Pickleball has spread to more locations than ever before, so when you’re on the move and looking for games you can often find a few local courts via sites like the USAPA’s Places 2 Play.
That being said, if you’re looking for a more pickleball-specific getaway this summer, there are events that will offer far beyond a few casual games. From tournaments to clinics and globe-trotting excursions, read on to start planning your ultimate pickleball getaway! Click on the event names for more information and details on how to sign up.
Pickle Palooza is a 3-day event open to pickleball fanatics of all skill levels. Pros Steve Dawson and Dave Fleming are hosting Palooza, and they’re bringing a bevvy of other top picklers with them, including Kyle Yates, Matt Wright, Lucy Kovalova and many more. Attendees will enjoy exhibition matches, pro interviews and instruction, paddle demos and open play. Training and entertainment is being hosted at the Bobby Riggs Racket and Paddle Club in beautiful Southern California.
Sign up by June 30th for a $25 early bird discount!
This tournament has an attractive prize pool and many exciting opportunities surrounding it, including the soothing Crystal Hot Springs, ATV and air boat rides, and beautiful national parks. Sign up for our BOOST Training Camp to get an extra dose of pickleball several days before the tournament. The camp runs from Aug 17 – 19th with coaching from Steve Dawson, Peter Hudachko, Jennifer Dawson, Brian Ashworth and Del Kauss.
This tournament is located in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center boasting 150,000 square feet of space and 36 courts. Top players will be in attendance and there’s over $13,000 of prize money to be won. Enjoy open play on the courts before the competition begins. Be sure to take advantage of the location and set out for the beautiful Phipps Conservatory, museums and zoo nearby!
An exciting international tournament we’ve featured before, complete with pre-tournament clinics from Kyle Yates and Irina Tereschenko. Fayence is a gorgeous medieval village and close to many popular sightseeing locales. If you want to continue your stay in Europe and find more pickling opportunities, the Spanish Open won’t be happening much later, running from Sept 6 – 8th.
Skill challenges, pickleball clinics, entertainment and beautiful scenery all surround this indoor tournament that comes complete with 26 air-conditioned courts. Hot Springs Village is only 20 min from the venue and has a wide variety of amenities to explore such as boating, golf, nature trails, fishing and other outdoor activities. Receive a free Vulcan backpack at check-in!
Essen, Germany was named the 2010 European capital of Culture and will be hosting the 3rd Bainbridge Cup which pits Team North America vs Team Europe. This is immediately followed by the German Open from July 13 – 14th. Get the most out of your time in the area by traveling with pickleball pros Jon and Daniel Moore. They will be taking their group on a historical, cultural and gastronomical tour of the stunning Rhine region.
This summer an exciting showdown will happen between two powerhouse pickleball teams representing North America and Europe at the 2019 Bainbridge Cup in Essen, Germany. Will you be part of the action?
Closely following this competition is another great international opportunity in the form of the first German Open. It’s time to mark your calendars for July 12 – 14th if you want exposure to some of the world’s top pickleball talent.
All players who register for the Open are placed in their respective teams based on country of origin. Last year Team North America won the title in with pro Daniel Moore at its helm, and Europe, with the guidance of Oliver Strecker, is eagerly looking to settle the score.
The German Pickleball Association is hosting the event at the TVN Tennis Centre. As one of the largest indoor tennis halls in Europe, its 14 tennis courts will be converted to an impressive 28 pickleball courts! It offers generous training rooms, showers, match seating, parking and new LED lighting along the courts.
TVN Tennis Centre
The Bainbridge Cup itself will take place Friday, July 12 and is an age/skill-based competition with men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. The same categories will apply at the following German Open on July 13 – 14th. The registration fee is $63 while the event fee for the Bainbridge Cup is $17 for all events and $17 per event for the German Open.
Essen is known for its important role in German industry due to its history in coal mining and steel production. It has a number of unique museums dedicated to this subject and others such as design and art. It’s also home to a series of beautiful botanical gardens collectively known as Grugapark that not only includes a wide array of plants, but aviaries with enclosures for herons, flamingos and owls.
