[00:00:00] Speaker A: Sleeve's. Senior Pickleball report is brought to you by TNC network. Get ready for an exciting episode of People of Pickleball with Mike Sliva. We're about to dive deep into conversations with influential figures from the world of pickleball, so let's get it going.
[00:00:25] Speaker B: Today we talk with the owner of Raw Rain and wind pickleball paddles, Gregory Storm. But before we get to that, if you like this content, consider subscribing to the channel. Check out all the links for the descriptions below and also the discount code for raw rain and wind paddles. 10% off rain, ten discount code below, plus a bunch of other codes for shoes, other paddles, you name it. Take a look. Subscribe to that newsletter.
[00:00:52] Speaker C: Get your fix.
[00:00:53] Speaker B: All things pickleball. All right. Hey, let's get that interview with Gregory Storm of Rain and Wind, right? From raw Rain and Wind, pickleball Gregory Storm. Welcome to the Senior Pickleball report.
[00:01:14] Speaker C: What's up, New Mexico?
[00:01:17] Speaker B: New Mexico, Florida.
He's got maps of the world and the US behind him.
[00:01:25] Speaker C: Everywhere we're putting our brand brother.
[00:01:27] Speaker B: He's a know your video was one of the more, I guess, entertaining ones to do because we have a little bit in common with the pollinator, kind of bringing awareness to what's going on, obviously, in the world with pollination global warming affecting pollination as well, and bees. And I have a friend who was part of the pollinator program about two or three years ago, and he wrote a song called Pollen, and his band is called Pound of Quicksand, and they're out of the Bay Area. And then we started talking, and I saw that you were doing the same thing, and obviously you have the pollination kind of brand going for your paddles, and it's beautiful, and you're bringing awareness. So before we get into any of that, because you started a pickleball company, how did you get into this goofy game, man?
[00:02:20] Speaker C: Who wants to do pickleball? I don't know what's going on, right?
[00:02:23] Speaker B: Exactly.
[00:02:24] Speaker C: I'll tell you what, lauderdale for a long time, and I moved over to Naples, and I just, you know, study some massage or something and hang out in Naples. But absolutely nothing to do with Naples. Still nothing to do there except for pickleball. So anybody thinking about going to Naples, you better be 70 and older.
But anyway, yeah, so, yeah, I kind of introduced pickleball in Rochester, New York, my parents, and went back to Naples, just visiting home. And then a guy had a pickleball shirt on. I was looking for it. I was like, I haven't seen any pickleball here anywhere. Where's it at? And he says, well, it's right down the street. I said, no, I looked, but sure enough showed up, and there they were. So that's eleven years ago. Ten years ago.
[00:03:11] Speaker B: Wow. You're an OG, man.
[00:03:13] Speaker C: And then I met Kyle Yates and Barry Waddell and his family in Fort Myers, and that's where it really took off for me. As far as playing pickleball. So I guess I'm a little bit of an OG.
[00:03:23] Speaker B: Yeah, man. You're playing with the OGS. Too. Barry's no joke.
Don't lob him.
[00:03:29] Speaker C: He gets.
[00:03:36] Speaker B: Way before any of the madness starts. You're playing a game know, I had heard of because my wife taught PE, and she was trying to get kids to move and not hit a ball over a fence that had some pressure in it. So she's like, let's try this sport and mention it to me in passing. And I just kind of let it go. But you're starting way back, really, and then to kind of move forward and create a business out of that, what kind of drives that? Where does that idea come into play?
[00:04:09] Speaker C: I think just watching it grow in Naples, that facility wasn't even there when I was there.
So to watch that grow from a skate park with a 16 foot half pipe on it yeah, it's kind of a little bit disheartening because I'm a skater.
[00:04:27] Speaker B: Sure. Skater die, man.
