Somewhat of a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, pickleball is rapidly spreading across Northern California. pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. More than 3 million people are playing at more than 6000 locations nationwide and those numbers are growing every day.
Established in 2018 by Matt Felix, the Chester/Lake Almanor/Westwood (CLAW) group is the latest addition to the North State spreading the pickleball phenomenon across Lassen, Plumas and Modoc Counties and beyond. Matt tells MVL that, “With help of Randy Buchannon of the Westwood Community Services District, I was able to convert one of the old Westwood Community Park tennis courts into two really nice pickleball courts. Last year I even had people from the California Bay Area, Sacramento, and Reno, Nevada areas coming out to play in Westwood.” Matt, who is a summertime resident in the Lake Almanor area, is retired and an avid pickleball player and travels throughout California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona playing high level tournaments. He winters in the Palm Desert, a hotbed for pickleball. Knowing that there were no public courts in the area and wanting to expand the sport, he set up the courts in Westwood.for the nearby public and for those traveling through or vacationing in the area. “It is surprising,” he said, “how many people are already involved in the sport and looking for a place to play in our area.” He hopes to involve more of the local people and have the courts available as often as possible.
Popular with the Baby Boomer crowd, this fun and low impact sport is played both indoors and out on a badminton size court. Relatively easy to learn and play makes this a great family game for all generations. The “pickleball” has holes and is similar to a wiffle ball. Pickleball paddles are about twice the size of ping pong paddles and made of various materials like wood, Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber, Graphite and Aluminum or various combinations of those materials.
The USA Pickleball Association (USAPThe USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that provides players with official rules, tournaments, rankings, and promotional materials. With membership in all 50 states, Canada and beyond, this is the place where individuals can get involved in local, regional, national and even international tournaments. The USAPA.org website is ground zero for all info regarding pickleball including places to play all over the country. In our neck of the woods, courts are available in Chico, Redding, Red Bluff and Quincy and now Westwood, just to name a few.
If you are looking for a good, fun way to get out and get a little exercise and perhaps meet some new people in the area and from outside the area, consider joining a pickleball group. Pickleball people are always friendly and willing to work with those who have not played before. There are always various levels of players in any given group. Learn to play and find a court near you at USAPA.org.