Six Zero Started in a Backyard - Now, it's a Pioneering Pickleball Paddle Brand

Six Zero products all originated from within an engineer’s imagination. Now, the brand is selling their uniquely-constructed pickleball paddles worldwide.

Six Zero Pickleball paddle company image of their logo and a woman holding one of their paddles

It’s mind-blowing to think that most companies that manufacture pickleball paddles have only existed for less than a decade.

Six Zero, the Australian company known for shaking things up in the world of paddle engineering, is no exception. 

Founder Dale Young formed his company in 2022, and within a short time, released multiple paddles that promised to “innovate within the lines” of the USA Pickleball paddle standards. 

What pickleball nerds and paddle junkies might not realize is: that’s a lot easier said than done.

From Engineer to Business Owner

Even newbies to pickleball can begin to understand what they like and dislike about their paddle within a few uses.

But Dale’s engineering background helped him recognize problems quickly after he played his first game...

Six Zero founder Dale (left) materializing a paddle design in his shop.

...But that first game took some convincing.

It's a familiar pattern for many of the sport's fans:

  • Initial interest
  • Casual observance
  • Pleadings from pickleball-obsessed friends & family
  • Eventual first game
  • Immediate (or almost-immediate) obsession

The same pattern befell Dale, but it was his engineering background that compelled him towards even more curiosity.

Dale's Vision

It takes a special kind of person to think thermoforming experimental paddle designs in their backyard is a "leisurely activity."

But that's exactly what Dale calls the early days of his trials.

Dale saw a need for higher-quality carbon fiber paddles based on the weaknesses that paddle companies in the early 2020s just didn’t want to admit about the popular material.

So what does a new pickleball nerd with engineering skills do? Prototype, of course.

He spent 18 months marrying his carbon seam edge technology with hot mold production, a process which has now become the standard in thermoformed paddles.

The 'Accidental Entrepreneur'

“I had no intention of starting a business originally,” Dale tells us. “People liked them, so I decided to start manufacturing at a larger scale.”

And it’s there he reached the first real snag in starting a paddle company: product copyright.

“When we originally launched, the factory shared the product design with other brands to try to get volume out into the market. It’s a common practice – they try to hedge their bets across a couple of similar brands which may or may not survive for very long. That caused a lot of drama from the get-go.”

His paddles were cut up and copied, something Dale never anticipated. 

“I was naive,” he says with a laugh. “It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d reach this level of success.”

Add to that the headaches of maintaining quality control in large-scale production – oven pressures and other highly technical, often unexpected issues – Dale had a long year, to say the least.


Building ‘Within the Lines’ 

Fans of Six Zero paddles will tell you: they just feel different. Dale is never surprised to hear this.

“We really do create unique products, and we’re doing it in an underground, grassroots kind of way,” he says.

Consider that each Six Zero paddle is prototyped in Dale’s own backyard workshop. Then, when a design is finally ready, each production paddle is hand-laid in a process that takes over four hours per paddle.

But Dale has strong feelings about how innovation should always fall within the guidelines laid out by the governing body of pickleball and paddle standards, USA Pickleball.

When you build a bridge, for example, you build it to certain agreed-upon standards – the same thing should be true in other designs, Dale says. 

He believes this is a pain point for manufacturers right now. 

“With some concern for user safety, I do believe the limits are fine as they stand now. What it comes down to is enforcing those rules, and there’s lots of confusion and complication surrounding that.”

In a market where specs matter and crossed boundaries close sales, Six Zero has made a name for itself with the 2023 Paddle of the Year, the Double Black Diamond - or in other cases, the manufacturing process itself.

"Our Gen 2 thermoformed paddles with a carbon seam were our breakout innovation that changed the sport. Every brand on the market has followed and now uses Gen 2 technology," Dale says.

Six Zero continues to earn fans because they don't follow the current manufacturing trends, they engineer them.

Example: The Six Zero Ruby

The Ruby has garnered lots of buzz in the industry, and for good reason.

The Kitchen’s Jason Aspes highly recommends it in his review below, calling it an “incredibly fun” paddle to play with.

What makes it so fun is the incredibly gritty, Kevlar-based surface which promotes spin. 

"We were attracted to Kevlar's properties that include high tensile strength, toughness, and abrasion resistance," Dale says. 

"We needed to ensure the Kevlar cloth didn't tuft or pull. That took some thought, but we leaned on our experience in composite manufacturing and came up with a great solution that in fact improves the pop of the paddle."

Take a closer look at some of Six Zero's paddles

These paddles are so popular, they often sell out soon after orders open. Don't be surprised if you see more and more of them at your local courts.

Ruby

The Ruby has high impact resistance and is durable (abrasion resistant), meaning the paddle surface should last a long time and be more resistant to wear compared to existing carbon faced paddles. 

In addition, the cross-weave cloth pattern provides a bump in spin, grip and feel.

Black Diamond Power

Black Diamond Series are manufactured using multi-stage cold and hot mold process technology.

This raw composite paddle is designed for players looking for extra power combined with a permanent textured surface for maximum spin. In other words: this paddle is HOT!

Infinity Edgeless Black Diamond Control

A strategic layout of multiple carbon fiber layers around the paddle, including foam injection with progressive orientations of unidirectional carbon fiber material, all stand to maximize the sweet spot across the full paddle face and optimize flex patterns to bring out the true power and plush control of the Infinity.