It is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia and now pickleball is gaining a substantial following across the Sunshine Coast.
Ahead of its exhibition at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, the relatively new sport has come to Mooloolaba as part of the Queensland Pickleball Tour. Another tournament is planned to be held at Noosa this weekend.
Pickleball is a combination of tennis and table tennis and is played on a badminton-sized court.
Players use a paddle to hit a plastic ‘wiffle’ ball over a net slightly lower than a tennis net, in a singles or doubles format.
Pickleball Queensland secretary Bruce Winther said the sport started in the USA 40 years ago and after just five years in Australia it was seeing a strong uptake.
Across Australia, there are 2500 registered pickleball players, with 1150 on the Coast alone.
“The Pickleball Association Australia now has around 2500 registered members, but it is thought around 8000 casual players enjoy the sport across Australia,” Mr Winther said.
“In Queensland, there are 19 affiliate clubs with around 50 venues. On the Sunshine Coast, there are three clubs running around 10 venues.
“They are Sunshine Coast Pickleball Club, KT Pickleball Academy at Mooloolaba and Noosa Pickleball Club.”
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Mr Winther said tournaments and social games made up a calendar of annual events, with 18 scheduled tournaments in Queensland this year.
“These cater for not only the best players but players at all different age and skill levels,” he said.
“The NSW state titles were held in Sydney (from April 9 to 11) with Queensland players bringing home 45 medals.
“Sunshine Coast players competed extremely well with Ludovika Sciaky, Glenice Ault, Bruce Winther, Sally Buckley and Mark Latham Calcott all winning medals.”
As part of the Queensland Pickleball Tour, KT Pickleball Academy at Mooloolaba Tennis Club ran a tournament for open and over 50s players on May 7 and 8.
Noosa Pickleball Club will run its third annual Classic event for intermediate players, on May 14 and 15.
The sport’s pioneers called it pickleball because it had a combination of different sports, much like a pickleboat in rowing included leftover crew from other boats.
The community is invited to come along to watch and learn more about the sport. Visit Pickleball Queensland.