The 10 Best Innova Distance Drivers in 2022

by Denis Flaschner, Professional | PDGA #49081
Three Innova distance driver disc golf discs with studio lighting

Top Ten Innova Distance Drivers

When I first picked up disc golf in 1998, Innova marketed the Eagle as a maximum distance driver. As the sport grew and disc technology evolved, the race towards the outer limits of speed and glide grew more and more intense, with new molds dropping every year, each promising extra distance with less effort. 

These days the Eagle fits firmly in the fairway driver category, with no less than 40 Innova molds promising greater speed and distance. Some have blown up, and some have fizzled out. In the following article, I've curated ten distance drivers that have stood the test of time for beginners and pros alike. 

Valkyrie

An Innova Halo Star Valkyrie disc golf disc with blue rim and black stamp

 Dimensions

  • Height: 1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 1.9cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 4
  • Turn: -2
  • Fade: 2

 Popular Plastics

  • DX
  • Pro
  • Hello Star
  • Champion 

When it debuted in 2000, the Valkyrie was the market's fastest and farthest flying driver. In 2002 Christian Sandstrom launched a 168 gram DX Valkyrie 820ft, setting a distance world record for five years. While it is no longer the distance king, the Valkyrie remains a solid and somewhat underappreciated disc.

The Valkyrie is an excellent introduction to the distance driver category for beginners and intermediate players. Its combination of generous -2 turn and reliable 2 fade allows for plenty of shot-shaping possibilities at a controllable speed.

Bigger arms can hyzer flip the Valkryie to flat and send it gliding out on a straight line. It is also excellent on turnover lines. 

This classic mold is available in all of Innova's plastic blends, with the cheap and accessible DX and Pro blends a solid choice for brand new players. The durable and more overstable Champion and Halo Star Valkyrie are best for frequent players looking for an everyday distance workhorse.  

Thunderbird

An Innova Halo Thunderbird with with rim and holographic stamp

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.6cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1cm
  • Rim Width: 1.9cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Hello Star
  • Champion

The Thunderbird is a famous pro level driver that splits the difference between the fairway and distance categories.

Often described as a faster version of the Teebird, the Innova Halo Star Thunderbird has an incredibly versatile mold is equally comfortable in both the forehand and backhand grip. With a shallow 1.1cm rim, the Thunderbird has a low profile and a flat top.

A brand new Thunderbird will be pretty overstable, but after some seasoning, it will start to show off its huge glide rating. It performs very well on straight lines that need to finish with a bit of hyzer. This super-accurate mold is bagged by several Innova-sponsored pros, with Jeremy Koling putting his name on the very popular Swirly Star edition.

Sidewinder

An Innova Halo Sidewinder with purple rim and black stamp

 Dimensions

  • Height: 1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 1.8cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Hello Star
  • Champion

As its name implies, the Sidewinder is designed with the extra turn, and minimal fade needed to "win" to the "side," making it an excellent option for long turnovers and hyzer flips.

This disc is a workable primary driver for beginners, while advanced throwers with extra arm speed will be able to torque it on an extreme anhyzer to lay down some big rollers. 

The Sidewinder is widely available in durable premium plastic blends. However, be advised that the Halo Star and Champion versions fly more overstable than the flight numbers suggest. Beginners can compensate for this by grabbing a lighter weight or just sticking with a standard Star version.  

Wraith

An Innova Halo Star Wraith disc with studio lighting

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.1cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 11
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -1
  • Fade: 3

 Popular Plastics

  • Pro
  • Star
  • Hello Star
  • Champion

I've messed around with many distance drivers in the past 20 years, but I always end up returning to the Wraith's consistency and reliability.

This versatile mold offers a perfect combination of premium speed and exceptional control for players with above-average power and snap. The Wraith is the disc for you if you max out in the 350-425 foot range.

A seasoned Wraith released with a bit of hyzer will flatten out and glide perfectly straight for long distances, making it an excellent option for threading tight fairways with low ceilings.

It also has the right amount of turn and fade to perform maximum distance flex lines on open holes. I love throwing the Wraith nice and smooth with 80-90% power for maximum control and accuracy.

Several Innova pros bag the Wraith, and we have both the Garret Gurthie Halo Star and Nathan Queen Champion Glow editions available now. 

 

Max 

A blue Innova Metal Flake Max James Proctor disc with studio lighting

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.9cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.2cm

 Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 11
  • Glide: 3
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 5

Popular Plastics

  • Champion

Look no further than the Max for a distance driver with extreme overstability. This beefy meathook has a maximum 5 fade rating. It will always finish on hyzer, regardless of release angle or extreme wind.

For most players, this utility disc is best for specialty shots. Those with powerful forehands or thumbers will get a lot of use out of the Max.

We now have the James Proctor tour series Metal Flake Champion Max in our store. I had the pleasure of playing a tournament round with Proctor in 2020, and he is easily one of the strongest throwers I've ever seen. If the Max can handle his elite power, it will hold up to anybody's throw. 

