The Truth about Chinese Rubbers | Ma Long Equipment

I have many questions about “where to buy a real Chinese rubber?” and “what is the best Chinese rubber to buy”. Today, I want to explain what is the best table tennis rubber for you and some myths about the Chinese rubbers that top Chinese players use.

If you are using European rubbers, and want to change to Chinese rubbers, you should read this article. Ma Long is currently using the Boosted Hurricane 3 rubber (blue sponge).

The Truth about Chinese Rubbers

Again, I want to say that the best table tennis rubber is the rubber that suits your playing style but not the rubber that the top players use. First, you won’t play better if Ma Long gives you his racket. Second, the rubber that the top Chinese players (such as Ma Long, Fan Zhendong) use is not the same rubber that you want to buy.

For example, the commercial DHS Hurricane 3 rubbers (black, 2.20 mm) that everybody can buy from the manufacturer has a medium-high throw angle. And most other products that will be sold abroad outside of China has the same property: a medium to high throw angle. These characteristics are confirmed by many testers.

Ma Long is gluing his own racket
Ma Long is gluing his own racket

The top Chinese players are sponsored by DHS company. And many people think that Ma Long uses the same product that the company sells to international buyers. However, it’s not true. Ma Long used a customized rubber that has a very low throw angle. So what you are seeking (buying a real hurricane 3) is totally different from the rubber that Ma Long uses.

To use the Chinese rubber, you should use a very strong and thick glue. Otherwise, it won’t work. Also, every top Chinese player uses a booster to tune their hard rubbers.

Thick layer of glue on Ma Long's forehand rubber
The thick layer of glue on Ma Long’s forehand rubber

Who is Ma Long?

Ma Long is considered one of the best, or even the best table tennis player in history. He is the 5th Grand Slam table tennis player, just after Zhang Jike (the 4th).

You can find some information about Ma Long 马龙 here:

Especially, you can find the history of Ma Long table tennis racket, blade, and rubber below. Understanding the equipment of top Chinese table tennis players will help you choose the right Chinese forehand rubber for you.

In the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships at Budapest, Ma Long is the legend in table tennis.

Ma Long won the men’s singles World Champion 2019 and thus joined the legendary group of Hungary’s Victor Barna and Chinese compatriot, Zhuang Zedong, who likewise won three in a row (2019, 2017, 2015)
Ma Long won the men’s singles World Champion 2019 and thus joined the legendary group of Hungary’s Victor Barna and Chinese compatriot, Zhuang Zedong, who likewise won three in a row (2019, 2017, 2015)

In this WTTC 2019, no one can win Ma Long more than 2 sets. He is the real captain of the China Team. The most trusted player in history right now!

  • 1st round VS Aleksandar Karakasevic 4-0
  • 2nd round VS Kanak Jha 4-1
  • 3rd round VS Vladimir SAMSONOV 4-1
  • 4th round VS Hugo CALDERANO 4-1
  • quarterfinals VS LIN Gaoyuan 4-0
  • semifinal VS LIANG Jingkun 4-1
  • final VS Mattias Falck 4-1

If he wins the Olympics Tokyo 2020, he will be the only legend in table tennis. The first player who can win the DOUBLE GRANDSLAM in history. Let’s see!

What is Ma Long personal equipment?

What rubber does Ma Long use?

Update 2021:

Waldner is the first foreign player who visited the Chinese National Team training hall. He is the first Grand Slam in table tennis.

He asked about the personal equipment of Ma Long.

