A quiet paddle? Is there such a thing? Well, yes there is. But what is QUIET?
Nowadays, quiet is the buzz word in town and city council meetings everywhere. Everyone wants to have their peace and quiet, and pickleball has become a source of consternation in many places.
So paddle companies are swiftly moving to try to solve the noisy problem by making a paddle that is quiet. The challenge is that the word quiet means different things to different people. What is quiet to one may still be too noisy to others.
But at its core, the solution is to either make a quieter paddle or a quieter ball. Many people will not remember the old, legendary lime green 26 hole Jugs Bulldog ball. We still sell them at the Pickleball Rocks Shop for one simple reason. It is extremely quiet when you hit it. And even quieter if you hit it with one of the newer thick, 16mm carbon fiber paddles. We also have tested the new Pickleball Rocks 26 hole ball and it too is extremely quiet on the decibel meter.
I have to be up front here. I have not hit with many of the newer thick paddles. I was an old 10mm graphite paddle guy for over 10 years before I started moving into carbon fiber paddles five years ago.
But I am happy to say that the new DUDE 16mm carbon fiber paddle was recently tested by USA Pickleball and was actually singled out in a recent post that it was one of the quieter paddles they’d tested. It does not have that traditional POP sound that is apparently so irritating to many non players. It does have a significantly lower “THUNK” sound that does not carry far.
We recently played with the DUDE paddle and combined it with the Jugs Bulldog and it was amazing how quiet it was.
So what does a quiet paddle look like? It looks like any other pickleball paddle. It is what you don’t see that makes the sound difference. You make the paddle thicker, the extra mass will absorb more of the sound. Remember from your middle school science classes that sound comes from vibration. So the thicker the paddle, the more the sound is absorbed and lessened because of less vibration.
Make the honeycomb core chambers larger in diameter and now you have larger air pockets inside each chamber. Those larger air pockets will absorb the sound. Make the plastic in the core softer and likewise you will have less sound coming from the face of that paddle.
So we know it’s possible to reduce that decibel level and we know companies are working hard on it. Ultimately science will help us solve the problem.
Don’t expect any new “Quiet” paddles to be approved for sanctioned tournaments for awhile. But we know we built the DUDE paddle to be totally compliant with all the USA Pickleball rules and we are very pleased with the sound that comes from hitting a clean winner. Shoot we may even send it in for approval some day. It plays like any high level carbon fiber paddle should, and I would not hesitate to use it in any unsanctioned event.
I’m truly looking forward to trying more quiet paddles as they hit the market. It is an exciting time for pickleball, and technology is going to continue to make it even more exciting.
So if you get your hands on a DUDE paddle, enjoy the way it plays, but even more importantly, enjoy the lack of sound, and keep on playing.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written to address and help with the sound problem in communities where it’s a problem. In this article we are not trying to come up with a sanctioned tournament ball or paddle solution. We are trying to help the other 95% who just want to play and have fun, and not have to worry about the neighbors shutting them down. Let’s Play!