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Brad Segal

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Please tell us something about yourself.
I’m looking forward to retiring and only playing pickleball!  I played tennis forever but never again! I work in music, creating music for TV shows like Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, Life Below Zero, America’s Got Talent and American Idol.  

How did you start playing pickleball?  What do you like about the game?
I started playing pickleball in 2022 and love the social aspect.  Meeting new friends all over the world.  I love a great challenging game.

Tell us where you played on Kauai and elsewhere.  Please share what you like about the places you play at.
I’ve played at Poipu Kai (which is close to the house).  I played at Wilcox a couple of times a week and I just started playing at Kalawai Park.  Where else should I go?  In Los Angeles, I play in Santa Monica at Memorial Park.  

Greg Hatch

Please tell us something about yourself.

I am an academic librarian at the University of Utah. I love to travel, cook, and attend theater and film. I volunteer as a Special Olympics volleyball coach and attend the Sundance Film Festival every year.

How did you start playing pickleball? What do you like about the game?

My parents introduced me to pickleball 7 years ago. We played on a tennis court with chalk lines and milk jugs filled with water to lower the net! I love meeting new people on the courts and have made some lifelong friends.

Tell us where you played on Kauai and elsewhere. Please share what you like about the places you play at.

I stayed at the Royal Sonesta, so the Lihue school courts (Wilcox) were my home while I was visiting. I felt so welcomed by everyone who knew my name before I arrived. Thanks to Lori who coordinated my visit. Mahalo!

Paul Hauser

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Paul is 3rd from the left

Tell us something about yourself:

I grew up in New Hampshire and upstate New York.  I’ve traveled to all 50 states and lots of foreign countries.  I spent a career in sales and sales management as well as being an owner/operator of a couple different businesses.  My wife is a school teacher and we currently live in Spokane, Washington.

How did you start playing pickle ball?  What do you like about the game?

I started playing about three years ago.  I absolutely love the game.  It provides me something to focus my competitive energy on, but the mental, physical and social benefits are beyond anything I could have imagined.  

Tell us where you played on Kauai and elsewhere.  Please share what you like about the places you play at.  

On Kauai, I’ve played at Lihue and Kapaa.  I’ve played all over the country.  I’m a regular tournament player.  Though I’ve had a fair amount of success in competition, it’s the friends I’ve made that have really enhanced my life and made this sport what my wife refers to as my addiction.  It’s definitely my passion!

Doug Maxson

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Tell us something about yourself:

I have been a dentist for over 30 years.  I own two timeshares at the Marriott so I  visit Kauai annually.  I currently reside in San Jose, California and was a previous avid racquetball player.  

 

How did you start playing pickle ball?  What do you like about the game?

I started playing pickleball in 2020 when the pandemic restrictions were lifted.   I play 3 to 4 times a week.   

 

Tell us where you played on Kauai and elsewhere.  

I play at San Jose and have also played at Palm Springs.  I enjoyed playing in Lihue as the players are very friendly.  
 

Sandra Salomone

Sandra Salomone was introduced to pickleball in 2019 by Roxy and Scotty Vidinha. She was immediately “hooked and lost into the incredible joy of pickleball.”

Sandra spent her youth in New Hartford, a small rural New England town that came complete with church steeples and white Christmases. Her large and boisterous Italian family ran the only grocery/meat market there. Some of her happy memories include her Dad and brothers building a clay tennis court in their yard. It was so popular with her parents that the children rarely got to use it for tennis. Instead, they were able to use it in winter when they watered the court down to make a perfect skating rink for figureskating and hockey. They had huge bonfires to thaw their frozen fingers and toes. The highlight of her younger years was to look like Mickey Mouse Club’s Annette Funicello. She went around town with mouse ears signing autographs, and got free ballet and gymnastic lessons. (She still has her mouse ears and ballet slippers.)

Her family moved to Hawaii more than fifty years ago. Shortly after the move, she married her “officer and gentleman” Airforce pilot, Jim (James), in 1969. Their son, Jim, was born in Georgia. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born in Maine. Sandra taught school, and their family enjoyed skiing when Jim was stationed in California. Sandra and Jim retired in Northwest Hills, CT. Their children finished school there and their permanent home is there. To fill the “empty nest” after their children left home, Sandra did ski patrolling and Jim golfed and sailed in Long Island Sound. At this date, during the summer, they take care of their gardens and fruit trees (which the raccoons, deer and black bears devour). When the “northwest cold winds start to blow”, they head to Park City, UT and Palm Springs, CA to visit their children and play pickleball. They then visit their favorite island, Kauai. They have a part-time home in Lawai, next to Sandra’s brother and sister-in-law, Steve and September Gnazzo (both are avid pickleball players, too).