[00:04:28] Speaker C: Yeah, that's right. But now there's, what, 56 courts there at the US. Open, right. So I played, I think, the first or third, and then I work with adaptive wheelchair pickleball as well, too. So that was a big thing for me there. I really enjoy that. It's a big thing to give back. I'm a give backer guy. When it first started off, a lot of these tournaments did that, and I really like that concept.
[00:04:56] Speaker B: Right.
[00:04:57] Speaker C: Don't see it so much. It seems like a big money grab, these does with MLP and PTA.
I never see anything like it.
[00:05:06] Speaker B: Yes.
[00:05:07] Speaker C: So, I mean, I guess being sponsored by Gearbox and Selkirk and these different brands, after a while, it's like, okay, why can't I just do something and find a good manufacturer? Which kind of happened, which was really nice.
I don't know. It just happened. And I wanted to give back with the brand, so I thought, Why not? I got super crazy allergies, and they suck really bad. And so always been a big supporter of local honey, and that kind of helps out. So just tied the Bee kind of thing into it's. A raw carbon fiber.
That's pretty important. We do do the T 700, which is definitely the top carbon fiber. We don't want to cheapen the brand by any means. We want to stay a higher level brand. As far as carbon fiber, I know there's a lot of tech coming in with Kevlar and all these different things. Right. But not totally excited about that sandwiching. I don't know. Maybe it's cool. I don't know. I mean, everyone thinks they need power, right? They need thermoform they need Gen two paddles. Yeah. So we created a Gen two paddle. Why not? And guess know, I like playing with you got to control that type of but, yeah, definitely.
Again, giving back to local honeybee farmers wherever we have brand ambassadors including Maui, Hawaii and the Big Island.
[00:06:38] Speaker B: Right.
[00:06:39] Speaker C: We're pretty excited about it. And again, it's just a give back. Same thing with my tournaments. When I'm running tournaments, we give back to Nami, which is mental health, which is another give back. So like to see a ton more of that coming back from different pickleball entrepreneurs. That'd be cool.
[00:06:54] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's what makes you an OG a little bit because you saw some of this in the beginning of what it was and how it was built and how community was brought in and not just hanging out and meeting people but literally engaging in the community and what's going on. What can we all do to raise either awareness and money or both and still do something fun and pretty cool. And obviously you're doing the pollination and you talked about Maui and you got a paddle that's built for that particular cause and things like that and it's gorgeous. Mean, look at that thing.
[00:07:31] Speaker C: So sexy. This is a new thermal form. It's not out yet.
[00:07:34] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, it's a beautiful paddle, it's thermal form and you made a great point. Like we go back to thermal forming a little bit because I play with a bunch of folks who, like me, have been playing a couple of years tops. And we talk about paddles a lot because I do reviews.
They talk about like well, what's the latest and greatest thing out? And I'm like, well, it's one of those things. I don't know if not everybody should be playing with a raw carbon thermoform paddle.
Because if you want to keep the ball in play some of us don't have the talent level quite yet to be playing with a Ferrari and maybe we should be playing with a Ford F 150 or something that's a little more, I guess, reasonable for keeping the ball in place. So maybe talk a little bit about that because you're in the industry and you're the first paddle manufacturer that's actually been willing to come on. Most of them are a little shy. So let's talk about what's coming and what's here already and kind of this more faster, harder attitude because it seems to me there's a wide variety of different playing styles out there. And right now the hot setup is obviously thermal form, raw carbon, sort of the longer handle, elongated shape. So talk about what your feelings are about kind of like what's out there, what's available and what you kind of hope to see.
[00:08:53] Speaker C: Again, for me, coming into it, being sponsored by big companies, they don't really give you back a lot. I don't know unless you're one of the top players. Everybody thinks they're sponsored. They get two free paddles, a hat and a shirt and they're sponsored by Selkirk or Yelp. Yeah, I'm sponsored, but I signed a contract and I'm sorry, I can't touch your paddle. I'm like, Guys, there's so many paddles out there that no one really cares anymore. If they're going to get mad at you for selling one of the demo paddles they gave you, then I'd say goodbye really quick.
