Minto US OPEN Medal-Winning Paddles 2022

With the dust still settling from the Minto US OPEN Championships, many picklers are eager to check out what gear the pros used to claim their victories. Owning the same paddles won’t immediately take someone from average to 4.0, but knowing your equipment has been tried and tested by some of the best players in the world does provide extra certainty that your skill development is on the right path. We’ve listed the Minto US OPEN winners and their paddles of choice here so you can determine which option might complement your play style.

Catherine Parenteau – Tempest Reign Pro from Paddletek

Catherine Parenteau at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Tempest Reign Pro Graphite Paddle from Paddletek

Catherine Parenteau’s winning streak continues with gold in Women’s Singles and Doubles with partner Lea Jansen. The Tempest Reign Pro’s elongated shape adds even greater reach to the control of Paddletek’s beloved Wave Pro thick core.

Simone Jardim – Prince Response Pro Composite from Prince

Simone Jardim at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Response Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle by Prince

Simone Jardim and partner Ben Johns won another gold in Mixed Doubles. The Prince Response Pro Composite paddle was the first paddle with a rounded shape, well known for its huge sweet spot.

Jennifer Dawson – ProKennex Ovation Flight by ProKennex

Jennifer Dawson at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Kinetic Ovation Flight Paddle by ProKennex

Jennifer Dawson dominates the Senior Pros with gold in Sr. Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich and in Sr. Women’s Doubles with Cammy MacGregor. The ProKennex Kinetic Core Technology reduces vibration and impact to help prevent injury, and the innovative oval shape is all sweet spot.

Cammy MacGregor – Selkirk S2 AMPED by Selkirk Sport

Cammy MacGregor at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex Paddle by Selkirk Sport

Cammy MacGregor and long time partner Jennifer Dawson won another gold in Senior Pro Doubles. With Selkirk’s largest sweet spot, the AMPED S2 combines a thicker core with softer face for a perfect combination of control and power.

Dave Weinbach – Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro by Paddletek

Dave Weinbach at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Tempest Wave Pro Graphite Paddle by Paddletek

Dave Weinbach (the “Badger”) and partner Dayne Gingrich won gold in Sr. Doubles. Paddletek’s Tempest Wave Pro delivers deliciously soft play with a thicker core for increased control and touch.

Collin Johns – Electrum Model E Graphite by Electrum

Collin Johns at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Electrum Model E Graphite Pickleball Paddle by Electrum

Collin Johns and brother Ben Johns won another gold in Men’s Doubles. The Electrum Model E combines the Electrum Pro’s premium raw carbon fiber face and textured finish with a longer shape for even more reach and power.

Dayne Gingrich – Electrum Pro Graphite by Electrum

Dayne Gingrich at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle by Electrum

Dayne Gingrich had a great run, taking gold in Sr. Mixed Doubles with Jennifer Dawson and in Sr. Pro Doubles with Dave Weinbach. The Electrum Pro’s raw carbon fiber face, wide surface and textured finish make it a favorite for players who like to spin the ball.

Lea Jansen – Franklin Ben Johns Signature Model by Franklin

Lea Jansen at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Ben Johns Signature Pickleball Paddle by Franklin

Lea Jansen added to her recent wins taking gold in Women’s Doubles with partner Catherine Parenteau. Franklin’s Signature paddle features Max Grit technology for precise controlled play and plenty of spin.

Mattias Johansson – Engage Pursuit EX by Engage Pickleball

Mattias Johansson at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Pursuit EX Graphite Paddle by Engage

Mattias Johansson won gold in Sr. Pro Singles. The Engage Pursuit EX combines a powerful core with a high touch graphite face for excellent control.

Beth Bellamy – ProXR Advantage Blackout Series 16mm by ProXR

Beth Bellamy at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Advantage Blackout Series 16 Paddle by ProXR

Beth Bellamy won gold in Sr. Pro Singles. The ProXR Advantage Blackout Series 16 delivers forgiving touch and plenty of power with its composite face. The angled handle helps with spin and quicker reloads.

Ben Johns – JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite by JOOLA

Ben Johns at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite Paddle by JOOLA Pickleball

Ben was the only player at this year’s US OPEN to win a triple crown (again) taking gold in all events: Singles, Doubles with brother Collin Johns, and Mixed Doubles with Simone Jardim. Ben’s new paddle, the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite, combines control and responsiveness with extra length for easy court coverage and follow-through.

Have you tried any of the paddles above and found they made a big difference in your game? Let us know in the comments. We are always happy to help customers find out which style may suit them best, so feel free to give us a call if you need help making a selection.

Bruce Yeung Photographer and Videographer

Kudos to our Pickleball Central photographer Bruce Yeung for all these awesome US OPEN action photos. Give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook at @yeungphotography

TechTalk with Gearbox Pickleball: Technology-Forward Paddle Manufacturer

Gearbox has always been about innovating the best sports equipment for players of all levels, and they did just that with their launch of the CX Series.

Founded in California by Rafael Filippini, a professional racquetball player with over 25 years in the composites industry, Gearbox brought together a unique combination of skills to create some of the most technologically advanced sporting equipment available today.

Now almost fifteen years old, Gearbox continues to be synonymous with excellence and durability. We sat down with their team to ask about their new paddles, the tech and innovation involved in creating them and more.

What are the paddles in this series?

CX11: Gearbox CX11E Control Pickleball Paddle, Gearbox CX11E Power Pickleball Paddle, Gearbox CX11Q Control Pickleball Paddle, Gearbox CX11Q Power Pickleball Paddle

CX14: Gearbox CX14E Pickleball Paddle, Gearbox CX14H Pickleball Paddle

Gearbox Pickleball Paddles CX14

Your GX and CX paddles feature Solid Span Technology for the core. Can you explain what SST is? 

