Doug Solloway is simply smashing alongside partner Sue Fraser in the mixed doubles competition during the Island Pickleball Championships. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Island pickleball players perfectly prepared

Top-notch action at Fuller Lake Park in singles, doubles and mixed doubles

People can’t get enough of pickleball. More evidence of that enthusiasm for the sport came during the Vancouver Island Pickleball Championships at Chemainus’ Fuller Lake Park Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

To say the sport has caught on like wildfire once everyone stopped laughing at the name of it is an understatement.

“Pickleball’s the fastest growing sport in North America,” said Rand Granbois, tournament director for the Vancouver Island Pickleball Championships. “It’s been that way for a few years.”

People with backgrounds in other racket sports or even with no previous experience are gravitating to pickleball in overwhelming numbers.

“It’s so big now, especially down in the States,” added Granbois. “The one bad thing about it is it’s very, very addicting.”

For active younger seniors, it’s a game that keeps them young.

“It’s more of a social thing,” Granbois indicated. “It’s mostly doubles and the way you play it you’re always mixing partners.”

The best of the Island and a few players from the Lower Mainland were involved in the Island tournament. A total of 119 players took part in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. The high level of singles play was something to behold.

“We were happy, as we had lots of feedback from the players and public alike, praising what a fun and friendly tournament it was,” Granbois declared.

Top finishers in the various classes were as follows:

Women’s Singles – Gold: Damaris Brix (Victoria); Silver: Becca Stuve (Victoria); Bronze: Brenda Stewart (Nanaimo).

Men’s Singles – Gold: Peter Brix (Victoria); Silver: Matthew Hirota (Nanaimo); Bronze: Antonio Toledo (Mansons Landing, Cortes Island).

Women’s Doubles A Flight – Gold: Gwen Chew (Victoria) & Vicky Strandlund (Victoria); Silver: Colleen Crowder (Black Creek) & Lissy Rauber (Black Creek); Bronze: Becca Stuve (Victoria) & Susan Kang (Surrey).

Women’s Doubles B Flight – Gold: Susan Hawkes (Crofton) & Barb Bradford (Ladysmith); Silver: Pamela Bendall (Nanaimo) & Sandy Scott (Salt Spring Island); Bronze: Ingibjorg Makepeace (Nanaimo) & Melissa Ruel (Port Alberni).

Men’s Doubles A Flight – Gold: Joe Wong (Victoria) & Randy Oben (Victoria); Silver: Mike Bellis (Nanoose) & Peter Brix (Victoria); Bronze: Marty Stoner (Mill Bay) & Rob Turnbull (Victoria).

Men’s Doubles B Flight – Gold: Sean Kennedy (Nanaimo) & Matthew Hirota (Nanaimo); Silver: Ed Francoeur (Port Alberni) & Neil Josefson (Port Alberni); Bronze: Richard McKinley (Nanoose) & Stuart Kirk (Parksville).

Mixed Doubles A Flight – Gold: Joe Wong (Victoria) & Vicky Strandlund (Victoria); Silver: Peter Brix (Victoria) & Damaris Brix (Victoria); Bronze: Randy Oben (Victoria) & Gwen Chew (Victoria).

Mixed Doubles B Flight – Gold: Mia Tremblay (Nanaimo) & Sean Kennedy (Nanaimo); Silver: Neil Rich (Victoria) & Margaret VanVeen-Hill (Victoria); Bronze: Ron Fiddick (Sidney) & Debbie Simpson (Victoria).

Mixed Doubles C Flight – Gold: Ron Denman (Nanaimo) & Sandy Scott (Salt Spring Island); Silver: Neil Josefson (Port Alberni) & Laurie Josefson (Port Alberni); Bronze: Trevor Ruel (Port Alberni) & Melisa Ruel (Port Alberni).

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Soft touch is displayed by Sue Fraser in the Island Pickleball Championships at Fuller Lake Park while partner Doug Solloway awaits the outcome of her play. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mary-Jo and Peter Woolgar in action. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Damaris Brix is right on top of the ball in a mixed doubles match at the Island Pickleball Championships. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Peter Brix reaches out to make a play on the ball. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Trudy Pitcher concentrates on the ball. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dave Sheepwash of Nanaimo is johnny-on-the-spot to make a play on the ball. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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