That happens, you know what I mean?
[00:09:29] Speaker B: Sure.
[00:09:30] Speaker C: Yeah. But the juniors coming in, stuff like that. I love seeing those guys come in because we did focus on building longer handles and longer paddle faces for tennis players that are coming in, because we all know that the jack socks, all these players are coming in from tennis. So we're really after those tennis players coming in that like to do a two hand backhand.
I teach my students all the time that, hey, we got more reach up at the kitchen. Why not cheat and get that reach? You know what I mean? With that, for sure.
I could never go back to a wider paddle face. I remember, I think when I first started playing, it was like I was with Manta sports or something. Manta brand. And they had the bigfoot paddle. It was like this wide or like a Coach Mo paddle, like a billboard. Yeah.
And the handles this big. Right.
[00:10:22] Speaker B: It's like a little nub.
[00:10:25] Speaker C: Right?
[00:10:26] Speaker B: Right.
[00:10:26] Speaker C: Why can't you make those paddles? People ask. I'm like, well, that's not our brand.
So the future is definitely tennis players coming in the game and looking for a strong paddle, but even a touch paddle to slow their tennis game down a little bit, as far as they don't need that power because they can generate it themselves. We have some pros that are testing our paddles right now. Do I need a pro out there? Sure. Who doesn't love to have a pro and sell the $250 paddle because there's a name on it, right?
[00:11:00] Speaker B: Exactly.
Let's talk about an approach like that because obviously I do reviews for there's enough people out there already reviewing selkirk and yola.
[00:11:14] Speaker C: They may get a dime, too. I don't know. What do you think?
[00:11:17] Speaker B: Yeah, my guess is correct.
[00:11:19] Speaker C: Maybe a dime.
[00:11:21] Speaker B: And there's hundreds and hundreds of paddle manufacturers, and they're good paddles. I mean, they're as good as anything that I've hit that's a selkirk or anything that I've hit is a yola. And I've talked to a bunch of guys and gals that are getting started in it, like yourself, over the phone, although you're the first one to come on. So that's fantastic and I appreciate it. But at the end of the day, it's an interesting approach because some of them are like, do I get the names? Do I get the pros? Do I sign pros? And that's the approach that I take. There are other approaches that I've seen where people are just out there and they're hustling, they're at tournaments, they're giving paddles away, they're talking to folks, and then there's others who are doing a lot of social media stuff every day. There's stuff and stuff that they're posting, and then there's a combination of those things when you started to think about this in real terms of like, okay, I'm going to put something together. I'm going to develop a paddle, I'm going to develop a company in a brand.
What were you thinking? Were you thinking, god, I know some pros. Am I going to sign these guys? And what was your kind of thought process?
[00:12:31] Speaker C: Yeah, that thought is always there to have the pro on your onboard. Right.
But then it comes down to, well, what paddle are they going to like? And am I going to have to keep on submitting different paddle shapes to Usap, which can get very costly. Very costly. So how does that all come into play then? You've got to pay the pro to go out on tour. Well, are they really pro or are they just a 50 wanting to be pro? How many people do we know out there that are those guys and they're just not going to make it past 50? They can go play all the open events they want, but they're just getting want, you know, just a strong singles, lady, partner, player, know, whoever it know again, we have got some paddles out there that some pros are testing. We have a lady that's number one in the world on the app circuit right now. She's testing some of our paddles and if she likes it, I don't mind throwing a few dollars out there. But again, we're organic, we're local. Same thing like your CBD company. That's really cool. Rob shout out. I love those guys.
I think for us to stay local and spread organically is what I'm after. I don't need to spend a lot of money in marketing because we're not sell Kirk or again, Yola or any of these big companies that can do know, we'll we'll offer paddles to strong, you know, they can have where they want from again, you know, to pay them to run on a circuit that's MLP's job. And PPA, they can pay the $5 million now in the carnivor.
Ogden own ogden Utah. Right. So it's the town, right? Yeah.
