Alan and Michele Carr in action during a pickleball lesson at the Fuller Lake courts. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Pickleball craze continues, with Fuller Lake as its hub

Courts soon to be resurfaced at host site of Island championships

The pickleball craze is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down.

The Fuller Lake Park courts are like home base for the sport on the Island. The Vancouver Island Pickleball Championships will be returning there in early July after a one-year hiatus.

In the meantime, plans are in the works to resurface the Fuller Lake courts while non-stop action picks up for the remainder of the spring and summer months until as long as conditions outdoors will allow.

“We are having it scheduled to occur sometime in June,” noted Don Stewart, Parks and Recreation director for the Municipality of North Cowichan.

It all depends on the weather, of course, he added. The sun needs to be high enough over the courts to dry the product – “a similar material to what we have at the Properties tennis courts,” Stewart noted.

The schedule of the installer is also a factor in the exact date for the work to be done.

Vancouver Island Pickleball Association’s Ken Holman of Chemainus is excited about the courts being revamped.

“The pickleball community is thrilled,” he conceded.

“The courts at Fuller Lake are ideal in many ways – great setting, protected from the winds, noise not an issue – but the courts themselves have fallen behind, in terms of playability and aesthetics, from newer built courts in Victoria, Nanaimo and Lake Cowichan.

“Fuller Lake, because of its central location on the Island, continues to attract players, on a regular basis, from Victoria and as far north as Nanoose,” Holman added. “On sunny days the courts at Fuller Lake are bursting at the seams.”

Courts are frequently full with up to 10 people waiting at times to play.

“The local municipalities, throughout North America, cannot keep up with the demand for pickleball facilities,” Holman raved. “The sport has exploded in popularity.”

There’s also new courts that have been constructed at Crofton behind the Crofton Community Centre. Holman is conducting a beginner’s clinic there on Sunday, May 5 from 1-3 p.m.

The cost is $20, with paddles and balls supplied, but people are asked to bring appropriate footwear. Interested persons can sign up at www.vipa.ca/clinics or contact Holman by email at info@vipa.ca for more information.

The Vancouver Island Pickleball Championships at Fuller Lake take place July 12-14 – “bigger and better than ever,” Holman enthused.

North Cowichan will be allowing the use of the tennis courts to expand the number of available courts to 10.

“This will allow us to accommodate a larger number of participants,” Holman pointed out. “The new tournament committee have decided to run the men’s and women’s singles event on Friday, July 12 evening, spreading the tournament over three days, giving an opportunity for more games in the other events on the Saturday and Sunday.”

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Reaching for the top has Terry Esch making solid contact with the ball during pickleball lesson with Ken Holman at Fuller Lake Park. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ken Holman gives pointers to Michele and Alan Carr during a pickleball lesson at Fuller Lake. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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