PHOENIX – Nov. 14, 2023 – Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in North America, has recently been the source of noise issues in sound-sensitive locations across the country given the distinct staccato ‘pop’ sound the ball makes on impact. USA Pickleball, the national governing body for the sport of pickleball in the U.S., announced that it has certified the first product in its new “Quiet Category” for recreational pickleball equipment: The OWL by OWL Sport. USA Pickleball’s Quiet Category is a revolutionary initiative that aims to reduce the sport’s sound output and recognize pickleball products that reduce the sport’s noise during play without negatively impacting performance.
Developed by OWL Sport, a new-to-the-scene paddle sports brand, The OWL is the first-ever USA Pickleball quiet category-compliant paddle sanctioned for recreational use, proven to reduce noise by 50 percent, meeting USA Pickleball’s rigorous certification criteria. OWL is the first paddle on the market that delivers a hertz level below 600 and a decibel level below 80. For comparison, industry-standard pickleball paddles register 1,100 - 1,200 hertz and a near-harmful decibel range of 85+ when striking a ball.
“USA Pickleball conducted research over a 15 month period to accurately characterize the sport’s acoustic signature, identifying both achievable and meaningful thresholds for the Quiet Category specification while maintaining an expected performance envelope.” stated Carl Schmits, USA Pickleball's Managing Director of Equipment Standards & Facility Development.
USA Pickleball’s Quiet Category includes specific guidance to manufacturers with thresholds that significantly reduce acoustic propagation during recreational play. USA Pickleball provides test fixture requirements and procedures to manufacturers during development, specification relief to enable manufacturers to creatively use new materials and configurations while preserving the nature of the game, and ongoing collaboration and guidance to several global brands in sporting goods. With the mission to encourage manufacturers to prioritize innovation in creating quieter products, the Quiet Category encompasses a wide range of products including paddles, balls, paddle covers, and noise mitigation screens for pickleball courts.
In order to speed development in this category, there is specification relief for products solely designed for non-sanctioned events, such as this first product from OWL. USA Pickleball is also launching an incentive program for manufacturers to deliver noise-reduced solutions in the Competition-Certified Category.
"As USA Pickleball continues to invest in Quiet Category options for our sport and community, we could not be more pleased to work with the OWL Sport team on the launch of their paddle, which marks the very first certified Quiet Category paddle on the market," said Mike Nealy, USA Pickleball's Chief Executive Officer. "We appreciate this collaboration with OWL Sport as they launch a paddle that allows for both a reduced acoustic footprint and excellent performance in competition. This marks an exciting milestone in our continued efforts to provide acoustics-related solutions to sound-sensitive locations."
OWL paddles are now available for order at owlpaddle.com. The OWL paddles come in (4) SKU's to meet players' recreational needs, including:
- Superior playability
- Unprecedented durability
- 13mm and 16mm elongated handle options
- Vibration dampening layers for arm and elbow comfort
- Balanced ‘anti-head heavy’ construction for effortless maneuverability
- Larger sweet spot for off-center impacts
- Graphene/nano technologically-enhanced carbon honeycomb
- Proprietary Acoustone sheath
USA Pickleball plans to continue to invest in its acoustic research and programs, including advancing the caliber of remote and on-site evaluations, materials guidance to manufacturers, and providing input to municipalities for evolving codes and ordinances. More information about USA Pickleball’s acoustic programs will be announced in the coming months.
About USA Pickleball
USA Pickleball is the national governing body for the sport of pickleball in the United States. Its mission is to promote the development and growth of the sport while sanctioning events and providing annual members with premier tournaments, educational opportunities, player rankings, official rules and other exclusive benefits. USA Pickleball is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that is governed and operated by a Board of Directors and a national office staff, who provide the guidance and infrastructure for the continued expansion of the sport.
About OWL Sport
OWL Sport was created by a group of people who had a problem to solve: they wanted to play pickleball when they wanted, where they wanted and without having to worry about noise complaints. Much like nature has created the perfect predator of the skies, OWL’s unmatched team of engineers have perfected an elite version of the pickleball paddle that not only reduces sound output by 50%, but provides players with a durable, playable paddle for all skill levels. OWL paddles are currently the only pickleball paddles on the market that are USA Pickleball quiet category-compliant. OWL Sport plans to continue its advancement of the racket sports industry through a relentless and meticulous commitment to innovation and superior playability.