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The Ban on CRBN Paddles

by The Dink Media Team on

Update May 26, 2022

The new generation of CRBN paddles has passed USAP testing. They are hoping these are ready to ship early to mid June. The full statement for CRBN is below.

Dear CRBN Family,

I have some exciting news to share! After many sleepless nights working to get this done, our team has successfully gotten our newest batch of paddles–and all subsequent paddles–added back to USAP’s approval list.

What does this mean?

This means that we can now officially move forward with our plans to get new paddles in the hands of our customers. We will outline exactly how this will work by this weekend in another statement. As you can imagine, there is an immense amount of complication trying to coordinate something at this scale with a very small team. We are ironing out the last few details and will communicate the options to you as soon as possible this weekend.

How will you know the difference between approved and non-approved paddles?

Our newest batch and all subsequent batches will have a small, laser-etched serial code on the bottom left of one of the paddle faces. This is what the USAP is using to differentiate “new” versus “old”. At this point, if your paddle does not have a serial code, your paddle is not allowed to be used in USAP-sanctioned tournaments. It is fine to use in any recreational play for those who don’t plan on playing in tournaments. I will attach a photo showing the serial code to make sure it’s clear where to look.

Timeline

We have already expedited the new batch of paddles and we hope to start shipping replacement paddles by early to mid June. We can’t give exact dates yet, since as you probably know, global supply chains are very uncertain these days. Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to move things along quickly.

Who will be eligible?

Everyone. If you have purchased a CRBN Paddle from us directly or an approved reseller, we will take care of you. We can’t promise it will happen as fast as you’d like it to, but we are doing everything in our power to move quickly even with the difficult circumstances.

Please stay tuned for the full details to be released this weekend. As always, thank you so much for your support and patience throughout this last month. It means the world to me and our team.

Sincerely,
Garrett Gosselin, Owner & Founder of CRBN Pickleball


Update May 14, 2022

CRBN issued another statement today in regards to their paddle being removed from the USA Pickleball approved list. After meeting with USAP this week, it appears that all generations of CRBN paddles will remain off of the list and not be allowed in USAP sanctioned tournaments. CRBN is now working towards creating a new generation of paddles that meet the requirements.

CRBN Pickleball's Statements Regarding USA Pickleball Paddle Unapproval

May 13, 2022

Dear CRBN Family,

We appreciate the continued patience and support. I know many of you are eagerly waiting for updates and progress on reapproval. Progress is happening but slower than we had hoped. Here is where we’re at.

We had a productive meeting with the USAP and now better understand what reapproval entails. In a previous statement, we made mention of the potential for immediate reapproval of Gen 1 and Gen 2 paddles. After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to postpone (indefinitely for now) that battle even though we are confident that the majority of all CRBN Paddles in circulation are compliant and that the roughness issues were isolated to a single batch. The USAP made it clear that they weren’t willing to reinstate Gen 1 or Gen 2 unless there was 100% guaranteed compliance–meaning if a single paddle tested out of compliance, this ban process would start all over again, which is a risk we aren’t willing to take. I’m sure many of you like us might question a 100% compliance requirement given the inherent variability of Starrett Meter roughness testing and the variability of paddle surfaces, but frankly, that doesn’t matter at this point since our priority is to get all subsequent batches approved as fast as possible.

As a small privately owned business, we don’t have the bandwidth or capital to protest those decisions while simultaneously working towards getting future paddles approved. Instead, we have put our complete focus on getting our next batch of paddles added to the approved list. We are confident this is the best path forward for our customers and for our business. It is the fastest way to get our athletes and customers playing with CRBN in tournaments.

Improved quality assurance procedures are already in place and from this point forward, each new paddle will be serialized for better lot traceability. We have already completed our new batch and are working as quickly as possible to get them in the hands of USAP officials for review. They have assured us a swift path towards approval of this batch and ongoing batches provided they meet all compliance requirements. We are confident they will.

Here is where that leaves you as a CRBN paddle owner. This is our tentative plan, but please remember this situation is fluid so these options may change depending on the situation.

If you are a recreational player who doesn’t play in sanctioned tournaments, you are 100% allowed to play with your CRBN Paddle, and we would appreciate your support and willingness to keep your paddle. Roughness issues affected a tiny percentage of paddles from our most recent batch, so it is very unlikely yours is out of compliance. That information is important to remember and convey to anyone who questions the legality of your paddle in rec play.

If you ordered a paddle from us on 4/1/22 or more recently, you are covered by our satisfaction guarantee. It’s normally a 30 day window, but we back dated that to be 30 days from the ban. You are free to reach out to us and return your paddle for refund or exchange, no questions asked.

If you are a tournament player outside of the 30 day window, we are working as fast as possible to get our new batch of paddles reinstated. We will have various options for you. We will outline what those will be as soon as we get confirmation of reapproval and can move forward shipping the new batch of paddles. Tentatively, we are hoping we can get reapproval in the next few weeks and will have approved paddles available for distribution by the end of the month or early June at the latest.

We understand that this timeline is not ideal and that this ban has put many of you in a bind. For that we’re very sorry. We never expected something like this to happen the way that it did. This situation is unprecedented, but rest assured, we will do whatever it takes to overcome it. We are working all day and night to make this right for each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Garrett Gosselin, Owner & Founder of CRBN Pickleball


Update May 1, 2022

CRBN Pickleball's Statement Regarding USA Pickleball Paddle Unapproval


May 1, 2022

Dear CRBN Family,

I sincerely appreciate your patience waiting for our reply to the recent events that involve our paddles. I have been trying to digest the events of the past week, understand the decisions made by USA Pickleball, and put together a plan of action. My hope is that I can shed some light on the situation and instill confidence in our loyal supporters–and even those of you on the fence–that we will make things right.

