Paddletek has been a major force in pickleball since 2010, originally starting as a small family business. They pioneered many of the technologies that have gone on to become mainstays in pickleball manufacturing such as the honeycomb core, and their equipment can be found in many pros’ hands. Paddletek’s quality is undeniable and they have broad array of options to ensure that every player can find their perfect match in a paddle. In this interview we discuss the major benefits of each line they’ve released, what sort of qualities the pros appreciate and where they plan to innovate next.
What are some of the differences in your paddle series?
Genesis: All-around playability. We consider the Genesis to be our Goldilocks in regards to the balance between power and control. Since the Genesis was our first honeycomb formula and the polymer honeycomb OG, its formula is widely used in the industry today. We consider it a balanced starting point for R&D. The Genesis line is priced so that beginners or budget-conscious players can play with confidence and with a championship-level paddle without breaking the bank. We also consider the Genesis line to be better for beginners to learn due to their balance.
BANTAM Series: The Bantam series is for players who want more power in their game. The added power also means players that prefer light paddles (7.5 oz or less) have the option to compensate for the power lost by using the more responsive Bantam core.
TEMPEST Series: For players who want touch and control. Made with unidirectional carbon fiber, the Tempest series offers game-changing accuracy and forgiveness. Great for beginners as well if the budget allows.
What are pros looking for in paddles now?
Spin. This seems to be the current trend across the board. In our experience, pros eventually want more power from their paddle. This is accomplished in three ways.
1. Weight: A lot of pros add weight to their paddles for increased power.
2. Core responsiveness (pop). See Bantam Series.
3. Shape: Longer paddles have more power in the sweet spot than shorter paddles, however the sweet spot size and the player’s margin for error is reduced.
Why has the Bantam EX-L lasted so long as a pro paddle?
The Bantam EX-L has been described as playing more like a stringed racquet than any other paddle. Pros who come from tennis recognize the feel and can control the power. A player who can control a power paddle has an advantage over those who cannot.
Can you talk about your pros and their paddles of choice?
- Catherine Parenteau (Tempest Reign Pro): Gives her lots of power, helps with reach and is super soft. Coming from a tennis background, it makes her feel like she is playing tennis on a pickleball court.
- Irina Tereschenko (Bantam EX-L): Gives her power, precision and response for the spins. She’s been playing with it from the beginning, so she calls it the OG paddle.
- Anna Leigh Waters (Bantam TS-5): Started using the TS-5 because she was younger and wanted a lighter paddle. Not only does it give you the soft game, but it can give you power which is what she’s known for. With the TS-5, she is able to RIP IT.
- Adam Stone (Tempest Wave II): Believes it is the premier touch and feel paddle on the market. Helps him with his defense, keeping the ball in play, resetting and setting his partner up.
- Leigh Waters (Phoenix Genesis): All-around playability paddle. Loves it for her aggressive playing style. She likes to drive and hit very hard, and the Genesis gives her that extra pop and controllable power, helping accelerate her game.
- Andrea Koop (Tempest Wave Pro): Helps with her blocks, resets and redirects up at the kitchen line. The Wave Pro helps her optimize the perfect balance of control and power.
Can you talk about the innovative technologies used in these paddles? Smart Response Technology, for example?
Smart Response Technology is a formula that allows for the control of thicker paddles without a large drop in power. Thicker paddles have been popular lately, but a lack of power seems endemic in the category. SRT allows for the touch and forgiveness of thicker paddles without a large drop in power and without having to make the paddle very thick. It can be found in all Paddletek Pro models.
What does the process of building a paddle look like?
What is next for Paddletek?
Spin that lasts, extreme vibration control and longer paddles with more options.
We look forward to see what exciting new releases Paddletek will imagine next. Do you have a favorite paddle from their lineup? If you have any questions you’d like them to explore next time we talk, let us know in the comments.