Amidst the celebration of the MLP PPA merger, the discussion of paddles has been put on the backburner.  Most of us remember CRBN-Gate back in 2022. While CRBN did get a slap on the wrist, it seems that they still paved the way for paddle manufacturers to throw caution to the wind.  So what if you get in trouble as long as you’re selling paddles, right? Fast forward to the end of 2023, where emerged with a foam paddle; let there be no mistake, that is what the PRO Power is. Sure, there was some slight pushback, but did that stop them? No. When asked how this paddle was considered legal, a certain USAP tester said, “They made the paddle to comply with the verbiage of the rules. Is it foam? Yes. Did they get around the rules? Yes. But we can’t do anything about that now.”

Shortly after the PRO Power released, the Joola Magnus followed. The Joola is so packed with foam and questionable manufacturing guidelines, it leaves their pros less than eager to pick up what is essentially a ticking time bomb. “They told us not to expose it to light for extended amounts of time. How am I supposed to control that?” says one frustrated pro whose brand-new paddle delaminated within 10 minutes of play. 

This brings us to the present day where Vulcan plans to release a paddle tomorrow, which the Powers That Be have finally deemed an “inappropriate use of power for today's game.”  First, I find it hard to believe Vulcan has produced a paddle with enough power to finally make the governing bodies take pause. Second, how could a paddle get any hotter than the volatile handguns currently be wielded on the market? (Now you know why they call them firefights.) Third, if Vulcan has done this, good for them.

“We have to draw the line at some point. The 1100JD and 1200TL will irrevocably shift the landscape of the sport and at some point, we have to say no,” says another USAP official. My question is, why now? Is Vulcan being used as a scapegoat, or are these paddles truly this hot? “So many of these paddles are getting crazy, but I still refused to wear protective eye gear. Then I played against Jay in Mesa and realized it's not worth the risk with the paddle he has. I’d rather deal with glasses than lose an eye from that thing,” says a top 10 men's pro. 

If these paddles are getting so out of control that the loss of eyesight becomes a real concern, when will we as a sport stop and take notice? Even more concerning, while Vulcans new 1100JD, and 1200TL paddles may be having their USAP approval revoked, that does not prevent them from selling these paddles, or Jay Devilliers or Tyler Loong from playing with them on the pro tour. All I can say is: be safe out there, Vulcan is making no apologies for the power move.

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