With theatres, elegant churches and even a Baroque Castle (Schloss Borbeck), there’s much to enjoy.
This week the U.S. is hosting the lnternational Indoor Pickleball Championships in Centralia, but there’s another competition coming up you won’t want to miss if you’re seeking more opportunities for international exploration and honing your indoor skills: the Finnish Open!
Pickleball Finland will be hosting the tournament June 14 – 16 at the Esport Center in Espoo. This is the largest indoor sports complex in all of the Nordic countries. There are a total of 16 courts available and the venue is very polished, to say the least.
The Esport Center offers a large variety of services for participants and visitors, including a café with 70 seats, pro shop, locker and shower rooms, and saunas—an obvious “must” considering the location!
Espoo is only a 20-minute ride on the metro line from Helsinki, making it easy to shuttle back and forth. The capital of Finland provides plenty of options for fun when you’re not at the courts, from its famous market square where countless stalls and fishing boats sell their goods, to a church made from ancient rock, a zoo filled with 150 species, a giant central park, elegant museums and a UNESCO-protected island fortress.
The 3rd Finnish Open is a skill-level tournament (official of self-assessed) with singles, doubles and mixed events. Participants are guaranteed a minimum of four games per event. The deadline for registration is May 24th, so make sure to sign up through their management site soon.
The registration fee including one event is 45€ (~$50). The price lowers for each additional event you join, costing 15€ for the second and 10€ for the third. You can also add a full-course buffet dinner on Saturday for ~$40 and a special tournament t-shirt for ~$17.
Before the tournament begins, on Thursday (6/13) players can enjoy Pickleball Finland’s weekly open court session to warm up and meet your competition. A special deal has also been arranged with Sokos Hotel Tapiola Garden for discounted rates. Click here to read more about the opportunities for lodging.
Sokos Hotel is only about 1.5 mi from Espoo and has a number of enjoyable amenities including a shopping center, cultural center, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art and a Lutheran church. If you’d prefer not to walk the distance to the Esport Center, you can also take the affordable metro, bus or a taxi.
Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to take in the sights of beautiful Finland while fitting in your craving for pickleball. Go visit Pickleball Finland to reserve your spot!
France is renowned among many for its food, fragrances and fashion, but if that wasn’t enough to entice you to visit, you can now add pickleball to that list as well!
This year from August 30th to September 1st Pickleball France will be hosting the French Open Pickleball Championships. The locale is Fayence, a stunning medieval village within the Provence region.
Fayence is within an hour’s drive of popular cities like Nice and Cannes, but even within the village are plenty of activities including fishing, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and enjoying gourmet food. A total of 9 “perched villages” all reside within the same area so you can take in the picturesque landscape by exploring them all. Click here to learn more about Fayence and take in the stunning sights!
The French Open will host clinics with pro players Kyle Yates and Irina Tereschenko (both gold medallists at the US Open) the Thursday before competition begins as well as the first day (8/30). Events include:
Men’s and Women’s Singles
Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles
19+, 50+, 60+, 70+, 80+ (Depending on # of participants)
Every player is guaranteed at least four matches per category. Participation is limited 200 participants, so sign up now to avoid missing out! Official IFP rules apply, however this is not an IFP-sanctioned tournament. Everyone gets to enjoy a tournament dinner on Sat (8/31) including some of the region’s famous Rosé wines.
If you’d like to turn your trip into a real tour, you’ll be happy to know that Kyle and Irina will be running a bootcamp (for 16 participants) immediately after the Open. From Sept 2 – 5 you can receive personalized coaching from some of the best players in the world over the course of 5 sessions. You’ll also be swept away for a day-long busy tour to St. Tropez and dinner at the La Camandoule restaurant.
No need to stop there! Once you’ve warmed up and learned from the pros, you can even continue on to Madrid for the Spanish Open running from Sept 6 – 8th for a true European pickleball trial.
The venue for the French Open is the Tennis Club de Fayence which holds 16 outdoor courts. Registration fees are 40€ or approximately $46 for early birds (Feb 1 – May 31) or 50€/~$57 for standard registration (June 1 – July 31). It is 10€/~$11 per event.
