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.
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?