[00:14:24] Speaker D: Are you a pickleball enthusiast over the age of 50?
Check out Sleeve's Senior Pickleball Report, a YouTube channel dedicated to providing the latest news and updates on the sport. Get the scoop on the newest trends, the latest equipment, and the best strategies for success.
Make sure you're on top of the game and stay informed with the Senior Pickle Ball Report.
[00:14:51] Speaker C: Love it. Love it.
[00:14:52] Speaker B: Yeah, dude.
[00:14:53] Speaker C: No, man. I mean, it's definitely key. I'm glad you got my paddle. I'll send you one of the Aloha paddles and you can.
[00:15:02] Speaker B: I was in Maui, right, a year before it happened. So only time I've ever been there and yeah, I'm so glad you're doing that because well, we were just about.
[00:15:11] Speaker C: To do a I was just going to do a tournament at the end of last month and those fires came. Yeah. So I was going to do that with Maui Pickleball over there, and we were going to set up to go, and we were like, yeah, we better hold off on this one, man, because brutal. So now we're going to have to maybe reschedule that Pacific Rim or do something around that. I don't know.
But those courts are nice. The Wilea courts are pretty nice there.
And then we have one court up in the mountains, which she was in touch, Lori Lonnie's.
She's a big supporter of us and sells our paddles and stuff. So she's got one court, but you get to drive 40 minutes from it's. Kind of cool, you know what I mean?
[00:16:00] Speaker B: Very cool, I think. Yeah.
[00:16:01] Speaker C: She's just another big give backer supporter, artist person, and again, small.
[00:16:08] Speaker B: And you get invited there. You get to hang with some cool people because not everybody knows about it or gets invited.
[00:16:14] Speaker C: Well, it's usually Owen Wilson's and stuff go up there and play whoever.
[00:16:21] Speaker B: Put a ball right in Adam's Apple wake him up a little.
Exactly. Yeah. So before I get you out of here, just love to get because obviously you've been around the game a long time, played with a lot of high end players, know a lot of people talking about the pro scene a little bit. And obviously the Tumultuous last month and a half here with MLP PPA and always Forgotten app.
Give me some thoughts, man. Give me some hot takes. What's going on? Where's it going? What do you like? What don't you like, man?
[00:16:56] Speaker C: That's crazy right now because we have a local owner here.
What's really confusing to me right now is we've got a local team here that's out on the MLP Smash. Florida Smash.
[00:17:09] Speaker B: Yeah.
[00:17:10] Speaker C: And I just was trying to figure out what was going on in Atlanta and why Travis Rettenmeyer was playing for a different team, but owns Florida Smash. So I'm still confused. Very confusing.
[00:17:22] Speaker B: Like what happens here, gregory what happens.
[00:17:26] Speaker C: When those guys start playing with a crown pickleball? Man, Kevin Perkins ball is amazing right now.
[00:17:32] Speaker B: And by the way, you get some balls with the paddle, right? Yeah.
[00:17:36] Speaker C: For every paddle that we sell Kevin Perkins crown Pickle ball, his balls are like really cheesy and stinky. But it's a ball that's in between Dura and Franklin. And that thing's solid. You need to get smells from him. He's a good dude.
[00:17:56] Speaker B: Yeah. He's coming in a stock, actually. I've heard really good things about that ball.
[00:18:01] Speaker C: Yeah. Tyler Long's a big advocate. Jim over there, and Tyler, those guys are big advocates of anyways. Yeah. I just I didn't understand that. I don't know how that works.
[00:18:11] Speaker B: How you can I don't know how that works. Into a conflict of interest, I guess. Well, I don't know. Is betting come to MLP yet? Because that would be an interesting well.
[00:18:20] Speaker C: Yeah, that could work out in know, maybe you'd have to make more money getting paid on their team to pay your other yeah.
[00:18:29] Speaker B: Hey, what's the purse?