Start planning your trip today and visit PickleballTournaments to sign up for this incredible opportunity to wander the dreamy south of France while testing your skills in your favorite sport!
Our friends at AIPA (All India Pickleball Association) got in touch to share some exciting news about the construction of two new outdoor courts within Mumbai, which has helped to drive newcomers to the game in addition to supporting pre-existing high level players.
Congratulations to the JMDYC and the Indian pickleball community on the continued growth! Chetan Sanil of AIPA’s media cell has written up a summary of the celebration that took place to commemorate the courts:
The new JMD courts
It was a dream come true for members of Jal Mangal Deep Youth Club (JMDYC) when a glittering function was held on Valentine’s Day to celebrate the opening of two dedicated pickleball courts at the residential complex of Jal Mangal Deep Housing Society (JMDHS).
JMD Housing Society is located in the western suburbs of Mumbai at Bangur Nagar, Goregaon West. Bangur Nagar is a huge locality consisting of more than 40 residential housing societies, shops, schools, temples, church, parks and more, with a population of around 30 – 40k people. JMD holds around 500 residents itself.
They are a close-knit group of people who celebrate each festival with fun and vigor be it the Ganesh Festival, Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s or Holi. They also organize an annual sports event called “JMD Khel Mahatsov” for their members which is spread over 45 days culminating in a prize distribution ceremony held on the Republic Day (January 26th).
Pickleball was introduced to members of JMDYC by Manish Rao, India’s goodwill ambassador for the game, on April 15, 2017. They started playing the game on a makeshift cemented area between two buildings with a badminton net tied at ground level. Many enjoyed the game and took to it like ducks to water. Most of the players were office goers who would play the game after work from 8 – 10 pm on a daily basis.
Seeing them play, others joined the group and slowly became addicted to the game. They started participating in tournaments in Mumbai and other locations in India. They even won several medals in those tournaments.
The pickleball community in India started to take notice of the talented players from JMDYC. At that point, the JMDYC felt they could really use a proper court to practice and play in properly. It was decided to construct two courts on the small ground in the complex. The members approached the managing committee and obtained a grant of Rs 1 lakh from them.
The ribbon cutting
Construction of the court began, but the expenses ended up costing much more than the sanctioned amount. This did not affect the resolve of JMDYC’s members to build the court. They chipped in with their own money to generously fund the project. After much struggle, the twin courts were finally ready.
The group decided to celebrate this huge achievement by organizing an opening ceremony. They invited AIPA office bearers and members of other pickleball clubs in and around Mumbai. They chose February 14th as the day for the celebration since Valentine’s Day would help showcase the love and passion JMDYC has for this lovely game called pickleball.
The program started with a dance seeking blessings from Lord Ganesh performed by the female members of JMDYC. The traditional lamp was lit by members of the managing committee from the housing society and one of the chief guests, Mr. M.G. Suvarna, an ex-FIFA referee. The ribbon was cut by Ashok Mohanani, President of AIPA, and Sunil Valavalkar, Founder Secretary of AIPA.
They were later congratulated by JMDYC along with the members of various pickleball clubs of Mumbai. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mohanani congratulated JMDYC for creating the twin courts. He said he was sure that they would influence more people from the neighborhood to take up the game.
Mr. Valavalkar also congratulated JMDYC for their resolve and determination in completing the court despite the various hurdles that arose. He was very happy to see bonding within the community partly as a result of pickleball. He requested all the members to start playing the game to help them in stay fit. The new JMDYC logo was also unveiled.
The program continued with songs and dances performance by the youngsters of JMDYC and ended with a sumptuous dinner organised for the occasion.
JMDYC’s new logo
The newly laid pickleball courts are a testimony of the vision and effort of JMDYC. Going forward, they are planning to take the game to the next level in their community and ensure more and more people are introduced to pickleball.
Happy Thanksgiving picklers! We hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends and feasting on a hearty meal. We’re thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives, and we especially appreciate all those who have been willing to share a game or two (or more!) with us over the years.
Today we have an announcement that makes us grateful for pickleball’s ability to bring people together all over the world. Last month on October 28, over 140 people gathered in Singapore at the Clementi Sports Hall to enjoy the Pickleball Fiesta.