SST is an advanced patented technology invented by Gearbox engineers. This technology uses a proprietary molding process using high strength carbon fiber materials to form a ribbed cored, one-piece paddle construction. SST has introduced the only patented ribbed core paddle in all pickleball.

Your paddles have a Power and a Control model. The paddles are the same shape and same weights. How do you create Power vs. Control in your different paddles?

Gearbox can create a Power versus Control option by differing the way our Solid Span Technology is applied to a paddle and modifying the paddle’s lay-up in the sweet spot area.

The Control option is designed to absorb energy from the ball on impact, rebounding off the face slightly slower. The Power option is designed to return energy to the ball, rebounding the ball slightly faster off the face.

With the CX14 you have the Elongated and the Hyper shape. With the CX11 you have the Elongated and the Quad shape. What is the difference between the Quad and the Hyper shapes?  

The Hyper shaped head when compared directly to the Quad shaped head is slightly shorter in length. Both head shapes are the same width.

The Hyper shape is only offered in Gearbox’s 14mm thick profile option and is combined with a longer handle length. The smaller Hyper head helps our thicker paddle feel quick and maneuverable despite its thicker profile. The Hyper shape is also a softer hitting paddle when compared to the Quad 11mm profile paddles.  The longer handle found in this shape helps to accommodate a two-handed shot.

The Quad shape is only offered in Gearbox’s thinner 11mm profile paddles and is combined with a standard handle length. The 11mm profile combined with the Quad shape head provides more maneuverability and quickness when compared to the Hyper shape. This shape also offers a standard handle length, which some payers prefer.

What are the pros and cons of an elongated paddle? 

The advantages of the elongated shape are that it provides more reach, it’s slightly narrower making it easier to roll, and it has a longer handle length for those that like a two-handed shot or like to drive the ball hard.

As for cons, some players may find that the overall longer length of the paddle makes it slightly less maneuverable with left to right motion. 

CX14 Elongated Pickleball Paddle by Gearbox Pickleball

Gearbox paddles have a smooth face, yet players say they get great spin. How do the Gearbox paddles achieve spin?

Gearbox has gone beyond texture to generate spin.  Most of our spin is generated with our patented SST core.  Our core’s ribbed structure cups and bites the ball on impact.  Gearbox adds some texture to the paddle surface, but overall, it took a more systemic approach to spin, focusing on the paddle’s structure, design, and lay-up along with texture. This entire system is what we call our Hyper-Bite Spin Technology.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about Gearbox?

At Gearbox, innovation is more than what we do, it is who we are. Gearbox has a technology-first approach to paddle development. Our vision is that every level of pickleball player experiences first-hand the meaningful effect of Gearbox paddle technology on both their performance and enjoyment of pickleball.

The team at Gearbox continues to create high quality pickleball equipment meeting the highest standards every time. We look forward to seeing what they come out with next while enjoying their latest versions now! Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

TechTalk with HEAD Pickleball: New Radical Series

HEAD has revamped their popular Radical Pickleball Paddle series with thoughtfully designed new technology and graphics, for a line-up of four new models. Featuring HEAD’s new Extended Powercore technology and increased core thickness, the new Radical paddles serve up a deliciously generous sweet spot and increased control and touch, while still delivering massive power.

Like to put spin on the ball? Look no further! HEAD’s new SpinOn texture, found on the new Radical Tour and Radical Tour CO paddles, sets you up for more spin on every shot. Along with two grip size options and stylish new graphics, the new HEAD Radical paddles provide plenty to love.

We recently chatted with HEAD about their new Radical series – read on to learn more about this next generation of solid performers.

HEAD Pickleball Releases Four New Paddles in Their Radical Series

Can you go over each paddle in the new Radical Series?

We have four new models launching in April 2022:

Radical Tour
Formerly known as the Radical Tour GR, the Radical Tour features HEAD’s graphite hitting surface for a superior soft feel and increased control for the competitive player.

Technical Specs for the HEAD Radical Tour Paddle

Radical Tour CO
The Radical Tour CO is designed with a composite hitting surface, for increased power on passing shots and put-aways.

Technical Specs for the HEAD Radical Tour CO Paddle

Radical Pro

The Radical Pro is the ultimate power paddle, but still has all the comfort needed due to the Comfort Grip System’s vibration dampening.

Radical Elite

The Radical Elite provides a great value for the beginning/intermediate player, featuring HEAD’s Ergo Grip for enhanced feel upon impact.

Technical Specs for the HEAD Radical Elite Paddle

With the Radical Performance Paddles you have introduced new core technology. What was the goal of a thicker 15mm core?

We’ve added our Extended Powercore technology to all of our Radical Paddles, and increased the core thickness from 13mm to 15 mm. This has allowed us to increase the feel of the sweet spot and enhance control and touch, while still being able to deliver massive amounts of power.

You have also added SpinOn texture. How does the texture affect durability of the paddle?

Our new SpinOn texture allows for increased spin potential on all shots and is made to last the lifetime of the paddle itself, without wearing off.  Players adept at producing both topspin and underspin will find this particularly beneficial.  The SpinOn texture can be found in our new Radical Tour and Radical Tour CO paddles. 

You provide two options for grip circumference. What guidance can you give players to help them choose the right grip size?

Selecting the right grip size (circumference) for a paddle is very important. A grip that is too small can cause players to squeeze the handle too tightly, while too large a grip makes it difficult to maneuver between different shots. To ensure the right grip size, players can perform the Index Finger Test. For reference, pick up any paddle with an Eastern grip (holding the index knuckle on the third bevel in line with the paddle face). Then with the other hand, try to fit the index finger into the gap between the ring finger and palm. If there is extra space, size down; if there is not enough space, size up.

What’s new with HEAD footwear?

