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Rule Submission TitlePaddle Hitting Surface Definition
Existing Rule #None
Proposed Rule Change

3.A.X:  Hitting Surface – the area on the surface of a paddle bounded by 1.0 inch (2.54 cm) above the top of the grip or, for open throat designed paddles, the top of the opening, nor more than 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) inside the outer edge of a paddle or, if an edge guard is in place, 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) inside the edge guard.

Original Rule Text

None.  This is a new definition

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

Rule 2.E.2 explains what type of paddle surface irregularities are restricted on the paddle’s “hitting surface” but it does not define “hitting surface”.

This is inconsistent with Rule Writing Guiding Principle 4; i.e., “To this end, when a key word is used to describe when a rule applies, the word should be defined as either a part of the rule or in the Definition Section of the Rulebook.”

Without a stand-alone definition for “hitting surface”, referees have had to assume that the guidance for decals and tape in Rule 2.E.5.b also applies to the term “hitting surface” in Rule 2.E.2.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies
  1. According to Rule 2.E.5, “the paddle’s hitting surface shall not contain delamination, holes, cracks….”. Players and referees have no current reference that defines “hitting surface” in either the Rulebook or Equipment Standards Manual.  Therefore, players and referees have defaulted to the rule for tape and decals restrictions, to wit: one inch above the paddle grip and .5 inches from the edge or edge guard for “hitting surface” irregularities.
  2. When the open throat designed paddles hit the market, some controversy occurred because there was, essentially, a hole in the paddle, resulting in a literal violation of Rule 2.E.2. The early criticism was thwarted because we defined the “hitting surface” as above the opening, but that description was not added to the Equipment Standards Manual or the Official Rulebook.  This definition will confirm that open throat designed paddle ‘holes’ are not part of the “hitting surface”.
Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1769
Date CreatedMay 14, 2024
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