This event was organized by Pickleball Club Singapore and supported by Sports Singapore in conjunction with the Women’s Tennis Association finals that took place there.
The goal was to promote sports, and particularly pickleball, among residents. Many newcomers came out in addition to long-time players who were willing to play a game among friends. There were several interesting skill-based games and competitions that took place which might inspire a few contests in your own clubs!
Have a look at the line-up:
Volley The Cones – Players stand at the NVZ and a ball machine shoots a ball over the net, while the player tries to return the volley and hit cones placed at the back of the court.
Drop The Shot – Players get a chance to return a ball from the machine from baseline and drop it into the NVZ.
Lob The Cones – Players get a chance to return the ball from the machine from the baseline and try to lob the ball into the opposite court baseline within the cones.
When players succeeded they would win a prize. There were also two contests which involved player to player interaction instead of man versus machine. They were:
Dink Dink Competition – 16 teams competed with each other on a knock-out basis, dinking against each other within the NVZ.
Jolly Volley – 20 teams volleyed with one another and the team with the highest successful volleys won.
Pickleball Fiesta was organized with fun in mind and encouraged participants to pick up pickleball even after the action was concluded. There was a photo booth present so everyone could commemorate the event.
Do you have any fun yet lower stakes competitions you like to run within your club? After Thanksgiving dinner, somehow we don’t think we’ll be playing our best and fastest with a belly full of food…
We are delighted to be able to share this wonderful news from Singapore. Enjoy!
Greeting from Singapore! It is our exciting “pickleball” time in Singapore. Our tournament season is drawing near. Pickleball is finally recognized and included into the 2018 Singapore National games. It will be a national tournament and will spread over 2 weekends, organized by our sport body in Singapore. There will be appropriately 300+ players participating. We are co-organizing the event and details of the tournament can be found on our website pickleball: https://www.pickleball.sg/sng-2018.
History of pickleball in Singapore
Singapore started to introduce pickleball in 1998. It started in a small community with very limited places to play and little awareness on the sport. Having said that, in the past 5-6 years we have experienced a tremendous growth in the sport. Many community clubs in Singapore started to organize interest groups for pickleball and our sport halls have had a steady growth of players joining their morning groups. In the Hillview area, we have a small group of senior playing pickleball on our only outdoor court. Our neighborhood community has also started a pickleball interest group.
Hillview Pickleball Group
We started to play indoor pickleball when our new community center was completed in 2017. Three months later, we re-established the group as Bukit Gombak CSC Pickleball Interest Group, serving more residents in Bukit Gombak and Chua Chu Kang. The Interest Group reached the max membership in October 2017 and we decided to setup a Weekend Pickleball group in December 2017 after securing 8 courts in Hillgrove & Lianhua Indoor Sports Hall. Weekend Pickleball hit the target of 100 members in March 2018. We have 2 new indoor badminton courts that we now play pickleball on regularly, Mondays (6-9:30 pm) and Wednesdays (9:30-12:30am).
Hillview Community Center
Our weekend pickleball clubs are also booming! In a short span of 3 months, we have 100+ members. Every Sunday we open 8 courts to accommodate 50+ players, the largest pickleball indoor courts in Singapore! Here is the link for Bukit Gombak CSC pickleball: sg/bukit-gombak-csc-pickleball. Our weekend pickleball website is: https://www.pickleball.sg/weekend-pickleball-lianhua.
Weekend Pickleball Group
Since we have been so well established, we have hosted an inter-constituency tournament (Hillview meets Nanyang) and a few more mini-tournaments within our club (such as Jingle & Mingle and Million Hongbao Challenge).
With our many successes and connections to on-line media such as Facebook, we are now connected to many players overseas and have hosted games for our visitors from the USA, India, New Zealand, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, etc. It is a great opportunity to meet players from other countries and exchange skills to improve our games. We have formally established our affiliation with the Pickleball Association of Hong Kong, China to host our members when they travel to our countries. Likewise, we are extending our invitation to your readers for games if they are visiting Singapore.