 

Sandra and her brother Steve share a frustrating loss of hearing. Although they both have cochlear implants, the implants don’t help them on noisy pickleball courts. They extend their heartfelt thanks, “for fellow players’ patience and kind efforts to keep telling them the score over and over again.”

Sandra joined PAK to support its goals to get more dedicated pickleball courts and to push for existing Kauai public courts to be repaired. When on Kauai, Sandra plays pickleball at Hanapepe Tennis Courts, Kekaha Tennis Courts, and at Poipu’s Kauai Christian Fellowship’s private courts. She sends thank yous to all the people who make it possible to play at these courts. She feels that they “make people happier and younger at heart”.

Tom and Karen Jackson

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Tom and Karen live in Mexico 9 months of the year and are based in Colorado the rest of the time. Tom grew up in Minnesota and moved to Colorado when he was 16. Karen is a Colorado native born in Glenwood Springs. They are both software engineers. Tom has been retired for 10 years. Karen did taxes for 15 years and retired in 2020. They have two grown up children now 43 & 44 and two grandkids aged 16 & 18. They have visited Kaua’i several times before, but it’s been a while. 

They were introduced to pickleball two years ago in Mexico. It’s very popular in the expatriate community there. It’s close to Arizona and in Arizona pickleball is extremely popular! Last year they played pickleball in Midway, Utah;  Billings, Montana; with friends at Flathead Lake, Montana; in Peurto Penasco, Mexico; and Broomfield, Colorado.

 

Pickleball is fun. It gives you an adrenaline rush, and Karen says she’s now too old to play soccer (which she used to play a lot)! All of their kids and grandkids now play pickleball. When they first introduced pickleball to their kids, they ordered paddles that night!

 

They always throw their paddles in their bags when they travel. They were here for 18 days and played mostly in the Kilauea gym, which was great as we’ve had so much rain.

Thank you, Karen & Tom! It’s been a pleasure meeting you both and playing with you in Kaua’i.

Terry Heflin

Terry Heflin is a retired Lieutenant from the fire service. Originally from the western suburbs of Chicago, he and his wife Suzanne now live in a lake community about 150 miles west of Chicago. They have 2 children and 2 precious grandchildren. Terry’s activities for many years, have been riding his Harleys, and being an avid bowhunter and fisherman. Pickleball became an additional activity that Terry, and Suzanne, enjoy.

They have been coming to Kaua’i for the last 14 years, initially for a couple of weeks. They decided that it was such a long journey getting to Kaua’i that they really should stay longer. Haha! Now, they visit about 6 weeks annually.

Funny story: Before they left for Kaua’i in 2017, Suzanne asked Terry if he wanted to try pickleball. “Honey, you know I don’t like pickles; why would I like a pickle-BALL?!” When she stopped laughing, Suzanne explained that it was a game/sport, not a food!

They arrived on the island and, as soon as they pulled into the parking lot at Kaua'i Christian Fellowship, they saw the pickleball courts and a sign posting the days/hours of open play. Terry is forever grateful to Leona Bryant and Carol Kolenda, who really taught him the game.

To say he’s been a pickleball junkie ever since is an understatement. He regularly plays six days a week. He’s known to come home, after playing for 3 hours, to watch an hour or more of pickleball on YouTube. Terry has played at Kalawai, Hanapepe, KCF, Lihue and Kekaha on Kaua'i. He also has played pickleball in Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, and North Carolina.

Because of years playing, and becoming a pretty serious student of the game, Terry started teaching casually (i.e. not for pay). He’s taught groups or run clinics in Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan and here on island. He loves pickleball for the exercise and for the people. “… no better folks than pickleball folks! A special shout out to Lucia and Ray for all they do to provide a great pickleball experience for locals and visitors alike.”

Terry joined PAK several years ago in order to support and expand pickleball on Kaua’i.

Carol Theriault

Please tell us something about yourself.

I have lived in Saskatchewan, Canada for the past 38 years, but am from Quebec originally. I was an optician, but now am a teacher and farmer. I was teaching Biology and French, but am now working as a substitute teacher so I teach everything. We have a grain farm and grow canola, wheat, barley, lentils, peas and canary seed sometimes.

We’ve been to Kaua’i six or seven times before on holiday and always stay on the North Shore. We know it rains more, but we like the lush as we live in a prairie and are going through a drought. 

 

How did you start playing pickleball?  What do you like about the game?

