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Hinoki wood (Japanese Cypress) and table tennis have a fascinating history dating back to 1955. That year, Hinoki replaced the African Okoume as the preferred wood for table tennis blades.

Why? Because Hinoki was a “faster wood.” The result? Just ask the Six World Champions who used the single-ply blades made exclusively of Hinoki wood (Speed Series.) Even the Yugoslavian legend Dragutin Šurbek used Hinoki blades! Why? Aside from the speed, there was better control over the length of the ball, good touch, powerful loop, and the ball followed the blade.

Coast through any notable table tennis forum, and you’ll find one standard opinion—even amateurs adept at using blades with Hinoki wood are considered formidable opponents for their abilities.

And the visionary behind this disruption? Mr. Okada, the founder of DARKER.

His goal? To provide the highest-quality table tennis blades. Over the decades, DARKER experimented beyond its signature Speed Series. Today, it offers a different series of rackets—made using a unique mix of Hinoki and Doroyanagi wood from trees in Hokkaido, high-tech fibres like "Izanas" (a super-strong polyethene fibre developed in Japan), and carbon.

The coolest part? Most blades are still handmade in their factory in Yokohama, Japan, by artisans with decades of experience. DARKER will never stop perfecting the art of crafting wood.

After all, staying abreast of the ever-changing world of table tennis means constantly redefining the best.