Waldner asked about Ma Long equipment
Waldner asked about Ma Long equipment

 

The personal blade of Ma Long is the DHS W968 (Hurricane Long 5 National).
The forehand rubber is the Hurricane 3 (National Blue Sponge version 42 degree Hardness, 2.15 mm).
The backhand rubber is the Hurricane 3 (Orange Sponge, 37 Hardness, 2.15 mm)

ma long blade is DHS Hurricane Long 5 W968
ma long blade is DHS Hurricane Long 5 W968
Ma Long Forehand rubber is Hurricane 3 Blue Sponge 42 degree
Ma Long Forehand rubber is Hurricane 3 Blue Sponge 42 degree
Ma Long backhand rubber is DHS Hurricane 3 Orange 37 degree
Ma Long backhand rubber is DHS Hurricane 3 Orange 37 degree

Here you are the first 3 Grand Slams in table tennis.

Number 1: Waldner
Number 2: Liu Guoliang
Number 3: Kong Linghui

Number 4 Grand Slam was training in the background.

4 grand slams in table tennis, Ma Long is the 5th
4 grand slams in table tennis, Ma Long is the 5th

Watch the full video here: “Waldner asked to see Ma Long personal equipment”

 

Ma Long forehand rubber

This is Ma Long equipment in the LIEBHERR 2019 ITTF WORLD TABLE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS (WTTC 2019):

Ma Long equipment at wttc 2019
Ma Long equipment at wttc 2019

 

Ma Long's racket at 2017 Qatar Open
Ma Long’s racket at 2017 Qatar Open (more info)

Well, Ma Long uses national hurricane 3 blue sponge rubber, 40.5 to 41 DHS hardness scale, 2.15 mm thickness, used with the booster. Ma Long personal rubber is not available to the public. They are designed based on Ma Long’s physical strength, the sponge is much harder than a commercial one.

 

 

It’s not the sponge but it’s the top sheet that Ma Long’s rubber is different than the commercial version.

The topsheet of  Ma Long personal forehand rubber is much more elastic, consistent. The pimples structure is also different: denser, smaller than the commercial one. The tacky topsheet with this pimple structure provides the maximum of spin to Ma Long’s shot.

Ma Long forehand rubber: higher density of pimple, tackier, glassy and consistent
Ma Long forehand rubber: a higher density of pimples, tackier, glassy, and consistent

You can see that both Ma Long and Zhang Jike use National Hurricane 3 (Blue Sponge) on their forehand side. The blue sponge is 1 to 2 degrees harder than the commercial Orange Sponge DHS Hurricane 3 rubbers.

Ma Long and Zhang Jike personal blade
Ma Long and Zhang Jike personal blade

 

You can Order the DHS Hurricane 3 (Old version) directly from Double Happiness Shop here. [Order Now] Or you can buy the DHS Hurricane 3, combined with the LANDSON Rubber Protector Film of DHS. Order here.

DHS Hurricane 3 by Ma Long
DHS Hurricane 3 by Ma Long

 

Or the new version, DHS Hurricane 3 (Neo) (black) which is recently used by Ma Long, and the Chinese Team. (read review)

DHS Hurricane 3 NEO
DHS Hurricane 3 NEO (more info) – one of the best forehand rubbers

 

Ma Long backhand rubber

Like many top Chinese table tennis players, Ma Long used Japanese Butterfly rubber on his backhand: Tenergy 05 Professional version, harder, and faster. The normal Ten05 rubber has a hardness of about 36-37 ESN Scale. Ma Long backhand rubber is 39-40 hardness ESN scale (around 35 hardness Chinese scale).

Ma Long backhand rubber Tenergy 05
Ma Long backhand rubber Tenergy 05

 

With the new poly ball in table tennis since 2017, Ma Long switch back to custom hurricane rubber, red side on his backhand. Japanese rubber is not hard enough, so Chinese players search for more direct feeling rubber on their backhand.

Ma Long backhand rubber DHS Hurricane 3 (Red)
Ma Long backhand rubber DHS Hurricane 3 (Red)

Order the real Butterfly Tenergy 05 (red, 2.1 mm) from the Official Butterfly Amazon Shop here. You can also use the Tenergy 05 Hard to for the new plastic ball. Here is the review of Tenergy 05 Hard.

You can also use the Red DHS Hurricane 3 for the new poly ball.

