Pickleball Becomes Washington States Official Sport

The bill was signed by Gov. Inslee on March 28th at the original Pickleball Court in Bainbridge, WA

Pickleball is a home-grown Washington State creation. No other place on the planet has the deep-rooted connection to pickleball that we here in Washington enjoy.  Washington will someday be known as the birthplace of Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Pickleball. Tourists will travel to Bainbridge Island to see the first pickleball court and visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum’s pickleball exhibit. On Monday March 28th,  Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a declaration making pickleball the official sport of Washington State! 

Gov. Inslee signs the bill making Pickleball the official sport of Washington State

You may already know the pickleball origin story:  In a backyard on Bainbridge Island,  three friends (Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum) invented the game during the summer of 1965.

Pickleball in the early 70’s on one of the original courts in Washington

They made up rules and introduced the game to neighbors.  At the close of summer, the game jumped the Puget Sound to Seattle.  From there it spread south to Tacoma and east to Spokane. Snowbirds brought it to Arizona and Southern California. It took over 55 years but pickleball is now the fastest growing sport on the planet with millions of players around the world.  The International Federation of Pickleball has 68 member countries and growing!  Campaigns are underway to make pickleball an Olympic sport.  

But, do you know:

  • The first pickleball paddles, balls, and net systems were invented in Washington State.
    Barney McCallum, one of the game’s inventors, used his jigsaw to cut the first plywood paddles. As demand grew, he incorporated and created the first pickleball company, Pickleball Inc.  Barney was an entrepreneur and built McCallum Envelope Company. He knew how to manufacture and sell products.  Barney designated a small section of his Ballard warehouse for Pickleball Inc.’s inventory of paddles and balls, and began shipping products to pickleball customers.  At first whiffle balls were used to play pickleball, but they broke easily and had a short life span, so Barney invented the “Dura Pickleball,” a durable ball that is still a leading pickleball.  As interest and demand grew, consumers sought pickleball nets. Barney invented the first pickleball nets and first portable net systems.
An early addition of a pickleball paddle
  • The world’s  1st  pickleball company was in Washington State – Pickleball Inc.
  • The world’s  2nd pickleball company, Ultra-Lite Paddle Company, subsequently called ProLite Sports, was in Washington State and founded by Arlen Paranto.
  • The world’s  3rd pickleball company, Pickleball Stuff, was in Washington State and founded by Fran and Barney Myer.
  • The world’s 4th pickleball company, S-Type Sports (later sold to ONIX Sports), was in Washington State and founded by Steve Wong.
  • The world’s first pickleball tournaments were in Washington State.
  • The world’s  first “National” tournament was in Washington State.
  • The world’s first pickleball corporate sponsors, Vlasic Foods and Budweiser Beer, were for events in Washington State.  
  • The world’s first pickleball governing body, The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA), was launched in Washington State.  Sid Williams was the founder and first president.  
  • The world’s first pickleball rule sheets/booklets were created in Washington State by Washingtonians.  
  • The world’s first pickleball school PE program was launched in Washington State.
  • The world’s first composite pickleball paddle was invented in Washington State by Arlen Paranto.
    Arlen and his son Steve Paranto were frustrated by the heavy weight of wood paddles so wanted to come up with new paddle technology. Arlen purchased panels from the Boeing Surplus Store in Kent and began experimenting. The composite paddles he crafted out of those Boeing panels is essentially the same technology used in most composite pickleball paddles today – a honeycomb core sandwiched between layers of fiberglass or graphite/carbon fiber.
Arlen and Steve Paranto with a PROLITE Paddle
PickleballCentral.com Headquarters in Kent, WA

We are delighted and proud to have been a part of this effort. Special thanks to the unstoppable Kate Van Gent for leading the charge to make pickleball Washington’s official sport. Congratulations to all the Washington State pickleball players who voiced their passion.  Way to go Washington! 

2021 Final Pro Rankings from World Pickleball Rankings

Pickleball World Rankings 2021

Powered by PickleballTournaments.com and launched in 2021, the World Pickleball Rankings is pickleball’s most comprehensive ranking system for Pro and Senior Pro players. As the tournament management system used for all of the professional pickleball tours (PPA and APP), USA Pickleball tournaments, and all major independent tournaments including the US OPEN Pickleball Championships and Tournament of Champions, PickleballTournaments.com is uniquely positioned to provide player performance insights in the form of rankings. Endorsed by USA Pickleball, the APP tour and the US OPEN Pickleball Championships as their official rankings, the World Pickleball Rankings is the place to follow the pros throughout the year to see their progress and how they’re stacking up against each other.

