In early July I posted a review of the Latitude 64 River…a disc that continues to find itself permanently in my bag. Our disc reviews cover topics such as the flight numbers of the disc, use cases for the disc, player skill level for this disc, and possibly compare it to an alternative or standard. Dive into something tasty and sit back to read our Disc Golf Dash review of the Innova Shark.
As our ongoing mission here at DiscGolfDash.com we will continue to help new players be informed about courses, products, and discs. Let’s get started with a look at one of the most consistent straight flying mid-ranges available.
If you’re new to the game let me start you out with a brief background on Innova. Founded in 1983 it could be argued that Innova helped shape what we now know as a modern disc golf disc. In fact, it was in that year that they filed the first patent design for a disc specific to the sport of disc golf. 40 years later, they continue to innovate equipment needs for disc golfers.
Innova has a ton of discs and plastic types to choose from. Including several that have won world championships and hold world records for distance. On top of that they also create baskets and other disc golf related products.
Some of their more popular discs to highlight include the Destroyer, Leopard, Aviar and of course the Shark. But, make no mistake, they have plenty of others that have a large following in the community.
Innova Shark Disc Golf Dash Review
The Shark came to me as part of the Innova starter set. This set, not surprisingly, includes the above mentioned favorites Leopard and Avair. Being completely new to the sport I didn’t really understand what the flight numbers meant for the actual flight of a disc. But what I did notice was how easy this disc was to fly straight.
I can’t say for sure that the Innova Shark is the straightest flying disc on the market…and certainly some of that depends on the thrower. But, even at the early stages of my disc golfing experience, I found this to be my go-to disc for mando shots.
Innova Shark Flight Numbers: Speed: 4, Glide: 4, Turn: 0, Fade: 2
With a low speed and 0 turn this makes for a great disc to be thrown by those starting out. My first impressions were that of relief, I wouldn’t have to go chasing this thing into the poison ivy. The lower end plastic from the starter set was nothing to write home about but it was good enough. Also the weight came in at 154g, making it a nice light to medium thrower.
Field Testing the Innova Shark
This disc is easy to throw…even for my weak arm I am able to get it to turn over, flying level and straight. With a speed of 4 makes it on the low end of a midrange disc, but that’s perfect for new players. As I mentioned above, being this disc first came to me in the starter set, my first field tests weren’t setting any distance records. However, I was seeing a consistent flight pattern and noticed out of the three in the starter set it was my most reliable.
I will admit I now own 3 different versions of the Shark and have no problem launching for 200+ feet, with a straight but albeit slight fade at the end flight. This disc has flown with ease from the start, and one can only assume that is why it’s part of the Innova starter set.
After a few rounds at the local course and several more field tests I had to admit the Shark was the easiest of the bunch to throw. I was seeing it turnover more consistently and fly a lot straighter than my other discs. My range was also increasing with the confidence in the disc. I started throwing it 100ft to 200ft as a beginner. Now I get upwards of 250-300ft out of it if I really want to, but typically use it more in the 150ft range. I also noticed the fade was minimal with only the occasional hook at the end or dive into the ground. The disc was building my confidence to tackle any straight or mando shots and just felt easy to be consistent in flight. But perhaps the best part was it was teaching some things….
What the Innova Shark Taught Me
One could say the Shark being so easy to use from the start leaves little lessons to be learned. However, it is in that consistency that some of the best lessons were given.
- Lesson #1: Distance isn’t everything. We often see shots thrown by You Tubers displaying great feats of power, strength, and ultimately distance. But as awesome as this is to watch, most midrange shots are only a few hundred feet at best, and often require a little more precision than a distance driver will provide. I personally will take an accurate shot any day over distance.
- Lesson #2: Not all discs are made for forehand and backhand shots. For me personally, the Shark is just not a great forehand shooter for me. Backhand seems to be the way to go with this one, but you may find it differently. I am not saying I can’t flick it, but there seem to be other discs that suit this style better. I love throwing my Innova Valkyrie with a forehand. But when I try to flick the Shark, all that consistency goes away.
- Lesson #3: Don’t be afraid of the Mandos. Before the Shark’s “identity” came true to me I was concerned anytime I needed a shot to thread between two trees. Mando shots (mandatory) are intimidating to all. So having a disc I could count on going straight for at least most of its flight was essential to building my confidence.
Innova Shark Plastic Types
The Shark comes in 3 plastic types from Innova: Star, GStar, and DX. Below we break down the characteristics for each. The Innova starter set will come with the DX plastic, which is nice, but you will appreciate the performance out of the Star line.
Innova Shark: Star Plastic
- What Innova Says: “Our top of the line Star plastic offers high performance, outstanding durability and great grip. Our Star line is created with a special blend of grippy, resilient polymers. Star plastic offers the same outstanding durability of our regular Champion plastic, plus improved grip like our Pro plastic. Star discs have the same flight characteristics as Champion discs, but are slightly less firm”
- Disc Golf Dash Review: As their top of line plastic you can expect the Star Line Shark to feel great while throwing. Mine has not only improved the confidence I have but made my “snap” a little more…snappy. The only two downsides to the Star line are the cost and the design. Innova states they can do a custom stamp, but it seems a bit cumbersome and buying the Star Line discs second hand won’t have that option. However, if you’re like me, you can take or leave the design, so long as the disc performs.
