April 7, 2009. The USAPA has received many comments from players regarding the Apike paddle. The USAPA board of directors has reviewed all of those comments and studied the paddle for compliance with paragraph 2.E of the official rules. At its meeting on April 5, it spoke with the owner of the Apike and asked him many questions. After the discussion with the owner, the board discussed the issues raised by the owner and considered each of them. Upon deliberation, the board found that the Apike does not comply with the part of paragraph 2.E.2 that states, "The paddle playing surface shall not contain . . . features that allow a player to impart additional or increased spin on the ball." The combination of a flexible surface and a spongy foam core causes the paddle surface to compress on impact with the ball. The compression creates a slightly concave pocket that causes a greater amount of surface area to contact the ball compared to the rigid surfaces of wood and composite paddles. The increased surface area in contact with the ball that creates the increased spin was found to constitute a feature under the rules that allows for additional or increased spin. Members of the board and spouses of members who either manufacture or sell paddles did not vote in this decision in order for the board to arrive at a fair and unbiased decision.Although the board made no finding regarding safety, it has asked the USAPA Rules Committee to review and possibly amend the rules by adding clarifications or quantifiable measurements in order to address the concerns that players have about claims of increased speed of the ball caused by new paddles and those that may be introduced in the future and claims that these paddles may change the character of the game. For the general safety and protection of all players, the board recommends that they consider wearing protective eyewear regardless of the types of paddles being used. Comments received through April 4, 2009 are summarized here. Additional comments are not solicited at this time.
Although the USAPA has asked for no addtional comments, we welcome your comments