[00:18:32] Speaker C: Right? You got to maybe play for this team and get paid for that team so you can pay for your other player that's on your team. Right. Very strange. Very strange.
Yeah. I don't know. It's funny to, again, watch just explode within one or two years, and all of a sudden there's a team that's owned by some local people here. It's like, okay, who's got the money and who doesn't have the money? Who's paying these contracts is what I'd like to know.
[00:18:58] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a great point, because obviously it became the biding war, and then the biding war ended because they just use merge again, in quotes, of course, and then are they going to honor those contracts? Who got the contracts that are lower because they signed first? And blah, blah, blah is some tennis player that's never played getting a really high contract as opposed to some veteran? And how does that work out? Here's my point. And I don't know where you are in this world, but at some point, in order to maybe put a little bit of, I guess have a little bit less whiplash if you're a player, at some point, are these players going to organize?
[00:19:39] Speaker C: I'm dropping out and doing all small local tournaments and supporting local tournaments. Man, I don't care about the big circuit anymore. Maybe an app once in a while.
I'm done with PPA. Medica Leaf was a huge supporter of those guys for a long time. I think they're called Aloe now or something like that. Again, I'd rather support, like know if they're going to be into pickleball against smaller companies. I'm all about supporting local and smaller events. I'm not going to feed any money into these big organizations anymore. I just don't think it's worth it, you know what I mean? Just to say I got the $5 medal or whatever. You know what I mean?
[00:20:18] Speaker B: Right.
[00:20:18] Speaker C: Whatever it is. And I'm not even playing the pro part of it right. Because I'm going to get smashed. Right?
[00:20:24] Speaker B: Yeah.
I've not heard great things out of the amateur end specifically for the PPA.
[00:20:31] Speaker C: Yeah, again, I started when that PPA just came know, so the tournaments were a little different. Now it's like, whoa, what the heck's going just I don't even bother anymore. The travel expenses and all that just adds up so much. Yeah. If I'm going to Red Rock, I love that one. I'm going hiking. I'm doing Mount Zion. I'm doing a bunch of different stuff. I'm mountain biking, you know what I mean? If I got things that I'm planning around the events, no problem. But I don't know how some of these players survive out there right now.
I don't know. I don't know how they do it.
[00:21:06] Speaker B: At some point, you have to have enough disposable income to pull this off. You have to be in a particular tax bracket or have somebody mom and dad sponsoring you, whatever it is, unless you get a contract, you already hit.
[00:21:21] Speaker C: It on the head.
[00:21:21] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly. And that's the thing. And it really limits the talent field in a lot of, you know, only a particular tax bracket starts to play the game. Which sounds familiar, but homeschool, right? Yeah, for sure.
[00:21:35] Speaker C: I remember Jack Monroe, he was home schooled for a long time so he could go play pickleball when he was little. Now he's coming back into the scene.
I know a lot of these players. Funny. But I'm 52 now, right? So now I got to try out for the NPL.
Rick's sister kept on saying, Why don't you just do it? Go.
[00:21:55] Speaker B: I got to go to the combine and get my ass kicked. So I'll be there. You can peg me a couple of times.
[00:22:00] Speaker C: Just got to get hyped up. Hyped up like the blind box and get crazy.
[00:22:04] Speaker B: That's right. I'm a lefty. I can play right side. Yeah, take all the balls. I'll take the ones that go over here.
[00:22:11] Speaker C: So what do you think about the MLP and the PPA as far as the scoring format and all that kind of stuff?
[00:22:18] Speaker B: Yeah, I came from beach volleyball. So when the big switch happened, from going from side outscoring until rally, I had been playing volleyball already about 1215 years mid, since the mid eighty s. And it happened in the early two thousand s. And they changed everything. They changed the court size for doubles, they changed the ball, they took antennas off or they put antennas on for doubles and they changed the size of the court. So everything happened at once. At the end of the day, the same people were still winning after all. Sort of the hair pulling and hand wringing. At the end of the day, I was still beating the same people and the same people were still beating me.
