A Brief History of the Pickleball Paddle

Picture a pickleball paddle. Imagine holding it. The weight. The texture. The feel of the grip in your hand. You’re probably not picturing or feeling a wooden paddle. Let alone a ping pong paddle. But that’s exactly where the history of the pickleball paddle begins. 

Yes. The first “pickleball” paddle was actually a modified ping pong paddle. That didn’t last long, though, as they consistently broke during play. 

It didn’t take long for a more durable wooden paddle to be introduced. Which is widely considered to be the first real pickleball paddle. It was an oversized, thicker ping pong paddle. And allowed players to have more power and a longer lasting paddle.

As the sport caught on and more and more people started playing, the first modern day paddle was introduced. Using composite materials found in Boeing airplane floor panels, Arlen Paranto invented a lighter-weight, yet still durable version. This changed the game for good. And now composite pickleball paddles are the norm everywhere. 

Since then, companies have been experimenting with all sorts of innovations. Including us here at Baddle. Edge guard was one of the first explorations. It keeps the surfaces of your paddle intact for added durability, and it’s a feature we include on our paddles using our EdgeProtect Technology. 

Surface is another modern innovation. We use fiberglass and graphite in our paddle designs, giving players subtle options for different power and control levels. 

Then, there’s the core of the paddle. What’s between the surfaces. In the early days of pickleball, the core was simply made from the same material as the surfaces. But as we continued to push the boundaries, we opted to make Baddle paddles with a polymer honeycomb core. Polymer is a plastic-like material that’s durable, light, and offers just the right amount of flex for a forgiving sweet spot. And the honeycomb design keeps it lightweight and the overall feel of paddle balanced. 

Finally, style. Call us crazy, but we think this phase of innovation needs to happen now. We work with graphic designers, artists, and other brands to inspire modern designs for our paddles. Our aim is to capture the spirit of the game and those who play it so that you’re excited to show off your paddle. We even have some exciting news on design that we’ll be announcing later. Shh!

As you can see, the pickleball paddle has evolved tremendously over the short course of pickleball history. And we look forward to continuing to innovate in the pickleball world.