Ma Long’s equipment: blade

Ma Long has changed many blades from 2005 to now.

  • 2005-2008: Ma Long tried some Nittaku blades: Violin, Acoustic, and Rutis.
  • 2009-2011: Ma Long’s blade is Timo Boll Spirit and Timo Boll ALC.
  • 2013 – 2018: Ma Long uses DHS 968 and DHS 997 table tennis blades.
  • Since 2019: He is using Hurricane Long 5x

This is the resume of rxng for the table tennis equipment used by Ma Long.

Which table tennis blade that Ma Long uses? Here you are.
Which table tennis blade that Ma Long uses? Here you are.

 

2005 (Nittaku Violin)
2005 (Nittaku Violin)

 

2006 ~ 2007 (Nittaku Acoustic)
2006 ~ 2007 (Nittaku Acoustic) (more info)

 

2009~2010 (Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit)
2009~2010 (Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit) (read review)

 

2011 (Butterfly Timo Boll ALC)
2011 (Butterfly Timo Boll ALC) – One of the best blade in the list top 10 pro blades

 

2012 (DHS 506) 2
2012 (DHS 506)

 

2012 (DHS 506)
In 2012 Ma Long uses DHS 506 blade

 

2013~2015 (DHS 968-997)
2013~2015 (DHS 968-997)

 

Actually Ma Long is using DHS 968-997 blade
During 2018, Ma Long was using DHS 968-997 blade – DHS Hurricane Long V blade (more info)

Ma Long’s equipment 2019

At the WTTC (World Table Tennis Championship 2019), Ma Long is using Hurricane Long 5x.

Ma Long equipment at wttc 2019
Ma Long equipment at wttc 2019

 

Hurricane Long 5x - Thicker core to deal with the new plastic ball - Ma Long's equipment 2019
Hurricane Long 5x – Thicker core to deal with the new plastic ball – Ma Long’s equipment 2019

Hurricane Long 5x has +0.5mm thicker core than the normal Hurricane Long. The normal Flared handle is very comfortable. The blade is 89 ∓ 3 (g), the thickness is around 6.0 mm. The Speed is very fast OFF ++, the blade composition is similar to the normal Hurricane Long.

Original DHS Hurricane Long 5 Plus handle
Original DHS Hurricane Long 5 Plus handle
Hurricane Long 5x series - table tennis blade used by Ma Long
Hurricane Long 5x series – table tennis blade used by Ma Long
Original DHS Hurricane Long 5 plus - blade composition and thickness
Original DHS Hurricane Long 5 plus – blade composition and thickness

You can order the blade from the Official DHS AZ Shop. This blade is one of the top 10 professional blades in the modern table tennis. Or you can also buy the complete racket setup assembled by DHS staff: DHS DIY Assembled, Hurricane Long-5 blade, Forehand rubber is the Neo Hurricane 3 Black Rubber (Blue Sponge, Provincial), and backhand rubber is Neo Hurricane 3 red Rubber (Orange Sponge, Provincial). This is a very good racket for advanced players.

DHS Hurricane Long V is a very good table tennis blade for looping style:

  • 5 Wooden + 2 Arylate-Carbon Speed OFF++
  • Looping machine – a dreaming blade for those who want to loop kill the ball
  • Powerful core
  • Good feeling in the short game
  • Hurricane Long V – DHS 997
DHS Hurricane Long V (5 Wooden + 2 Arylate-Carbon) OFF++ a looping machine blade for a serious player
Ma Long’s blade: DHS Hurricane Long V (5 Wooden + 2 Arylate-Carbon) OFF++ a looping machine blade for a serious player (more info)

Here is another photo of the person setup of Ma Long of the World Championship 2019. You can clearly see that Ma Long is using the Hurricane Long 5 with 2 ALC layers. This blade is faster than the classical Viscaria, despite that the composition is rather similar to the Viscaria.

ma long equipment World Champion 2019
ma long equipment World Champion 2019

Should I buy personal Ma Long rubbers?