And it really came down to like everybody wants to know television.
Can you predict the timeouts which rally scoring? You kind of know the length of the game. I would prefer for the few tournaments that I played in pickleball to go to a tournament that is rally scoring. Because I know I'm not going to sit 3 hours and wait for some match that just keeps going on and on and on. I think it would keep it tighter. And that I like. Is it as entertaining as a player? Probably not. Overall, I don't know. But at the same time, every point matters then too, you can't miss drops, man.
[00:23:42] Speaker C: Yeah. So having that being said, there's two things there, right? So you just mentioned viewership.
And if you don't have viewership, what happens?
[00:23:51] Speaker B: Well, you don't have pro, you don't have money.
[00:23:55] Speaker C: Right. Why bother doing it?
[00:23:56] Speaker B: Right.
[00:23:57] Speaker C: Okay. So what do most pickleball players do right now?
Would they go and watch the MLP or would they want to go play on a Saturday and a Sunday.
[00:24:06] Speaker B: They'd rather play that's right.
[00:24:09] Speaker C: That's what I see.
[00:24:10] Speaker B: I see that too. Yeah.
Most people don't even know there's pro pickleball that are.
[00:24:17] Speaker C: I mean, again, it's like the majority of the boom of pickleball growth and explosion is people playing the sport. It's not them watching the MLP in Atlanta or at Las Vegas or whatever it is. Right. I mean, how many times can you watch Ben John's play the same people or the same thing, right?
For me it's okay. Yeah, I'll tune in once in a while, sure. But after an hour I'm bored. Right.
I'm not going to keep watching, you know what I mean?
But I think the viewership, if they don't have that viewership, I don't know how that lasts.
[00:24:55] Speaker B: I don't either. And I think you make a great point.
At the end of the day, pickleball is going to be around whether there's a pro game or not. It was here obviously before the pro game, it'll be here after because a great majority of us aren't concerned with it.
And as my saying that I've been saying over the last decade and is now sort of applying to professional pickleball is everything is dumb.
That's where we are. Everything is really dumb right now.
You got a bunch of celebrities and billionaires throwing money at something that barely anybody's watching.
[00:25:31] Speaker C: They're rolling dice, man.
[00:25:33] Speaker B: Yeah.
Look at the streaming numbers. You go, oh, there's 4000 people watching this on YouTube.
[00:25:40] Speaker C: Most of the investors are dice rollers.
They can pitch dice, you know what I mean? They're used to that game.
But at the end of the day it's players playing pickleball wanting to play know what are they getting when they go to these tournaments and stuff like that. If they're playing a PPA tournament or an app tournament, app has been pretty decent, I think, you know, and they're just they may again, I've heard this know, I think they might prevail a little bit better know, on a bigger circuit.
[00:26:16] Speaker B: Yeah. And they're going.
[00:26:21] Speaker C: Mean with us, you know what I mean? We're in London and Italy right now. So I mean, I love having a know Australia. It's cool to move around a little.
[00:26:29] Speaker B: Why not, man?
[00:26:32] Speaker C: Well, that's my thoughts on MLP and PPA. Not much.
[00:26:35] Speaker B: Yeah, that's all right, man, that's okay. Well, hey, dude, I don't take up any more of your time. And people can find all the links in the description about some of the things we talked to about and including obviously the paddles, the discounts, where the money is going and a couple of shout outs raw as well. I'm glad you guys are hooking it up because those are two of my favorite people. So I think you guys could do some really cool things together if you choose to do.
All right. Gregory Storm. Hey, Raw. Rain and wind. Check out all the stuff below go find them on all their socials and fantastic paddle. Really cool, dude. Fun company.
Thanks for your time, man. Yeah. Get that Maui paddle. Hope you enjoyed our interview with Gregory. Hey, get out there. Check out the links in the description. Get that discount for raw rain and wind paddles down below. And hey, les pickle.