World Pickleball Ratings

How It Works

Players earn points in pro tournaments for placement and wins. Results are updated at the conclusion of each tournament.

Titles are ranked for the following Pro events – Men and Women:

  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Mixed Doubles
  • Senior Singles
  • Senior Doubles
  • Senior Mixed Doubles

Considerations:

  • Player points accumulate over a rolling 52-week window, with points awarded outside of that window expiring and being replaced by points awarded within that window.
  • A player’s Top 15 results are represented in the rankings.

Points are awarded based on the following model:

DesignationGoldSilverBronze4thNon-place Wins (Main Draw)Non-place Wins (Back Draw)
Grand Slam2000150010006007556
100010007505003003022
5005003752501501511
2502501881257586
From Pickleball Tournaments

The 2021 Pro World Pickleball Rankings

Ben Johns receives Pro Men’s Singles, Pro Men’s Doubles and Pro Men’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Franklin)

Pro Men’s Singles: Ben Johns

Pro Men’s Doubles: Ben Johns

Pro Men’s Mixed: Ben Johns

Anna Leigh Waters receives Pro Women’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Pro Women’s Singles: Anna Leigh Waters

Catherine Parenteau receives Pro Women’s Doubles in World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Pro Women’s Doubles: Catherine Parenteau

Simone Jardim receives Pro Women’s Mixed in World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Prince Pickleball)

Pro Women’s Mixed: Simone Jardim

Paul Olin receives Sr Pro Men’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021

Sr Pro Men’s Singles: Paul Olin

Dave (The Badger) Weinback receives Sr Pro Men’sDoubles and Sr Pro Men’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Sr Pro Men’s Doubles: Dave Weinbach

Sr Pro Men’s Mixed: Dave Weinbach

Julie Johnson receives Sr Pro Women’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021

Sr Pro Women’s Singles: Julie Johnson

Eva Welsher receives Sr Pro Women’s Doubles and Sr Pro Women’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Engage)

Sr Pro Women’s Doubles: Eva Welsher

Sr Pro Women’s Mixed: Eva Welsher

View all of the 2021 Pro World Pickleball Rankings here:

Full list of World Pickleball Rankings for 2021

6 Pickleball New Year’s Resolutions You Can Do In 2022

Pickleball Resolutions from 2022

With the turn of the new year it is always nice to have some things to look forward to. Maybe you’re looking to level up your game this year, spend more time with family and friends, stay active and focus on health in a FUN way, or challenge yourself. Whether you’re newly introduced to pickleball or have been playing much longer, we have some ideas for everyone.

Resolution #1: Commit to Practice!

In 2021 we saw lots of great pickleball gear aimed for practice. The best way to become a better player is often the simplest. Whether it’s playing a practice game or drilling specific skills, you always have the ability to improve through hard work and dedication. Of course, certain training aids can make the process easier as well.

Ball Machines: The two pickleball machines we carry, the Tutor and Lobster, allow you to practice more easily without a partner by sending lobs, spin shots and dinks your way.

Pickleballs: GAMMA released a Two-Tone Outdoor Training Pickleball that helps to show how the ball is spinning so you can practice both receiving and doling out spin shots.

GAMMA Pickleball Two Tone Training Outdoor Balls

The Pickleball Eye Coach helps you improve ball strike placement, visual focus and foot positioning.

Pickleball Eye Coach
Pickleball Training Tools

Resolution #2: Attend a Pickleball Festival

Pickle Palooza is a one-of-a-kind event that offers all the thrills of a tournament without the stress of competition. Located in Mesa, AZ, this fun annual event runs from March 4-6 this year at Bell Bank Park. There will be court exhibitions and interviews with the pros, skill-based open play, paddle demos, one-on-one instruction, and entertainment. It’s the perfect excuse for players to share in some pickleball-centric fun, and with enjoyable activities in the surrounding area (such as the Phoenix zoo, art museum and botanical gardens), you can make a great vacation out of it.

