Teammates Wally Herrmann (left) and Don Bigelow enjoy a game of Pickleball at Sawicki Park. The Vernon Pickleball Club is hosting its inaugural Invitational Tournament Saturday

Teammates Wally Herrmann (left) and Don Bigelow enjoy a game of Pickleball at Sawicki Park. The Vernon Pickleball Club is hosting its inaugural Invitational Tournament Saturday

Pickleball tourney on tap

The Vernon Pickleball Club is having its inaugural invitational tournament Saturday, Sept. 14 at Paddlewheel Park.

The Vernon Pickleball Club is having its inaugural invitational tournament Saturday, Sept. 14 at Paddlewheel Park.

Wally Herrmann of the local group said a total of 72 players have already registered for play from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“They are excited and eager to show off their competitive skills in our round-robin format,” said Herrmann. “Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America and it has grown in leaps and bounds in Vernon the past year or so.

“We are seeing between 130 players to 152 players play per week at Sawicki Park during our regular sessions.”

The racket sport combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net, but is mounted two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer, smaller version of a wiffle ball.

A pickleball ball typically moves at one-third the speed of a tennis ball and the court is just under one-third of the total area of a tennis court.

The co-ed tournament players will be in skill-rated levels: 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5. Some visitors are already confirmed from Surrey, Abbotsford, Montreal and Kitamat, while half the field if from the Interior. There is a waiting list.

“Our tournament met its quota quicker than any other city that hosted a tournament this year – in less than four weeks,” said Herrmann. “We are so happy and proud to be able to showcase Vernon at its best at Paddlewheel Park.”

The Vernon club holds six sessions a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Vernon will have 22 members in the B.C. Senior Games in Kamloops.

Anyone interested in pickleball is urged to contact Herrmann at waherrm@yahoo.ca or 250- 542-3797.