HEAD has three newly designed shoe lines for 2002 as well. Correct footwear is crucial for preventing injury, and provides a better playing experience. HEAD has designed great-looking new models of their three popular court shoe lines, providing a shoe type and fit for all player preferences.

Revolt Pro 4.0
Wider toe box, comfort fit, and highly durable.

2022 HEAD Men’s Revolt Pro 4.0

Shop Men’s Revolt Pro 4.0 – More Colors Available

2022 HEAD Women’s Revolt Pro 4.0

Shop Women’s Revolt Pro 4.0

Sprint Pro 3.5
Medium width, performance fit, and lightweight – stability with speed.

2022 HEAD Men’s Sprint Pro 3.5

Shop Men’s Sprint Pro 3.5 – More Colors Available

2022 HEAD Women’s Sprint Pro 3.5

Shop Women’s Sprint Pro 3.5 – More Colors Available

Revolt EVO 2.0
Widest fit, for the casual player seeking the most comfort (coming later in 2022).

Shop all HEAD Pickleball

Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

Meet the Pro: Brandon Nsekpong

Meet Brandon Nsekpong, a pickleball pro that has recently hit the scene and made quite a splash, with his skills in other sports that have helped him cross over into pickleball and excel! He just signed on with the ProXR Pickleball Team, and has great goals for his pickleball career. We sat down with him to talk about how he got started, what it’s like to be sponsored by ProXR, and how he’s planning to dominate the competition in 2022. We’re going to let him take it away from here, so you can read all about it! Enjoy!

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I grew up playing Ping Pong and Table Tennis at a high level as a junior (Ages 8-14). From there I got heavily into basketball and took it as far as I could into a D3 college scholarship. Three years ago I was playing basketball recreationally at a gym and saw pickleball going on the other side. It looked like something I could be instantly good at with my background. After getting beat 11-2 in singles to a 50+ male I knew there was so much more to the game than what I thought. The first two years of playing I couldn’t really get into it at a high level and just enjoyed the casual rec games with friends. The social aspect of pickleball was amazing to me. It wasn’t until this past year where I really felt that I was selling myself short by not going all in to see how far I can go. I’m not a fan of wasting talent. So far it’s been awesome becoming a pro and taking my game to new heights every month. My goal is to be the #1 player in the world and I know I have a long way to go to get there.

Throwback photo of Brandon winning a Ping Pong trophy
Throwback photo of Brandon playing basketball

Congrats, you just joined the ProXR Team! What do you like about them?

Thank you! How much time do I have? Lol. The ProXR team is phenomenal. They started reaching out to me strictly off of my potential even before I won my first pro match. That showed me that they really do their research and care about the development of me as a player instead of just what I can do for them. Their paddles and handle design are unique and took some getting used to at first. Yet, now I am able to maximize my game with it. It feels like I’m a part of a new family and I really love that dynamic.

Read about ProXR’s game-changing handle technology here.

Brandon Nsekpong joins the ProXR Pickleball Team

What ProXR Paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the ProXR Advantage Blackout Series paddle. It’s the 16mm core thickness and has just enough control for all my resets while having an insane amount of power and pop that is required at the pro level. I also doctor it up with some lead tape as well. This paddle also comes in 14mm.

See all ProXR Paddles at Pickleball Central.

Brandon playing with ProXR Advantage Blackout series paddle

If pickleball had a walk up song like some other sports have, what would yours be?

Wow. “Who’s Stopping Me?” by Big Sean would have to be it. Confidence booster for sure. Although “A Mili” by Lil Wayne would be a close second.

What tournaments have you played in and what does your schedule look like this year?

So far I have played in about ten pro tournaments. Mostly all the APPs and some local PPA tourneys (Texas Open, Austin Open).  I committed to at least 24 tournaments this year or about two per month. I’ve never traveled this much in my life so I’m enjoying the scenery along the way, while also trying to pick tournaments that are great vacation spots for the family.

Brandon at the Del Ray APP Tournament in March 2022

What is your best pickleball tip?

Drill every day. You can’t skip that portion. No matter how good you think you are, drilling is the foundation that you can never forget about. Rec play and testing your skills is great and needed, but drilling should be something you crave daily/weekly if you want to improve your game. Some people focus too much on learning new shots but would enhance their game solely by being more consistent on the shots they already have. It took me a while to learn this concept but I’ll never forget it.

What is your favorite shot in pickleball?

Forehand drive on a medium to high ball in the middle of the court. You can hit it anywhere! Plus you can add so much deception to it also. Close second is the backhand counter block at the kitchen.

What are your favorite drills?

Dinking games to 11 all angles. I love warming up to that. Also transition games like starting at the baseline with someone at the net and trying to work your way up. I also do a lot of resetting drills as well, where people fire balls at me as hard as possible and I return them soft in the kitchen.

What are some of your goals in pickleball?

The top two overall are to be the #1 male in this sport and also to impact people’s lives by using my platform. I want both equally as much, but few things would be more important to me than being able to influence others in a positive way based on my own success. I constantly look for opportunities to do this in my daily life and would love to be blessed with the ability to do so on an even larger scale.

Meet Pro pickleball player Brandon Nsekpong. Learn about his partnership with ProXR, the paddle he plays with, his best pickleball practice tip and more!

We look forward to following along on Brandon’s journey! If you are interested in a ProXR Pickleball paddle but aren’t sure which one to choose call us at 888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

CRBN: Carbon Fiber Paddles Developed by a Pickleball Player, for Pickleball Players!

Designed in California, CRBN Pickleball paddles have rapidly gained a strong reputation with many players both amateurs and pros. Founded in 2020, CRBN has already earned the endorsements of many top pro players, no small feat for such a young brand. These sleek, premium-quality, high-performance paddles are ideal for players who love to put spin on the ball.

