9:30PM PST on March 15, 2023
Dear CRBN Family,
I wanted to reach out to you and address the developing situation involving the PPA, our Power Series Paddles, and our sponsored athletes. You may have already read or heard public statements made by athletes, an email sent by the PPA, and/or the various posts making the rounds on the internet today.
There is an incredible amount of misinformation and confusion, so I wanted to provide a thorough and transparent explanation of the situation as it stands today, March 15th. We have been in close communication with the USAP and PPA over the last few days, and I will do my best to clear things up.
First and most importantly, none of the CRBN Power Series Paddles are “illegal” or “banned” by USAP or PPA. All models and versions of the Power Series remain on USAP’s list of approved paddles. Nothing has changed.
USAP recently ran a compliance test on a single, used CRBN2X (16MM) with approximately 35 hours of use. The source of this single paddle was chosen by USAP, and I personally don’t know who owned it or what condition it was in. Regardless, the paddle exceeded deflection specifications. Rumors were circulating that there were new paddles that failed. This is simply not the case–this was a used paddle. Additionally, USAP made it very clear that this was an issue with the specific paddle they tested and not the entire line–meaning that specific paddle would be ineligible for play, but that it doesn’t affect CRBN paddles as a whole. They also let us know that this issue was not isolated to our brand. I’m not aware of which other brands they were referencing or if those paddles have been tested in the same manner, but I felt it warranted mentioning.
While we can’t control how people treat their paddles and what they do to them post-purchase, we will continue to strive to manufacture paddles that play consistently and last as long as possible. We are actively working with USAP engineers and our manufacturers to continue to improve. Additionally, our 3rd-party Quality Assurance Firm will increase the number of paddles inspected during each step of production.
In this specific case where our used CRBN2X was out of compliance, USAP simply provides the data to the PPA, and it’s up to them as the owners of the Tour to determine how to proceed. Based on the data provided by USAP and their own internal discussions, PPA proactively decided on the following policy for this weekend’s PPA Tour Stop in Austin, TX (March 16-19th).
“All CRBN Power models used for professional play must be onsite tested and sticker-marked before being used in a match. At the conclusion of the tournament, CRBN Power models will be sent to a USA Pickleball lab site for additional testing. If a paddle comes back over any of the legal specifications, all points and at-risk prize money amassed at the event where the paddle was used will be forfeit.”
- Sent via email by PPA to athletes this afternoon (March 15th)
I have spoken to each of our sponsored pros and made sure they are aware of the above. Also, I made it clear we will support them no matter which paddle they choose to play with in Austin giving the extremely short notice.
At this point, what I outlined above is all I definitively know. I’m confident that we’ll be able to work everything out with the USAP and PPA. The lines of communication are open, and we’re doing what we can as a paddle brand to help them continue to improve the sport that we all love so much.
The sport of pickleball is booming, but there are still growing pains. A lot is still being asked of USAP and PPA during this phase of extreme growth. They’re trying to juggle so many complex challenges at once, and for the most part, I think they are moving in the right direction. Here’s one example. USAP is in the process of moving from a Starrett Roughness Tester which measures one location of a paddle, to an optical scanning device which will provide much more consistency by reading the entire surface area.
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and wish things were perfect or would happen faster, but that’s just not how the world works. USAP and PPA are chipping away, and I do think we’re getting closer to a reality that I think is best for the sport. I foresee and hope for a future where pickleball is similar to table tennis (governed by the ITTF if you want to look it up) where courtside testing is standard. All professional players are entitled to have their paddles tested voluntarily without any penalties before competition for pre-approval. All rules, testing procedures, etc. are outlined clearly and transparently.
I know this is where the sport will be someday, and I’m excited on behalf of CRBN to be a part of it.
As always, thank you all for the support.
Garrett Gosselin, Owner & Founder of CRBN Pickleball