Rule Changes

A Position Paper for a Rules Change

Some minor fine – tuning here.

A position on pickleball paddles
Prior to adopting a rule
change for British Columbia
Pickleball Association

The historical development of paddles began in the 70`s with the first generation wood, edgeless paddles either 1-5 or 7 ply wood that were heavy, long lasting and cheap. For that reason few , if any retailers opted to carry them.
Then in the 70`s Second generation graphite and aluminum paddles with edges and honeycomb cores of composite Boeing material arrived on the scene , were deemed too fast, unsafe, noisy and more expensive.
Some countries like Singapore banned these paddles as offensive to the ears.
There are now hundreds of graphite and aluminium paddles available and the similarities are much greater than the differences – even though a test called the deflection test tries to show differences between them. Retailers still did not carry pickleball paddles.
In Feb. 2009 a softer paddle called Apike arrived on the scene which was unibody, edgeless, quieter, softer and colourful made of a Courtshoe cover and resin material core that made it more lively and fun for most to play with.It was produced under the rules of the day , which were L X W and a smooth surface. It took 10% of the US market in the first 2 months on the market. Then, from the desk of the usapa  a negative internet campaign was started from the lady tournament players in the USA . It lasted for three months ,which in the end, in May 2009 ,banned this new quieter addition, due to 1) spin 2) implied speed 3) changing nature of game 4) rebound effect 5) reflectivity, and 6) safety. Any other reason was tossed in for good measure. This, in spite of the fact that all programs mailed to indicated NO injuries with this paddle . Empiric evidence pointing to no injuries with this or ANY OTHER paddle having occurred anywhere in North America became evident early on.
Eye injuries have occurred, however strong cautions provincially and nationally have been in place for some time to use safety wear . Few adhere to the recommendation. These few injuries have all been with graphite paddles and Dura balls. Retailers did not carry the softer , quieter product as it was banned in the USA. Some in Canada did. Canadians using this quieter paddle , playing in the USA, were shunned by the bench , quoting the USAPA “ ruling for sanctioned tournaments. This behaviour was carried back to Canada . Many , who purchased the quieter softer paddle, stopped using it , as they wished to enter “ Sanctioned tournaments” which were done under IFP / usapa / pickleball Canada rules which disallowed them .
Presently we have several new offerings in the second and third generation category, which have gained approval on the deflection test.  Hush , the Edgeless and now Manta and several graphite and aluminum edgeless products have been approved for tournament use in the USA.
The Canadian, BC , Alberta and Quebec provincial organizations allow each player to choose their own product in all play.( see pledge )
In programs adjacent to homes and expensive RV`s in the USA –  noise has arisen as an issue to the point of rejection of the sport in some areas , or lawsuits, or tensions between players and owners . A Quieter ball or quieter paddle or both would be desireable. Since, in Canada, we have Recreation centers that are public and subsidized, all players are welcome and all paddles have been Allowed ( the first factor needed to be  in place, in order to judge the play characteristics of any paddle.) There have been no problems anywhere except the spillover attitudes of those returning from the South carrying with them the induced bias of the above – mentioned ruling in May 2009.
As a retail presence of paddles, is about to happen, so , perhaps, it is time to return to the cause of the internet campaign – one person from our center writing to the usapa complaining of his friend having got hit on the hand and skin scraped in the first week of launch  of the Apike paddle in 2009.
That is how rumours start .
Based on our four year experience and monitoring we are now prepared to state that since there is no empiric data that any paddle is unsafe , we welcome all paddles in all play and tournaments . The deflection test should be scrapped as non – relevant to the playing of our sport and let’s move on to safety issues like protective eye wear and proper instruction in our play areas. Our Prior recommendation was that all players and their paddles are welcome. Now we would like to add the safety feature. That is our proposal, your comments are welcome.

Chuck Lefaive
Founding director
British Columbia Pickleball Assoc