Pickleball.sg is a volunteer network for all communities and interest groups to share and promote pickleball activities in Singapore. We have started to chart down the places to play within Singapore and we are sharing tournament invitations on the internet. We are hoping to establish more affiliation with the other countries especially in Asia to promote and raise the standard for pickleball in Singapore and Asia.
Singapore National Games 2018
This is the 2nd year ActiveSG (our sport government body) to organise the Singapore National Games and pickleball.sg will be their official partner for this year tournament which will be held the end of July. Details of the SNG 2018 can be found in this link https://www.pickleball.sg/sng-2018. It will be the largest pickleball event in Singapore, this year we are anticipating 300+ players for this tournament.
The tournament is open for players above 21 yrs and we have a master group (women above 55 yrs and men above 60 yrs old). We don’t have player rating like in the USA, so the skill sets are simply divided into Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Besides the individual event, this year we have added a team zone event. Each team comprises of 10 players of different age groups to compete to be the team champion. Bukit Gombak CSC Pickleball will be sending 2 teams for this tournament!
Thank you Michelle for sharing this wonderful story about the growth of pickleball in Singapore. I am sure some of our readers will be planning a trip to visit you soon to play pickleball.
The Bainbridge Cup made its debut in Spain last year with Team North America winning the inaugural event. This year the competition is taking place in another beautiful European destination: Montesilvano, Italy.
In exciting news, the Bainbridge Cup will not be the only tournament to take place this July. Immediately afterwards, the first Italian Open will begin with players guaranteed a minimum of 4 matches in round robin and double-elimination brackets.
The man behind these exciting developments is Zelindo Di Guilio, the founder and president of the Italian Pickleball Association. After meeting IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) president Mike Hess at last year’s Spanish Open, he realized “the strong socialization and friendship, international spirit and healthy competitive atmosphere [that pickleball fosters].”
This atmosphere was one he wanted to help promote, with the Italian Pickleball Association now a proud member of the IFP.
Zelindo has been heavily involved in tennis since the 80s, competing as a junior and running a club in Pescara where he organizes federal tournaments and championships. His interest in pickleball was ignited when he and his colleague, Marco Iacuone, were browsing a catalog from Gamma as part of their tennis distribution business. Along with the tennis equipment they noticed the arrival of pickleball gear, which was completely new to them at the time.
The Start of the Italian Pickleball Association
Zelindo explains how his curiosity and sense of adventure were piqued after he experienced pickleball:
“Marco and I participated in the Spanish Open and Bainbridge Cup in Madrid with limited pickleball experience. Our technical knowledge of pickleball was only through online videos. We trained every day for a month and signed up, asking to join the Elite bracket with some of the best players in the world. In the open play practice days, as soon as we took to the court, everyone immediately recognized us as tennis players, making common tennis player mistakes on the pickleball court. The thing that struck us most was the fact that everyone, especially the Spaniards, immediately gave us advice and provided us with a sort of intensive course!
“Basically, it was a very educational international event where we had the chance to train and play with some of the world’s top players like Marcin Rozpeski, Daniel Moore, Kyle Yates, Irina Tereschenko, Jennifer Lucore and many others. Our most memorable match was against the team formed by the Italian-American duo of Roberto Donati and Steve Wong. The overall experience was incredible from beginning to end.”
Zelindo Di Giulio (with sunglasses) and Marco Iacuone at the Spanish Open
After enjoying the Spanish Open, Zelindo explains that “the curiosity and the intuition of being pioneers of a new sport along with [pickleball’s] strong potential in Italy and Europe immediately led us to experimentation and practice.” This progressed into the formation of the IPA and Italy’s bid to host the Bainbridge Cup.
“For us [hosting the Cup] was an unbelievable opportunity as a new IFP member, so we submitted our bid a few days after being accepted. To present a strong host bid, we secured support from the local government, confirmed a venue large enough to host the event and strengthened our event management staff. Our enthusiasm and perseverance was rewarded, and we’re now very excited to collaborate.”
