The future of fair play and performance testing
As we have all seen recently, the paddle under scrutiny is the new “Gearbox Pro Power”. It creates unbelievable power, much like other paddles do when they delaminate (the layers inside the paddle separate and the paddle hits much harder than normal), but this paddle is made differently than others and does not fail the delamination tests. The paddle released prior to the “Gearbox” that caused controversy was the “ProXR” Signature paddle which passed the grit test despite having crazy spin. Both of these paddles serve as examples of the issue currently plaguing Pickleball which is that companies are figuring out ways to “game the system”. I think that we can expect to continue seeing this happen. As a player on the pro tournament circuit, what I have seen is the ProXR paddle is now being tested differently and is failing more. I think the same sort of adjustments will be made for the Gearbox paddle.
One solution that has been proposed is a different type of testing where there is less paddle variability. This will lead to fewer of these “one off” paddles that have a large advantage over any other paddle out there. This will also reduce the differences between the paddles that people use much like tennis, where what you use is more “preference” than “performance” based. Another place we see this is in baseball where you are now only allowed wooden bats which evens the playing field and looks to be the direction that pickleball is headed.