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Courting Wimbledon success with flax

NF2-Tech flax fibre inserts developed by Babolat and EcoTechnilin.

5th September 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Lyon, France


The Alliance for European Flax-Linen and Hemp, previously known as CELC, reports an increasing adoption of flax fibres in composites for sporting goods applications, exploiting the fibre’s excellent vibration damping properties.

Babolat, for example, headquartered in Lyon, France, has recently incorporated a new technology called NF2-Tech into its latest range of Pure Aero racquets.

NF2-Tech – natural flax filtration technology – is a flax fibre insert developed with EcoTechnilin, of Valliquerville, France, which has been incorporated into the handle and sections of the racquet heads to dampen vibrations and deliver optimised acoustics with a much softer sound. This results in an enhanced feeling as a player strikes the ball.

Carlos Alcaraz claimed the 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final using his signature Babolat Pure Aero 98 and has had a contract with the sports brand since he was ten years old, which has recently been extended to 2030. Founded in 1875, Babolat has also supplied racquets to many other all-time great tennis champions including René Lacoste, Arthur Ashe, Björn Borg, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, Li Na, Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki and Rafa Nadal.

Babolat has recently incorporated a new flax technology called NF2-Tech into its latest range of Pure Aero racquets. © Babolat

The adidas Metalbone Greenpadel padel racquet similarly incorporates Bcomp ampliTex flax fibres – as an alternative to typically used carbon and glass fibres – to provide a new level of performance thanks to the outstanding vibration damping they provide.

Winter sports

Flax fibres are also making inroads into winter sports. Zag Skis, based in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France, has also collaborated with Bcomp and uses ampliTex flax fibre composite reinforcements across its Slap collection. The company says the flax fibres ensure a smoother ride and provide 250% higher vibration damping than carbon fibres for even the most demanding freeride skiers.

Also applying flax to its latest generation equipment, Rome Snowboards, headquartered in Waterbury, Vermont, is working with EcoTechnilin to integrate flax textile reinforcements into the impact plates and side walls of its boards. The low-density fibres have been shown to improve durability, rigidity and stability without impacting the crucial ‘feel’ of the board.

The Alliance for European Flax-Linen and Hemp has produced a detailed report on the vibration-damping properties of flax fibre-reinforced composites and the advantages it provides axross a range of end-use sectors that can be accessed here.

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