So why DHS does not commercialize the rubber of Ma Long? Because it’s not a good commercial plan. Not many players can use a very low throw rubber in a real situation. You must have a full and strong stroke to use this type of rubber. So making a medium-high throw angle rubber can fit a wide range of players, and using the commercial strategy to sponsor the top player is a better plan.

Ma Long national Hurricane 3 rubber with blue sponge
Ma Long national Hurricane 3 rubber with blue sponge

Some dealers have tried to make a good business. They profit that table tennis players can pay much money just to get to the “real professional rubber” and hope to play better. They sell fake national rubber. All of these rubbers are stamped with the name of the top players and pretend to be his personal rubber (look at these photos). But they are not true! Top players are not allowed to sell their rubber to the public.

Myth 1 “Chinese rubber has high throw”

These are the proofs showing the characteristics of Ma Long’s rubber. Look at the real situations in the match, you can notice how low throw angle of Ma Long’s rubbers.

Real Chinese table tennis rubber has a very low throw. To use the Chinese rubber, you must have a long and powerful stroke. The techniques are different from traditional techniques. You must “carry” and “wrap” the ball more forward. You can see that Ma Long has to “carry” the ball with his powerful Forehand topspin, but the ball goes just slightly over the net and drops right after. The ball is very linear but not curvy.

At the age of 10 in 1988 Ma Long represented his primary school and won the boy's singles and team event in the "Baby Cup", one of the biggest national kids tournaments in China.
At the age of 10 in 1988, Ma Long represented his primary school and won the boy’s singles and team event in the “Baby Cup”, one of the biggest national kids tournaments in China.

The top Chinese players are sponsored by DHS, it does not mean they will use the same equipment line-up on the market. Their rubber is different from commercial rubbers. There is the reason there because it’s very hard to use this type of rubber. If someone gives you the racket of Ma Long, you will feel that this racket is hard dead, not bouncy, and for you, it’s rubbish. But in the hand of Ma Long, it’s a deadly weapon.

So if someone says to you “hey, this Chinese rubber is amazing, very easy to topspin, the throw angle is high”. It’s possible these rubbers are for amateur players, but not for a professional ones. This is myth number 1 about Chinese rubbers.

Remember: Low throw Chinese rubbers has higher spin.
Qin Zhijian: Personal coach of Ma Long
Qin Zhijian: Personal coach of Ma Long

Myth 2 “Pro’s rubbers are expensive”

Myth number 2 is: You need an expensive racket to win. Some players don’t believe my advice because the Chinese racket I suggested was not expensive enough. “No thanks, I’m looking for something around 200$”. Your racket is only 50$.” There are many top young Chinese players at high-level play with racket cost less than 40$. Find a rubber that has the characteristics that you need. If it’s an expensive European or Japanese rubber, you can find something similar to a Chinese brand with similar quality but much cheaper.

Ma Long ready position
Ma Long’s forehand rubber has a very low throw. To loop kill the ball.

No Shortcut in table tennis

And finally, I want to say: don’t focus on the equipment. Get practicing. So, there is no shortcut in table tennis. Choose your own way of table tennis. Don’t copy the pro’s equipment if you don’t understand why they use them.

If you really want to use Chinese rubbers, learn the proper techniques first. In the next videos, I will explain why Ma Long prefers using 40.5 – 41 hardness rubber, while Zhang Jike prefers using a 39 hardness rubber.

