By AMBER JONES
Special to the PRESS
Pickleball enthusiasts nationwide are flocking to South Padre Island to participate in one of the fastest-growing sports in America. Pickleball, a cross between ping pong, badminton and tennis, was invented by three vacationers on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington, in 1965.
Pickleball is a family-friendly sport that all ages can enjoy. Because it is easy to learn and a fun and social sport, it is no surprise that pickleball has taken the community by storm, with residents and visitors alike taking up the sport.
Brandon Mackey, the co-founder of Pickleheads, the #1 online destination for pickleball players, said, “Pickleball is a sport for all ages. Anyone from age five to 95 can play and have fun. This makes pickleball the perfect activity for families, especially around the holidays.”
With its warm weather, stunning beaches and friendly community, South Padre Island offers a pickleball experience like no other.
“The magic of pickleball is it’s easy to learn but hard to master,” said Mackie. “Beginners can go out their first time, learn the game, have fun, and even win a few games. But advanced players stay challenged and keep coming back for more. This dynamic is a big reason why pickleball continues to grow like crazy.”
There are 626 pickleball courts in Texas, three of which are in the South Padre Island/Port Isabel community. Those looking to participate can find courts at the South Padre Island Parks and Recreation Center, a public court, the SPI Community Center, where those can play for a one-time fee and LIV Private Community, a private court.
Cristian Inclan, a local resident, said that he got into pickleball by accident but has grown to love the sport.
“My co-workers from Yummies Bistro forced me to play after work one day, and as soon as we started playing, I fell in love with it, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Inclan.
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