the throat area and up the sides, kind of like the new Thompson head and other Canadian heads look. So, the curve of the sidewall into the scoop comes quickly, abruptly. The overall appearance as you look at the face straight on is kind of Canadian because even though it is wide side to side and universally legal, the Hawk still has that ‘pinched’ look that attracts players like bait.
NOT CHEATING IS ALWAYS THE GOAL
By rule sidewalls can be 2” tall on field sticks. They can be less, but never more. Size dimensions of the face change with model, and with level of play. In general the lax pocket is meant to be hung from the holes near the bottom of the lower sidewall rail of the lax head. That is the law of lax. The law of pocket depth makes it so the top of the ball can never sit lower than that allowable two inches or less (minus a fraction to lift ball and make it be of visually legal depth inspection). Manufacturers use those two inches of wall to insure that players get maximum pocket depth possibilities. This is not a new concept in lacrosse head technology. Only goalies can have pockets that sag to ridiculous depths. On pretty much any random head, a profile view of the walls will reveal the two-inch maximum as an integral element of any sidewall design. The maximum pocket depth comes with that maximum wall height. The taller the wall, the better the ball can hide.
Many things have been done with the shape and design of the top or face of lax heads through the years, but really very little has been done with the bottom part of the sidewalls. The bottom line of the sidewall on almost every head produced is a perfect reflection of the top rail. With the Hawk we pretty much ‘lawn-chaired’ that concept!
All the 2” sidewalls of most all synthetic/plastic head models must at some point get ‘smaller’ in order to turn and become either the ‘scoop’ or the throat, where the shaft is to be inserted. The 2” measurement is almost always in or near the center of the head, and this is the part that allows for deepest pocket and most ball control. With the hawk the 2” width is almost hanging out as far out as it possibly could.
We shifted some weight from the throat area and brought the widest part of the 2” sidewall to a place very close to the scoop. We sort of shoved the sidewall bottom forward. The two inch height and the lowest part of the sidewall is very close to the scoop in the Hawk, allowing the pocket ‘nest’ to sit high in the head.
We will write more detail about the way the technology works later, but, what happens is that the ‘laid back’ takes the ball and hides it at least ½ inch deeper inside the head. There is one spot that is more or less best for the ball to be to get the best pocket results. And by the way, there is little or hopefully no sacrifice of the versatility that lower pockets give a player, because we have gotten a hold of the whip!
With the Hawk, the stringer needs to take care to make sure the depth is legal at the lower part of the head near the throat because it measures less than 2” down at the throat. The good news is that you can have a high pocket, hold the stick straight up and down, and the ball will not roll out the bottom. It will take some care with mesh. With traditional materials it is easy to build the depth in the lower part so that just because the head has the deepest pocket part at the top, the player can carry the ball and remain legal depth.