There’s a town about 14 miles away from the farm where I live and they were playing pickleball on Sundays at 5:00 pm. Somebody suggested I should go check it out, so I did. Today is only my fourth time ever playing! I really enjoy it. It’s easy to catch onto, it makes you sweat and is good exercise. I’ve encouraged a few friends to try it and they really like the game. In our age group there are not many things you can start as a sport. In pickleball, it doesn’t really matter how old you are, you can catch on. 

Tell us where you play on Kauai.

So far I’ve only played in Kilauea gym.

Thank you for telling me about PAK. I will definitely look at the website. I was very happy to find that there is pickleball on Kaua’i when I was searching online.

Thank you, Carol! It was a pleasure meeting you and playing with you on Kaua’i. Hope to see you again on your next visit to Kaua’i!

Donna Gray

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An apt description of Donna is, “5 feet of heaven and a ponytail”. What?

Upon meeting Donna, you’ll find a vivacious, kind, and gentle person. She has a positive outlook on people and life and she doesn’t share negative/bad feelings about others. Her intelligence and life experiences, make her an interesting and engaging conversationalist. You’ll never be bored while in her company. The ponytail reference is due to her often having her hair up in a ponytail while playing pickleball. (She wears a “pickleball” cap with her ponytail pulled out through the opening.)

Donna has been living at Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, CA for the past 5 years. Before that, she lived fulltime on Kauai for 5 years. Since the ‘70s, for over 50 years, Donna has visited Kauai. She likened her love of Kauai to her heart “feeling at home” whenever she visits. While living on Kauai, Donna volunteered at several groups/programs. Due to her love of sea creatures, she volunteered/coordinated the Monk Seal Response Team on the Southshore (working with DLNR and NOAA), and helped to count the whales for the Sanctuary Ocean Count. She also volunteered at the Garden Island Arts Council.

Not to make anyone envious, Donna’s home at Rossmoor is a gated senior living community, built on 7,000 acres, with a population of 10,000 people. She has access to a fitness center with a full gym, pools, golf course, library, bus transportation, restaurant, etc. Friends, and most everything she needs, are there. She does her shopping in Walnut Creek. Some of Donna’s fun activities with friends are pickleball, pingpong, bocce, mahjong and walking.

Donna is an 80 year old widow with a son and a daughter who live near. They regularly get together once or twice weekly, if not more. Her son golfs with her once a month, and she plays pickleball twice a week with both children (they learned to play pickleball because of Donna). She loves and values the times that she spends with them.

Donna regularly plays pickleball five times a week at Rossmoor. Due to the volume of Rossmoor players, she, also, plays at courts outside of Rossmoor. She “pays it forward” by volunteering to teach pickleball, twice weekly, to new Rossmoor players (usually aged 60s to 80s). Rossmoor currently has 500 plus members in their pickleball club who share 3 outdoor and 2 indoor courts. Six covered courts, now being built, should be ready by summer or fall.

Donna’s initial introduction to pickleball was due to a Rossmoor friend who hit pickleballs to her in 2015. She then played on Kauai, at Kauai Christian Fellowship, where she met Jack Hodges. She says that her journey to gain and improve her pickleball skills started on Kauai. Donna’s competitive spirit has gotten her to enter pickleball tournaments in Hawaii and elsewhere. She entered her first pickleball tournament, the 2016 Senior Olympics Pickleball Tournament, on Kauai. She last competed with partner Kris Nuding, winning gold for their age group and skill level in 2022, at the Hawaii Pacific Rim Pickleball Cup.

Donna is a supporting member of PAK. She looks forward to playing on Kauai’s new Koloa courts when she next visits. (Koloa courts are unavailable/incomplete at this writing.) Aloha.

Jack Page

Jack Page, a 70 year old pickleball extraodinaire, hails from Kenai, Alaska. (The population there is approximately 7500.) He has been visiting Kauai since 1986. Prior to retirement, his last job was as a consultant for an oil company. He and his wife now visit Kauai twice a year, spending 3 months at a time, in Poipu, Kauai. (They return to Alaska for 3 months, then visit Kauai again for another 3 months.) Jack returns to Alaska during the winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb) to be available/assist an elderly 94 year old relative who no longer drives or travels. Their children, 3 adult daughters, live in Alaska, too.

Jack was introduced, and learned how, to play pickleball on Kauai. Prior to pickleball he played a lot of ping pong and some tennis. Sam Dungan, a Poipu resident, got Jack into playing pickleball. This game is now his  physical activity of choice. Along with the physical activity, he enjoys playing competitively at his senior age, and meeting new people. Jack finds people on the island to be friendly and welcoming, much like 'ohana. You’ll normally find Jack playing at Kalawai courts in Kalaheo. In Alaska, Jack plays indoors 3 times weekly, on 3 courts, with open level of play made up of beginners to 4.0s. He normally sees 20, or so, players there.

