Tell us about your history with Pickleball and how you became passionate about it.
Mino: I trained as a tennis player — playing 20 years of competitive tennis, but was sidelined during covid with an injury. Pickleball was a way to remain competitive and social without as much pain. I have grown to love it so much so, that I rarely play tennis now. I enjoy it because it's fast-paced, a new challenge, and a super fun community of players who are all equally addicted. On any given day, you can find a match on this island.
Ryan: My history with Pickleball was born out of Covid! It was a sport that everyone got into with the lockdown. In Hawaii especially, there was nothing to do other than surf, so it was a great outlet, and all of my friends decided to try it one day.
What do you like to share with people about Pickleball on Maui?
Mino: We can play year-round, its super fun, and when you find your players of a similar level, you can push each other to improve. Maui allows for year-round play, and with our various weather zones, you can find a clear court to play on somewhere on the island daily.
Ryan: The entry barrier to the game is almost nonexistent. It's such an easy game to learn that everyone should try it.
What is something people might not know about Pickleball on Maui?
Mino: Maui Country Club has courts in the most beautiful setting; Makena has the best courts, but it's hard to get in the gate as it’s a private member club. Kula Community Center has a group that plays every Tuesday/Thursday at 8-11 am and they welcome all levels. The Kihei Courts, at Waipuilani Park are happening every day with visitors joining in and bringing fun at all levels of play. The courts are in disrepair, so be careful.
Ryan: Our social circles are so tight yet so connected that the sport is perfect for connecting everyone, both locals and visitors. There are courts everywhere, both public and private. It's the weather! You can play 365 days a year! It doesn't matter where you live or stay on the island; there's a court!
What are some of the best memories of Pickleball on Maui you have?
Mino: I am still making them! There is a big tournament in January, and the community lines up its partners well in advance. This year’s tournament will be highly competitive and fun. Link to tournament!
Ryan: I love meeting the people traveling the world that play the game. I remember playing one day with my friends, and then 20 minutes later, we played with a guy from Brazil, one from Japan, and one from Canada. Amazing!
What is the pickleball community like in Maui?
Mino: This community is thriving, growing, competitive, friendly, and fun.
Ryan: Maui is so welcoming to the visitors that this sport is perfect for the island.
Where are your favorite courts on the island?
Mino: Maui Country Club (also a private club).
Ryan: I love the Maui Country Club Courts because they are in my backyard. You are literally playing on the beach! You can jump in the ocean right after you play. The Kihei courts are the same, with an even better ocean view!!! You can smell the sea while you are playing. The only other place I played was in Denver and at Congress Park. The people are so cool, and it's like a second home for me. It's a public park with four courts, and plans for more soon. It's all pickup games, so you put your paddle on the fence and wait for three others to join. That's your team. So fun to meet people that way.
What are some of your favorite places in Maui and the world to play Pickleball?
Mino: There is a fun tournament in Bend, Oregon, each summer and multiple tournaments going on across the country year-round. You can find a tournament to travel to every weekend if you want. Of course, we all strive to make the USA Pickleball National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Center in November!
Ryan: My dream would be to play on Bainbridge Island one day, where the sport was invented!