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PicklePod: Addressing Rumors, Reports and Paying a Visit to Proton HQ

by Jason Flamm on

Thomas Shields and Zane Navratil weren't able to be in the same studio for the latest PicklePod episode, but that didn't stop the duo from tackling the latest news and rumors from around the world of pickleball.

The main topic this week? The pickleball rumor mill.

And boy, is it spinning.

Let's get right into it.

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Paying a visit to Proton HQ in Phoenix

Last week, The Dink attended the Proton paddle release party, which featured content creators and pickleball pros. Essentially, for about 12 hours, they played a bunch of games – using Proton paddles, of course – and had a ton of fun.

Big Moves: Proton Signs Wave of Top Pros
Proton Sports is officially a player in the pickleball space, announcing a line of paddles and a who’s who of professional sponsorship deals that will make the company a force in the industry.

You can view some of that party here:

If you look closely, you might even see Thomas taking pro Travis Rettenmaier to spin class.

Alleged price of new UPA-A certification

In case you missed it, last week pro pickleball player Rob Nunnery posted a tweet saying, "Allegedly, @PPATour is charging paddle brands $100k per year and $5k per paddle cert/reg in 2025."

We here at The Dink put our own spin on the report from Nunnery and the fact that we had been hearing these rumors ourselves.

Report: UPA-A to Paddle Companies: ‘The Price of Business Is About To Go Up’
According to multiple sources, the UPA-A is set to announce that beginning in 2025, paddle manufacturers must fork over a handsome fee annually and per paddle for certification for PPA Tour and MLP events.

On the PicklePod, Thomas and Zane recap an interesting X (Twitter) exchange between some of the parties involved. Also, Zane says he actually believes creating a larger barrier to entry is good for the sport.

JOOLA officially files suit

This is less rumor and more 100 percent happening right now ... JOOLA has filed suit against USA Pickleball (USAP).

Once this happened, Selkirk issued a statement reiterating its support for USAP.

Selkirk Speaks Out on Paddle Standards
Selkirk, a top pickleball equipment manufacturer, posted on Instagram a statement expressing their support for USA Pickleball.

The guys read both statements on the podcast and reacted to some of the responses from around the industry.

MLP stories and recap

After addressing the rumors and drama in the sport, the discussion turned to Major League Pickleball (MLP) and what happened in D.C. There was much to discuss.

Winners, Losers, Top Plays and Everything You Might Have Missed From MLP Washington, D.C.
The second event on the Major League Pickleball calendar was full of crazy highlights, great performances and disappointing results. We cover everything you might have missed from MLP Washington, D.C.

What would make for the best documentary?

Finally, Thomas asks Zane what he thinks the most interesting story in pickleball is that would make the best documentary.

Zane's list:

  • Tour Wars - which Zane believes is just starting and not going anywhere any time soon
  • United Pickleball Association of America vs. USA Pickleball
  • International pickleball

Which of these three does Zane think has the most juice behind it?

You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out.

Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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