TORQ Sports Group is a Seattle based company made up of experts in the Pickleball and racquet sport industry. Their vision is to create new innovative designs and sales development techniques for this rapidly growing sport.
The TORQ idea began several years ago when Mark Nakagawa and Tom O’Rourke were talking about problems with today’s paddles; how the edge guards come off too easily, how the paddle edges break down with normal play, and how paddle construction has done very little to address how loud they were on the court. It was surprising to us that no one had found a way to dampen the noise and vibration.
“I know why.” Mark said. “It’s because there is no structure between the solid elements; no way to dampen the vibration of the ball against the paddle surface.”
That began the patent process of an idea to replace the existing rubber edge guard with a solid, carbon fiber frame that surrounds the hitting surface and extends all the way into the handle.
It turned out that making the edge guard solid allowed us to put dampening gel-tape between the surfaces that reduced vibration and noise as much as 50%. It also opened up new concepts in paddle design and customization, from interchangeable inserts, to different handle shapes and sizes, to breakthrough, high tech perimeter weighting adjustment systems.
The Company patented the idea and began mapping out an approach to introducing it to the market.
TORQ was formed with a mission to bring innovation to the game of Pickleball, and to help grow the sport to levels of high expectation and performance that other sports like tennis and racquetball already enjoy.
The Company - Founders
Tom O’Rourke is President and CEO and has played Pickleball all his life. Tom began his career in marketing working for the largest ad agencies in the world, including DDB Needham and Foote Cone Belding. He's also started and run several companies in the software industry, introducing products into 20 countries and managing a staff of more that 120 people in three continents. His start up experience provides the kind of leadership to build a company with innovation and drive.
In the past two years Tom has been Director of Product Development for the inventors of the game of Pickleball, Pickleball Incorporated.
Mark Nakagawa has been in the retail Sports arena all his life. He worked in his family’s sports retail business, Osborn and Ulland, one of the largest regional sports retailers in the northwest. His most recent experience was running a community Resource Center where he created and ran the largest Pickleball program in the city of Seattle.
Together, Tom and Mark have designed and patented the TORQ System, and have begun the patent process for several new paddle and equipment concepts.
They have fundamental knowledge of the sporting goods industry and the sport of Pickleball, and have the business knowledge to run a successful company.