Leslie Aronson

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Leslie is from Orange County, California. She’s been playing pickleball there for about two and a half years. She loves the game and considers herself an addict. She started playing in a park with some girlfriends - none of whom really knew how to play or keep score. They were hitting the ball like a tennis ball. They would start at 7am on Saturdays before anyone else came in. Eventually some other women invited them to play with them, but because they didn’t know how to keep score, they were embarrassed and stopped playing. A few months later, two of the women in her group started taking pickleball lessons and she went to watch. She decided to take a lesson herself and was immediately hooked. Very quickly her husband and son started playing too. 

 

Leslie was 19 when she first came to Kaua’i as a housekeeper in Ha’ena. Then she worked as a cleaner at Hanalei Bay Resort when King Kong starring Jeff Bridges was being filmed so many years ago. She came back and forth to Kaua’i as often as she could, whenever she saved up enough money. 

She met her husband who also loved Kaua’i. He had a place in Koke’e that he rented with some other guys. They got together and decided in their 50’s to buy a house here. It turns out they actually went to the same high school, but didn’t know each other until they met at a party. 

 

She’s a competitive player and likes to win like everyone else, but mostly she just likes the social aspect of the game. It gives her something to do each day and she likes the routine of going to play pickleball with her friends. 

 

She recently joined PAK and is hopeful that more people will be educated about pickleball and campaign for dedicated courts on the island. There are more and more visitors and people wanting to play pickleball, but there just aren’t enough courts to cope with the ever growing numbers. She thinks it would be so great if courts could be built up at Prince Albert Park in Princeville. There’s plenty of space there and the kids could still play soccer.                                                                          

Carol Kolenda

Aloha to San Marcos, TX. You’re so lucky to have Carol Kolenda on your pickleball courts. She was a driving force in our Kauai pickleball community while she lived here. Sadly, for us, she relocated her home to Texas in 2019.

Carol, with husband Don, were pickleball ambassadors on Kauai before their move to Texas. Through their love of pickleball, they helped Kauai Christian Fellowship church provide pickleball courts on their church grounds to budding players (pickleball was at its beginning stages on Kauai at the time).  Carol worked with a core team, which included her church leaders and pickleball friends, to “build” two pickleball courts on the church grounds. This location started with a cement parking slab and portable pickleball nets. It was gradually improved by enlarging the surrounding play area, adding a shaded resting area which included benches/chairs, and adding fencing around the courts. The portable nets were replaced by permanent pickleball nets before Carol left Kauai. Carol, with her core team’s help, spearheaded ladder league play and fun pickleball tournaments. (Move back to Kauai, Carol. Lol.) KCF continues to be a popular pickleball venue for both local players and visitors alike. Even though Carol no longer lives on Kauai, she supports PAK (Pickleball Association Kauai) by being a PAK member.

Carol enjoys her life in San Marcos, Texas. She and husband, Don, live in a community neighborhood called, “Kissing Tree”. She travels, spends time with her children, grandchildren and her many friends, and has hobbies which keep her even busier. Additionally, she offers/leads pickleball drills in her community to social and intermediate level players who want to improve their game. Her 4-week program, held once a week, began in August 2022. Carol works with 4 people at a time, and has a wait list of players through the end of the 2022 year. Currently, the Kissing Tree community has 8 beautiful outdoor pickleball courts with lights, etc. With 4 courts on each side, built in the middle, is a covered waiting/seating area. In 2023, an additional 6 noncovered and 4 covered pickleball courts will be completed. In all, 18 pickleball courts will be available in the Kissing Tree community.

Let’s go Kauai. Let’s build pickleball courts like these, “in our lifetime”.

Jay Spencer

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Please tell us something about yourself.

I am visiting from Northern California, Sacramento area where I have lived for over 20 years. My wife, Natalie, and I had an opportunity to work on Kauai for a few months with a view of possibly coming back and finding a place to live here.

 

How did you start playing pickleball?  What do you like about the game?

During COVID the gyms had closed and my friend asked “Why are you not on the pickleball court?” I said “What is pickleball?” The next day I was on the court. That was about a year and a half ago and I haven’t stopped playing since.  Watching pickleball on YouTube has really helped improve my game quickly. I love playing doubles and singles, but particularly singles so I can burn up my energy. I really enjoy the social aspect and whether you are 6 years old or 96 you can play the game.

 

Tell us where you play on Kauai, and elsewhere.  Please share what you like about the places you play at.

