USA Pickleball’s Follow-up Statement on Paddle Testing

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USA Pickleball is issuing the below statement in response to multiple incidents that arose within the sport last week—and ensuing online posts—with regard to product compliance and paddle testing. Our previous announcement de-certifying CRBN paddles remains unchanged. The purpose of this statement is to clarify the role of the USA Pickleball Equipment Evaluation Committee (EEC) and provide the pickleball community with a greater understanding of the product certification process.

 

USA Pickleball EEC Statement

One of the ways USA Pickleball helps grow the sport is to ensure that manufacturers’ equipment meets specifications and playing characteristics that reinforce the nature of the sport, provide consistent performance, and support fair competition both on the court and within the marketplace. As the National Governing Body for the sport, USA Pickleball recognizes the importance of amplifying this message of compliance and explaining how the process works.

Working in tandem with an independent test lab, National Testing Systems (NTS), USA Pickleball’s Equipment Evaluation Committee (EEC) was launched in 2016 and reviews every piece of equipment submitted for testing. More than 1,250 paddles and 200 balls have been tested since the EEC’s inception, providing valuable data used to validate and improve specification definition, testing processes and methodologies.

USA Pickleball provides specifications for companies that manufacture or market pickleball equipment and seek certification of their products for USA Pickleball-sanctioned competition. Products that meet these standards bear the ‘USA Pickleball-Approved’ seal.

We strongly recommend that manufactured equipment meet these carefully researched specifications to ensure the integrity of the sport. Please note that, if at any time, equipment is implied to have been materially changed by the manufacturer, or if the equipment materially degrades or changes under ordinary use to significantly alter the nature of play, compliance testing may be required.

This includes an in-field test of a previously certified paddle. If the paddle appears to not be compliant per the in-field test, it must then be sent to the lab to be tested and receive a certified result. Specific details of the results (for example, surface roughness measurements) for tests performed in the field or at the lab are confidential and first shared with the manufacturer. If necessary, a product is then removed from the publicly-available approved list—even if this occurs during an ongoing competition. Publicly, a product either meets the approved standards verified by the lab results, or it does not.

Therefore, any recent instances that may have been made public—including the unauthorized filming and posting of an informal conversation involving the USA Pickleball Managing Director of Pro Player Relations & Equipment Compliance—in no way represents an official decision that a paddle is not approved. And to clarify further, no Joola paddles are currently being removed from the USA Pickleball-approved list.

USA Pickleball would like to reiterate we take all compliance matters very seriously, and we make it a priority to communicate in advance with all necessary parties—including during the instances last week. For more information about our equipment standards, please visit the USA Pickleball EEC site.

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