The 2017 Specialist has a new shape to the old ones, with no groove and thinner profile.
Specification (taken from Ritual website)
· 535g Weight
· 385mm Balance Point
· 24mm Bow Height
· 200mm Max Bow Point
· 95% Carbon
· 5% Kevlar
Ritual have removed the groove that runs up the shaft on this new model, which has allowed them to make the stick thinner and lighter. The reverse edge is thinner than before, and I think it makes reverse hitting easier. Unlike the old specialist, getting under the ball and hitting high is easy to do, and there is more control of height. The bow also seems more aggressive and takes some getting used to if you play with an old Specialist. The stick shape is now more of a traditional ultra-low bow.
Hitting and slapping
The stick has quite a small sweet spot, but can be found consistently. It is quite a light stick, so taking fast shots is fine, but the stick also feels like it has a lot of force behind it, and shots or passes ping off well.
Reverse hits, as I have said, are easy to control and are also powerful. The reverse edge has been reinforced which should hopefully stop it wearing down and splintering over time, which is what I found with my old Grays stick.
The removal of the groove makes it easy to keep slaps on the ground, unlike the old Specialists. The slaps are powerful
The stick is light so makes fast stick skills good and the head is also thin, which makes it easy to lift the ball.
I don’t drag flick so cannot comment on how good it is, but my aerials still go the same distance as they did with my old Specialist, which had the groove which I thought helped a lot.