Resolution #3: Upgrade your Paddle

We have seen several major innovations in paddle technology in 2021 with some new heavy hitters joining the scene. If you’ve been playing with the same paddle for a while it might be time to experiment with others. Here are a few that we suggest looking into:

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball – Oneshot released two new paddles with their innovative new Airflow Technology to create vents in the sides of the paddle for reduced drag and increased hand speed.

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball

The Warrior Paddle from Diadem – The thickest paddle on the market, this 19mm core paddle has the softest touch ever, with a highly gritty surface that enhances spin shots, and plenty of power.

Warrior Paddle from Diadem

New line of Paddles from ProXR – ProXR Pickleball recently launched their first line of pickleball paddles with their unique, patented, ergonomically designed handles that improve reload speed and exit velocity.

ProXR Pickleball

New line of Paddles from adidas – This heavy hitter in the sports market entered pickleball with a range of new paddles to suit all skill levels and play preferences.

adidas Pickleball

VANGUARD 2.0 from Selkirk – Selkirk’s VANGUARD Hybrid 2.0 series feature their new Pro-Spin Texture for more spin than ever before and their new Gen2 durable surface.

CX11 and CX14 Paddles from Gearbox – The all-new CX-11 and CX-14 paddles from Gearbox bring years of innovation in paddle design to a whole new level, with a shape and core thickness for every player.

Learn about our FREE 30-Day Paddle Test Drive: Our 100% Happy Return Policy!

Resolution #4: Introduce a friend of family member to Pickleball

We all can agree that the reason we fell in love with Pickleball in the first place is because it is FUN! This sport is growing at a rapid pace and we are excited to see what the future holds. Who are you going to invite on this wild ride with us in 2022? It can be a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor but we all know once they get the feel for it they wont want to put it down! This might seem like the “easiest” resolution of them all but it is certainly one of the most important to help flourish our Pickleball Community!

Resolution #5: Play in a tournament 

Competition isn’t for everyone, but even if you’re a fairly laid-back player, participating in a tournament can be a great way to strengthen your abilities, make new friends and take part in the greater pickleball community. Tournaments are the perfect excuse to knuckle down on training and come out the other side knowing you played your best. There are also a number of exciting new tours taking place this year that will serve to bring pickleball to an even broader audience, so taking part in one of them will truly have you becoming part of the sport’s history!

A few exciting upcoming tournaments that we recommend include:

  1. Atlantic City Open
  2. PPA Indoor National Championships
  3. APP Punta Gorda
  4. PPA Red Rock
  5. APP Delray Beach

Resolution #6: Improve your grip in more ways than one

Sometimes you might want a little extra tack to improve your hold on your paddle, or need to replace a grip that had worn down over time. Other players who get particularly sweaty hands appreciate the benefits that highly absorbent grips provide. Fortunately it’s quite easy to switch your grip (see how here) or layer an overgrip on top of your grip to provide better feel. Grips also provide a great opportunity to add a little flair to your paddle with fun colors and designs.

Pickleball Paddle Grips

Alternately, if you want to keep your handle as-is but learn new ways to improve how you hold your paddle, you may want to experiment with different (hand) grip techniques to see how they affect your ability to make different shots. You can explore various ways to hold your paddle by watching this video with Glen Peterson.

Paddles the Pros Used at the 2021 National Championships

2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central

PickleballCentral was proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs. While this year has been another test of endurance when it comes to balancing safety with the return of more in-person events, we were inspired by the pickleball community’s resilience and drive to keep our sport going strong. In fact, looking at a breakdown of the stats surrounding this exciting event there were:

2,342 players

3,944 matches

87 USA Pickleball certified referees

172 brackets

Making this event the largest pickleball tournament in the history of the sport!

We’re grateful to everyone who participated or showed up to support the competitors as we continue to see the game rise in popularity. PickleballCentral was there for 10 days as the one-stop shop for all sorts of pickleball gear from your favorite brands. We had a shoe try-on center, paddle demo center, ball machines, bags and more! There was also plenty of amazing pro action, and we’re here to provide a recap of the paddles used by medal winners if you’d like to try them for yourself.

