Chris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley
The new RPM Tākapu Putt and Approach disc – 2 3 0 2
Tākapu is the Maori name for the Gannet, which will frequently hit 100km/h before it plunges into the sea to capture prey, as seen to the right, and in the gorgeous stamp below.
The Tākapu comes via good friend Simon Feasey and is RPM’s interpretation of the most popular golf disc of all time; the Innova Aviar Putt & Approach. As such it has a lot of similarities to that disc, as well as the Discmania P2. RPM have worked diligently to increase stability and up the fade a little, so Tākapu can handle high power and should wear in beautifully.
The Tākapu will feel instantly familiar to many, and yet at the same time not – as RPM’s plastic blends are quite distinctive. The overall shape is pleasing in my very average hand, and the surface of Atomic and Cosmic items are super-smooth yet also superbly grippy.
Due to the way RPM polish their moulds to a mirror shine using 1,000 grit, it feels very much like Latitude 64’s ultra-premium Royal Grand – but without the ultra-premium price.
Nine Plastic Variants of Takapu!
With Glow, Atomic, Cosmic, Magma Soft-Medium-Hard, and Strata Soft-Medium-Hard; RPM has you covered. No matter what type of hand-feel or what stiffness level you like, you’ll find a Tākapu to suit you.
In the First Run (all stamped “1R”) some lovely splatter and swirly effects are to be found in Atomic, along with the usual range of solid colours. Some of the Cosmic discs are shockingly vibrant and almost appear as brightly coloured crystal, with many having sparkly metal flakes. The new Strata plastic has a smooth and silky feeling, while Magma items all have that classic tacky grip – which can always be restored by cleaning with methylated spirits. The Strata Hard items are pretty firm, but not quite as hard as KC Pro, for example. Magma Soft isn’t floppy by any means, but it will deform in your putting grip, and in the snap of good players applying full power. The Mediums of both plastics are pleasingly firm – and they feel akin to Lat64’s Zero variants in hardness. RPM have upped their plastic and moulding game consistently over recent years even though they have struggled at times to obtain the polymers they need. Their lengthy and hard-won experience now seems to be paying handsome dividends to us as disc golfers. Takapu Max-Weight and Lightweight options 176 grams is legal maximum, and RPM have cracked the lightweight code on at least Magma with RPM sending us examples down to 149 grams in the first shipment. RPM confirm a broad range of weights is available in Magma, Strata, and Glow. This adds a lot of options for a lot of players. Cosmic and Atomic appear to mostly be in the 170 – 176 gram range.
RPM are heavily polishing their moulds, and so the surface scratches on the disc are only visible in Macro mode (right), and not with the naked eye. The mirror-smooth finish on Atomic, Cosmic, and Strata discs is beyond reproach. The (extremely!) Glow plastic (above) must flow or set-up differently, as all items have a 1cm wide strip of tiny radial lines leading up to the Parting Line at the leading edge, whereas Atomic and Cosmic are mirror smooth in that area. This is a characteristic of RPM Glow plastic, with Piwakawaka, Tui, and Ruru also being affected in the same way.
The critical bottom rim is another area RPM are distinguishing themselves, with there being virtually no flashing on the bottom edge, as seen to the right. This combined with the highly polished finish gives premium Tākapu a very luxurious feel, and the smooth bottom edge results in consistent releases and consistent ejections at high power.
There is a small amount of flashing at the Parting Line of all golf discs, and Tākapu is no exception. However, its size is tiny, and I find it useful as it allows me to place my index on it reliably and accurately in my putting grip.
Tākapu or Takapu? Correctly, it is Tākapu with a long first “ā”, but due to the strange way indexing engines sometimes work, this article mostly uses the short “a” in Takapu. It is pronounced “Tar-ka-poo” with no particular emphasis on any syllable.
Availability of the First Run
Another large First Run for RPM with around 15,000 Tākapu becoming available worldwide from 8pm, Friday 20th May, New Zealand time.
How does Takapu fly?
Takapu is a slow-flying Putt and Approach disc with admirable ability to stand up to the maximum power of most players. I was unable to turn over Atomic or Cosmic examples in no wind, even with the nose down. Its smooth bottom edge results in decent ground-play, although not quite as much as a Proton or Neutron Envy, for example. It handles power with the same aplomb as Envy, and has very similar glide with its very slightly narrower wing profile of 10 mm, rather than 11 mm as measured by the PDGA:
Takapu’s flat lower ramp below the Leading Edge and its beadless design means it develops smooth mechanical lift, and it will become less stable over time as th