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Pickleball bounces into Gorge

Pickleball is growing in popularity throughout the Columbia River Gorge.

Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield photo
Pickleball is growing in popularity throughout the Columbia River Gorge.


A pickleball and paddle.

Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America, is taking hold in The Dalles. A paddle sport that combines the speed of squash, the principals of tennis and table tennis, is played on a badminton-sized court, with a low-hung tennis-type net, a paddle and a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game was started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington State and was named after a “pickle boat,” referring to the last boat in a fleet to return with a catch.

The game is straightforward; a ball is volleyed over a net and opponents play to 11 points. Because the court is smaller than a tennis court, full coverage is easier on the joints of those taking up the sport in retirement or anyone wanting a low impact cardio work out with hand-eye coordination in an atmosphere of camaraderie.

In The Dalles pickleball has become so popular that local players with a unified goal to promote the sport are forming an association. One of these players, Timothy McGlothlin has been instrumental in securing four courts at The Dalles Readiness Center and another four outside courts at Sorosis Park.

The Readiness Center at Columbia Gorge College is open to the general public every Thursday at 5 p.m., and a $5 drop-in fee covers cost of play.

The courts at Sorosis Park are free and open to the public. Contact Northern Wasco County Parks & Recreation 541-296-9533 for access. The Gorge Athletic Club has two courts available to club members and guests for a drop-in fee.

Those interested in pickleball or seasoned players are invited to attend the first tournament in the Gorge.

The 2018 Gorge pickleball classic October 12-14 will be held at the Hood River Gorge Athletic Club on Friday starting at 1pm and Saturday and Sunday starting at 8 am.

About 40 local players are among the 180 registered for event held on nine indoor courts. Volunteers from The Gorge Pickleball Association will be on site.


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