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30 thoughts on “The Truth about Chinese Rubbers | Ma Long Equipment”

  1. Ma long did not use HL5X, maybe w968-6 which IS equall structure but national quality. I speak with a lot chinese shops, we think that yet use w968

    Reply
  2. Ah the hl5 is fast with european and japanese rubbers , for chinese rubbers tune the rubbers mates. The feeling is perfect.
    When you need more speed maybe buy hl5 x

    Reply
  3. It is my personal opinión about the Ma long’s Blade and if you think about It, you understand It.
    DHS is a brand who search the marketing, It is a business. The w968 and other Blade with a similar name are the lab studies for create NEw Blades . Only is a name of the studies how butterfly tenergy 05 was not a true name of this rubber un the lab of butterfly. 05 was a Code of labs.
    Evident the ma long’s Blade is not commercial and It is personal created by DHS. Apparently its hurricane long 5. But It is’nt. The more similar and commercial of DHS’s Blade is hurricane long 5 x because simply see the speed and sound of the hits of la long. Maybe his Blade is outter and not inner carbón.
    Ma long use same personal Blade of lab dhs with more speed and more sound with carbón.
    For It, the more similar for structure and speed is the hl5 x and for the era Poly ball.
    But if you want feeling and control, buy the hl5 commercial not labs Blade expensive or hl5 x which is maybe too fast for you.
    Regarda

    Reply
  4. sir can you compare w968 and dhs long 5 blade please . i read a web site that they ask dhs company about there equipment and they said w968 is the lab version of long 5 . and they are not very different . i want you to make this clear please. and also say hello to your country *viet nam*

    Reply
    • Since nobody answered you i will. The DHS Long 5 its the mass production version (commercial), the W968 its the professional version made in the DHS Research Center(Lab) limited edition with better wood, finish, compression and glue for the domestic chinese professionals (Provincial and National Teams) also they measure the properties of the blades and classifies them again in different qualities and prices according to the measurements in: practice and competition blades. There is a Provincial (2mm smaller, harder, less flexible 158×152) and National version(2mm bigger, softer, more dwelly and flexible, 160×152), the national its better for blocking and countering, for far away strokes because its has more trampoline effect due to the better flex and harness and quality of the wood, the provincial version its a dead blade everything needs to have to be an active stroke that’s why its awesome for practicing you need to make a movement or the ball wont go anywhere its does not play automatic, better handle, the tuning of the upper layers of wood are of different thickness for the national version versus provincial because the national its tuned for Ma Long to provide more control to the backhand if you buy the Ma Long special, the Jang Woojin one its different and also there is a National Version that its standard for the national team which is different too, for the Ma Long W968 Special the backhand was tuned to be slow needs some sticky rubber to improve the control to do the setups like Ma Long if you are forehand dominant but if you are backhand dominant use Dignics 09c or YInhe Moon Pro for backhand control, Dignics 05 or Stiga Mantra for speed (medium the hard one does not feel right). The Long 5 commercial its fastest between provincial and commercial, its more flexible but inconsistent with less control the blade becomes deformed with strong hits like counterlooping a strong forehand attack, you need to calibrate the force all the time opening or closing the racket angle like a Viscaria blade according to the force with the National and Provincial you can hit it with the same force and angle because they are less flexible and harder and it goes to the same place, the wood its not the same quality either (Commercial, Provincial, National) the gluing and compression of the wood layers and the handle styles are different, commercial very thin, provincial boxy and big, national more ergonomic feels thin because the butt its bigger and very wide and flat. The provincial its more consistent (if your strokes are executed right with standard technique and footwork is right) but slower than the commercial one, if you don’t have chinese style technique forget it, requires you to have very strong swing, footwork ,hip rotation with good positioning to clear the net otherwise you wont be able to play with it, it does not play how you want it force you to use chinese techniques if you play euro style will be too much to handle in that case just choose the commercial Long 5x model its very comfortable and feel very buttery soft like a viscaria not that soft though. The commercial one its faster than than the provincial one with less control and feeling, use this blades with Dignics 09C or some cheap chinese sticky rubber on the forehand, it does not work well with grippy ones needs to be sticky on the forehand or will be too fast and wont create dwell time and good curve and will have a weird feeling. The Provincial and National are different too, the provincial feels harder, slower, less dwell time, the blocking its more difficult, has less spin and speed than the National version, the magnus effect its more prominent on the national version, if you use dignics 09c on the forehand the second ball will bounce/jump higher than when you use hurricane which has a very low and forward second bounce/jump but the hurricane its to hard and slow without booster also illegal so your choice. The handle gives you a lot of security with the provincial one, the handle its more boxy and squared, the harder you hit you have longer dwell time the ball sticks to the blade and generates a force that feels super heavy on the arm and you need to carry it forward to clear the net, the commercial one just goes does not have that heaviness and the dwell time its shorter therefore feels faster and you feel less control, the National has bigger head more dwell time, its better for blocking its faster, more spiny, better for defense, better control and better for far away strokes due to the bigger size of the head than the provincial one, the handle its more ergonomic and less boxy but it does not feel as good as the provincial one nor gives you the sense of security but lets you do more stuff does not limit you to certain movements, feels better for Chiquita, lets you do better placement, the Carbon kicks with less force and you get better quality shots with less force than the provincial one, the commercial one kicks with very weak force, the quality it is not good and the placement is not accurate due to the deformation of the blade, its easier to overhit out of the table, the magnus effect its weak, the service its not consistent either just comparing it to the provincial and national. The Provincial and National are linear blades you get what you put on it (Popular saying), the provincial one its the most linear one, the national follows and the commercial one its the less linear one with more trampoline effect.

