Ilkley's original pickleball club 'Pickle-in-Wharfedale' is celebrating its two year anniversary and proudly announces an impressive surge in popularity.
Since its founding two years ago, the club has established itself as a thriving hub for pickleball enthusiasts in the Wharfedale community with more than 20 regular players attending weekly sessions.
The sport, which combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis, has found a growing following in the region thanks to the club’s dedication to fostering a welcoming environment, promoting the sport, and encouraging active living.
"We are thrilled to see the growth of our club over the past two years," said Colin Fagras, the club's founder. "Our aim was to provide an inclusive and fun platform for pickleball enthusiasts in the area, and the positive response from our community has exceeded our expectations."
The growth of the club has mirrored the sport's rising popularity amongst celebrities and professional tennis players. High-profile figures such as Leonardo DiCaprio, George and Amal Clooney, and the Kardashians have been seen rallying on the court, while professional tennis stars like Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and Andy Roddick recently competed in a $1 million prize Pickleball tournament.
The combination of these influential personalities with the addictive, inclusive nature of pickleball has led to a meteoric rise in its recognition and participation worldwide, proving that this formerly niche game is now truly mainstream.
Since its inception, Pickle-in-Wharfedale has placed particular emphasis on inclusivity, catering to players of all ages and skill levels. The club’s membership has steadily grown, including a diverse range of players from young adults to senior citizens. Its broad appeal is testament to the accessibility and enjoyability of pickleball as a sport.
One of the earliest club members, Gillian, said "I heard about pickleball when holidaying in Florida. It's been great to be able to play the sport at home. You just pay weekly so there's no commitment to go every week and the people that play are so friendly, it's great fun and great exercise too"
The club meets every Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Westville House School in Ilkley, offering a combination of competitive play and social interaction.
"Moving into the area, I joined the Pickleball group to try something new. Not only have I found a really fun racket sport, but I've also met an amazing group of people through this club," said Ali from Ilkley.
Tash added, "New to the club and the sport, I was a bit nervous, but I was welcomed by a lovely group of people of mixed ages and abilities, with just the right balance of fun and competition."
As the club enters its third year, it plans to further expand its activities, introduce more training sessions, and host local tournaments to continue encouraging the growth of pickleball in the region.
Everyone is invited to come out and experience the fun and inclusive atmosphere of the Pickle-in-Wharfedale. Newcomers are always welcome and will find the club an ideal place to learn and play pickleball.