NANAIMO — A full parking lot at Oliver Woods Community Centre is usually a sign that there's an election or community meeting going on.
But this past weekend the lot was full for the Nanaimo Pickleball Club's biggest event of the year.
The two day tournament featured about 110 players, mostly from Vancouver Island.
Tournament Director Vic Brice says the players are mostly seniors but they're not grouped by age, they're grouped by skill.
"We had 35 people from town playing and everybody else is from out of town. We had a bunch coming from the Sunshine Coast, people from North Van, one person from Edmonton, and a ton of people from the Island," said Brice.
Video from Sunday's Mixed Doubles Pickleball at Oliver Woods
The skill rankings are 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5.
Precious few are able to reach a 5.0 ranking, but there was one 5.0 female competitor from Victoria.
One of Nanaimo's 5.0 players, Nancy Stern, was out of town and didn't take part in this tournament.
Pickleball combines elements of other racquet sports like tennis and badminton.
This tournament was set up for Men's and Ladies doubles on Saturday and Mixed Doubles on Sunday.
There were a total of eight courts inside Oliver Woods for the weekend.
Peter Brix of Victoria won the 4.5 Men's Doubles on Saturday with his partner Joe Wong.
Brix and Wong (top of screen) winning a point during play on Saturday
He also won the 4.5 Mixed Doubles on Sunday with his wife Damaris Brix.
The Victoria duo has only been playing for a year but they've been elite athletes in racquet sports their entire lives.
That includes Peter playing at an international level in badminton for Canada and the two winning the 45+ Mixed Doubles at the 2012 World Racketlon Championship in Bulgaria.
Speaking immediately after their doubles win on Sunday, Peter Brix says he and Damaris are getting ready to head to Kelowna for the 2018 Canadian National Pickleball Tournament July 6-8.
Although Nanaimo's biggest tournament is over pickleball will continue for the next several months.
The season typically runs from April to November.
There are drop in sessions at Oliver Woods on Mondays and Thursdays and Vic Brice says the new outdoor courts at Beaufort Park are well used.
"Last year the club was successful in co-operation with the City of Nanaimo installing six outdoor courts at Beaufort Park," Brice explained. "On sunny days all six courts will be going and there will be people sitting waiting to play."
Brice says the rules of pickleball are easy, serves are underhand, and the ball has to bounce once on each side of the court.
Players need running shoes and the game is played with a wiffle ball and a paddle.
Everyone can play outside for free while public drop in sessions at Oliver Woods charge a small fee.
To take part in the Nanaimo Pickleball Club booked sessions at the indoor courts at Oliver Woods you have to be a member of the club.
More pickleball information can be found at www.nanaimopickleball.org.
Here's a list of the winners from the June 23-24 Nanaimo Tournament:
Gold: Sally Morten and Elaine Levell (Nanaimo)
Gold: Evie McDonald and Elizabeth Folk (Comox)
Gold: Pauline Davidson and Dawn Dueck (Nanaimo)
Gold: Kerry Savory and Lori Murray (Victoria)
Gold: Alex Hornby and Peter Woolgar (Cortes)
Gold: Daniel Audet and Gurmail Aujla (Lake Cowichan)
Gold: Randy Oben and Scott Davis (Victoria)
Gold: Peter Brix and Joe Wong (Victoria)
Gold: Len Doumont and Marilyn Oldfield (Port Alberni)
Gold: Neil Martin and Jen Hlannon (Saltspring)
Gold: Mark Lucier and Barb Bradford (Duncan)
Gold: Pete Korvin and Anna Edgar (Nanaimo)
Gold: Clay Toresdahl and Debby Simpson (Comox)
Gold: Peter and Damaris Brix (Victoria)
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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