We recently chatted with Garrett Gosselin, founder of CRBN Pickleball, to learn about his pickleball journey and CRBN paddles.

CRBN Pickleball Paddles now Available at Pickleball Central

How did you find yourself starting a pickleball company?

At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, I was let go from my job. Lucky for me, I found pickleball. I quickly became obsessed, playing five hours a day, seven days a week. I progressed quickly and played in as many tournaments as I could. 

My doubles partner, Ryan, was the first to have the idea. After a match, he said something like, “We should make our own paddles. We can do better – we know exactly what we want and need.”

Three weeks later, prototypes arrived at my doorstep with the exact carbon fiber face and specs we wanted to take our game to the next level.

It was love at first…touch. We got them in our hands and were unbeatable on the challenge courts. I quickly sent a few off to get approved by USA Pickleball so we could use them in tournaments.

It was never my intention to make a business out of them! They were just for us, but quickly, everyone at our local courts decided they had to have a CRBN paddle too. They saw the combination of control and power we were able to generate, and the paddles looked sleek and cool.

Through all those requests was my “a-ha” moment where I realized I should make a business around these paddles. I partnered with an established entrepreneur in the pickleball industry and a childhood friend who is an engineer, and the rest is history.

We’ve been on a rocketship ever since, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be spending every hour of every day either working on my pickleball company or playing pickleball. We don’t pretend to be a massive company with flashy colors and gimmicky buzzwords. We’re still the same scrappy and agile company that started by tinkering on paddles to make them better. We love the game and the community surrounding pickleball, and look forward to providing the very best products for many years to come.

What is special about carbon fiber as a paddle’s face material vs. the other types of materials that are also commonly used?

We use the highest quality T-700 carbon fiber which is not the case for every paddle company out there. We use T-700 because it has unique properties which help our paddles have an immense amount of durability, power, spin, and control. T-700 has incredibly high tensile strength and durability, while also being malleable enough to flex upon contact to absorb energy and help generate spin. Our gritty T-700 surface outperforms fiberglass, graphite, and other paddle types in almost every category, and is the very best material for paddles bar none.

CRBN is USAPickleball Approved

How do CRBN paddles differ from other carbon fiber paddles that are available?

The term “carbon fiber” gets thrown around quite a bit by paddle companies. Many companies are using carbon fiber as a weave for structural integrity or as part of their core, but that’s a vastly different thing than what we’re doing with our paddles and our gritty surface. Also it’s important to understand that there are many different types of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber isn’t universally great. That’s why we specifically source the very best T-700 carbon fiber that gives us our paddles unparalleled control and spin. Combine that with the most durable internal paddle construction, and we’ve got a paddle that plays better and lasts longer than the competition. 

You have some great pros on your team, what do they love about the paddles?

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to put together one of the most competitive Pro Teams out there. Many of our athletes tried our paddles independently and actually approached us for sponsorships. Almost universally, they comment on the unique combination of control AND power. Usually you have to give up one or the other, but not with CRBN!

Pickleball Pro DJ Young
Pickleball Pro Erik Rosner
Pickleball Pro Yana

Can you talk us through the design and style of each paddle

The CRBN1 (elongated) is the first paddle we built. It was the paddle that I made specifically to suit my play style and most players out there. It features an elongated handle (perfect for two-handed backhands) and the extra length of the face feels great for driving the ball. Out of any paddle on the market, it’s the closest you can get to the feel of a tennis racket. This paddle comes in 13mm and 16mm core thicknesses. Generally speaking, 16mm provides a bit more control and the 13mm is ideal for those looking for more power and speed off the paddle.

CRBN-1 Carbon Fiber Elongated Paddle
CRBN-1 Carbon Fiber Elongated Paddle

The CRBN2 is our newest paddle and features a shorter handle and square face. It provides a wider sweet spot and has quickly become the go-to for many of our customers who prefer a wider hitting surface.

CRBN-2 Carbon Fiber Paddle
CRBN-2 Carbon Fiber Paddle

In terms of style, it has been our goal to keep a clean, subtle design. We don’t need loud colors and confusing marketing jargon. We want a sleek paddle where the performance does the talking.

Shop all CRBN

What’s next for CRBN?

We’ve got a lot of exciting new products in the pipeline! Two things we definitely have coming out this year are different colorways for our existing paddles and a premium pickleball backpack. The colorways will feature our same, recognizable carbon fiber face along with stylish color accents that really make them pop. The backpack is something we’re really proud of also. We custom built it from the ground up to include exactly what we would want as pickleball players on the court. Everything else I’ll have to keep under wraps for now. I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

CRBN paddles let your playing do the talking – for more spin, more core control, and more points. Try out a CRBN1 (elongated) or CRBN2 (traditional square) paddle and you will realize what many players have already…that CRBN Pickleball means business.

Shop CRBN Pickleball Paddles now at Pickleball Central

Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

JOOLA Enters Pickleball With a Bang and Partners With the World’s #1 Ranked Player: Ben Johns!

The first pickleball paddles were actually intended for table tennis, and now the industry is joined by a company with years of expertise in this influential sport: JOOLA. Starting off with a bang, JOOLA is releasing a series of paddles in partnership with #1 Men’s Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles player Ben Johns. The lineup is full of exciting technology with textured, spin-tastic surfaces, in addition to two types of polymer cores catered to either control or power-centric play styles. You can even get your hands on the paddle Ben Johns uses himself which comes with a unique foam-injected core to greatly increase stability and shock dampening qualities. We sat down with JOOLA to learn more about their company, the team, and their launch into pickleball!

Ben Johns joins JOOLA Pickleball and launches new signature paddles

Why did JOOLA decide to enter the pickleball world?