I’ve played at the courts in Princeville and in the Kilauea gym. Kilauea gym is a nice option when it’s raining, but I’d rather play outside even with the wind as it’s so beautiful. I’m always willing to play with anyone, whether they are professional or first timers. There are very few folks who are introduced to pickleball who don’t enjoy it. They always come back for more.

Laura Glassco

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Laura and “Kim” Kimball Glassco have been regular visitors to Hawaii for 45 years. The onset of covid within the United States caused a temporary break with their visits to Kauai in 2020 and 2021. She and her husband, Kim, are happy to be back to visit. They’ve found, and regularly book, their “happy” place in Pakala. It’s a place that’s not inundated with people. It’s quiet, peaceful, and relaxing. They’re near the shores of Pakala beach, go on hikes around the island, and do vacation “stuff”. For Laura, an added bonus is being able to play pickleball at both Hanapepe and Kekaha tennis courts.

Laura retired in 2010 from a Director of Sales position at Johnson & Johnson. She worked there for 12 years. Doing so, had her traveling in all the western states, including Hawaii. She and Kim, who is also retired, are able to take the time to enjoy their growing families.

Laura and Kim have a Swiss hanai family whom they keep in close contact with. Years ago, they housed and cared for 2 visiting brothers  from Switzerland. They grew so fond of the boys that the boys and their immediate family became Laura and Kim’s extended family. “Grandchildren” are now a part of this family whom they love so much. Families, on both sides, have visited each other in their home country or gone on vacation together. Laura and Kim have visited, and stayed with, their “families” multiple times in Switzerland.

Laura’s home town, Dutch Flat, CA, has a population of 360, or so. Laura is able to enjoy playing pickleball everyday there with 4 to 6 friends. Even though their group is small, they try to practice playing/doing different shots and practicing pickleball strategies. Other than regular doubles, they’ll play “3 on 3” games (for 6 people) or “2 on 2” with the 5th player immediately “replacing” a player who made a game error (for 5 people). Laura and her group of friends are able to measure their pickleball progress when they play outside of their town. Unfortunately, due to Dutch Flat’s small population, play is limited to their little group as pickleball hasn’t yet grown within their community.

Until then, Laura looks forward to the camaraderie, people, pickleball play, and fun that she experiences during her annual Kauai visits.

Chad Wilson

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Please tell us something about yourself.

I am married to Maile (Loutoa Zoller’s daughter) and live in Orange County, California. We’ve been married 12 years and we have visited Kaua’i many times - usually once or twice a year. We have two boys; Pierce who is almost 6 and Gage who just turned 2 yesterday. They have already tried out their pickleball paddles and will be playing before we know it. I am an attorney by profession.

 

How did you start playing pickleball?  What do you like about the game?

Just over a week ago, they needed an extra player and I volunteered. I’ve been playing every day since and now I’m hooked! I was exposed to pickleball in the past when Loutoa came to visit, but I’d never played myself until now.

I like that it’s constant action - no waiting on when you’re going to get the ball. Pickleball takes less cardio and more reflexes than tennis. It’s very social. Players are competitive, but not malicious about it. I love seeing all ages and backgrounds having fun.

 

Tell us where you play on Kauai, and elsewhere.  Please share what you like about the places you play at.

I have so far played in Princeville at the Emmalani courts and at the Cliffs and also at Kilauea gym. Emmalani courts are my favorite because of the setting and gorgeous view. The Cliffs has a cushioned surface so the ball tends to die. The Kilauea gym is my least favorite. It’s very confusing because of all the different colored lines and it’s hard to see the ball.

 

Do you have any advice on how we can accomplish PAK’s mission of developing dedicated pickleball courts?

It would be good to have more SWAG available for purchase to raise funds like paddles, T-shirts, hats.

Something that could encourage more donations would be to advertise your goal and have a visual meter each month showing how much has been raised.

Converting existing tennis courts would be the least expensive option.

 

Thanks Chad! Good luck with your pickleball ventures and hope to see you back on the Kaua’i courts soon.

The Paredes Family

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L>R Kylena, Kyle, Elaina

Who are the Paredes?

Kyle:  He is an Exercise & Sports Physiologist, working to improve health, wellness and sports performance for all athletes and coaches.  He played various sports at high levels all his life.  He was a two-sport collegiate athlete having played football and racquetball, and even played a season at the pro level in the Pacific Rim Football League.  He is also an AmPro Racquetball Pro and plays for the Wilson Racquetball Elite Team.  He competed regularly up until he discovered Pickleball in December 2018 and shortly after, COVID hit and shut most of the Racquetball facilities down.  When learning pickleball, he got on the Pickleball courts confident that he could hold his own, and then got “smoked” by some older, more experienced players.  It was the moment that got him hooked. He and his wife (Elaina) entered a tournament within two months of learning the sport. He was noticed for his intense and athletic style of play by the Engage regional representative, who signed him on to the Engage Pro Team. Kyle is still a member of that team. On top of that, he is also a PPR Certified Pickleball Pro Instructor.

