Professional pickleball is growing rapidly. Read on to learn which paddles the top pros will be using in 2024, and why. We highlight three of the best paddles you will see on the pro tour.
[Related: 2023-2024 Pickleball Paddles of the Year]
Pickleball is evolving by the day, with finesse and power at the forefront of discussions. The significance of one's paddle cannot be overstated. Today we look at what paddles the pros are using.
Within pro pickleball in 2024, it's apparent that paddle selections can carry invaluable insights. By seeing what the pros use, we too can find top paddle performance, even if just in recreational pursuits. Let's explore some of the most frequently endorsed elite paddles.
This list is tailored for those who approach the game with a discerning eye and an interest in modern paddle technology. Read on...
Top Pro Pickleball Paddles in 2024
We covered this paddle extensively in a previous review, but it is one of the most groundbreaking paddles from 2023. It may be the best paddle for emerging players.
What we love about this paddle is the novel shape. It has a longer handle and a wide body, but it is not short. It retains its length by sacrificing surface area near the handle.
This unique design optimizes for blocks and quick hands, and you will see players like Collin Johns and Anna Bright using this paddle. It comes in a 14mm and 16mm core width. Use the 14mm for more power and pop, and use the 16mm for more stability and feathery touch.
Engage Pursuit Pro MX
This paddle has focused on two primary aspects. One is that they enhanced a "Toray" hitting surface that remains gritty over time as well as dampens the ball, providing great feel.
The second aspect is that they kept the swing weight high (which is good) and migrated the sweet spot further towards the end of the paddle.
These aspects combined provide a beautiful and solid paddle that any offense-minded player can find to be a great weapon. It has an elongated shape and handle, which is great for two-handed backhands. This is for players who simply want more effortless pop.
You will see pros Jessie Irvine as well as twins Hunter and Yates Johnson playing with this. Engage is one of the most trusted, reputable and longstanding paddle brands.
It also comes in a Lite and Standard model. The Lite is about 7.85 oz and the Standard is 8.25. Either one works fine as they are middling weight, but some prefer lighter or heavier.
Selkirk Vanguard Power Air
This is the current Cadillac of paddles. You will see players such as Tyson McGuffin, Dylan Frazier, and the Brascia sisters using a Selkirk paddle currently.
This paddle has some of the most power you'll find on the paddle market. It's a very thin paddle at 12.7mm or half an inch, which will give you more maneuverability when swinging quickly in the air. It also tends to provide more zip on your shots.
The innovative outlier with this paddle is the hole in the throat at the bottom of the surface and near the handle. This provides extra swiftness when swinging, as there is less wind resistance. So if you're a player who wants to excel at quicker hands and blocks, this may be your best bet.
It's not a cheap paddle, but it's one of the absolute very best. There is a reason why dozens of pros use this paddle and why you'll see these all the time at your local challenge courts where all the best players are at.
Pro Pickleball Paddle Criteria
Pro pickleball players pretty much look for these three qualities in their paddle. The above three paddles are all elite in these areas.
[Learn about the official new ball of the PPA pro tour in 2024]
Power and Sweet Spot:
How hard the paddle can hit, even when making contact off-center. These above paddles are all some of the hardest hitters in the game due to elite construction and materials.
Grit and Spin:
How much RPM's you can impart on the ball, and how long the surface will stay gritty. These paddles simply have some of the best spin rates. Some third parties have studied spin rates on soft and hard swings, and JOOLA, Selkirk, and Engage routinely perform among the best.
Shape and Core:
What shape the paddle face is, and how the core is. The Scorpeus is great for blocks and defense, for a patient player who wants better hands. The Engage Pursuit is more of a rocket launcher as it is longer and thinner, great for those who want to attack relentlessly.
Pro Pickleball Paddle FAQ
What paddle factors do pro pickleball players consider most?
These days, pros are mostly focused on weight, spin rates, and core thickness.
How often do pro players change their paddles for a new one?
Very often, sometimes every tournament. Recreational players can obviously go much longer on one paddle, but should still have a back-up and should probably buy a fresh paddle at least once per year, even if it is the same one.
How do pro pickleball players customize their paddles?
How do pro players balance the need for power and control?
Most pros don't need help with control, only may want aid with power. For casual players, you may want either, and there would be merit to going with a control paddle at times. The top control paddle might be the Selkirk LUXX, which is extremely thick and forgiving.
What trends in paddle tech should I try to keep updated on?
Surface shapes, materials used on the surface/grit, core construction, and swing weight and weight distribution. It's confusing sometimes. You may just have to demo paddles or listen to advice of experienced players. Or, just go with what the pros use!
Related Paddle Guides
If you watch pro pickleball on TV or Youtube, you will see the above three paddles very frequently among the top pros. The market has found these models to be among the best performing in the important avenues, such as power and spin.
The rest, such as weight, shape, and core thickness, is personal choice. As an example, the Engage Pursuit comes in two different weights. The JOOLA Scorpeus comes in two thicknesses. There is some room to customize.
But ultimately, trust these options as your next pro-grade paddle, even if you are a recreational player. It never hurts to have elite equipment, even if you just play for fun.
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