On Thursday April 28th at the US Open, the USAP brought to our attention that a few of our paddles did not pass the established USAP paddle requirements for surface roughness at their lab. We volunteered to have USAP run two more unofficial in-field tests on CRBN paddles at the event using their Starrett SR160 surface roughness tester. The result of that test showed that the paddles were outside their standards, however, it is important to note that other CRBN paddles (we have three generations of the CRBN1 and CRBN2 paddles) did pass additional in-field tests including our sponsored pro, Michelle Esquivel’s CRBN paddle.

At the request of USAP, we proactively informed our pro athletes–both sponsored and unsponsored–to stop using their paddles the rest of the tournament including Michelle Esquivel with her passing paddle. We made this decision alongside the USAP with the implied understanding that this was the best way to ensure a level playing field and to give us time to meet with the USAP to understand the scope of the issue and develop a plan together to address it, if necessary. Much to our surprise, on Friday April 29th, the USAP announced a ban on our paddles and removed them from their list of approved paddles after calling an internal “emergency meeting”.

Frankly, we were as shocked as you were and completely caught off guard. To our knowledge this type of action by the USAP is unprecedented. In recent years, numerous paddle companies have produced unintentional, noncompliant batches of paddles and received official warnings along with the ability to rectify the situation. Transparently, it has been frustrating for us as a small business, as we feel singled out amongst the sea of mostly large paddle companies.

We believe that the USAP needs a clear cut and published policy on how they handle noncompliance. It seems as though their actions were reactionary and that we were caught up in the middle of it. Like you, we believe in due process and impartiality both in pickleball as a sport and also as a business within the pickleball community. We believe transparent policies surrounding testing procedures, formal warnings, consequences, timelines, appeals, process for reapproval, etc. are imperative, and when in place have the ability to prevent such widespread confusion. We feel we are entitled to the same formal warning provided to other companies. If it had been provided, I can assure you our actions would have been swift to correct these manufacturing issues.

Both on the court and in business, CRBN Pickleball is committed to complying with all USAP rules and regulations. We are a company of pickleball players ourselves and understand the importance of fairness in this sport that we adore so much. We are adding an additional layer of quality control measures which will provide consistency throughout our paddle line that will ensure we meet the standards outlined by USAP in their rulebook.

To our customers, we will do whatever it takes to fix these issues. We are a very small team who are committed to making sure every single one of you is taken care of. Our team is doing our best to get through all the messages, and ask that you please bear with us as our #1 priority is working towards reapproval. We will have more clarity on what things will look like as soon as we have a follow up conversation with USAP.

As of writing this, all CRBN paddles have been temporarily banned from the USAP approved paddles list. As such, they are currently not allowed for play in USAP, PPA or APP tournaments until further notice. Outside tournament play, the paddles can be used if so desired.

On a positive note, we believe that the majority of all first and second generation CRBN paddles in circulation are within USAP compliance. We believe it was a small percentage of our third generation (our last production run identified by the block type logo) that produced paddles with non-compliant surface roughness. No matter the number of paddles out there, we will make it right with each one of you.

To the USAP, we look forward to continuing this conversation, and we are committed to compliance and working as your partner to ensure fairness and helping to promote the growth of pickleball in the United States and beyond.

In closing, we appreciate all the support we’ve already received from our loyal fans, customers, partners, and athletes. That’s what makes the pickleball community so great, and we’re so thankful to be a part of it. We will make this right. We will make sure that the CRBN paddles you know and love are made exactly to our desired specifications every time.

Sincerely,

Garrett Gosselin, Owner & Founder of CRBN Pickleball



On Friday morning at the US Open Pickleball Championships officials announces that the CRBN 1 and 2 paddles would no longer be allowed to be used in the event. This was a surprising development with the ban being instituted on the 6th day of a 7 day tournament. The reason for the ban is noted as a manufacturer recall from CRBN. The Minto US Open Championships put their statement up on Facebook.

No Longer Approved by USA Pickleball

The CRBN paddle was removed from the approved paddles list on Friday triggering the recall and ban. This means the paddle would not be allowed to be used in any USAPA events currently in play.

Here is the statement released by USA Pickleball today.

On Friday, April 29th, USA Pickleball removed all CRBN paddles from the “approved paddle” list.  These paddles were originally tested and approved by USA Pickleball’s official lab in 2021. After receiving several recent reports about the play characteristics of the CRBN paddles, follow up testing was required. USA Pickleball was able to secure two commercially available paddles this week and with a CRBN official present, conducted an in-field test which produced a non-compliant result. To verify these results, the two paddles were sent to our test lab for an official retest.   The lab results confirmed the commercially available CRBN paddles did not meet the standards and specifications necessary to remain “approved” for sanctioned-tournament play. CRBN supports this decision and is now taking steps to remedy these issues.

The timing of our decision to immediately remove the paddles from our list of “approved” paddles may seem unfortunate.  No different than any other sport governing body, USA Pickleball has an obligation to ensure a level playing field exists for every manufacturer, as well as every player. This is accomplished with a certification and compliance program. We take this obligation very seriously and we will continue to work diligently to grow our sport in a fair and just manner.

Where Can I Use a CRBN Paddle Still?

The PPA Tour has the ability to follow their own set of regulations as we saw with the change in serving rules this year. But they announced that they will continue to follow the guidance of the USAPA on the issue and put out this statement.

The next PPA event is the North Carolina Open starting May 5th where CRBN paddles will not be allowed. This further reduces the opportunities to use a CRBN paddle moving forward. At this point it is looking like it will only be used in non-sanctioned tournaments and rec play until the issue is resolved.

There is a lot of speculation on what that means for current CRBN users. We will keep you updated on the story. A message went out from them indicating a meeting is set next week to discuss a remedy.

@pickleballstudio

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