Introducing Varsity Pickle apparel at Pickleball Central

Owners of Varsity Pickle and best friends, Karen and Adele

Childhood best friends, pickleball lovers and now business owners! Meet the women behind Varsity Pickle. Karen and Adele created Varsity Pickle for the pickleball player who wants a little style on and off the court. We recently spoke with them about their designs, where the name came from, and what is next! View the full line here.

Why did you start Varsity Pickle?

We’ve been best friends our entire lives. We spent our childhood rollerblading, jumping on the trampoline, and making up dances. We first learned how to play pickleball in middle school gym class and constantly got in trouble for talking too much during the lessons. We both picked it up again in the past few years (along with millions of others) and still probably talk more than we play. 

Throwback photo of Karen and Adele

When we looked online for pickleball apparel, most of what we saw wasn’t designed well – flaming pickleballs, clip-art graphics – not the kind of clothing we would want to wear. 

We have backgrounds in design and marketing, so we decided to collaborate and create a line of apparel you can wear on and off the court that is playful, fun, and cool. We are also, coincidentally, both very passionate about pickles (the food) and would definitely make varsity if there were a team. 

Varsity Pickle Faded Blue Pickleback Unisex Sweatshirt

How did you come up with the name?

We weren’t really “varsity athletes” in high school. We blended in and didn’t embarrass ourselves, but never knew the thrill of being a varsity star. So the first time we ever won a pickleball game, it felt like we might finally be good at something. We created Varsity Pickle to celebrate every level of pickle player with gear that makes you proud to play. 

Varsity Pickle Collegiate Ringer T-Shirt – Unisex

Can you talk us through the design process?

Pickleball is fun, and we let that inform the creative direction. A collegiate, retro aesthetic felt right to us. It was important to choose styles and materials that players would be comfortable in and we would wear ourselves. Our sweatshirts are all super soft but light, and our performance wear is very high quality, sweat-wicking material. 

People often ask us “What makes pickleball clothing different from other sports?” The answer is not much, really, but pickleball players want you to know they play pickleball, so we feature pickle branding on all of our gear. It’s a strong community! When you see someone with a pickleball shirt on, you have to tell them you’re part of the pickleball club too! 

As for our Pickleback sweatshirt, that has its own backstory

Congrats, you just made the Varsity Team!

Varsity Pickle Varsity Blues Sweatshirt – Women’s

Varsity Pickle Sweatshirt Grey – Unisex

How is it running a business with your bestie?

So fun. Duh! It’s no surprise that after 30+ years of friendship, we’d make a great partnership. We have different strengths and we help bring the best out in each other. We know how to work hard but still find time to laugh at ourselves. Plus it’s super helpful, that when we reference our 7th grade gym teacher vibes, we both know exactly what that means. 

For the love of pickle.

How long have you two been playing Pickleball?

We started in middle school, played a bit in high school, and then picked it up again in the past few years. 

We love to play pick-up games, on vacation, with people older than us, younger than us, for exercise, and even after a few beers. All that said, we are both totally average pickleball players. We are NOT tournament ready. But we definitely have fun out on the court!

What do you love about Pickleball?

We love how simple pickleball is to pick up compared to other sports. Even your first game is fun! Everybody makes varsity, and then there is so much room to level up. 

What else can we expect from Varsity Pickle in the future?

Besides world domination? A kids’ line and more awesome, retro gear.

We are excited to see more apparel coming to pickleball and look forward to seeing what else Varsity Pickle brings to their collection. Shop now at PickleballCentral.

Naked Pickleball

Laguna del Sol Pickleballers

Laguna Del Sol is a clothing optional resort in Northern California.

Is fashion a big deal on the pickleball court? Shorts and an old t-shirt are the common pickleball attire in our neighborhood.  What matters more than fashion when playing pickleball is social chemistry. That’s the conclusion I came to after talking with Suzanne Schell, owner of Laguna Del Sol, a clothing-optional resort in Northern California.

Pickleball was introduced at Laguna Del Sol two years ago by two couples who discovered  the game in Arizona and brought it back home to share with friends at Laguna Del Sol. They taped off a portion of a tennis court, rigged up a net and started playing. This new sport attracted attention and soon spare paddles were made available for “newbies” to pick up and learn the game. To keep up with the growing demand, more courts were soon necessary. Just like new pickleball communities everywhere, there was concern from the tennis players around the issue of pickleball noise.   Now, two years later, there are four beautiful pickleball courts that are fully used every weekend with a group always waiting on the sidelines to play.

Laguna del Sol Pickleball Courts

Four pickleball courts at Laguna Del Sol located near the property line. The dirt field is the neighboring property. Laugna Del Sol is lush and green.

Laguna Del Sol is a family resort. Just like pickleball playing families across the USA, at Laguna Del Sol kids play pickleball with grandparents. The only difference is what people are wearing, or not wearing.

The friendly pickleball spirit combined with the freeing and equalizing effect of nudity tends to make for a very welcoming accepting pickleball community. The Laguna Del Sol pickleball group will regularly have pot lucks together after resort tournaments. They collaborated in purchasing and sharing pickleballs for the resort and have worked together to build several shade structures near the pickleball courts.

I asked Suzanne about playing pickleball without an athletic support for men or running bras for women. She said there are many variables in what people wear playing pickleball. Depending on the weather, the pickleball players are often a mix of clothed and unclothed people. On a cool day she may wear a pickleball t-shirt and when  she’s warmed up, she may take it off. Other days it’s very hot out and more people wear clothing to wick the moisture away from their bodies. Of course in the winter, everyone is clothed.

Pickleball is growing and more people look for resorts that offer pickleball.  If you’re in Northern California and looking for a place to play pickleball and a little adventure, consider a visit to Laguna Del Sol.  They have an orientation tour and you can purchase a day pass to try out a nudist experience. Laguna Del Sol also offers a variety of  overnight accommodations and RV and camping sites.

Laguna del Sol Pickleballers