    • Correction: Commercial and Provincial versions have head size of 158×150 and National Version 160×150

  5. Very useful site but maybe there is a small mistake. You say that in 2019 Ma Long uses a dhs urricane long 5x but I think he still uses the old version 5. The photo of the handle that is combined with the info 5x is actually 5. I know this because I have the 5x. On the back of the handle is another photograph of Ma Long. Watching many videos of Ma Long in 2019, I was able to find out that he still uses the 5. Pity because I would like him to use my racket. Hope will begin to use it in 2020. Anyway excellent racket bought in China but I noticed small imperfections of manual finishing. The part of the blade that rests on the thumb was not perfectly smooth and was a bit sharp and annoying. I had to polish it to avoid pain in my hand. I find it absurd that blades of this level do not have rounded edges. Before I used a Donic carbon 900 (mediocre racket) but its strength is comfort. Round edges and absolute comfort.

    Reply
  6. I disgree with author coach that chinese uses low throw rubbers,
    You are saying boosted hurricane 03 blue sponge, when boosted how can you have low throw.
    Most use tenergy 05 a very high throw rubbers on backhand.

    All chinese use off+ blades vps v, viscaria, carbonado etc, its impossible even for malong to use off+ with a very very low throw rubber and lift a heavy backpin. If you observe against choppers more euro players lose than chinese this is due to high throw boosted rubber on forehand.
    Also chinese ladies use blue sponge hurricane if you observe their top they dont use full body but can easily lift backspin.

    I play with low throw rubber like rakza 9, rakza x its incredibly difficult to lift heavy back spin unless you have the correct blade.with off++ its impossible. Which is why falck uses a soft carbon blade to balance throw of rakza x. Both these are excellent rubbers at pro level but need to be on right blade.the same goes with any rubbers which needs to be on right blade.

    Therefore all chinese uses offensive blades with high throw rubbers on both sides.

    Reply
    • Hello,
      I played with Rakza X 2.0 mm on both sides and DHS Hurricane 5, I’m just below national level in my country.
      It was really reliable on topspin against backspin, even against choppers.
      I used also rakza 9 and it’s was more difficult, it’s why I switched for rakza X.

      I think rakza X is good against backspin because it hasn’t a strong catapult effect. Chineses rubbers are even more dead that’s why they are ok with fast blades.

      But more dead the rubber is, more strong your topspin has to be.

  7. Oh. Prashida rubber is banned by ITTF. You can check it easily. Just try to search on Google “test rubber pingsunday”. You will find the link.
    I’ve made the tool to check the rubber allowance. I found that Prashida rubber is banned.

    Reply

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