He has another element to him besides sports… poet and songwriter.  He is the composer of the song “Chillaxin’” which gained huge popularity a few years back. Kyle graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington.

Elaina:  She recently retired from teaching in the public schools where she coached soccer and track for boys and girls for 15 years.  Her boys’ and girls’ teams have won the OIA Division II Championships, and she has been named as Coach of the Year.  She was recently named Mid-Pacific Institute’s new Head Coach and Director of the girl’s soccer program.  Outside of soccer, she was also a highly competitive racquetball player sponsored by Wilson Racquetball. High school sweethearts with Kyle, she also graduated from the University of Puget Sound, where she was also a two-sport collegiate athlete (soccer & softball).  She is a PPR Certified Pickleball Instructor involved in the Junior Development Program with Oahu Pickleball Association (OPA), focusing on teaching the game to kids ages 8-18 and beginner adults.

Kylena:  She just turned age 15 and attends Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, HI.  In 2018, her dad (Kyle) bought Christmas presents of pickleball paddles for the family.  She said, “I must say I was rather under-whelmed, as I didn’t know the game, and I was expecting clothes or something useful instead.”  Once she started playing, the paddle gift was very useful.  Like her mom, she has been playing soccer for a long time, and continues to love that game, but she loves pickleball too.  She commented, “Everyone I played in the beginning was older than me, some older than my parents, even (and that’s old!).  But they were all nice and seemed glad to have a younger person join them in the game that they had grown to love.”  One thing she noticed was that when she was a newbie, a lot of balls would be hit at her in the games, but as she got better, less balls would come her way.  She says she is a combination of her parents with “my dad’s competitive fire, and the demeanor of my mom, who is just as competitive but more chill.”  She is the same age as Anna Leigh Waters, who plays in the Professional Pickleball Association, and is ranked in the top five players in the world.  She hopes that pickleball will continue to grow and expand into high school and collegiate athletics soon.  There is talk of pickleball becoming an Olympic sport, and Kylena hopes to work toward achieving that goal.  Perhaps joining the PPA is in her future, but for now, she is just enjoying being a kid who plays soccer and pickleball.  
 

Tell us where you play when you visit Kauai, and your experiences while here.

We were here a few months back for the Kauai Sports Academy tournament at Kauai Beach Villas and just played at the 2022 PAK Open at Kalawai Park.  We love coming to Kauai because the people are so friendly and we always feel welcomed here.  Many of the players of Kauai we have met at the many pickleball tournaments we play in, and we are impressed with the high level of skill that Kauai players demonstrate.  People like Brant Fuchigami, Talon Abat, Rumi and Kimi Masumura, and Jen Grady are such great players and ambassadors of the game.  We really enjoyed the PAK Tournament and thought it was well organized and fun for everyone.  Playing so many tournaments, we were surprised that some people thought the entry fees were high, as tournaments are expensive to run, and many tournaments have much higher entry fees.  We noticed that the four courts at Kalawai only allowed a limited number of players and can relate that to Oahu, where the pickleball explosion has a severe case of too many players for too little courts. 

 

Why did you all become members of PAK?

We support the growth of pickleball and try to make an impact everywhere we go.  We have been aware of PAK for some time, and we read ALL the articles that get published on their website.  As coaches and players, we love Jack’s column “From the Picklehood” for the tips on improving our games and training regimens.  We like Nolan’s “President’s Report” where he reports on the status of the campaign for dedicated pickleball courts on Kauai.  We are impressed with the level of unity that Kauai is demonstrating through PAK, as Oahu tends to have divisive elements that choose to factionalize rather than come together for the common good.  The nature of pickleball is to create fans for those that try it, and there must be an atmosphere of Aloha to keep them playing.  More courts would help, and we must be self-reliant because our public facilities are just not keeping up with the demand.

 

What’s in the future for the Paredes family?

Next year, Kyle and Elaina will turn 50, and be eligible to play in the PPA Senior Pro Tour level. They are excited about competing at that level and continuing their lifelong involvement in elite level sports.  The good thing about that is they will be excluded from the amateur tournament levels (just kidding), and give others a chance to bring home tournament hardware.  Their involvement in promoting pickleball by introducing the sport to kids ages 8-18 will see growth of a pool of young players that will be the next national and international champions of our sport.  We will be watching as Kylena recovers from a knee injury to become the dominant female player at the highest levels.  She shares her parent’s passion for creating a low-barrier, inter-generational opportunity to play this game that they have come to love, and are, admittedly, addicted to.

