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Paddle Technology Crackdown Continues: PPA Bans JOOLA Gen3s at Texas Open

by Erik Tice on

In an e-mail late Tuesday night the PPA Tour notified pro players that the JOOLA Gen3 paddles were banned from play at the PPA Texas Open.

The contents of the e-mail:

Please note that a decision was made last night that the Gen3 JOOLA paddles are not approved for play at the CIBC Texas Open due to a discrepancy with USAP. We’re excited about the new process with UPA to help mitigate these changes in the future. Paddles need to be listed on USAP and pass PPA testing protocols tested by the independent laboratory PPL. Thank you for your understanding. 

This seems to be part of the bigger picture in the growth of pickleball between the UPA, PPA, and the newly formed UPA of America.

Major League Pickleball & PPA Tour Announce USA Pickleball Competitor, New Governing Body
The United Pickleball Association announced that it has severed ties with USA Pickleball and will create its own governing body, which will oversee rules, regulations and equipment standards, among other things.

In the last two days alone, the UPA-A, through the MLP and PPA, are putting their foot down on paddle issues. Just Tuesday, UPA announced a $50k fine and a 60- day suspension for Andrei Daescu. Less than 24 hours later, the PPA has banned the JOOLA Gen3 paddles from competition. 

When the UPA-A was formed, newly appointed president Jason Aspes was quoted as saying, "The growth of pickleball is amazing to see, but it necessitates a steward to champion the evolution of the sport in such a way that allows its players at all levels to enjoy pickleball in a safe and fair manner. The UPA of America is that steward. We will collaborate with the most respected and influential voices in the industry to guide what is best for the sport and all who value its growth to continue its meteoric rise."

Paddle technology is the biggest topic in pickleball in 2024 and the overwhelming majority of players, media, and fans all think the paddles are becoming too powerful.

Here is a list of the paddles involved, directly from the USAP website:

How the ban could affect outcomes this weekend

Current JOOLA pros basically have two options at the Texas Open:

  1. Use a Gen2 paddle of their choosing (Perseus, Scorpeus, Alpha, Hyperion, etc.)
  2. Use a different paddle brand altogether (If JOOLA allows this)

Tyson McGuffin and Anna Bright are playing together for the first time in a PPA Tournament and now they are both going to be playing with new paddles.

In an interesting storyline, if they make it to the quarterfinals they could face Dekel Bar and Tina Pisnik. Bar and McGuffin have been playing men’s doubles together for much of the year. If that matchup happens, three of the four players (McGuffin, Bar, and Bright) will be playing with a different paddle than they’re used to.

Federico Staksrud has now made it 10 for 10 in singles finals this year. Can he make it 11 for 11 with a new paddle? We will see. He also has the fifth-best average finish on tour this year in men’s doubles and is playing with James Ignatowich this week in Dallas.

Lea Jansen is the No. 3 seed in women’s singles and she plays with a Gen3. She is also playing mixed doubles with Hayden Patriquin and women’s with Alix Truong.

Etta Wright is only playing women’s doubles this weekend in Texas. Christian Alshon had to withdraw from the tournament for medical reasons. Etta shouldn’t have any problem with a new paddle, as she has all the power in the world.

You may be asking why Ben and Collin Johns aren’t impacted by this decision. Well, Ben still plays with his Gen2 paddle and Collin usually only plays with the Gen3 paddle in mixed doubles, so it shouldn’t be a huge issue going back to the Gen2 for this tournament.

Pro Qualifiers Not Included

In an unconfirmed post on X, pro qualifier, Grayson Goldin stated, "2 minutes before qualies start they announce the paddles are allowed to be used for all events today (Wednesday)"

If this is true, the PPA may have felt that the communication didn’t get to the players playing in pro qualifiers and thought it wasn't right to stop them from playing with the newly banned paddles. It looks like the ban will be in full effect for singles on Thursday.

Understandably this is uncharted territory for the players, tournament organizers and the paddle manufacturers themselves. It's good to see that the industry is quickly realizing that there may be a developing issue with the integrity of the sport and are working to help create a set of standards everyone can abide by.

What the pros are saying

Many pros and talking heads have commented on the Daescu ruling and the JOOLA Gen3 ban.

Zane is wondering how Andrei’s paddle fail is different from any other. Even though he said "Legitimate question," I am not so sure he was serious.

Rafa Hewitt took the opportunity to inject a little humor into the conversation.

Rafa wasn’t done and asked this question, even though no governing body would ever ban an Adidas paddle for ... any reason.

Christian Alshon said the Joola Gen3s are ruining pickleball 10 days ago.

Johnny5pointOH did an X poll earlier in the week asking if rec players should be allowed to play with the Joola Gen3 paddles.

Erik Tice

Erik Tice

Erik produces content for The Dink related to pro and collegiate pickleball. He is an avid watcher of pickleball and became passionate about the sport in early 2022.

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