UltraNick for squash offers soft power

November 21, 2011

Ashaway, RI — Recent advances in Zyex® material technology have allowed Ashaway Racket Strings to offer squash players an entirely new performance characteristic for their string: “soft power.” According to Ashaway’s Steve Crandall, soft power stems from the combination of new Zyex multifilament cores and the textured, high-tenacity monofilament nylon jackets available in the company’s recently introduced UltraNick® 17 and 18-gauge squash strings. “Soft power,” said Crandall, “is the superior feel you get from this line of thinner, stronger, lighter-weight strings that provide more power and improved ball control, but which still offer the well‑known ‘gut-like feel’ and tension-holding properties of Zyex.”

“We find that the soft power of UltraNick strings appeals primarily to two groups,” Crandall continued. “One is top competitive players who find that thinner strings increase ‘bite’ on the ball, and give them better overall control and an ability to ‘cut’ the ball and increase spin. The other group is the increasingly savvy recreational set. These are players who don’t necessarily have the skill or power of the pros, nor the conditioning to allow their bodies to shrug off the rigors of the game. They, too, are looking for an extra edge, but they also want a string that plays softer and is more forgiving to tender joints and muscles.

Both UltraNick string models utilize the latest advance in Zyex material technology, which allows the production of very fine, very strong multifilaments. This allowed Ashaway’s R&D lab to develop core packages for squash string that contain as many as 500 multifilaments, and have both high linear density and cross-sectional strength. Encapsulating these in a high-tenacity monofilament nylon jacket with a textured surface, the result was a line of thinner, stronger, lighter-weight strings that provide superior feel, more power and improved ball control, as well as the well‑known tension holding properties and “gut-like feel” of Zyex.

“String choice is a very subjective thing”, said Crandall. “Ultimately, players need to try a number of different strings and see which feels and performs best for their game. As a manufacturer, our job is to take the materials available to us and offer as many choices as possible. That’s what we’ve done with the UltraNick line, and why we’re excited about the soft power concept.”

According to Crandall, choosing the right grade of UltraNick soft power is a question of nuance. Of the two strings currently available, UltraNick 18 offers a slightly softer feel, while the 17-gauge version offers a bit more power. But the real difference is in durability. While neither UltraNick gauge is recommended for really hard hitters who cut the ball (Crandall recommends PowerNick® 18 for chronic string breakers), the 17-gauge UltraNick version provides much more durability and longer string life than UltraNick 18.

“But the final choice comes down to you and your game,” said Crandall. “If you like the feel of UltraNick 18 but find it doesn’t hold up to your liking, try the 17-gauge. Conversely, if you have no breakage problems with UltraNick 17, you might like the added bite and control of 18 even more. It’s up to you.”


Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949, and is responsible for several important technical innovations. Ashaway is the Official String of USA Racquetball and the Women’s International Squash Players Association. Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. also makes braided products for medical and industrial applications. For more information visit

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