Pickleball’s Growth in Italy
Racquet sport players in Italy were initially skeptical of pickleball, but as it so often happens, many became addicted to the game after relenting and giving it a try. The government was even quicker to catch on, with Zelindo receiving early support from Tocco Da Casauria. The public now has access to 3 permanent outdoor pickleball courts and has established a large local group, along with other clubs in L’Aquila and Montesilvano.
The city of Montesilvano, through the Vice Mayor Ottavio De Martinis, has graciously allowed the IPA the use of their facilities for the Italian Open and Bainbridge Cup at the sporting venue Pala Dean Martin.
Montesilvano is a popular seaside town located in Abruzzo on the Adriatic Sea. The area is called the “Green Region of Europe” due to its three national parks. The venue is located only 200 meters from the beach, and Montesilvano is 8 km from Pescara, the main city of the region.
“Our region offers excellent local food, characterized by mountain dairy products such as sheep’s cheese, plenty of pasta and the excellent seafood dishes of our marine cuisine. We’ve organized an exclusive tour to one of the local wineries, called ‘Cantina Zaccagnini,’ where we’ll dine and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. For people wanting to see more of Italy, Rome is only two hours away, making it very easy to visit the capital of Italy and some of the world’s most historic attractions.”
Zelindo also notes that Mattia Astori, a friend he met at the Spanish Open, is working on the development of pickleball in the Milan area and that pickleball should gain a foothold in Rome in the coming months.
“Our short-term objectives are to create clubs in Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice, the most important Italian cities. I believe that the link between sport and tourism can facilitate pickleball growth in Italy, giving the opportunity to bring together new Italian players with experienced North American players. The short-medium term objectives, on the other hand, are those of having professionals who can represent Italy in international competitions like the Bainbridge Cup, as well as developing a training program with qualified instructors.”
The 2018 Bainbridge Cup and Italian Open
The 2018 Bainbridge Cup will start on Friday, July 20th with the Italian Open following on Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22nd. Players can find more information on the IPA’s website and register for both events at PickleballTournaments.com. The registration deadline is July 15th.
Some of the world’s best players will arrive in Italy as team captains. Scott Moore, Christine McGrath and Alice Tym will be leading Team North America, and Irina Tereshenko and Ernesto Cardenas will be heading Team Europe, with more captains to join.
Considering Team North America’s advantage when it comes to pickleball’s longer history and broader presence, what does Zelindo think of Team Europe’s chances this year?
“Pickleball in Europe is developing very fast and the quality and level of the players is rising. It will be very hard to win the Cup, but I’m sure that many first-class matches can be won by European teams. The Spaniards are strong; in England, in France, in Finland and in Holland they play all year round now. Germany has started playing. Europe has a very high level of tennis so we’re optimistic it won’t take long until we can win the Cup… and who knows what might happen this year in Italy!”
“We are very encouraged to see such a positive response from around the world. The Cup and Open are filling up fast, so we encourage anyone who is interested to sign up soon. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. We look forwarding to hosting players from around the world with our warm Italian hospitality. Speriamo di vedervi presto! (We hope to see you soon!)”
Have any questions?
Pat Murphy is one of the Bainbridge Cup organizers and can provide answers regarding accommodations or the events themselves. If you would like to ask him anything, you can get in touch at email@example.com or (623)-363-6952.
Last year our Director of Sales, John Cowley, took part in a sister city program between Kent and the Sunnfjord area in Norway.
It’s a beautiful place home to “artists, handcrafters, folk musicians and dancers” and is called “the home of waterfalls” due to its beautiful landscape streaked with over 50 waterfalls tumbling over mountainsides and into Norway’s deepest fjord, the Sognefjord.
Being the pickleball fanatic that he is, John decided to bring pickleball supplies along with him on his trip to introduce the sister city members to our favorite game!
The result was a rousing success, especially since fellow participant Inge Larsen was already involved with the recreation center in Sogn og Fjordane where John stayed. Both the kids and adults took to the game easily and enjoyed getting in on the action.
In addition to his pickleball play time, John got to try freshly-made beer tapped directly from a birch tree (which he said was fantastic) and explored the gorgeous surroundings with new friends.