When table tennis clubs temporarily closed during the pandemic, the team at JOOLA decided to try out pickleball. It was initially just out of curiosity and to get some exercise outdoors. The team was instantly hooked! JOOLA brings 70 years of expertise in table tennis equipment research and innovation. Further research into pickleball allowed JOOLA to quickly find similarities in paddle construction and apply its innovation and technology to pickleball. JOOLA wants to be at the forefront of driving additional global growth and developing the next generation of equipment. 

JOOLA Pickleball launches 8 New Paddles with Pickleball Central

You have had tremendous success in Ping Pong, what have you learned there that you think will transfer to pickleball?

Our company has table tennis players from all levels of the sport, from beginners to Olympians. This gives us a wide perspective to understand our customer base to reach the grassroots players, home recreational players, and players on the high-performance track. We are taking a similar approach towards pickleball where we have immersed ourselves into playing the sport, consuming the great content the pro tours are putting out there, and meeting all the great people along the way. We truly are connecting to the entire pickleball world and building a connection with all the great people no matter where in their pickleball journey they are at.

Can you talk about each paddle in this launch?

We have a wide variety of paddles for every pickleball player from the beginner to the advanced competitor. Each paddle series in the JOOLA lineup offers a unique head shape, purposely designed to appeal to players with various playing styles. A common element throughout the entire JOOLA line is the Sure-Grip technology, which is a perforated anti-slip ridge grip that reduces moisture and helps increase shock absorption. Balance and performance are a key focus throughout the entire line.

Solaire Series – The Solaire series offers two paddles that are quite different in performance but with the same performance shape that creates a strong combination of power and feel. The Solaire FAS 13 offers a Fiberglass Abrasion Surface for more direct power and the Solaire CFS 14 is designed with the Carbon Friction Surface for maximizing spin, with a well-balanced amount of power and control. The Carbon Forged handle and HyperFoam Technology is incorporated within the Solaire CFS 14, making it a true game changer.

JOOLA Solaire FAS 13 Composite Paddle
JOOLA Solaire CFS 14 Composite Paddle

Vision Series – A lighter, more aggressive, elongated paddle shape with tremendous control, feel, and spin. If spin is a critical element to your game, JOOLA’s Carbon Grip Surface will help you maximize your shot potential. Comes in a 14mm and 16mm core.

JOOLA Vision CGS 14 Graphite Paddle and JOOLA Vision CGS 16 Graphite Paddle

Radius Series – Bringing JOOLA’s heritage to pickleball with a table tennis inspired shape offering the largest edge to edge sweet spot. This paddle incorporates the Carbon Grip Surface for exceptional spin and the rounded paddle head offers an incredible amount of control. This paddle was designed to offer tremendous touch, making it ideal for dinking, blocking, or hitting controlled shots. (Coming soon)

JOOLA Radius CGS 16 Graphite Paddle

Ben Johns Hyperion SeriesThree unique paddles make up this series. The Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 13.5 offers a thinner core for more power and the Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 is designed for more control. Both of these models come with the Carbon Abrasion Surface with a sand-blasted textured surface for more spin. JOOLA’s innovative Hybrid-Ply technology creates a paddle that takes advantage of carbon and fiberglass characteristics when you want to hit soft or hard.

JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 13.5 Graphite Paddle
JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 Graphite Paddle

The Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 is our most advanced paddle specially designed and engineered to perform at the highest levels in all categories of control, power, and spin with an unmatched consistency anywhere you hit the ball on the face of the paddle. The Carbon Forged handle and HyperFoam Technology is incorporated within the Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16, making it a true game changer.

JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite Paddle

Shop all JOOLA Paddles

Your paddles have unique shape – the Solaire, Vision and Hyperion with the rounded top and the Radius is very round – what advantage does this give to the playability of your paddles?

The Aero-curve technology is a head curvature design, inspired by many other paddle/racket sports to reduce drag and allow the player to maximize their swing speed, which leads to more power. This rounded design allows players to get to their shots faster and place trust in their own abilities to meet the ball timely and improve their game.

The Solaire CFS and the Ben John’s Hyperion CFS both have the HyperFoam Edge tech. What is it and what affect does it have on the paddle?

The HyperFoam Edge Technology is another innovation from JOOLA to improve the overall performance, stability, and consistency in a paddle. In most polymer honeycomb cores, the edges or the perimeter of the paddle, where it is cut to shape, becomes weaker, often leading to the ball not bouncing off as well or feels “dead”. JOOLA has solved this problem by inserting a specialized foam that expands and fills the honeycomb cells around the perimeter of the paddle leading to a consistent edge to edge performance and an enhanced sweet spot.

Ben Johns and his New Paddle with JOOLA Pickleball

You have a Carbon Abrasion Surface, a Carbon Grip Surface and a Carbon Friction Surface, how do they differ?

JOOLA Pickleball Paddle Surface Technology explained

The Carbon Abrasion Surface utilizes a multi-step, sand-blasting process, creating a unique, textured surface for increased spin.

The Carbon Grip Surface technology utilizes a durable, long-lasting Carbon Flex3 textured surface that grips the ball to create more spin on every serve, drive, and dink. The natural state of the carbon material, along with JOOLA’s specialized manufacturing process helps generate more spin. 

The Carbon Friction Surface technology utilities the next generation of materials to generate maximum spin performance. A more advanced, durable, longer lasting Carbon-Flex5 textured surface, harnesses raw power while also creating an unparalleled spin rotation on the ball and a very crisp feel on the shots that matter the most.

Which do you feel provides the most spin?

Spin generation certainly begins from the surface material, but it also is a factor of the composition of the paddle. Carbon material allows for more flex in the surface which increases dwell time. That increased surface dwell time when the ball hits the surface allows for our paddles to generate more spin than other similar paddles on the market.  The Carbon Grip Surface and Carbon Friction Surface technology paddles generate the most spin within the JOOLA lineup.

