Coming out of the US Open Pickleball Championships the biggest talking point was not the winners who took home gold, it was paddle talk. A popular paddle brand, CRBN, was notified by USA Pickleball (USAP) that their paddles did not pass the USAP paddle requirements for surface roughness. This meant that professional athletes, both sponsored and unsponsored, could not use their CRBN paddles in the US Open. You can view USAP’s statement on the ban below.
CRBN wasn’t the only brand that ran into some paddle trouble this weekend. New on the pickleball scene JOOLA, a well-known table tennis brand, had a video released where it failed multiple field tests for surface roughness. The official conducting the test was quoted saying “not good, you don’t want me to keep testing this,” as he used a device to test the surface roughness. You can see the video below.
Some are calling out the reliability of the testing, as it was not done on a smooth flat surface, as you can see the paddles were on the side of a chair. I also heard rumblings that testing is meant to be tested on new, unused paddles as used paddles can have signs of debris on the surface which would corrupt the validity of the test. I agree that the testing should be done in a more stable, controlled environment, but it is what it is when it comes to testing onsite.
JOOLA is hot in pickleball right now as they signed pickleball superstar Ben Johns, who was previously with Franklin pickleball. While the video of the failed tests did garner the attention of pickleballers across the country, it’s important to note that JOOLA paddles have not been banned by the USAP as of today. You can view JOOLA’s official statement below.
Will the Recent News on Paddles Open the Floodgate for More Testing?
I’d say so. We all love pickleball and that’s why it’s the fastest growing sport in the US. With that fast growth comes more business and the opportunity to capitalize on the sport. More companies will emerge in the paddle space and more issues like these will continue to arise.