Amateurs debate over PPA Tour’s new official pickleball.

Amateurs debate over PPA Tour’s new official pickleball

DALLAS, TX - The Pickleball Forum Facebook Group is truly a fascinating corner of the Internet where just about anyone can share an opinion and spark a rowdy debate.

Following the PPA’s official announcement of the Vulcan VPRO FLIGHT partnership, the group was flooded with questions and hot takes.


User Michael Rubano got the conversation started by posting an image of the new pickleball and commenting: “The game is for sale to the highest bidder.”

Now, let’s unpack this, shall we?

Pickleball sponsorships

Pickleball is a sport with sponsors, so yes, companies want to promote the fact that their product or brand is associated with the PPA Tour.

Whether it’s JOOLA sponsoring Tyson McGuffin with a new paddle, or brands sponsoring specific tournaments like the Atlanta Open sponsored by Vizzy Hard Seltzer or the Austin Showdown powered by Invited, companies want to spread the news and build awareness.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that sponsors want their names and logos alongside  America’s fastest growing sport.

Just look at soccer. It’s the new norm for European franchises to change uniforms every year. Why? The answer is simple. Money. They regularly release new jerseys, so fans will buy them on an annual basis. It’s a business.

Commenter Lisa Cool raised this point: “That’s how sponsorships work in all sports. Different pro soccer leagues use different balls from different sponsors. NFL helmets and uniforms get changed with sponsorships, pickleball paddles change all the time, tennis tournaments each use different balls from different sponsors. So yes, there are indeed different balls used in other sports as well as differing equipment.”

Cool is correct here. In fact, the NBA switched from Spalding to Wilson basketballs as recently as 2021 – and basketball has a longer history than pickleball does.

Keep in mind, pro pickleball isn't that old, especially compared to these long-standing established sports that already ironed out their respective growing pains a while back.

Pickleball is still growing and getting better.

An official tour ball protects the players

In tennis, different ball brands sponsor different tournaments.

That has caused a major issue for several players.

According to an article on Tennis.comDaniil Medvedev suffered wrist pain after playing with different balls at various events.

Taylor Fritz also commented on X, formerly Twitter: “I have been dealing with wrist issues because of the US Open ball changes. We went with three different balls in three weeks.”


Without an official tour ball, pro pickleball players would likely suffer from similar ailments. 

Athletes need time to acclimate to a specific ball and its features. 

An official ball protects players' health both in training and competition by always keeping things consistent.

In defense of the Vulcan VPRO FLIGHT

When it comes right down to it, people are uncomfortable with change.

And they’ll likely reject it.

Contributor Matt Battaglia commented: “I remember when the Franklin 40 was announced as the new ball for USAP two years ago and everyone freaked out about that also.”

The Vulcan partnership didn't come out of nowhere. Vulcan is an established brand in the picklesphere, and top preforming pros like Anna Leigh Waters, Ben Johns, Catherine Parenteau, and Jay Devilliers played a part in the development of the pickleball by putting it through rigorous testing and providing feedback.


And if it’s good enough for the pros, it’s good enough for tournament play.

Yes, these pickleballs are an investment cost-wise, but they’re expected to have a much longer lifespan, especially among recreational players who generally don't play nearly as hard and aggressively on the ball as the pros do.

“It’s a premium ball, but it’s also an investment ball,” claimed Vulcan CEO, Vince Signorelli.

If Tyler Loong can play for three-and-a-half hours with fellow pros and the ball is still in good shape, imagine the longevity for recreational players.

The funny thing about the Facebook forum is that most of these players and commenters haven’t played with the ball yet, and they’re up in arms over a switch they haven’t even experienced first-hand. Play with the ball first, then raise your concerns.

Despite all of the comments suggesting that pickleball is falling to the big business of sports, there are lots of supporters of the new Vulcan pickleball as well.

User Mario Najera commented: “This is one awesome ball! Plays fast, stays round, lasts long, even in cold weather, and does not go soft in warmer weather with very high-visibility for indoor and outdoor play.”

User Brent Gingerich said: “It’s a really good ball. I haven’t played with one in heat and humidity, but I have played in 40 degrees and it stayed round, and most importantly didn’t break after a few rallies like Dura.”

Bottom line, folks: If you don’t like the product, don’t buy it. If you love the Franklin X-40, play with that.

It appears, however, that players who’ve invested in the PPA Tour's new official pickleballs have positive feedback, so give them a try and see for yourself.

You can buy the VPRO FLIGHT during a limited release at Pickleball Central and Vulcan Sporting Goods.

Tried the new ball?

Share your thoughts and feedback with on Instagram and X, formerly Twitter.