Ben Boudreau (right) and Tony Ribecco (left) come together to return a volley during a Wednesday morning pickleball match at the Landing Sports Centre. ERIC J. WELSH/ THE PROGRESS

Ben Boudreau (right) and Tony Ribecco (left) come together to return a volley during a Wednesday morning pickleball match at the Landing Sports Centre. ERIC J. WELSH/ THE PROGRESS

Pickleball booming in Chilliwack

A move to the Landing Sports Center has sent membership skyrocketing for the local club.

Ken Witt calls pickleball the ‘fastest growing sport in North America,’ and based on the busy Wednesday morning scene at the Landing Sports Centre, he may be right.

The Chilliwack Pickleball Club moved from Evergreen Hall into more spacious digs in April 2017, and Witt, the club’s president, said membership has exploded.

“We play Monday to Friday, nine to noon, Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. and we just started playing on Saturdays,” he said. “Our busiest days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when we have upwards of 60 or 70 people playing.

“Our overall membership is a little over 180 and they’re all having a lot of fun.”

Chilliwack’s membership is primarily seniors, with Witt pegging their number at 85 per cent, but the club is open to anyone ages 12 and up and previous experience isn’t necessary to play.

“The beauty of the sport is you can become very proficient at it very quickly,” Witt said. “If you’ve played badminton, tennis or any raquet sport, you can become really good at this in a short period of time.”

Thirteen courts are set up at the Landing Sports Centre, and Witt said the City of Chilliwack has promised to paint permanent markings on the floor. Pickleball can be, and often is, played outside, but Chilliwack’s club benefits from the certainty of a covered facility.

“The City has been quite good to us, and those permanent lines will be painted next week,” Witt said.

Get more info online at pickleballchilliwack.com