Innova Shark: Gstar Line
- What Innova Says: “GStar is a blend of Star that adds flexibility and even more grip. GStar is opaque like Star, but features a pearlescent sheen. Their allure is only surpassed by their beautiful flight. GStar discs have a smooth, gradual transition in flight and the same durability as our Star line. For cold weather play the flexibility and grip of GStar cannot be beaten, and even when the weather warms up GStar still retains similar flexibility.”
- Disc Golf Dash Review: Don’t believe premium plastic makes a difference? You will! I finally got my hands on a Gstar Shark playing with a friend the other week. Innova is spot on for their guidance on the characteristics of this plastic. I literally held the Star and Gstar Shark next to each other and found the Gstar to be just a bit more flexible. You can’t go wrong with the Star or Gstar plastics. I would suggest going with what’s readily available, good looking, and cheaper. I really didn’t think a plastic type could make that much of a difference and yet it does.
Innova Shark: DX Plastic
- What Innova Says: “Our DX line offers the widest selection of models and weights. These discs are affordably priced and provide an excellent grip in a variety of weather situations. DX discs wear in with usage and over time will eventually take on new and varied flight characteristics. Many top pros carry several DX discs of their favorite models to provide different flight patterns for different situations. ”
- Disc Golf Dash Review: I’m not so sure pros are carrying any DX plastic during tournament play. Albeit they could probably throw it just as well. Once you have a bit of that premium plastic you realize the cheap stuff isn’t what you want. Make no mistake, most of my Innova discs are DX plastic, but the few in the Star line are coveted and I don’t always throw them near water or hard surfaces. With all that said, DX plastic is the least expensive and what you should use when trying out a new disc.
Innova Shark vs Innova Roc
So why did I choose to compare these two discs? Well sometimes I compare different companies, different flight characteristics, etc. But the Roc and Shark are similar in numbers and to me, similar in feel. However there are a few slight variances worth noting. Further, Innova claims the Roc to be “the number one professional mid-range disc”…and while I would agree to loving my Roc, I would suggest the Shark to be a better beginner mid-range. So enough with the banter, let’s compare.
Flight Number Characteristic Comparison Chart
|Innova Roc||Characteristics||Innova Shark||Characteristics|
|Speed:4||The Roc is only slightly harder to get up to speed but that might be more due to rim design in comparison to the Innova Shark.||Speed:4||I would agree with this rating on the speed of the Shark, it’s easy to throw as a beginner and get it up to speed in order to match the remaining flight numbers.|
|Glide:4||A reasonable amount of loft provides the beginner player with some distance, but the Roc is going to go farther if you get it up to speed.||Glide:4||I would give the Shark a 3 for Glide as it doesn’t always stay aloft as easily as the Roc. But make no mistake, this isn’t completely noticeable and I might be angling the front edge of my Shark up a bit more when throwing.|
|Turn: 0||Both discs are understandable and should turn over for the beginner. I have no problem getting the Roc to turn over even as a complete beginner.||Turn: 0||From the very beginning I have been able to make the Shark turn and fly level and straight. I would say the Roc came to me at a later date when my arm and form were a bit stronger…so if your new to the game, start with the Shark.|
|Fade: 3||Here is the main difference between the two mid-ranges. I agree with Innova rating for fade on both discs. The Roc will tend to hook and drop quicker than the Shark at the end of its flight, but nothing like what other discs do. At a fade of 3 I would say this is a fair rating.||Fade: 2||Again, this is the correct rating for the Shark. This disc doesn’t seem to fade too much and sometimes that can be a bit of a problem, but for the most part, it’s pretty consistent and rarely have I had it spike down into the ground or arc hard at the end of flight.|
|Max Weight||180g||Max Weight||180g|
Player Skill Level For The Innova Shark
I would suggest the Innova Roc be a later purchase as its slight intricacies makes it fine for the beginner but not totally new to the game player. Also, I recommend starting out with a lighter version of the Roc…in fact, I have a 136g and a 164g version, to which the lighter gets used way more often. Regardless of the plastic type it is a great mid range disc to own and yet has enough characteristics to make a comparison.
The Innova Shark is without a doubt a perfect mid range beginner, totally new to disc golf, disc. As mentioned above, and maybe a few other times in this article, there is a reason Innova puts this disc in their starter set. Advanced players will appreciate the higher quality plastics and know exactly what to do with this disc. But, as a beginner, you should find this disc easy to throw and capable of making some precision shots. You might not get a long winded glide out of the Shark. I certainly use it more in the 150ft range than I do with something above 200ft. But, I don’t have problems with it flying off into the abyss and leaving me sending out the search party. I am a strong advocate for this disc and really enjoy having a few in my bag.
Every disc deserves a dedicated review. Though you might see these discs in our collective posts (Most Stable Mid-Range, Best Disc Golf Drive For Beginners, Best Disc Golf Putters), I think some discs deserve an in-depth review…especially since I own and throw them . At the end of the day, the Innova Shark might not be for the more experienced thrower. But if you’re having trouble shooting straight and need something a little easier to thread between a couple of trees, pick up a Shark.
Let us know your thoughts and share your opinion with the community on the Innova Shark below in the comments.