Gifts for Pickleball Fans - Essential Must-Haves

Pickleball is America's fastest-growing sport!

Did you know pickleball is America's fastest-growing sport? If you haven't tried it, I'm sure you know someone who has, especially if you live in Southwest Florida. It's extremely big here with almost every community having pickleball courts or are planning to add them. 

In 2020, 4.2 million people played pickleball in the U.S., up from 3.46 million in 2019, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2021 Topline Participation Report. That’s a whopping 21.3% increase from 2019 to 2020, the highest of any U.S. sport.

Why is Pickleball becoming popular?

Although pickleball originated in 1965, its popularity didn’t truly surge until a few years ago. In recent years, more and more people have taken up pickleball for a variety of reasons. It’s affordable, easy to learn, fun for all ages and played year-round in most places. Basically, it's a mix of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. The court is smaller than a tennis court too, so less running, but still, lots of movement to keep you active and fit. That’s what makes it one of America’s fastest-growing sports!

Pickleball Gift Guide Essentials 

Pickleball Gift Guide - Essential Gear for Picklers

If you’re a beginner or an advanced player thinking about picking up pickleball, there are just a few things you’ll need. Obviously, you need an official USAPA-approved pickleball paddle, and a pickleball (similar to a Wiffle ball), but you also need supportive shoes and a great bag to carry all your essentials. 

Here are my top recommendations for all of the above:

Selkirk's Invikta Vanguard 2.0 Pickle Ball Paddle

Selkirk's popular Vanguard line includes high-performance pickleball paddles. You'll often see them being used by picklers that have been playing the sport for a while, novices looking to up their game, and by the pros. Great for third-shot drops and improved dinking. 

Made here in the U.S.A., the Carbon Fiber (utilized by leading spacecraft companies!) featured in the VANGUARD 2.0 face delivers superlative speed, consistency, and maximum spin.

I opted for their lightweight model and it feels like I'm barely holding anything at all. The grip is cushiony and has enhanced wicking, so it won't slip out of your hands no matter how intense the match or temperatures outside. It's also available in several colors (I chose red/crimson), but best of all, it comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.  The cost is $199, but worth the investment since you'll have it forever. 

HEAD 2022 Radical Tour Pickleball Paddle

Another great option is The Radical Tour GR, made for the powerful player who needs stability as well. In addition to its graphite-hitting surface, it features the new Control Stabilizer Technology for added stability during powerful rallies. HEAD's Graphite Hitting Surface combines a crisp feel and more control for added touch, while the Comfort Grip System ensures a tremendous feel and enhanced vibration dampening. The cost is a little less too at $134.

K-Swiss Pickleball Sneakers

Now you need the right shoes for excellent traction and durability on hard court surfaces, indoor or out. The popular K-Swiss shoemaker has a selection of sneakers for both men and women that are designed specifically with pickleball in mind. 

I have a pair of their Express Light Pickleball shoe in pink, but teal, grey and white color options are also available for $105. The Express Light Pickleball was created to give players a comfortable, lightweight, breathable shoe that supports on-court movement and performance needed for the sport. It is an all-around shoe, perfect for the new or frequent player. Included on the shoe is a K-Swiss Pickleball logo and customized Pickleball sockliner. Ideal for hard court or clay court playing surfaces.

Dona Jo Clothing 

How adorable is this skort and collared top from activewear company Dona Jo? 

Not only is it stylish and colorful, but it's light, breathable and so comfortable. I have my eye on several other of their prints too. 

Sucipi Pickleball Sling Bag/Backpack for Men and Women

You'll also need a bag to fit all your gear. I found this one Amazon for under $30 and I'm very happy with it. It's available in several colors and patterns too, not just the floral one that I chose. 

It comes with a fence hook that keeps your bag lifted off the ground and away from germs, dirt and bugs. There is a pocket for your paddle, balls, a water bottle holder and other zipper enclosures to hold your keys, wallet, etc. too. I love that it combines function and fashion, making you a champion on and off the court. It's a great gift for mom, nana, or any player. 

Pickleball Suction Cup Retriever 

Simply add this pickleball ball retriever to the bottom of your paddle to pick up loose balls without bending down. Great for new players, seniors, players with limited mobility, knew problems, arthritis and anyone who wants to spare their back from the chore of picking up balls. Fits all standard pickleball paddles. Perfect stocking stuffer. 

Water Bottle from Well Told

Make sure to hydrate! Stay refreshed and inspired with Well Told’s Map Insulated Water Bottle. 

It's not just any water bottle though, but a personalized one as it comes etched with a detailed map of your favorite U.S. city or town for a uniquely personal and eye-catching beverage container. 

Perhaps you want Bainbridge Island etched since that's where Pickleball was founded, your hometown or where you play pickleball now like Estero, Naples, etc. The world's the limit ;) Price: $34.50

More Recommended Pickleball Gear Options:

Further Reading: My article in Estero Life Magazine Are you a pickler?

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