Mike Seal is co-ordinating the fifth annual pickleball tournament

Mike Seal is co-ordinating the fifth annual pickleball tournament

Pickleball picking up with fifth annual tourney

Fast-growing sport of pickleball blends of tennis, badminton, ping pong and squash

With a guarantee of nine games, and a likely 10th, the biggest draw for the annual pickleball tournament at Pearkes Recreation Centre

is the number of games, says organizer Mike Seal.

“That’s why we get people coming from Vancouver. This isn’t one of those tournaments that eliminates you after two games.”

Pickleball – for those still unsure of exactly what it is – is a blender version of tennis, badminton, ping pong and squash. It’s meant to be fun, easy to learn and play, and with a focus on co-ordination, control and patience.

“Like playing a giant version ping pong and you’re actually standing on the table is how I tell it to kids,” Seal explains.

Pearkes has become a bastion for the sport where regulars, many of them retired, and some on their lunch hours, show up for three to five hours a day at Pearkes.

“It’s not uncommon for people to play three hours, go for lunch, and come back for more,” Seal said.

The annual Pearkes-based tournament runs this weekend, June 12, 13 and 14, with more than 80 players in 180 games and 34 additional playoff games on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Friday has a few less players as it’s the singles day, with women’s playoffs at 6 p.m. and men’s playoffs at 8 p.m. Saturday is the women’s and men’s doubles ladder, with playoffs at 4:20 and 4:40 p.m., respectively.

Sunday mixed doubles with playoffs for 65-plus at 4:20 and open age at 4:40 p.m.

“The event is free and we encourage all to come and watch, the playoffs especially are great for spectators,” Seal said. “We are truly lucky to have Saanich provide this space and handle the registration for the tournament.”

Pearkes Recreation Centre field house is one of seven indoor pickleball venues in the region, and hosts drop-in pickleball on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. is reserved for advanced level players, followed by an open play from 1 to 4 p.m.

The pickleball tournament social is Saturday night at Szechuan Village, 110 Burnside Rd. East,

Visit victoriapickleball.org for more information.

reporter@saanichnews.com