Innova Thunderbird | Control Driver

Innova Thunderbird Review

The Innova Thunderbird is a disc that stands out in Innova's sea of molds as the perfect forehand control driver! It's also a reliable backhand driver for those with big arms! It is essentially a Firebird with less fade! 

If you're not convinced of the Thunderbird's excellence did you know that Paul McBeth, Jeremy Koling, and James Conrad all have used it? It's a disc of choice for pros and recreational players alike!

Be sure to read the plastics section further on. There are some pretty big differences


While the Thunderbird is generally coveted for its forehand flight, it makes a great backhand disc as well. If you're looking for controlled drives that go far, and pay no heed to the wind, look no further! If James Conrad bagged it you can be assured of the Thunderbird's backhand qualities!

Players with a powerful arm can expect a small amount of turn ending in a strong and dependable finish! Those with intermediate skill can release it flat and have it fly straight, ending in that same powerful finish. The Innova Thunderbird finishes with a forward-pushing fade and doesn't fall out of the sky like a Firebird.

Put the Thunderbird on anny for big turnovers that flatten out and finish with a small fade back! If you're looking for a dependable headwind driver test the TH's thunder!


It's hard to say enough about the Thunderbird for Sidearms! It seems to fit the bill in every regard! It has a flat top and just the right amount of glide! The rim is shallow and slender and fits a forehand grip like a glove!

If you're an advanced player you'll love the Thunderbird right from the start for just about any shot you need! You can throw straight shots that finish with a reliable fade, decent flexes, and big hyzers!

If you're a beginner who's working on their sidearm the Innova Thunderbird is still for you! All you need to do is choose the right plastic and weight! Try out a Gstar Thunderbird in the 150 to 160-gram range! You'll be blown away!


One of the best things about this disc is the incredible feel. The disc just slots into your hand, forehand, or backhand. The shallow rim, flat top, and low profile give it the optimal forehand feel! These characteristics all help you to achieve flutter-free releases.

side profile of the Innova Thunderbird Disc golf disc

Image source: PDGA

Innova Thunderbird Flight Numbers

Flight Numbers 

Speed: 9

Glide: 5

Turn: 0

Fade: 2

In our opinion, the numbers here are spot on. If you want something more understable get a lighter Gstar Thunderbird. These have something like -1 for turn!

Innova Thunderbird Flight Path Chart

Here's a chart to give you an idea of the Innova Thunderbird's flight path.

Innova Thunderbird flight charts to show the flight path for backhand and forehand shots


Champion: These along with Star are the most OS Thunderbirds. If you're a beginner we recommend you steer clear and get one in Gstar. If you're looking for a disc that isn't as stable as the Firebird but can still handle a powerful forehand you won't look back!

Star: These along with Champion are the most overstable THs. Opt for Star over Champion when you're prioritizing grip, and you want your disc to wear in gradually over time!

Gstar: This is the plastic of choice for beginners who want to learn forehand. Start with the Sidewinder, and then move on to a light Gstar Thunderbird! The grip is fantastic and they generally have a flatter top.

DX: These will be the most understable out of the box, and will the understability will quickly increase with wear!

See this Innova plastics guide to learn more!

Pro tip: Look for domy Thunderbirds if you want an overstable run. Go for a flatter one if you're wanting it to be less stable.


The Innova Thunderbird has been flying since 2014! This 10-year-old disc found a home in the bags of many an Innova pro player. Check out Paul McBeth's Thunderbird hole-in-one! This was back in 2017. The video is a scroll away.

See the PDGA-approved Thunderbird here.

Manufacturer - Innova

Innova Champion discs have a lot of discs. What we mean is that their range of discs is so broad it can be hard to find the best ones. Well, the Thunderbird is undoubtedly one of their best! 

Innova also has a wide range of plastics, so be sure to try them out to find your favorite Thunderbird!

Shop for all our Innova discs here

Learn more about the Thunderbird on Innova's site.

