North Kohala Enjoys Growing Court Sport: Pickleball

Why have North Kohala residents & visitors recently begun to answer the call of Pickleball Ambassadors everywhere?

“Join Us!”

We play for fun & exercise. Hand/eye coordination is a big part of Pickleball

Uncle David Ebrahimi founder Kohala Pickleball Club

At the impetus of Uncle David Ebrahimi with the help of Keiki & Renee at the Parks & Recreation Department, the group began in September of 2018 on the outdoor courts of the King Kamehameha Park in Kapaau, drawing a loyal following and enough word of mouth to attract the occasional tourist to play what’s been described as a mix between tennis, racquetball and ping pong.

Eye on the Pickleball

These days, the group meets inside Hisaoka Gym 6-8 Tuesday and Thursday nights. Attendance varies with players of all levels on two to three active courts, (with room to grow!) While some are learning the rules, some are perfecting their strategy, punctuated by encouragement from interested parties on the sidelines.

KNKR Pickleball PSA

The game has earned a devoted following because of its friendly, social nature, but it can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for more experienced players.

Aaron Sienkiewicz lifts off on a return

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and new players can learn the basic rules quickly in a single session. No special apparel is needed — just something comfortable and appropriate for a court sport — and equipment is inexpensive and easily portable.

Who Can Play?

“With Pickleball, you can play literally almost all day, day in and day out. It’s attractive to all demographics, which has enhanced its growth. And it’s not just catering to men or women — it’s for both — and all levels can play.”

Drew Wathey, director of media relations for the USA Pickleball Association, the sport’s governing body.
Uncle David Ebrahimi prepares to serve
(Image credits: Cosmic Cowgirl)

In fact, in April 2019 NBC News reported that Pickleball has had a 650 percent increase in numbers over the last six years, according to USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).

The biggest subset of that growth is not in the over-60 crowd, says Justin Maloof, executive director of USAPA, but the younger set. “When the sport first caught on in the sunbelt states around 2009, it was at 55-plus centers and RV communities,” he says. “It snowballed from there. But these days, there are many municipalities and parks and rec departments that are setting up courts, making it accessible to a younger crowd.”

How Did This Start, Anyway?

Pickleball’s humble beginnings have been well chronicled. Because their kids were bored with their usual summertime activities, three enterprising fathers — Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum — developed the game in 1965, on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Since then, it has evolved from the original handmade equipment and simple rules into the popular sport it is today. Its quirky name is thought to be derived from Pritchard’s family cocker spaniel, Pickles, who loved to chase stray balls and hide them in the bushes.

Sports.Good.Is

Where Can I Play ?

The North Kohala Pickleball Club welcomes ( and provides equipment for ) players of all skill & fitness levels and there are groups in every state, in Canada and Central America.

“We’ve got over 1,800 ambassadors out there spreading the word,” says Maloof. “We’ve also got a ‘places to play’ database all over the country”

Find a Pickleball group wherever you are: Places2Play.org

Cosmic Cowgirl