Storm Lightning Bowling Ball Review

First Impressions
The Storm Lightning Blackout feels more than it should be until it doesn’t.

Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 330 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium/high
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 4 x 35

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/2 & 1 1/2 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 5 x 40

Tyler Church (Righty)
Style: Power Player
RPM: 450 rpm
PAP: 5 1/2 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: med
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 5 x 45

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

THS: 42ft, 23ml
Sport: TBD

The Storm Blackout Lightning uses the Warp AI symmetric core inside the ReX Pearl coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.53 diff of .029
14 pound = RG of 2.55, diff of .029
Coverstock finish: Reactagloss

The first thoughts from some was nostalgia when seeing the label. I recall the old lightning logo as well but I can’t comment on this ball’s relationship to old stuff. But we can evaluate what we saw. The new Lightning Blackout uses now common ReX pearl but has a new Warp AI core. Looking at core shape, the medium RG and low diff immediately had me thinking of the Hustle lineup in some way. So I immediately thought this ball would punch above it’s weight. Then with the reaction, we don’t see Hustles really. The giveaway is the stronger and pretty responsive ReX cover on this ball. I expected a clean ball that is a bit sharper than the IQ Tour Ruby but maybe a little stronger. I’d say it’s a good amount stronger actually. It would appear to theoretically be a stronger ball for those higher volumes when tour players want something clean but still gets around it and at the same time is a step up from a Mid Late ball like the IQ Tour Ruby. So I struggled to keep it left of the head pin for a bit until I opened up enough. Once I opened up enough, I had a look in a small window. Another board or 2 and I struggled to get it to be continuous enough to carry. This perplexed me initially but then it kind of made sense. Stronger cover, “weaker core”. So it looked very strong until it didn’t. Once I opened enough to compensate for the cover, the core was not my friend. I also wasn’t executing as well as I felt boxed in. Prior to throwing it, I would’ve thought this is a Mid Late ball in the arsenal and I brought the Ruby to test alongside. After throwing it, it really borders on mid defined when angles are a little closed and mid late when they are open. That either makes it a chameleon or unusable. The other thing of note is that I feel this combination really seems to make the ball roll way more forward than I anticipated. Now take a look at the Ruby to see a proper mid late ball and the shape is very different. So round and understandable. No surprises, doesn’t have a cliff the way the Lightning Blackout does.

Bryan is next and the Storm Lightning Blackout seemed to be a pretty good matchup at the outset but let’s discuss. It’s of course clean but has a nice downlane punch. He actually sees a much more consistent reaction than I do. Essentially what happens here is he is playing more direct with his style. Since he doesn’t cover many boards, he can take advantage of the more angular nature of the ball to carry quite well. So he was inside the 2nd arrow and a pretty good look with the bounce out to the edge of the friction. He could also make a parallel move to the 3rd arrow and the ball laid off just enough and still hit very well. He only lost hit when he really pushed the boundaries. Now to give you an idea, he tests the Ruby as well and you can see it’s a clear stepdown. In our initial tests, we all had a very good look with the Ruby but it was on the weaker side which limits it’s use a bit for Bryan. Now the Lightning Blackout is a clear step up but still a mid late ball so it warrants some consideration for when he’s on some shorter sport patterns. But even he was a bit concerned that when a mid late ball comes into play for him, it might be a touch too much as well.

The last part of the test is actually on 2023 42ft USBC Open Championships Team Pattern. As you know this is pretty flat as evidenced by the first couple of shots trying to find the shot. When I do, it looks good. Naturally, this is probably too clean in this surface to actually use if I was in Vegas but you can clearly see how strong the ball appears with the punchy backend. It sees friction and really pics up revs sideways. It’s just a bit too punchy to actually use. Again, you can see against the Ruby how much more calm it is. So even though the Ruby is shiny pe arl, it can be used. Strike and 7 pin are manageable as opposed to face strike face.

Ultimately, it’s going to be interesting to see. We’ll come back to test with Tyler as I believe this could be a pretty decent step down ball for when you really need to open up the lanes and there is lots of friction. Additionally, if your game is conducive to more direct shots, there’s a possible play here as well. Either way, it fits in the Mid Late to Mid Late + category in the bag.