THE sport has only been in Warrnambool for a year but the south-west can now lay claim to having its own national pickleball champion.
Jane Barkla, who represented Warrnambool Pickleball Club at the sport's inaugural championships in Brisbane last weekend, was unsure about her chances before storming to the historic victory.
"Originally there was two people in my category and then they combined almost all of them as there was not many playing in the women's singles," she said.
"Then I was unsure because there was a lot of younger people than me and I wasn't sure of their ability. I had no idea where I stood against anyone else coming from a small club that is totally new."
Barkla, who picked up the sport six months ago and encouraged others to take it up, also featured in the women's, mixed age and mixed gender categories.
Kelvin Robertson also travelled to Brisbane, playing alongside Barkla in mixed aged doubles.
Barkla, who made the easy transition from tennis to pickleball, said there was a number of things she liked about the sport.
"It's a fun game that all ages can play and the skills can be played as simply or as hard as you like but I find the skills can be basic and easy to follow," she said.
"We had an American family who were paid to come over (for the championships), as it's the fastest growing sport in America, and they were just unbelievable.
"They were at an elite level, their skills were awesome and no one was able to match them - they were unbelievable.
"There are also 70 and 80 year olds playing so that's another lovely thing about it. It's a good social sport too."
The unique sport - a mix between between tennis, badminton and table tennis - is played four times a week at the Warrnambool Stadium.
The two-a-side game, which has similar rules to tennis, runs at the stadium from 6pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays and also offers a session at 10am on Wednesdays.
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