Leigh Waters with Paddletek

Paddletek Pheonix Genesis – Leigh Waters

Leigh Waters took gold in Womens Doubles with her 14-year-old superstar daughter, Anna Leigh. This pair has been Nationals gold champs two years in a row.

The Phoenix Genesis Composite Pickleball Paddle is a fairly speedy option that has trim weight (7.4 – 7.8 oz) and dimensions. In addition to its easy maneuvering, it provides “Torsion Vibration Control” which helps players accurately place shots even when hitting off-center and dampens vibrations through the grip for better consistency even in the midst of tough exchanges.

PRICE $89.99

Jennifer Dawson with ProKennex

ProKennex Ovation Flight – Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer was the only player at this year’s Nationals to win a Triple Crown (again!) – gold in all 3 events (Senior Singles, Doubles with Cammy McGregor and Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich).

The ProKennex Kinetic Ovation Flight has a special core that uses tungsten fibers to reduce the amount of vibrations that reach the arm, minimizing shock from impact and helping to prevent injury. The innovative oval shape has great reactivity that’s all sweet spot, while the Air-O-Guard offers an edgeless design that eliminates mis-hits while protecting the paddle.

PRICE $189.95
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova with ONIX

ONIX Evoke Premier – Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova

Partners Matt and Lucy won Silver in Mixed Doubles, adding another big win to their impressive record.

Matt and Lucy helped develop their signature paddle which is focused on reliable power and high-level precision. A light coating on the face softens the feel of impact while still ensuring a responsive touch. The Atomic13 Edge technology maintains a slim profile and also assists in dispersing shock while improving swing speed.

PRICE $149.99
3 Free ONIX Fuse Outdoor Balls ($9.99 value)

Dayne Gingrich with Electrum

Electrum Pro – Dayne Gingrich

Dayne won gold in Senior Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles with partners Dave Weinbach and Jennifer Dawson, finishing off a great year.

The Electrum Pro Graphite features a Toray T700 carbon fiber face which offers texture for spin and enhanced durability. Its broad surface creates a large sweet spot and the core only uses full cells, ensuring dependable feedback and power.

MSPR $169.99
SALE $139.99
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Erik Lange with Head

HEAD Gravity – Erik Lange

Erik won bronze in Men’s Doubles with partner Wes Gabrielsen. He is a PPR teaching pro and works full time as a regional sales rep for HEAD.

The HEAD Gravity’s face features a hybrid blend of graphite and composite materials that combine for a perfect mix of control and power. It uses a thicker 14 mm polymer core that adds to stability and great touch. The large sweet spot and tri-axial pattern on the surface which contributes to spin make this a winner.

PRICE $154.95

Zane NavratilFranklin Ben Johns SignatureM Singles Silver
Lea JansenFranklin Ben Johns SignatureWD Silver
Catherine ParenteauPaddletek Tempest Reign ProWD Bronze
Jessie IrvineEngage Pursuit MXWD Bronze
Irina TereschenkoPaddletek Bantam EX-LWD Silver, W Singles Bronze
Jilliam BravermanPaddletek Sabre ProW Singles Silver
Paul OlinGAMMA RZRSr M Singles Silver
Scott FliegelmanBabolat RBEL TouchSr M Singles Bronze
Mattias JohanssonEngage Pursuit MXSr M Singles Gold
Mircea MorariuElectrum ProSr Mixed Bronze
Julie JohnsonEngage Encore 6.0Sr Mixed Bronze, Sr Women’s Singles Silver
Callan DawsonProKennex Pro Speed IIM D Silver
Jennifer DawsonProKennex Ovation FlightSr Mixed Gold, Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Gold – triple crown!
Tyson McGuffinSelkirk VANGUARD Hybrid InviktaM D Gold, M Singles Gold, Mixed Bronze
Lucy KovalovaOnix Evoke PremierMixed Silver
Anna Leigh WatersPaddletek Bantam TS-5Mixed Bronze, WD Gold, W Singles Gold
Leigh WatersPaddletek – Phoenix GenesisWD Gold
Dave WeinbachPaddletek Tempest Wave ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Silver
Scott MoorePaddletek Sabre ProSr M D Bronze
John SperlingSelkirk VANGUARD Invikta (Electrify)Sr M D Silver
Scott CrandallElectrumSr M D Bronze
Dayne GingrichElectrum ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Gold
Cammy MacGregorSelkirk AMPED S2Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Bronze
Nathalie BagbyPaddletek EX-L ProSr Women’s Silver
Riley NewmanGAMMA Signature ModelM D Gold, Mixed Gold
Wes GabrielsenSelkirk AMPED EpicM D Bronze
Kevin BoothGearbox CX14HSr M D Silver
Erik LangeHEAD GravityM D Bronze
Kris AndersonOnix Evoke PremierSr MD xxx
Complete list of Pro Medal Winners at Nationals 2021

View all Pro Paddles Here.

