USAPA Assigns Two to Equipment Standards and Compliance Positions

 As the sport of pickleball continues to experience explosive growth, the need to ensure that the game’s equipment meets the high standards set forth by the USAPA is of paramount importance.

In keeping pace with this critical aspect, the USAPA recently named Carl Schmits as Director of Equipment Standards and he’ll also serve as the Equipment Evaluation Committee Chair. Carl was one of the original members of the EEC and in his current role will serve as the organization’s primary liaison with the manufacturers on all testing matters and will work closely with the lab to make sure the testing process and new product protocols are met. “It’s a fine balance to encourage (or at least not stymie) technical innovation in the industry while establishing equipment performance parameters that ensure the sport doesn’t stray too far from its roots,” said Carl who is also a USAPA Ambassador in the Lake Oswego, Oregon area. “Several paddle/racquet sports evolved beyond broad market appeal/ability when solely focused on enhancing specific performance characteristics. We expect our sport to mature and embrace the entrance of highly skilled athletes while ensuring it remains accessible and playable by the recreational athlete.”

Additionally, the USAPA has named Donn Paben as Director of Equipment Compliance. A Certified referee and Assistant Tournament Director of this year’s USA Pickleball National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Donn, who resides in Hermosa Beach, California will develop a new compliance program for all approved paddles and balls. He’ll also become a new member of the Equipment Evaluation Committee and will work together with the EEC along with the lab and the industry as he further develops the program. “The equipment has become increasingly more advanced,” said Donn, a 4.5 pickleball player. “I think the major manufacturers are doing a huge amount of R&D to make paddles more forgiving and more explosive. Every manufacturer is trying to figure out how to gain an edge over the other brands.”

At the present time, there are over 120 manufacturers and since the EEC was established in 2016, more than 500 paddles and nearly 100 balls have been evaluated. Carl added, “As a continuing member of the EEC, I will continue to support the progress made by USAPA in the definition, design and implementation of specifications, standards and equipment testing protocols as well as providing guidance to the equipment ecosystem.”


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