Pickleball Paddle Problems: Dealing with Paddle Delamination (2024)

pickleball paddle delamination

So we have some drama in the pickleball world these days. There has been a lot of talk (and tweets) about pickleball paddle delamination.

As the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, so too does the number of reports of delamination.

But what exactly is delamination and what are the effects on the paddle and the game?

In this blog post, we will take a look at this hot topic, including the tweets from Ben Johns, to provide you with the correct information on delamination in pickleball paddles.

Let’s get started.

What Is Pickleball Paddle Delamination?

Watch our YouTube Video for an explanation on Pickleball Paddle Delamination:

Watch our video explanation of pickleball paddle delamination!

For the sake of this conversation, we are talking about delamination in thermoform paddles. In thermoform paddles, they are essentially one-piece unibody construction paddles. This is made with carbon fiber. However, there is still the core to this paddle that needs to go in it.

The core in the middle still needs to attach to the top and bottom of the paddle body. What they do is glue the core to the paddle. This is where the delamination can take effect.

What happens is that the glue either wears away or there wasn’t enough glue initially applied to the paddle and core when made and then it starts to separate. This creates a small gap between the paddle surface and the core.

So What’s The Problem?

Delamination might sound like a big disadvantage for the player with the delaminated paddle but it can actually turn into an advantage. This is because that small gap between the face and the core actually creates a little “springy” type feeling to the paddle so the ball is going to come off the face with more pop or spring. This is what is causing the controversy. And world number one Ben Johns took to Twitter to share his thoughts on this.

Ben Johns Tweet about delamination in pickleball paddles

What Is The Ben Johns Tweet About?

So, world number one Ben Johns took to Twitter to share his thoughts on delamination. Talking about delamination is fine, and trying to help the companies improve their product is all good.

But where Ben may have gone too far is in the fact that he insinuated that these companies were doing it intentionally to give their players who use them an advantage.

He called out companies by name and said they need to be penalized. This is a bold statement that can have some damaging effects on these brands. And many of the companies fired back at Ben. As did other followers on social media.

Ben Johns Delamination tweet
Pete’s point

I feel this issue of delamination is something that the companies are working on and having a paddle delaminate is the last thing they want. In a sport that is growing as fast as pickleball is, having any sort of damage to your reputation is very harmful. The governing body also needs to work on its process of inspection of paddles and players need to submit theirs for testing

Ben Johns Tweet about design flaw

What Types Of Paddles Can Be Affected?

Delamination can happen in different ways to different paddles, but as we mentioned above we are talking about thermoformed paddles here. Other paddles are usually layers, so there is more chance of glue connecting and keeping it in place. With the unibody type paddle, the thermopress has to be perfect to make this work right.

The rapidly changing of technology and the rapid growth in pickleball has made these paddle maker companies grow and produce paddles at a fast pace. Perhaps some of this just “growing pains”. The companies are learning as they go and realize that the paddles needed more glue, or better glue or perhaps a combination of both. Any company that has had an issue of delamination has responded and made immediate changes to rectify the problem.

Overall, there hasn’t been too much of an issue, but it does happen. And the Ben Johns tweet really set this thing into high gear.

How Do You Know If You Have Delamination In Your Paddle?

So you might be wondering, how do I know if my paddle has delamination? Well, the good news is that it is fairly easy to know. There are a couple of things you can check to tell:

  • In a thermoform paddle, you can feel it by pushing on the face. if there is some spring or give, you may have delamination.
  • The next thing you can do is bounce a ball or play with it to see if you hear noise differences from what you used to hear. this will be a big clue.
  • The last thing is to play with it and if you start seeing noticeable differences in the pop and power of the paddle, you may have delamination.

Here is a great video showing the difference in sound of a delaminated paddle:

We would suggest if you do have any of these, reach out to your paddle’s manufacturer and address the issue with them. Warranty or not, there is a good chance they help resolve this issue for you, if there is one.


Delamination in pickleball paddles is certainly an issue and one that has been brought to the forefront of conversation by world number one Ben Johns. While companies are taking steps to address this problem, it’s important for players to stay vigilant about checking their own paddle for signs of delamination.

It is important for us to remember what it is that we like about this sport so much. It is a fun, competitive, and friendly tight-knit community. We need to protect that environment and keep what we love about the sport so much at the forefront. We all want the best for pickleball, the players and the companies involved so everyone lending a helping hand is the best-desired outcome.

All of this can and will be resolved, and the issue of delamination will hopefully be a thing of the past. We want to keep our focus on creating better products to make the game more enjoyable to play and watch.

Let’s have some fun and we will see you on the court!

P.S. Ever wonder how pickleball got it’s name? Your answer here!

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