Well…that escalated quickly. As many of you may have heard, this past week at the US Open Pickleball Championships, CRBN pickleball paddles were banned from all professional matches in the middle of the tournament. Shortly after that, USA Pickleball banned all CRBN paddles from all USA Pickleball-sanctioned events moving forward.
If you’re like us, you’re wondering what happened, where it came from, and where do we go from here?! Our Paddle Experts break down everything you need to know about what is going on with CRBN pickleball paddles. Note that this will only impact participants in USA Pickleball-sanctioned events and is still legal for recreational play.
First things first, here is a list of resources to learn more about the ban:
What happened with CRBN Pickleball Paddles?
On Thursday, April 28th, 2022 while at the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships, USA Pickleball informed CRBN that several of their paddles did not pass their surface test. Basically, USA Pickleball informed CRBN that their paddles had too much grit, or texture on the hitting surface of the paddle. For context, USA Pickleball limits the amount of grit allowed in an effort to maintain the integrity of pickleball.
After hearing about the failed tests, CRBN quickly offered up several additional paddles to take the Starrett SR160 test - the test used to qualify or disqualify paddles due to the grit on the hitting surface. The result was the same, the CRBN paddles fell outside the maximum grit allowed by USA Pickleball. USA Pickleball promptly banned CRBN paddles from the event, and CRBN asked their professional players to not use CRBN paddles at the US Open.
On April 30th, CRBN was removed from the list of USA Pickleball’s approved paddles. That’s where we stand today. It’s important to recognize that not all CRBN paddles failed the test, but currently all CRBN are showing as not approved by USA Pickleball.
USA Pickleball’s Paddle Approval Process
Now, let’s talk briefly about USA Pickleball’s process for approving new paddles. CRBN paddles, just like any new paddle trying to become USAP approved, are sent to USA Pickleball. Once a paddle is complete, six paddles are sent to 5 different addresses for testing. There’s obviously way more to this process, but let’s get straight to the drama and save the nitty gritty of paddle testing for another article.
What’s Next for CRBN?
For now, CRBN paddles are no longer USAPA approved. So, if you’re playing with a CRBN paddle that is no longer on USA Pickleball’s Approved Paddle List, it might be a good idea to hold onto it and see where this all ends. It’s important to remember that this will only impact participants in USA Pickleball-sanctioned events and is still legal for recreational play. A paddle not passing the test is not uncharted territory but knowing some CRBN paddles have not failed the test but have still been removed from USA Pickleball’s Approved list is definitely a unique situation.
We hope that this cleared up some confusion. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Paddle Experts. They're available via phone at 866-382-3465, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can click here to live chat. We’re here to help from Click to Court!