Over the last few months you might have seen the new Innova Leopard3 pop up on social media or at a big tournament. The limited release can currently be found as part of Innova’s new Player Sponsorship Package. These discs are exclusive to events to pick up Innova as a sponsor. Along with the new disc, players get a handful of other Innova items.
The Leopard3 is another in the line of the “3 top” discs. This joins the other fairway drivers of the Teebird3 and TL3 with the lower profile top which helps it fly with a little more speed and drops the somewhat domey top that can be found on the fairway driver’s mold without the “3 top” on it.
Innova sent us the Leopard3 to check out and we threw it along side an older Champion Leopard and GStar Leopard which as seen a decent amount of wear.
The Champion plastic the Leopard3 uses is very pearly and produces a very pretty disc. From when we first opened the box to when we were out on the course on a beautiful, sunny day, the Leopard3 really looked sharp. The plastic was on the stiffer side and likely played a factor in the flight. More on that in a moment.
Looks are one thing, but the flight itself is what is more important. The Leopard3 can be thrown with a power grip or a modified fan grip that brings the fingers a little closer to the rim. It all depends on what kind of shot you’re going for. Regardless, we had no problem trying to find a comfortable grip with the Leopard3.
We’re in the belief that many Champion Leopards we’ve thrown in the last five years have been a little on the stable side. You see the turn rating of -2 and fade rating of 1 and hope for a disc that has a natural turn to it to produce some easy anhyzer shots and turnovers. Lately that hasn’t been the case and some of the domey Champion Leopards have flown more in the -1, 1.5 or even 0, 2 range. The GStar Leopard start out on the understable side of things, around a true -2, 1, but soon beat in to something with even more turn.
The Leopard3 for us flew much closer to the -2, 1 ratings when thrown at full power (this is important), and had a flight closer to those “pre-Barry” Leopards that so many love.
The strongest arms in our testing group found the Leopard to have a very predictable flight when thrown at max power. Those who tend to have max distance of around 350-375 feet all found the Leopard3 to produce a decent turn and minimal fade when thrown at full power. The turn would fire up once it reaches max speed and will hold that turn for the rest of the flight before a very minimal fade.
The turn was gradual and smooth during these shots. It didn’t flip too fast and it held its path the whole time. The fade at the end was enough to have it return flat and show just a hair of movement back to the left. The turn wasn’t huge when taking the power into account, which was a welcome sight. Often times you’ll lean into a disc at full power and easily over power it and turn it into a roller. The Leopard3 wasn’t the case as it would show the turn, but only to a certain extent.
Now, when this group of throwers who could reach 350-375 max distance took just a little power off of their drives, the Leopard3’s flight was much straighter. Even at 75-85%, the Leopard3 flew more like a Discmania FD with just a little turn before a moderate fade. The flight was still very controllable, but in order to produce those natural turnover shots, it does need as much power as you can give it.
If you have a max distance of 300-325 feet, or less, the Leopard3 will likely be a straighter disc with maybe a hint of turn before a little more fade than others might see. You could get it to a level to show that turn, but it need some power and speed in order to do it.
When thrown on an anhyzer angle with some height the Leopard3 will hold that line and can be a great turnover disc when you help it. Power is needed for it to naturally turn over, but if you help it a little with a release angle, results should still be desirable. If you don’t have the power to naturally turn the Leopard3, a little encouragement from you should go a long way.
Overall, we’d rate the Innova Leopard3 at 7, 5, -2, 1. The bump up from the Speed 6 rating of the normal Leopard is due to the requirement for a little more power to get it to fly as designed. It needs a little more behind it, but it will produce that natural turnover if thrown correctly. If you don’t quite have that 350 foot power, you’ll expect something more around 7, 5, -1, 1.5 or even 7, 5, 0, 2. You can still produce the desired turnover shot, but it might require a little help from you in terms of release angle.
In our minds, the Innova Leopard3 is closer to the “pre-Barry” Champion Leopards of the past than what you’ll find in the current offerings. It does turn easier, but needs a little more power than before. The Leopard3 is a little more stable than the GStar Leopards out of the box as well.
There were a few moments during our tests when we executed the small turnover flight path that so many desire in the Leopard and had to say out loud, “there we go!” The desired flight is in there, but it just takes a little work from your side to make it happen.
With the firmness of the plastic, we’d also expect it to beat in nicely and the power requirement should drop a little bit. The stiff plastic can force the disc to be a little more stable than you’d think out of the box. Give it some time to wear in and soften a little and a little more turn should be easier to achieve on the fairway.
Keep your eyes open at an upcoming tournament for the Leopard3 to be a part of the players pack. If you are planning on running a tournament and have an interest in the Innova Players Pack Sponsorship, reach out to your Innova representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.