 

The Paredes family have agreed to serve as advisors to PAK on all matters pickleball, and we thank them for their contribution to us and to our sport.

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Christina Hein

Christina Hein, from Germany, recently visited Kauai. She is a vivacious 23 year old who just graduated with a Bachelors degree in Kinesiology at the University of Regensburg. She was excited to experience the local Kauai lifestyle, see Kauai sights, and play pickleball on Kauai.

Christina grew up as the 3rd child in a family with 3 girls and a boy who were active in sports and in music. Everyone  either played a musical instrument or sang. Christina is talented and gifted with playing the flute and has a pretty voice. Airline travel benefits, from Christina’s mother’s stewardess job, has helped their family travel within Europe and other countries. Christina worked while going to college in a hiking park in Regensburg (Germany), and saved much of her hard earned money for her expenses in Hawaii.During the week prior to travelling to Kauai, Christina visited Oahu. While there, she was given her “good luck” paddle, and introduced to pickleball, by Richard and Charlotte Aipa (former Kauai residents). She fell in love with the game, enjoyed all the pickleball people she met, and wanted more of the same fun while on Kauai. Christina found lodging at a Kapaa hotel, discovered a pickleball group at Kapaa’s public tennis courts, and was welcomed by players there. They were kind and patient, and with their help, she continued to better her pickleball skills. She played at Hanapepe public tennis courts on another day of her stay. She played and improved her pickleball skills there, as well.

She found the Hanapepe pickleball players to be as kind and friendly as those in Kapaa. Her interactions on the island has her wishing that she could find a Kauai job and live here full time. Having enjoyed Kauai pickleball, as much as she did, Christina is hoping to introduce this game to people in her home town. Never having known about pickleball before her Hawaii trip, she now wants to share her knowledge within her German home town.  Since there are no pickleball facilities where she lives, Christina plans to request that her community center purchase necessary equipment to promote pickleball there.

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Vikas Bansal and
Ron Wesbecher

Vikas Bansal

Please tell us something about yourself.

My name is Vik. Originally hail from northern India. I have lived in Western Europe, Canada and most recently in the US. Particle Physicist by training but currently work in technology. I love volunteering and traveling. I seek out to play pickleball as much as I can and wherever I can with the paddle in my backpack always.

  

How did you start playing pickleball?

I travelled to Hawaii (Oahu) in Dec. ’20 and someone showed me pickleball. I got very interested in it (only sport I have ever played!) I really picked it up in Kauai in Feb – March ‘21 with bunch of very inviting folks.

Tell us where you play when you visit Kauai, and your experiences while here.

I mostly played in Lihue with a very friendly and fun group. Its always a blast and party mode playing there with local food and produce. Players of almost all ages and skills are seen here. I also played in Kapaa when no play in Lihue, Koloa in some mornings. Koloa has painted pickleball courts and the folks are very friendly and practice paddles line up diligently. I also had fun playing in Hanapepe (the most western courts in the US). You will find folks with a lot of skills and unique styles here.

Why did you become a member of PAK?

When I left Kauai after 2-months of fun stay, I already was part of the club. Just making it formal 😊

Do you have any advice on how we can accomplish our mission?  How are pickleball facilities where you live?

Ease to find pickleball places in Kauai for visitors via web. May be have a pickleball introduction to new comers bi-weekly. I did a road trip in the US in the summer of ’21. I was fortunate to play in many states and experience pickleball across the US from Bainbridge Islands in WA (Origin of Pickleball), to Illinois, New York, Kentucky, Colorado, California and Florida. I saw painted dedicated pickleball courts at many places and make shift courts at others. It was always fun at either place. Currently I am settled in Eastern Washington where we have few outdoor dedicated courts but we do find an indoor baskeball gym that hosts three pickleball nets.

Ron Wesbecher

Please tell us something about yourself.

I’m just a dairy farm boy from Illinois.  I grew up with a herd of 50 Holstein cows, and I couldn’t wait to leave them and go to college.  I got married the first Saturday after I graduated to Alice, who I knew and loved forever.  We have been married 54 years, have two daughters, and 9 grandchildren.  I retired as President of a small bank and taught Vocational Agriculture right out of college.  Our eldest daughter plays pickleball, as do some of her 6 kids. 

 

How did you start playing pickleball?

Someone asked me to play in LeRoy, my hometown.  I may have played once or twice before starting to play at the Lihue courts.  We have owned a condo here since 2009, and visit annually for months, but never really made any real friends here, until pickleball.  I was just made to feel so welcome at Lihue by the players there and made so many friends.  Now, our visits to Kauai are highlighted by pickleball, and visiting with our new family here. 