(Event stats from USAPickleball.)

Pickleball Poised to Invade Spain

Spanish Pickleball Association

Spanish Pickleball Association Launches

Pickleball is taking over the world, one country at a time.  Pickleball was introduced in Spain several years ago.  Now a core group of Spanish pickleball players have formed the Spanish Pickleball Association, also known as Pickleball Spain.   Parts of  Spain are similar in climate and culture to Florida and Arizona. Many Europeans visit Spain for holidays and it’s a popular retirement area. Perfect breeding ground for growing pickleball enthusiasts.

Pickleball Spain’s mission isn’t limited just to the country of Spain. They intend to bring pickleball to all of Europe.! Here’s their stated mission statement:

To introduce, promote and support the sport of pickleball to people of all ages and abilities throughout Spain and Europe.

Pickleball in Spain

Playing Pickleball in Spain

This is really big pickleball news for several reasons.  First, the Spanish Association has established an ambassador program similar to the ambassador program used by the USA Pickleball Association. The USA Pickleball Association’s ambassador program has been extremely successful in growing pickleball into America’s fastest growing sport. Now the same system will be used in Spain, and Europe, to grow pickleball there. It will work as well in Europe as it has in America. Second, pickleball must become an international sport in order to become an Olympic event.  We need more countries developing elite pickleball athletes.  (I’m serious about this Olympics thing.)

Michael Hess

Michael Hess, President of Pickleball Spain

Third, Pickleball Spain is headed up by it’s president Michael Hess. Michael is an American who has lived in Spain many years and teaches sports marketing and management at a Spanish university.  Michael is serious about pickleball and committed to having it take root in Europe. He will be successful. Michael led a huge research project with the USA Pickleball Association in 2011-12 to study why people were playing pickleball, their competitive behavior, and their view of pickleball. Michael has the passion, commitment and leadership skills to get pickleball going in Spain.

Pickleball is just so fun to watch and to play. It sells itself. Watch and you’ll see it spread. What country will be next? I’m betting France; the south of France along the Mediterranean Coast.  ‘Au revoir!  Anna

Pickleball in the Philippines

PickleballCentral loves all its customers, especially our new walk-in customers.

Philippines pickleball court

Look familiar?

Patrick Cantor walked in one Saturday afternoon and tried out some paddles on our new indoor pickleball court.  He purchased a Magnum Graphite Stealth paddle and came back a couple of weeks later with his wife.  She selected a pink Graphite Z5 paddle.  The third time Patrick visited he bought a PickleNet Portable Net System and said he would be taking it with him on his next trip to the Philippines!

Here’s Patrick’s Pickleball to the Philippines story:

I came to the U. S. as a 5-year-old when my parents immigrated to the United States on work visas.  I grew up in the Renton area and started playing pickleball around the time I finished high school.  After I started college, I played at the University of Washington.

After 20 years, I’m playing pickleball again.  I’ve found Pickleball to be an “addictive” sport, in the good habit-forming sense of the word.  It is a way to stay in shape and be social with friends who also like to play. Just before I went on vacation, I bought 4 wooden paddles and a badminton net to use in the Philippines.   Before I introduced Pickleball in the Philippines, no one knew about it.  When I showed my friends how to play, they picked it up pretty fast.   Here are a couple of pictures that show the court being set up. 

I travel to the Philippines every year.  The net system I bought this month will go with me on my next trip. 

Philippines pickleball court

Painting lines for the first pickleball court in the Philippines.

Thanks, Patrick, for sharing your story with us.  We love hearing about how pickleball is taking over the world.   😉 Anna

Patrick Cantor

Attorney Patrick Cantor is bringing pickleball to the Philippines.