A particularly amusing story is that of Stigen, an area on the western side of the fjord where two farms sit just above some extremely steep paths. The name comes from the Norwegian word “stiger,” meaning ladder, because once you reach the highest part of the hill ladders must be used to reach the farms.
Stigen – we wouldn’t want to make that climb!
In older times when the church’s men would travel around the area collecting tithes, the clever farmers of Stigen would grab their ladders and make themselves scarce, preventing the tax collectors from taking their hard-earned coin!
John had a wonderful time and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend others explore sister cities and other ways to share pickleball across the globe. As we’ve found again and again as pickleball reaches international locations, people love its simple rules and addictive gameplay just as much as we do.
Check out this quick video John shot of some Norwegian players learning the ropes!
And maybe relate to that moment when you’re ready to slam a winner and end up driving the ball into the net instead of the opponent’s feet…
Have you ever gone on a sister city trip, or would it be something you’re interested in? What opportunities would you like to spread pickleball internationally?
Daniel Moore and his father, Scott Moore, have been popular pros around the tournament circuit for years now. But even we were impressed when we found out just how far that circuit actually runs!
Daniel has only recently returned from a whirlwind of pickleball-related travel ranging from London, France, Spain and Japan to the recent USAPA Nationals, where he won three bronze medals in the age events, along with silver in the mixed doubles open event with Simone Jardim and gold in the men’s doubles open event with Matt Wright.
It would be wrong to say this jet-setting lifestyle is a recent development. Daniel grew up in Japan for 16 years before moving to LA, where he then studied abroad in Mexico before traveling to Kenya to work at a social enterprise organisation.
As part of Team North America, Daniel helped us take home the Bainbridge Cup
Not wanting to give up pickleball or travel, what was the Moore family to do? Run a pickleball tourism company!
Today, the Moores (including Daniel’s mom, Susan) manage PickleballTrips.com where they lead groups of picklers to beautiful international locations to see the sights, meet friendly locals and of course, test their pickleball skills on foreign soil. Such destinations include Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand and Daniel’s “home away from home,” Japan.
Working not only as an official Paddletek representative but a tour leader for WalkJapan, Daniel has extensive experience finding great locations to share off the beaten path.
We feel extremely fortunate Daniel made time amid his busy schedule to share his work and why he believes picklers should broaden their horizons by signing up for a tour. Enjoy the interview below!
PBC: How did you and your family decide to start Pickleballtrips.com, and what sort of difficulties have you faced?
DM: My dad and I got involved in pickleball a few years ago. I was already in the tourism business in Japan, bringing international tourists over for walking tours of the Japanese countryside. So doing a pickleball trip to Japan was the first obvious step. We both liked travel and pickleball, and pickleball trips was an excuse to get paid for being able to do both of those things.
Obviously there is a lot of hard work that goes into the trips, but that’s just part of any business. After Japan though, we kind of said, why can’t we do this all over the world? Doing camps across North America was the easiest place to start since that’s where my dad is based, and from there we have branched off into Spain, Mexico for now, with hopefully a lot more destinations in 2019.
PickleballTrips in Barcelona, Spain
PBC: What are some of the things you think separate the typical “tourist experience” from a trip that stays with people on a more meaningful level?
DM: Our trips are totally different from your typical sightseeing vacation because we endeavor to do three main things. First, our customers receive top notch instruction from certified professional pickleball players. The instructors are usually myself and my dad but we are branching out and bringing in different pros on the trips.
Jennifer Lucore is coming to the May 2018 Japan pickleball trip, for example. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on teaching so we want to provide that as well as the chance to come on a trip with different top players. Second, we connect people around the world through pickleball. We give our customers the chance to grow pickleball in a new country while making friends and doing things most tourists would never be able to do.
I think this is a huge reason why people come back on multiple trips with us: the relationships with local players and other participants on the trip. Finally, we do a few typical tourist activities because some places are popular for a reason!
PBC: Are there any particularly fun or amusing events that have stood out to you during your previous pickleball trips to Japan?
DM: On this year’s Japan trip we had a karaoke party in Osaka that was absolutely insane. After karaoke, we played bingo and the locals had prepared these gag gifts that our customers wore. You can see the photos below for the result. 🙂
The language barrier can slow things down, but I speak fluent Japanese and Spanish and translate as much as I can. Hotels, trains, restaurants and so on are pretty English-friendly. The local players don’t always speak that much, but pickleball is a common language and people manage fairly well.
