Pickleball, the racket sport that has recently sky rocketed to popularity, has landed a new home base in Santa Monica.

Earlier this month, the Santa Monica Tennis Center opened a new pickleball facility at its 2501 Wilshire Boulevard location. Dubbed the Santa Monica Pickleball Center, it offers courts, the largest pickleball retail shop in the LA area and individual and group lessons. Santa Monica Tennis Center Owner and Founder Jon Neeter partnered with longtime friend and internationally ranked pickleball enthusiast, and now Director of Pickleball at the center, Julio Rivera to make the vision a reality.

“Right now there’s just exponential growth in the sport and he [Rivera] said ‘you should check out this pickleball thing, it’s going to be big,’” Neeter said. “And the pandemic of course accelerated the growth of pickleball, as well as tennis– they both grew a lot.”

So, when the space next door to the Tennis Center became available, Neeter said he did not hesitate to take it over and convert it into the pickleball center. He said the reception from the community so far has been “overwhelming,” a response Rivera credits to the accessible nature of the sport.

“Pickleball is very community based and the inclusivity of the sport allows an easy way to enter the sport and play the game and the community gets very big fast,” Rivera said. “It’s just very inclusive, people from all ages can play, you can have your family all play – it doesn’t take intensive training to go out and play… it just gives you a variety of options, you can do it with friends or people that you just meet.”

For more information visit: https://www.santamonicapickleballcenter.com/

grace@smdp.com

Grace Adams

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...