Some of the best pickleball from across the Lower Mainland will take to the courts outside of the South Surrey Recreation Centre next weekend, when the first-ever Grip ‘N Rip tournament is staged.
The tournament will be hosted by the Surrey Pickleball Club on Sept. 9-10, and is expected to include up to 190 competitors, who will compete on 12 courts at the rec centre (14601 20 Ave.).
The event – which the Surrey club hopes will become an annual one – is a milestone of sorts for local organizers, club member Jane Cassie told Peace Arch News, because, while the club has held tournaments of varying sizes before, this is the first one to be “sanctioned” – meaning it meets event stands set by both the Canadian Pickleball Association and the US Association of Pickleball. Sanctioned events, Cassie explained, means competitiors have the opportunity to improve their official skill levels; players are ranked anywhere between 3.0 and 5.0, and are sorted accordingly for tournaments.
Pickleball – a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis – was invented in the mid-1960s, but did not rise in popularity of prominence until the last decade or so.
And unlike the sport’s early days, in which it was played primarily by seniors, the sport is now being played, locally and abroad, by athletes of all ages, Cassie said.
“It’s really changed. It really is all-ages now – the games are based on your skill level, rather than (age),” she said, adding that the Surrey Pickleball Club has grown to include about 150 members.