Northern Rivers Pickleball was launched with a rainbow region inspired event at the Ballina Indoor Sport Centre for nearly 60 participants last Saturday.
‘Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia and the world,’ Beth Hansen, NRP Secretary said.
Pickleball started decades ago in the USA, about five years ago in Queensland, and has been spreading rapidly south and west throughout Australia since then.
It is a sport played by all ages, with some similarities to tennis, badminton and ping-pong, and played on a court about a quarter the size of a tennis court.
The solid paddles are larger than ping-pong bats but smaller than tennis racquets, and shorter than badminton racquets. The ball is the size of a tennis ball, but made of plastic with holes in it like a golf practice ball.
Brightly-coloured gear was the order of the day to emphasise the fun aspect of the game played locally.
‘Pickleball is an addictive game and a great workout, especially for those who avoid a gym. Once started, players claim they can’t get enough of it,’ Beth said.
In Ballina, there are players from 15 to nearly 85 years old. Retirees and part-time workers come during weekdays, with all ages playing on the weekends, whenever the courts are available.