Throughout various S. E. Asian countries, original Takraw balls were made up of hand-woven strips of rattan ... a material that once grew in abundance there. The ball was commonly up to about 5" in diameter, and villagers would enjoy standing in a circle kicking the ball around to each other much the same way footbags are played with today. As far as historians can figure, the rattan ball in S. E. Asia dates back some 500 years. However, due to a drastic depletion of rattan supply over the years, stricter regulations have been enforced regarding its extraction from the jungle. Besides this, the rattan takraw ball was found to break apart and splinter fairly quickly with the introduction of hard spike kicks when the net game developed. This led to the making of synthetic balls, still hand-woven and still designed the same as their rattan predecessors.
STAC has tried and tested various synthetic brands of Takraw balls, including Buka, Marathon, Rambo, Gajah Emas and NETPRO®, made by Gajah Emas. The challenge was to have a series of balls that would be reasonably priced, appealing, safe, durable and appropriate for players that vary greatly in age and level of experience. After many trials, tests and much consideration, STAC approved a series of NETPRO® Synthetic Takraw Balls for official use in Canada. NETPRO® offers FIVE levels of high quality, attractively coloured, durable balls for five levels of play, each producing a superb bounce ... manufactured by Gajah Emas®, Malaysia.
The NETPRO® series starts with the Beginner Ball, which is very light weight and the synthetic strips are loosely woven and made up of a thinner, softer material (providing more give on contact when kicking or heading the ball). Though the beginner ball has been used by all ages, even kindergarten, it is probably most suitable for about grade 5 or 6 and up (which is also a common age at which most schools seem to introduce Sepak Takraw in Canada). Each higher level ball, ending with the Pro Ball for the men's division, is a little heavier than the previous one (providing more control) and the synthetic strips are a bit thicker, harder and woven together more tightly - providing less give on contact but more bounce (faster game), all aspects of which the more experienced players enjoy.
To purchase any of the NETPRO® series of Takraw balls online, click here.