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PPA Paddle Compliance and Testing

Author: Andrew Gilman | July 11, 2023

I. PPA Paddle Compliance and Testing Policy

All paddles used at any PPA event, amateur, professional, or senior professional divisions, must be on the Professional Pickleball Association’s approved equipment list for both amateur and professional divisions. 

The information below applies to professional, excluding amateur and senior pro, divisions only:

Effective 5/18/22, PPA tour stops will provide on-site testing, which players may use to confirm compliance. Testing will be available from 4 pm-7 pm local time. There are two options for testing: the day before the Pro Singles division and the day before Pro Doubles divisions begin. 

II. Nature of the Paddle Test

A roughness test shall be administered to the paddle surface using technology consistent with the PPA Tour’s paddle testing standards*. A trained surface tester will administer this test.

The roughness device shall be placed no less than six times on the paddle surface, on both sides, in varying positions and locations, with the average of the six numbers taken as the final score. 

The test is complete if the final score is within the roughness range and the paddle is deemed legal. A second and third test may be administered directly following the first test if the final score tests over the roughness limit. If all three tests fail, the paddle will be deemed illegal. 

The accepted error range for each application of the roughness device is a score within 3 points of the maximum, which is 40 (i.e., 43 is a legal reading).

All tests will be recorded, reported, and signed by all players involved in the match under question. The PPA will keep digital records of each test.

III. Paddle Challenge Procedure

The PPA has the right to challenge paddle compliance at its sole discretion. 

At any point during a match, a player may challenge the compliance of an opponent’s paddle.  

A paddle challenge must be made to the referee during a timeout. The player whose paddle is challenged may continue competing with the paddle in question. Play may not be delayed, suspended, stopped, or discontinued. If a player changes their paddle during play, they must hand the paddle in question to the referee on the court. All paddles used during a match will be tested.

At the conclusion of the match, all players on the court must hand their paddles to the referee, and paddles will not be returned to any of the players until all testing has been completed. Any players leaving the court with their paddle after a challenge is called will forfeit the match, be ineligible to play the remainder of the day, and may be subject to further PPA Tour disciplinary actions at the PPA’s sole discretion.

The PPA will have a surface tester available at each tournament that is calibrated quarterly and tested for accuracy before every tournament against a series of control paddle surfaces.

a. First Offense

If the paddle tests as noncompliant, that player/team will forfeit the already-completed match. The losing team will be awarded the victory and move forward in the bracket accordingly.

b. Second Offense

Any player whose paddle tests as non-compliant twice within a 180-day rolling period will be suspended from all PPA events for ninety (90) days.  

c. Third Offense

Any player whose paddle tests as non-compliant three times during any 180-day rolling period will face an indefinite suspension from the PPA.

d. Multiple Offense Within One Match

If both parties have paddles that fail the paddle test, the following protocol will apply to the Offenses listed above:

  • Both opponents fail (equal failures): the result of the match stands, and the advancing team must play with a new paddle that passes the paddle test.
  • Both opponents fail, and multiple failures on one team (unequal failures): if one team has more failed paddles than the other, that team will forfeit the match, and the opposing team advances and must play with a new paddle that passes the paddle test.

If a paddle is challenged and tests as compliant, the challenging player faces a testing fee of $250, which the PPA has the right to deduct from any applicable appearance fees or prize money. In the absence of these deductions, the testing fee must be paid to the PPA within ten (10) days of test administration. Players will not be charged a fee for challenges that are correct. If a player has three unsuccessful challenges during any 180-day rolling period, such player will be suspended from the PPA indefinitely, at the PPA’s sole discretion.

*These tests are considered on-the-spot testing and will not be sent to a lab for further certification.

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