Innova Atlas: An inside look with Dave Dunipace

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Over the last few years Innova Champion Discs has made waves in the disc golf community with many new products. Blizzard Champion plastic and the Champion Roc3 are two examples that come to mind. Most recently it was the announcement of the Innova Atlas midrange disc.

The Atlas has an overmold of softer plastic on the wing. With multiple colors, many were making a quick comparison to other disc golf discs with an overmold. Within hours of the initial announcement disc golfers everywhere started to speculate with questions and theories. From disc golf forums and Facebook pages to tournaments and local courses, people had questions about the Atlas.

We wanted to find the answers to those questions so we went straight to the source: Innova co-founder and current CEO Dave Dunipace.


All Things Disc Golf: When did the idea for the Atlas first start? How long has the process been from concept to reality?

Dave Dunipace: The idea for the Atlas goes back to the original Aero. Wham-0 and AMF had overmolds at that time and I thought it was really cool. I wanted to do it that way, but cost was ridiculously prohibitive. Probably six or seven times as expensive to tool up for and more than twice the cost to mold as there are two molding steps. The recent design to reality has taken six months and six retools.

All Things Disc Golf: The overmold has been done before, most recently by MVP Disc Sports. How is the Atlas different from what MVP has put out?

Dave Dunipace: Our overmold process involves the entire rim, not just a nose cone. We wanted the rim to be ergonomic for feel and grip. In addition to a chemical bond, our overmold is physically locked together by twenty internal ports, and cannot be taken apart. Our overmold has much more mass in the rim, and is differently distributed. Our overmold is injected inside to outside through four injection points, which we are calling compass points to go along with the Atlas theme.

Innova Atlas

Photo: Innova Discs

All Things Disc Golf: Is there an added gyroscopic effect (like MVP’s discs) or is the overmold just bringing two different materials together?

Dave Dunipace: During our testing, we molded the Atlas with extra weight (20gms) in the plate and none in the rim vs all the extra in the rim (20gms) and none in the plate, and it didn’t affect the flight characteristic at all. There may be a slight additional gyroscopic effect that affects torque resistance, but nothing that affects any other aspect of flight. Heavy discs always have more torque resistance than light discs. Also, there is already much more mass in the rim than the plate, so adding a little more mass to the rim only has a small effect if any. We are really just bringing two different materials together.

All Things Disc Golf: Is it a Champion style plastic with the gummy Champion on the rim, or is it something new?

Dave Dunipace: The plastic for the rim overmold is a soft gummy Star, and the plate is a firm Star. We might use a firm clear Champion for the plate in the future.

All Things Disc Golf: In your early tests, how has the disc worn in? Quickly like DX or slowly like Champion or Star?

Dave Dunipace: I have been using the Atlas for about three weeks and there is no wear at all, but the course I play at is relatively easy on discs. We did throw them against a brick wall for about 100 throws with no structural damage such as separation or warping. There was considerable scuffing, but the disc flew almost like new afterward. Our East Coast tester froze one and then threw it point blank into a basket cage with no damage. It actually remained flexible enough, frozen, to have entered the basket from the side on the first throw. The disc appears to wear just like Star.

All Things Disc Golf: Are there plans to produce putters, fairway, and distance drivers in the new overmold?

Dave Dunipace: We do have plans to produce a putter later this year. Anything else will have to wait and see how the first two are received.

All Things Disc Golf: We’re assuming it is more difficult to consistently produce the Atlas (with the second step in the molding process) than it is to produce any other disc. Is this true?

Dave Dunipace: It is a challenge to produce the Atlas as either stage can produce a bad part. Bad parts for the first stage is not such a big deal, but the second stage is, as we have already invested the cost of molding in the first stage. The Atlas has been coming out fairly consistently, with a slight variation in flight plate dome, which produces a slight variation in flight. The domier ones are slightly more stable than the flatter ones. Both are still very straight flying.


Currently, the Atlas is just used as a fundraiser disc. If you are wanting to get your hands on one, you can purchase a pre-release version from Hero Disc USA for $24.95. Each purchase also earns a chance to win round trip airfare to the Japan Open 2014.

Stay tuned to All Things Disc Golf for more info on the Atlas as it becomes available.

Now that you have more info on the Innova Atlas, what do you think?

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8 Comments

  1. Dustin W. on

    Great interview, I think it answered all the questions anyone might have on that disc. It seems the presence of an overmold itself is about the only similarity to the MVP line there is which is very cool. I’m really excited to get my hands on one of these as soon as they hit retail.

  2. Kyle Stevens on

    im quite impressed. answered every question i could ever ask, i am definitelty interested in purchasing an atlas, Innova All the Way!!!! thanks Dave and All things disc golf.

  3. Marcus from Bayville on

    I’m interested to see how the compass points and grippy rim affect release.

    Btw, there is no mention of weight range

  4. Interesting. Will surely be on the lookout for production runs in the local DG store later on this year. Most likely will pick up one just to see something different. (very unlikely it will upset my bag in any way). I have a bunch of unusual discs for fun, and the tried and true old favourites in the tourney bag.

    I did the same with the MVP Ion way back and it is a fun disc, straight and glidey, fun to play around with. The ununsual rim, especially the slick inside part of it makes it a bit too different from my other discs to make it into tournament use. Of course, this is just my experience with it.

  5. so excited about this disc. I have had mvp discs in my hand and they didn’t feel right. I just plane like the way innova discs feel in my hand. also I am glad to have read this interview because it did answer some questions. have one on order from hero discs and am really excited.

  6. I have been carrying an Atlas in my bag for about a month. My favorite characteristic of the Atlas is that it stops very quickly once it hits the ground – there is far less skip and slide than other midranges I throw. That makes it a great disc for landing near baskets that are close to a drop-off or OB. Looking forward to taking it to Fountain Hills…

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