Here is what Innova has to say about the Thunderbird:

The Thunderbird comes from strong bloodlines. The stability of a TeeBird with the speed of a Valkyrie; it can be described as a seasoned Firebird with less fade. The Thunderbird is predictable in wind and a great long range placement driver. Pros will appreciate the shot shaping ability of this driver while less experienced players will find a consistent, predictable flight.

Here's Paul's ace with the Thunderbird!


Video Credits to the Spin TV


Here PmcB demonstrates his forehand form with a Thunderbird.



Here's Jeremy Koling testing out his tour series Thunderbirds!



Skill Level Recommendations

Beginners - Yes and no. Do get light DX and Gstar THs. Don't get Champion and Star, just yet!

Intermediate - The Thunderbird is a great driver for all skill levels, but it is especially suitable for intermediate and advanced players. This disc will help you to throw a variety of forehand lines!

Advanced - Chances are you love Firebirds, or at least something similar. How about something straighter, but just as reliable?

Pro - Some pros throw Thunderbirds, while others opt to beat in Firebirds.

Pros Who Throw The Innova Thunderbird

You've seen PmcB ace with it, but who else throws Thunderbirds? James Conrad used to huck them back in his Innova days. No doubt he enjoyed the stability for his powerful backhands. Jeremy Koling is also a big fan of the Thunderbird. He uses them for forehands and backhands!

  • Paul McBeth
  • Jeremy Koling
  • James Conrad
  • Eveliina Salonen

Here's what Big Jerm says about the Innova Thunderbird:

The Thunderbird is a disc that flies with the control of a fairway driver but has the long range capacity of a distance driver. Equally useful for backhand and forehand shots alike. Will definitely be a staple in my bag for years to come.


Here are the dimensions the Thunderbird was registered with at the PDGA.

Max Weight: 176.0gr

Diameter: 21.2cm

Height: 1.6cm

Rim Depth: 1.1cm

Rim Thickness: 1.9cm

Inside Rim Diameter: 17.3cm

Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 5.2%

Rim Configuration: 31.00

Flexibility: 6.46kg

Pros and Cons


  • Feels great in the hand
  • Overstability for forehand torque
  • Low-profile fights through the wind
  • Suited to forehands and backhands
  • Control and accuracy blended with distance
  • Pros love them
  • Gstar option for beginners
  • Helps to reduce forehand flutter


  •  Are there any?


The Thunderbird gets a resounding yes from DGD! You'll never regret putting one of these into the bag. You can trust in its stability, but enjoy its decent glide and straighter flight for more distance! Do not jump onto the Firebird before you've tried a Thunderbird!


Ratings are on a scale of 1-10.

Stability: 7.5

Consistency of Flight: 9

Consistency in Wind: 9

Beginner Friendliness: 7 (Use a lighter one)

Distance Potential: 8

Control: 8.5

Utility: 7

Fun Factor: 7

Comparable Discs

  • Innova Savant
  • Innova Teebird
  • Clash Discs Ginger
  • Innova FL
  • MVP Tesla
  • Discmania Vanguard
  • Lone Star Discs Mad Cat
  • Axiom Wrath

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Thunderbird good in the wind?

The Innova Thunderbird is excellent in the wind! The low profile and moderate glide are to thank for this! Get one in Champion or Star Plastic as a headwind driver!

Is the Thunderbird good for backhand?

Yes, the Thunderbird is not only perfect for sidearms but is also brilliant for backhand lines. You can throw straight shots with a dependable finish, wide hyzers, and big turnovers that will flatten out at the finish!

Is the Thunderbird good for forehand?

There is arguably no better disc for forehand than the Thunderbird! It feels great with a low profile and a shallow rim. The glide is just right and helps to reduce wobble. It also has the stability to hand sidearm power, but is straight enough to attain impressive distance!

What are the Thunderbird flight numbers?

The Innova Thunderbird has a speed rating of 9, a glide rating of 5, a turn rating of 0, and a fade rating of 2.