What type of player do you think will enjoy these paddles?

With 12 meticulously crafted and unique paddles at launch, whether you are a new player just getting into pickleball for the first time or a seasoned rec player playing multiple times a week or you are playing at the highest pro level at national tournaments, there is a paddle within the JOOLA assortment we feel would be best for you! New technology and innovation has been incorporated into each of our paddle designs for the sole purpose of helping players play their best game. A new era of next generation equipment is here!

Shop all JOOLA Paddles

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

The leadership team at JOOLA has completely fallen in love with pickleball playing 4-5 days a week, sometimes even playing before work, during lunch, and after work in a single day. We have truly become addicted to this amazing sport like many pickleball players do, and that is because this sport can be so much fun at whatever level you are starting at. JOOLA has always been a market leader and innovator in table tennis, and with our global footprint we hope to use our reach to help spread the pickleball craze worldwide! Come say hi to any of our team, we’ll be visiting communities and events nationwide!

We are thrilled to welcome JOOLA to the pickleball world and excited to see what they continue to do in this space. Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

Pickleball Becomes Washington States Official Sport

The bill was signed by Gov. Inslee on March 28th at the original Pickleball Court in Bainbridge, WA

Pickleball is a home-grown Washington State creation. No other place on the planet has the deep-rooted connection to pickleball that we here in Washington enjoy.  Washington will someday be known as the birthplace of Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Pickleball. Tourists will travel to Bainbridge Island to see the first pickleball court and visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum’s pickleball exhibit. On Monday March 28th,  Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a declaration making pickleball the official sport of Washington State! 

Gov. Inslee signs the bill making Pickleball the official sport of Washington State

You may already know the pickleball origin story:  In a backyard on Bainbridge Island,  three friends (Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum) invented the game during the summer of 1965.

Pickleball in the early 70’s on one of the original courts in Washington

They made up rules and introduced the game to neighbors.  At the close of summer, the game jumped the Puget Sound to Seattle.  From there it spread south to Tacoma and east to Spokane. Snowbirds brought it to Arizona and Southern California. It took over 55 years but pickleball is now the fastest growing sport on the planet with millions of players around the world.  The International Federation of Pickleball has 68 member countries and growing!  Campaigns are underway to make pickleball an Olympic sport.  

But, do you know:

  • The first pickleball paddles, balls, and net systems were invented in Washington State.
    Barney McCallum, one of the game’s inventors, used his jigsaw to cut the first plywood paddles. As demand grew, he incorporated and created the first pickleball company, Pickleball Inc.  Barney was an entrepreneur and built McCallum Envelope Company. He knew how to manufacture and sell products.  Barney designated a small section of his Ballard warehouse for Pickleball Inc.’s inventory of paddles and balls, and began shipping products to pickleball customers.  At first whiffle balls were used to play pickleball, but they broke easily and had a short life span, so Barney invented the “Dura Pickleball,” a durable ball that is still a leading pickleball.  As interest and demand grew, consumers sought pickleball nets. Barney invented the first pickleball nets and first portable net systems.
An early addition of a pickleball paddle
  • The world’s  1st  pickleball company was in Washington State – Pickleball Inc.
  • The world’s  2nd pickleball company, Ultra-Lite Paddle Company, subsequently called ProLite Sports, was in Washington State and founded by Arlen Paranto.
  • The world’s  3rd pickleball company, Pickleball Stuff, was in Washington State and founded by Fran and Barney Myer.
  • The world’s 4th pickleball company, S-Type Sports (later sold to ONIX Sports), was in Washington State and founded by Steve Wong.
  • The world’s first pickleball tournaments were in Washington State.
  • The world’s  first “National” tournament was in Washington State.
  • The world’s first pickleball corporate sponsors, Vlasic Foods and Budweiser Beer, were for events in Washington State.  
  • The world’s first pickleball governing body, The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA), was launched in Washington State.  Sid Williams was the founder and first president.  
  • The world’s first pickleball rule sheets/booklets were created in Washington State by Washingtonians.  
  • The world’s first pickleball school PE program was launched in Washington State.
  • The world’s first composite pickleball paddle was invented in Washington State by Arlen Paranto.
    Arlen and his son Steve Paranto were frustrated by the heavy weight of wood paddles so wanted to come up with new paddle technology. Arlen purchased panels from the Boeing Surplus Store in Kent and began experimenting. The composite paddles he crafted out of those Boeing panels is essentially the same technology used in most composite pickleball paddles today – a honeycomb core sandwiched between layers of fiberglass or graphite/carbon fiber.
Arlen and Steve Paranto with a PROLITE Paddle
PickleballCentral.com Headquarters in Kent, WA

We are delighted and proud to have been a part of this effort. Special thanks to the unstoppable Kate Van Gent for leading the charge to make pickleball Washington’s official sport. Congratulations to all the Washington State pickleball players who voiced their passion.  Way to go Washington! 

Introducing Varsity Pickle apparel at Pickleball Central

Owners of Varsity Pickle and best friends, Karen and Adele

Childhood best friends, pickleball lovers and now business owners! Meet the women behind Varsity Pickle. Karen and Adele created Varsity Pickle for the pickleball player who wants a little style on and off the court. We recently spoke with them about their designs, where the name came from, and what is next! View the full line here.

Why did you start Varsity Pickle?

We’ve been best friends our entire lives. We spent our childhood rollerblading, jumping on the trampoline, and making up dances. We first learned how to play pickleball in middle school gym class and constantly got in trouble for talking too much during the lessons. We both picked it up again in the past few years (along with millions of others) and still probably talk more than we play. 

Throwback photo of Karen and Adele

When we looked online for pickleball apparel, most of what we saw wasn’t designed well – flaming pickleballs, clip-art graphics – not the kind of clothing we would want to wear. 