Tern

An Innova Ohn Scoggins Tour Series Tern disc with light gray background

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.7cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1cm
  • Rim Width: 2.3cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 12
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • Champion
  • Hello Star

The Tern is a high-speed wide-rimmed maximum distance driver that performs like a speedier Sidewinder. With 1.7cm of height, it has a relatively tall profile. But that extra dome translates to a huge 6 glide rating.

Its shallow 1.1cm rim makes it relatively easy to grip. This tall dome and shallow rim combination contribute to a very high -3 turn rating. 

The Tern is one of the more forgiving 12 speed drivers in the Innova lineup, allowing those with less power to experiment with a faster disc. Advanced players can hyzer flip the Tern for massive high-turning flex lines. Release it with a steep enough angle, and it will perform long drifting hyzers. 

XCaliber

An aqua colored Innova Champion Glow XCaliber (Kat Mertsch Tour Series) disc with purple stamp

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.6cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.3cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 12
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 4 

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Champion

When top-tier Pro Nate Sexton needs to dial up the power on his world-class forehand shot, he reaches for his signature XCalibur. This disc has the extra stability necessary to absorb extreme torque out of the hand, and its heavy fade offers the accuracy and predictability to compete at the highest level. 

For the average player, the Xcaliber is an overstable utility disc that is especially useful for reliable shots in very windy conditions. But if you have extra speed and snap, particularly with the forehand or thumber throw, this could be a go-to workhorse. Watch Sexton himself show what a pro can do with this beefy driver in this video:

The awesome Tour Series stamp on these Kat Mertsch Champion Glow XCaliber discs that is in our store comes in several different foil options.

Destroyer

An Innova Halo Star Destroyer disc shot in a studio

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.2cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 12
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -1
  • Fade: 3

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Hello Star

There's no way of knowing, but the Destroyer is probably the best-selling driver of all time. Bagged by world champions and casual weekend warriors alike, this mold has long been the gold standard of distance drivers.

Its unique combination of premier speed, subtle turn, and aggressive fade make it a shot-shaping machine for all distance lines. 

I bag a few Destroyers to compliment the straighter flight path of the Wraith. It performs exceptionally well on an angle, especially on flex lines. When released with a bit of anhyzer, it holds a nice turn at high speed before flexing back and always finishing with a reliable hyzer.

It is also the furthest flying and most predictable disc in the bag for forehand and backhand spike hyzers.

The only downside to this disc is its extreme variability between different plastics and production runs. These things are like snowflakes, each unique in its way.

In my personal experience, Star Destroyers in the 167-171 gram weight range are the most workable, while the max weight versions, particularly Halo Star plastic, are pretty overstable. 

We have several different Destroyers available, but you might want to check out this excellent video to help find the right one for you:

 

Shryke

A purple Innova Halo Star Shryke with holographic stamp shot in a studio

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.7cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.3cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 13
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -2
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Hello Star
  • Champion

With nearly identical dimensions to the Tern, the Shryke is another high-speed driver for players with average power. For many, this will instantly be the fastest and farthest flying disc in the bag, as its generous high-speed turn and extreme glide combine for effortless distance.

The Shryke is a good option for beginners and juniors at lower weights.

I bag a Shryke for specific situations on longer and more open courses. It rides tailwinds well and tends to get a bit more distance than other drivers when thrown up steep hills. The Shryke can bomb, but once it gets broken in, it will have a less reliable fade, hurting accuracy and consistency. 

This mold is especially popular in the FPO division, with pros such as Jessica Weese and Lisa Fajkus putting their name on special runs. We have the stock Star Shyrke available in our store now and the more stable Halo Star edition. 

Boss

A blue Innova Star Boss (Alex Russell 2021 Tour Series) with silver shimmer stamp shot with a light gray background

Dimensions

  • Height: 1.5cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.5cm

Flight Ratings

  • Speed: 13
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -1
  • Fade: 3

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Champion

In 2016, David Wiggins Jr launched a 154 gram R-Pro Boss 1108 feet and set a world distance record that still stands today. While this freakish distance is aided by a ripping wind and Wiggins' unique 360 throwing form, the Boss is still a long-range bomber in calm conditions.

This disc is extremely fast, with a maximum legal rim width of 2.5cm. Release it low with some hyzer angle and watch it get humongous skips that shoot under or around obstacles.

The Boss' super wide rim can be difficult to grip, particularly for the traditional backhand power grip. On the flip side, it feels very comfortable for forehands. 

We have the Alex Russell signature Star Boss available. Known for his excellent forehand game, Russell shows off his skills with the Boss in this video:



Top Picks

Innova has plenty of solid options in the distance driver category. Still, at the end of the day, I have to recommend the Valkyrie and Sidewinder for beginners to intermediate players and the Wraith and Destroyer for more advanced throwers. 

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