Company: Brine Lacrosse / Product: F55 Friction Shaft / Price: $129.99
Brine’s venerable F-series shafts hold a special place in my heart. My very first handle, back in the stone age of 2001, was a Brine F10. In the first game of the playoffs in my senior year of high school, I learned my first lesson about aluminum and upgraded to a Brine F-15 shortly thereafter. The F15 has endured a decade of service and then some without breaking. During that time, I’ve broken composite shafts, shafts named after Japanese swords, and shafts that were supposedly unbreakable. But the F15 remains.
It came, then, as a delight when Krieg Shaw placed the Brine F55 Friction in my hands and told me to give it a whirl. After using it for a month or so, here’s what I’ve found.
I tend to gravitate towards shafts which are non-descript, plain, conservatively-designed, or otherwise visually unremarkable. The F55 is not that; but it’s not gaudy either. It’s got a sharp appearance and comes in a variety of colors.
The shaft I tested was electric blue. While I typically wouldn’t select that color of shaft, it quickly grew on me and after awhile I didn’t miss the sight of my silver Kryptolyte one little bit.
If you’re paying any attention to the name (“Friction”), you might have supposed that there was something to the grip of the F55. You’d be right. Here’s Brine’s description of what they’ve cooked up here:
Now, I’ve tested a number of sticks with built-in grip. Usually, I’m not a huge fan, preferring instead to add my own grip with hockey tape. The F55 Friction, however, is different. The Dual Diamond texture is very mild; you know it’s there but it isn’t so grippy that it affects how your hands slide on the metal. Again, here’s how Brine describes their Diamond Grip:
Brine went to the trouble to candy-cane the Diamond Grip texture pattern on the top half of the handle to emulate a popular taping convention. I don’t usually tape my stick in that way, but in this case I liked it (probably because of how mellow the texture is).
Grip is a matter of personal preference. I use grip (usually tape) merely as a means of getting my bearings; I don’t rely on it to hold onto the stick. For me, the F55 Friction is perfect. If you’re looking for something more aggressive however, it might not do the trick.
Weight… +2.0 // Durability… +2.0
While the Friction might be new, the F55 has been Brine signature since the mid-2000s. Made of a high-end Scandium alloy, the F55 has always offered a premium balance of light weight and high strength. The F55 Friction is no different. Unlike other handles which use some variation of polymer coating, the Diamond Grip is not additive and therefore does not increase the weight. Meanwhile after several high-intensity indoor lax sessions, I’ve yet to find any significant dings or signs of wear along the shaft. Suffice it to say, I’m impressed.
I’m not one to drop a ton of money on a shaft. My seemingly-immmortal F15 aside, most sticks eventually break. My old Katana (which had a similar texture to the Friction) had a price tag of $120 and it snapped in two about a month after the warranty ran. The F55 Friction retails for $129.99 at Lacrosse.com. Maybe I’m cheap, but I’d have a hard time paying that much for a 30″ stick. $130 is just a little rich for my blood. That said, I do think that this is an outstanding piece of equipment and perhaps I’m just out to lunch on the cost of doing business.
The F55 Friction looks good, feels great, and performs like a champ. The grip is perfect for players that don’t usually want any grip on their handles. I’m a bit concerned about the price, but I recommend dropping by your local lacrosse shop and putting one in your hands. You might just love it.