Pandemic pastime turns into budding new business for local father son duo
2Pong paddles created by Ben and Darick Battaglia. (CTV News/Colton Wiens)
A new business created by a University of Waterloo student and his father is quickly growing, while putting a new spin on a classic game.
Ben Battaglia and his father Darick Battaglia, created 2Pong during the first lockdown of the pandemic. The game is similar to table tennis, using the same ball and table, but instead of holding a paddle, players strap paddles on each hand.
“You're engaging your left and your right – going back and forth. No backhands in this game, all forehand, so it's a totally different type of shot than a ping-pong paddle,” Ben Battaglia, vice-president of 2Pong said.
Most of the rules of 2Pong are the same as table tennis, but the ball is allowed to bounce twice if it hits the net.
“It gives that extra bounce, because without that handle like a ping pong paddle, some people don't have the full extension to get to the net, so that extra bounce lets the rallies go a little longer,” Ben said.
The game was created when the duo were playing table tennis with different items in their home in Barrie, and ended up strapping paddles to their hands.
“We had at least 20 prototypes sent to us from different people. Then we kind of fine-tuned things to see what we have today," Darick Battaglia, president of 2Pong said.
Ben is a third year recreation and sports business student at Waterloo. The idea for the business was to help Ben use his school knowledge in the real world. But since launching online sales in May, the company has grown quickly.
“A lot of my courses here at this school have helped me. I’m still continuing to learn, and I can apply those directly to 2Pong and the business," Ben said.
The company has shown their product at different events since it launched, and has started to build relationships with different charity groups in the area.
“A young girl came up in a wheelchair and she wanted to play and she played. At that moment we realized how accessible this game is to everyone. Since that time period we've actually partnered with Easter Seals," Darick said.
Currently the only way for customers to get their hands in a paddle is by purchasing it directly from the company, but they hope to expand in the future.
“Once graduating, taking this game on the road, traveling across Canada, doing different trade shows and events," Ben said.
The Battaglias have a patent pending internationally for 2Pong and hope to continue to grow the popularity of the paddle sport.