“One of the explanations I like pickleball is since the community is so nice,” said Martin Michelsen, 21, a senior on the University of Florida in Gainesville who plays on the varsity team (pickleball is a club sport at many colleges).
In highschool, he studied pickleball in a park near his home in Westin, Florida, where local players lent him an oar. Last spring, his doubles team won the eight-school tournament held at North Carolina State University.
“Everyone starts somewhere,” he said of twiddling with less-talented enthusiasts during a recent family vacation within the Dominican Republic. “I’d like to be a component of somebody’s pickle journey.”
Portable and cheap
Travelers say they only need oars since the locals all the time have balls.
“In terms of portability, there’s nothing to fret about,” said Mrs. Jacoby of Chicago, referring to the sturdy yet lightweight oar. “It’s flat and suits in your hand luggage, bag or backpack.”
“You need sneakers,” warns Sue Baker, 75, a retired teacher and travel agent who travels seasonally from her home in Lewes, Delta to places like Florida and Arizona, where she takes her gear along with her. “I fell once and broke my wrist.”
Most public courts and face-to-face sessions are free or inexpensive.
“It’s more accessible than other sports,” said Laura Gainor, 40, an outfit consultant. “You don’t pay to practice like golf.”