Hardbat, Sandpaper, and Wood, Oh My! Three Huge All-Classic Tournaments Coming Soon
by Larry Hodges
The Frontón México playing hall in Mexico City. Inset: 2023 US Nationals Hardbat Champion AJ Carney.
Mark three dates on your calendar and make your plans for Austin, Westchester, and Mexico City . . . and leave the sponge behind! Yes, it’s the US Classic Nationals, US Hardbat and Sandpaper Championships, and the Classic World Championships.
A quick primer - in these events, rackets must be all wood (no carbon or similar non-wood plies other than adhesive), with hardbat, sandpaper, or plain wood coverings. I'll be at all three, doing coverage and playing some events. If you are looking to create your own paddle, just get a plain wood racket, add hard rubber (such as Butterfly Orthodox, the most popular and what I use), or any sandpaper (anything works), and there you are! Or you can ask Butterflyonline to put one together for you. Hope to see you there! (The Austin and Mexico City events are sponsored by Butterfly.)
Age events are as of Dec. 31, 2023 for Seniors, Jan. 1, 2023 for Juniors. For more information on these events or classic table tennis, email Director Steve Claflin/We R Table Tennis, see the Classic Hardbat Page, or the Facebook page Classic Hardbat World Championships, where all your questions can be answered.
=====>Aug. 12, 2023<=====
$4,125 USA National Hardbat and Sandpaper Championships, Austin, TX
Here's the entry form. Enter at Omnipong, where you can also see the list of players entered - but don't delay as entries are limited. Jimmy Butler and AJ Carney are both committed, so we're looking at another clash of the two titans of US classic table tennis. Can anyone beat these two? (Can you?) Here's your chance to spectate the best while competing yourself. Need a paddle? “We R Table Tennis” will provide them to new players for FREE! The tournament is sponsored by Major League Table Tennis. There are five events to choose from (see below), all round robin, groups of six, so lots of play. And here’s a special – I’ll be running a FREE one-hour hardbat clinic on Friday night (Aug. 11) at the tournament venue! And while in Austin, why not take a tour?
- Open Hardbat Singles
- Senior Hardbat Singles (Over 55)
- Women's Hardbat Singles
- Junior Hardbat Singles (18 and Under)
- Sandpaper Open Singles
=====>Nov. 11-12, 2023<=====
$3,500 US Hardbat and Sandpaper Championships, Westchester, NY
Here’s the entry form. On Saturday, it’s all Hardbat. On Sunday, it’s all Sandpaper. And the events, other than equipment used, are the same each day. All events are round robin, with two players advancing to single elimination, with prize money in all events.
- Open ($500 for first both days, $250 second, $100 for semifinals)
- Seniors Over 55
- Juniors 18 and Under
=====>Jan. 4-6, 2024<=====
$36,000 2023 Classic World Table Tennis Championships, Mexico City, Mexico
USA stars Jimmy Butler and AJ Carney, and international stars Alexander “The Flash” Flemming (GER), Max Shmyrev (RUS), and Andrew Baggaley (ENG) are all expected to attend. These are the best classic players in the world, dominating US and World events. Here's your chance to see them in person, as well as competing yourself - and you just might get to play one of them! Don't worry, they don't bite, and you'll probably score. Qualifying events have been held around the world - Philippines, UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Brazil, and others – and those champions, partially subsidized, are expected to compete. The tournament will be livestreamed. (Yes, it technically starts four days into 2024, but it's the 2023 Worlds.)
All ten events are round robin, groups of six, with all players advancing – top two to the main draw, the rest to consolation - so you get lots of matches.
- Hardbat: Open Singles, Senior Singles (Over 55), Women's Singles, and Junior Singles (18 and Under).
- Sandpaper: Open Singles, Senior Singles (Over 55), Women's Singles, and Junior Singles (18 and Under).
- Wood: Open Singles
- Your Choice: Open Singles
More info will be coming soon, including entry form and listing on Omnipong. There will be a Gala sponsored by Bacardi with a Grammy award-winning rock band. There will also be local tours arranged - you don’t want to miss seeing the Teotihuacan Pyramids! The five-star Hotel is walking distance to the world-class Frontón México playing hall. See you there!