I find that hand gestures and a desire to communicate will take you a long way when traveling internationally and people appreciate any effort to learn their language.
PBC: What are some of the main things your groups have taken away from their experiences in Japan?
DM: Being able to help spread pickleball across the world is a huge benefit for our trip participants. People feel like they are part of something bigger than just improving their own game. And like I said previously, it really is about the relationships formed with local players and other people on the trip.
PBC: You wrote about your first time introducing pickleball to Japan and experienced some difficulties, but it turned out to be a learning experience. How have things progressed and what does the pickleball scene look like these days?
DM: Pickleball in Japan right now is still small but definitely growing. We have about 5 clubs between Tokyo and Nagano Prefecture, where I live. I would guess that over 1,000 people have actually played pickleball and around 250 are playing consistently.
The hardest part right now is not court space (every gym in Japan has badminton courts lined) but finding someone to manage the local clubs. The goal is to grow the number of clubs across the country and get people playing consistently, not just one time.
Daniel at one of his first pickleball events in Japan
I travel around a lot, but funding and time are always issues. The JPA (Japan Pickleball Association) has done a great job translating materials and introducing people to the sport, though, so I think it will continue to grow steadily.
We have a pretty diverse mix of sports backgrounds that people come from. Badminton and table tennis are big in Japan, but probably because of my tennis background, at the moment we have more people who came from that. And just like in the States, we’ve had people join who have never even played sports before, which I think is awesome.
PBC: How have you managed to get the necessary funding and equipment over to Japan? Has it mostly been a labor of love?
DM: I have definitely invested a lot of time and money into growing the sport in Japan. Paddletek has given me some paddles and apparel, and some people in Japan have put a lot of their time and money into it.
That seems to be how it always is though; someone has to do it for a while out of a love of the sport before you see any results.
PickleballTrips in Saku, Japan
PBC: It looks like the Hachioji PBA has really taken off! If someone was visiting Japan on their own, would they be able to drop by the club for practice?
Yes, Hachioji is probably the biggest club in Japan right now, but Saku is up there too. Hachioji has been playing the longest so they have that advantage. But mostly it’s the dedication of people like Makoto Sato who organize play and manage the club.
At first everyone was playing at one location but as the number of people has grown, they’ve expanded to multiple gyms and play almost every day of the week. It’s also branched off into places around Hachioji like Yokohama, so that’s cool to see.
They love having people join! Hachioji is actually on the USAPA places to play, but the best way to find out about the time/location is to e-mail Makoto directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some solid play from locals at the Hachioji Club
PBC: We noticed you were covered in the newspaper/on TV during a trip to an Okayama school. What was the response from kids and how did the opportunity come about?
DM: A friend of mine had a connection with Mimasaka University in Okayama Prefecture so we went down to teach a PE class. The students absolutely loved it! We taught about 80 kids in 3 different classes and they want us to come back sometime next year.
High school students in Japan are pretty busy with their traditional school sports and studying, so the goal is to get it into college campuses across Japan where kids have a little more free time. Then when they graduate and move around the country, hopefully they’ll take pickleball with them.
PBC: Is there anything you’d like to add about your tours or pickleball in Japan in general? Why would you recommend people sign up for a tour?
DM: The pickleball trips we provide are experiences of a lifetime. Japan can be a little tough to access on your own, but through our tours we can show you how beautiful and welcoming it really is by getting a local’s perspective. It’s an amazing place you won’t want to miss!
If you’re curious about other locations as well, please check out our site because we have many more trips on the way, especially starting in 2019. I’m thinking China, India and Kenya…
At PBC we greatly appreciate the Moores’ contributions to the pickleball community and believe these irresistible tours are packed with value. Want to see the world while enjoying your favorite game?
Sign up at PickleballTrips.com (click the images to see full itineraries) or surprise friends and family with an experience they’ll never forget. They will be visiting Japan twice in 2018 in May and October.