 

Tell us where you play when you visit Kauai, and your experiences while here.

Lihue at Wilcox school.  Our condo is nearby, and we just feel so comfortable there.  I just marvel at the organization of the play.  Lori Uyeda is the organizer, and she works so hard at letting people know when play is going to happen.  Lots of work must be done because there are no permanent courts that players can just walk on to and play.  Temporary nets must be put up, taken down, rack systems for organizing players on the limited number of courts, balls provided, etc.  Lihue players just love each other, and regularly get together for potlucks and Christmas parties.  The food and fellowship are superb!  Lori is my model for organizing.  I try to copy her back in LeRoy where we are trying to get more people playing the sport, in spite of our snowy weather. 

 

Why did you become a member of PAK?

I believe strongly in their mission, and my good friends are also members.  Back home, we have very decent court surfaces that we can set up nets for pickleball, with the blessing of our county.  However, weather is a factor, and indoor facilities would be preferable.  Kauai is so blessed to be able to play year-round outdoors.  There are so many players now, and they deserve permanent courts dedicated to pickleball.  At Lihue, the cracks are so bad, that we make fun of them as our “third opponent”.  I always wonder why so much money is spent on the walking path and bicycle lanes rather than pickleball courts. 

 

Do you have any advice on how we can accomplish our mission?  How are pickleball facilities where you live?

Kauai is so much more difficult to get anything done, but I am willing to help.  I just realized that I may have more close friends here than back home in LeRoy.  All because of pickleball.  I was President of the local bank, and I knew a lot of folks back home, so that is saying a lot about Kauai’s people and the power of pickleball.

Kind words from Ron below....

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Ina Blogg

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Please tell us something about yourself.

Married to George, 3 children, 9 grandchildren, ages 10 months to 7 years old.  We are both retired music teachers in the Illinois public school system.  I play keyboards and George is a professional trumpet player.  Our hobbies are canoeing, golf, camping, cycling and of course, pickleball.  We do a lot of traveling from our home in Waconda, Illinois to visit our grandchildren in Illinois, Texas, and Virginia.  We first visited Kauai in 2009, and now come once a year and stay for three and a half months.  While here we play a lot of golf at “Kuks” (Kukuiolono Golf Course) and pickleball at various venues and visit the many friends we have made on island. 

 

How did you start playing pickleball?

Years ago, I was paddling outrigger canoes on Kauai, and my fellow paddler Sabra invited me to play at Kauai Christian Fellowship.I had never heard of the game but showed up even though I am naturally shy.I was immediately embraced by Carol and Don, and they taught me how the game is played, and I was hooked.After leaving Kauai, I did not play the game for a year.When I returned the next year, I had to relearn the game because I forgot all the rules.There was a good laugh about that.I wanted to get better, so I attended clinics at Kaumakani gym with Jack, serving pointers from Eddie, and took advice from anyone that offered it, including Mike from Kekaha.

 

Tell us where you play when you visit Kauai, and your experiences while here.

I play at Kauai Christian Fellowship and Hanapepe.  I used to play at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center when it was open.  I miss the open play at Kalaheo and cannot understand why the gym is no longer available for play because it was so popular.  People on Kauai are friendlier than on the mainland, and I have made so many friends on the courts here.  I am much less shy here than usual, because folks are so nice.  I remember how the KCF players organized a surprise 60th birthday party for me at the courts, with a super potluck lunch.  I was so touched by the gesture.

Why did you become a member of PAK?

Lucia, one of the directors of PAK, texted me that a membership campaign was going on and encouraged me to join.  Now, please understand that I think Lucia is one of the nicest people in the world, and if she asked me to give a million dollars and I had it, I would.  So, I signed up and sent my money in the old-fashioned way by mail.

Do you have any advice on how we can accomplish our mission?  How are pickleball facilities where you live?

I don’t know why Kauai doesn’t have many dedicated pickleball venues.  There are so many players, and they really need places to play.  In northern Illinois, within a short distance from my home there are at least 5 public dedicated pickleball facilities with at least 8 courts each provided by the Parks and Recreation Department.  In addition, there is a private indoor facility (Illinois is not blessed with the weather Kauai has) called Canlan in Lake Barrington, where there are 12 indoor courts.  We pay a per visit fee of $5 by buying a punch card pass and are happy to have the opportunity to play even while it is snowing.  I am hoping that PAK can accomplish its mission while we are still able to play and visit Kauai.  It is truly “Playing in Paradise”.

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