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05/03/2023

Pickleball Paddle Delamination Explained

pickleball paddle delamination

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, attracting millions of players of all ages and skill levels. Like any piece of sports equipment, pickleball paddles can suffer from wear and tear, with one of the more recent hot topics being the delamination of a pickleball paddle. Delamination occurs when the layers of material that make up a paddle begin to separate, compromising the paddle's durability and performance. In this post, the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles will explore the issue of pickleball paddle delamination, discussing what it is, why it happens, and how to prevent it (if possible). Let’s dive in.

Pickleball Paddle Delamination

Delamination is a problem that can affect almost any pickleball paddle, regardless of its quality. According to a recent survey by the USA Pickleball Association, delamination is the most common issue reported by pickleball players when it comes to their paddles. In fact, over 40% of players reported experiencing delamination at some point. Even high-quality paddles can experience delamination, as a variety of factors such as humidity and temperature changes can cause it. For example, the popular paddle manufacturer Selkirk reports that even their top-of-the-line paddles can experience delamination if they are not cared for properly.

Delamination is sometimes caused by poor manufacturing and low-quality materials, but environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can contribute to it as well. 

Lower-quality adhesives used to bond paddle layers can break down over time, causing the layers to separate. The use of lower-grade carbon fiber or low-density foam cores can also make delamination more frequent.

One of the most effective ways to prevent delamination is through proper storage and care of your pickleball paddle. This includes keeping it in a dry, cool place when not in use and avoiding extreme temperatures or exposure to moisture. Using a protective cover can also help shield your paddle from the elements and prevent damage. For example, many players store their paddles in a padded bag or cover to protect them from scratches, dings, and other damage.

How To Tell If Your Pickleball Paddle Is Delaminated

So you’ve taken the best care possible of your paddle, but you had a rough time on the court, and something doesn’t seem quite right. How can you test your paddle to see if it is delaminating? Watch Chris Olson of The Pickleball Studio explain some of the ways you can tell. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Chris Olson (@thepickleballstudio)

To recap, here are a few ways to tell if your pickleball paddle is delaminated:

  • Sound 
    • Start to notice an odd sound when making contact in the sweet spot of your paddle? This can be a sign that your paddle is starting to delaminate.
  • Pace
    • Notice a difference in your paddle performance. An increase in the paddle’s performance, followed by its performance dropping very quickly can be a sign of delamination. 
  • Thumb Test
    • In our opinion, this is the best and most accurate method to test a paddle. Press on the center of the paddle with your thumbs (for thermoformed) and listen for the crackling noise. If you are hearing cracking throughout the paddle, unfortunately, your paddle is starting to delaminate. 

Unfortunately, at this time, delamination isn’t an exact science and can depend on the specific pickleball paddle, frequency of play, and many other factors. If you are in serious tournament play, it's always best to come prepared with a backup paddle, just in case your paddle has seen its last match.

If your paddle does experience delamination, there are various repair methods you can try, such as using epoxy, replacing the damaged portion of the paddle, or reaching out to the manufacturer about warranty options. However, if the damage is severe or the paddle is old and worn, it may be more cost-effective to replace it rather than attempting to repair it. A new paddle can cost anywhere from $50 to $200+, depending on the brand and quality, while repairing a paddle can cost $20 to $50 or more, depending on the extent of the damage.

In conclusion, delamination is an issue that can affect any pickleball paddle, but with proper care and maintenance, it can be prevented or repaired. By understanding the causes of delamination and taking steps to protect your paddle, you can ensure that it performs well and lasts for many games to come. However, if your paddle does experience delamination, it's important to weigh the cost of repairing it against the cost of replacing it to determine the best course of action. Ultimately, by staying informed and taking good care of your paddle, you can enjoy the game of pickleball to the fullest.

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Have questions or need a paddle recommendation? We have an entire page dedicated to Pickleball Paddle Reviews, or if you would like to speak with one of our Paddle Experts, give us a call at 1-866-382-3465, email us at experts@justpaddles.com, or utilize our live chat to speak with a Paddle Expert today. We’re JustPaddles, and we’re with you from Click to Court!

 

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