We have backgrounds in design and marketing, so we decided to collaborate and create a line of apparel you can wear on and off the court that is playful, fun, and cool. We are also, coincidentally, both very passionate about pickles (the food) and would definitely make varsity if there were a team. 

Varsity Pickle Faded Blue Pickleback Unisex Sweatshirt

How did you come up with the name?

We weren’t really “varsity athletes” in high school. We blended in and didn’t embarrass ourselves, but never knew the thrill of being a varsity star. So the first time we ever won a pickleball game, it felt like we might finally be good at something. We created Varsity Pickle to celebrate every level of pickle player with gear that makes you proud to play. 

Varsity Pickle Collegiate Ringer T-Shirt – Unisex

Can you talk us through the design process?

Pickleball is fun, and we let that inform the creative direction. A collegiate, retro aesthetic felt right to us. It was important to choose styles and materials that players would be comfortable in and we would wear ourselves. Our sweatshirts are all super soft but light, and our performance wear is very high quality, sweat-wicking material. 

People often ask us “What makes pickleball clothing different from other sports?” The answer is not much, really, but pickleball players want you to know they play pickleball, so we feature pickle branding on all of our gear. It’s a strong community! When you see someone with a pickleball shirt on, you have to tell them you’re part of the pickleball club too! 

As for our Pickleback sweatshirt, that has its own backstory

Congrats, you just made the Varsity Team!


Varsity Pickle Varsity Blues Sweatshirt – Women’s

Varsity Pickle Sweatshirt Grey – Unisex

How is it running a business with your bestie?

So fun. Duh! It’s no surprise that after 30+ years of friendship, we’d make a great partnership. We have different strengths and we help bring the best out in each other. We know how to work hard but still find time to laugh at ourselves. Plus it’s super helpful, that when we reference our 7th grade gym teacher vibes, we both know exactly what that means. 

For the love of pickle.

How long have you two been playing Pickleball?

We started in middle school, played a bit in high school, and then picked it up again in the past few years. 

We love to play pick-up games, on vacation, with people older than us, younger than us, for exercise, and even after a few beers. All that said, we are both totally average pickleball players. We are NOT tournament ready. But we definitely have fun out on the court!

What do you love about Pickleball?

We love how simple pickleball is to pick up compared to other sports. Even your first game is fun! Everybody makes varsity, and then there is so much room to level up. 

What else can we expect from Varsity Pickle in the future?

Besides world domination? A kids’ line and more awesome, retro gear.

We are excited to see more apparel coming to pickleball and look forward to seeing what else Varsity Pickle brings to their collection. Shop now at PickleballCentral.

Ben Johns on Tournament Prep & Recovery

Ben Johns Pickleball Pro

As the #1 pickleball player in the world, pro Ben Johns obviously spends many consecutive hours and days training and competing in tournaments. Even for younger athletes, all of those hours on the court can take a toll on the body; staying in top shape for peak performance match after match requires taking care of your body before, during and after competition. Ben recently talked with us about how he prepares for tournaments and what recovery looks like for him.

What do you do to prepare yourself before competition?

 I prepare beginning the week of competition; what I eat and drink that entire week matters to me. I stay away from sugary or fried foods, as well as sugary drinks. My meal the night before competition is particularly important – it’s usually a protein fish or meat like chicken or salmon, with rice and a vegetable or similar. The morning of competition I typically have eggs, yogurt, and fruit. Throughout the day of competition I like to eat fruit, nuts, and protein bars.

For hydration, I drink Jigsaw Health’s Pickleball Cocktail the night before and morning of competition. Throughout the week I make sure to drink a lot of water. During the day of competition I drink Jigsaw Electrolyte Supreme.

Pickleball Jigsaw Cocktail: Keep your body filled with all the nutrients you need to avoid injury.

I stretch most evenings, but the week of competition stretching is especially important to me. I focus on loosening the hips, quads, and back in particular.

It’s also important to me to have all of my equipment prepared and ready to go – paddles weighted, over-gripped, etc. Clothes for the day, massage gun, and foam roller should be in my bag, with everything else I need for game day ready by the night before.

My warm-up routine consists of mostly ROM movements, like arm circles, Frankenstein walks, and generally dynamically moving to loosen up. Then I do a solid thirty minutes of hitting.

Do you have any “superstitions” or rituals?

I don’t have superstitions so much as preparations. I need to have everything ready to go before the day of competition – all of my equipment, food, drinks, etc. I’m quite particular about the socks I wear, both bottom and top (I’m a double sock guy), so that’s as close as I get to superstitious.

What injury prevention products do you use or wear?

I will wear compression leggings when I’m playing in cold weather. The arm sleeves I wear are not compression but for the sun.

What do you do after matches or training to recover?

After playing, for injury prevention and for performing the next day, I make sure to static stretch, foam roll, and use Therabody’s Theragun Pro and Wave Air Compression Boots.

Ben Johns with the Wave Air Compression Recovery Boots

The Therabody Compression Recovery Boots are an easy-to-use, effective way to improve circulation, soothe achy legs, and may also help reduce fluid retention. Their internal chambers inflate sequentially from the foot towards the heart, which helps maximize circulation. The quiet technology allows you to relax peacefully while enjoying the components of the convenient touchpad control, including a timer and four pre-programmed modes for specific pulses and settings.

Save $200 now at Pickleball Central

Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device helps you to release tension and enhance recovery

Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device: This professional-grade massager delivers up to 60 lbs. of force to your muscles, helping you to release tension and enhance recovery on your own schedule.

After playing I’ll continue to hydrate, take magnesium supplements, and try to eat a similar dinner with lots of protein and some good carbs.

Lastly I make sure to get to bed on time, as quality sleep is very important to me!

TechTalk with PROLITE Sports: The Hyperweave LXII Series

PROLITE’s new LX Series paddles set a new standard in woven carbon fiber. Dynamic performance, cutting-edge design and stunning colored carbon fiber combine with increased comfort to create a line of new paddles that deliver luxury in both feel and looks. Learn what PROLITE has to say about their exciting new LX Series.

The new LX Series uses new face materials. What’s the difference between the previous Black Diamond series and the new LX carbon fiber weave?

The one small similarity when comparing the Black Diamond Series to the LX Series is that it involves carbon fiber, but that’s about it. The LX Series is completely different. The face of the LX Series is composed of a total of three layers of carbon fiber surrounding the paddle’s core. The first two layers atop the core are Toray UD carbon fiber, which adds increased strength and rigidity to the paddle. Then, the actual carbon fiber making contact with the ball is our new proprietary Hyperweave Carbon Fiber. It is an even tighter carbon fiber cross-weave. To give it the added luxurious look, the cross-weave is interwoven with gold or silver fibers, depending on the color you choose. When striking the ball, it feels pure and flush, like hitting the perfect drive off of the tee.

These paddles don’t seem to have a lot of texture on the surface, can they still spin the ball?

The surface appears less textured to the naked eye. However, you can feel some texture with your fingertips, but it does not involve grit. It is an extremely tightly woven carbon fiber, interwoven with gold or silver fibers, enhancing the overall strength of the paddle. The dwell time is longer than with most paddles. Very controllable, but with the three-layered structure of the surface, the LX paddles deliver even more power and action than the Black Diamond Series. It’s not even close. Power, dwell time, pure at impact and woven carbon fibers all help to enhance your ability to spin and maneuver the ball. With woven carbon fiber, the hairs of the fiber continue to fray as you play, which is a good thing. This adds even more grab to the ball.

Each paddle in the lineup has a different shape. How does the shape of the paddle affect how the paddle plays?

As we see many new players coming into pickleball, we have to consider their backgrounds. Most have a background in another sport, often racquet sports. This results in different preferences for balance points, weight distribution and swing weight. This is no different from how we evaluate our paddles and the of performance characteristics they have. Each shape displays different weight locations. The Rebel Pro LX and the Supernova Pro LX both have head-weighted distribution. The Rebel Pro XLT carries more weight in the end of the paddle toward the handle, creating more whipping action. The Titan Pro is probably the most overall evenly balanced paddle in the lineup. All have exceptional precision in shot-making and can create power in different areas of the paddle.

Hyperweave LX Series by PROLITE Sports
Rebel Pro LX by PROLITE Pickleball

Shop Rebel Pro LX

Supernova Pro LX by PROLITE Sports

Shop SuperNova Pro LX

Titan Pro LX by PROLITE Sports

Shop Titan Pro LX

The Rebel Pro XLT is a new shape for your lineup. What led to adding a new shape?

We decided to address the need for a longer-handled paddle in our lineup. What better way to bring a new paddle into the mix than to utilize one of our all-time top selling paddles, the Rebel. Besides, we feel that the name in itself (“Rebel”) identifies our brand. We increased the handle length to 5.25” and utilized the Rebel dimensions, but shortened the overall length of the head. We kept the tapered neck though, which is important. When hitting a two-handed backhand, many players will bring that index finger of the top hand onto the paddle face. With a tapered neck, it fits almost perfectly on the paddle face. We wanted players coming from tennis (but really any background) to have the ability to easily bring their two-handed backhand into their pickleball game. A longer handle creates more of a whipping action, bringing more speed and velocity to your shots, especially groundstrokes.

Shop Rebel Pro XLT

Rebel Pro XLT by PROLITE Sports

The core of the Rebel XLT paddle is 14mm, whereas many paddles are either 13mm or 16mm. What’s the advantage of 14mm?

For starters, we embrace being different. Both 13mm and 16mm paddles have been made for years, including by us. After analyzing test results of both, we noticed a few things; 13mm paddles had a solid feel, but noticeable unnecessary vibration. 16mm paddles were highly absorbent of vibration and the ball, but lost power. With a 14mm core, we accomplished an overall thickness that brings the world of power and control together into one series, not multiple series across a line. After thorough play testing and analysis by numerous players on our team and staff, we found that our 14mm core provides the ultimate sweet spot in paddle thickness. We brought this thickness first to the pickleball paddle industry when we launched the PowerSpin 2.0 Series. Players don’t want to have to buy one paddle for control and another for power; understandably they want it all in one.

Why did you decide to come out with PROLITE Edge Tape Armor?

There are many reasons we decided to develop our Edge Tape Armor.  However, to keep it straight forward, we notice that most players develop wear and tear on their edge guards as well as their edgeless paddles.  Edge guards protect the integrity of the structure and if your paddle has no edge guard, almost all of them develop chips and scratches.

We saw some players buy colored electrical tape to run it along the edge, but that did not really protect it as much as it could.  So we developed our own Edge Tape Armor strips that come branded with PROLITE and even made some that do not.  Why?….because not everyone swings a PROLITE and we understand that.  They still may want to have edge tape on their paddle, and who could blame them.  Edge tape contrasts nicely with the graphics of a paddle.  Makes it look sharp!  It makes it their own, individual paddle!

PROLITE Edge Tape Armor

Anything else you’d like to tell us about PROLITE?

The world of pickleball is growing rapidly and we could not be happier watching it grow among all ages. As it grows, we do as well. We’re looking at many avenues for bringing new technology to the sport of pickleball. This includes not only paddles, but many other products that we feel can be improved upon to create the ultimate experience for pickleball players at their local courts, tournaments, and family gatherings. Studying, researching, testing, and always evolving… gotta’ love this game!

Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.