NIKE sports bra, $35; nike.comALEXIS BITTAR gold hoop earrings, $125; alexisbittar.com
Play Hard, Rest Easy
PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANKIE BATISTA
BY HEIDI MEEK
If you haven’t heard of pickleball, you will. It now boasts 3.3 million players in the United States. The reason? It’s easy to learn—a beginner of any age can pick it up in one session. The smaller court, slow-moving ball, and mostly doubles format promise the satisfaction of competitive tennis without its physical demands. The sport dates to 1965, when three dads on Bainbridge Island near Seattle used ping-pong paddles, a perforated plastic ball, and a badminton net (soon lowered to the ground) to create a game to alleviate their kids’ boredom with the usual summertime activities. (The name may or may not have been inspired by a family cocker spaniel named “Pickles.”) Determined to make it easy, they standardized the court at 44 feet by 20 feet, raised the net slightly to 34 inches at the center, adopted a Wiffle-like ball, and outlawed tennis’ overhand serves.
Pickleball differs from tennis, however, in a few crucial ways. The server is allowed only one attempt to get the ball in play (no second serves) and teams can only score when they’re serving. Hovering next to the net is outlawed: All players must stay out of the so-called “kitchen,” an area that extends 7 feet back from the net, unless they have to enter it to play a ball.
To facilitate the quick net exchanges, pickleball paddles are much lighter and more maneuverable than tennis rackets. Variously made of wood, graphite, or composite, they can be no longer than 17 inches long and typically weigh 6–9 ounces. Doubles play has some peculiarities to the way score is kept, but the winning side is normally the first to garner 11 points, winning by 2.
After a fast-paced match, cool down on the FunAir Shaded Double Lounger, a versatile piece of outdoor, aquatic furniture that can be used on the beach, in the backyard, on a yacht’s open-air deck, or as a floating recliner. Made of reinforced PVC vinyl, the lounger is equipped with spun fiberglass poles and a stretch Lycra canopy. With an electric air pump, it takes about a minute to inflate, measures almost 7.5 feet long, and weighs just 27 pounds for easy maneuverability and transport.
For seven years, Austin-based FunAir has been a trailblazer of inflatable toys and superyacht accessories, unveiling products for both play (yacht slides, climbing walls, floating playgrounds, sea pools) and relaxation (inflatable daybeds, wave loungers). Superyacht captains regularly consult on new products, fueling innovation and meeting requests for custom inventions. The new double lounger was initially conceived for a superyacht that sails exclusively in the Caribbean. The concept translates for use worldwide, in private coves or calm lagoons, or where shade is highly valued. —Roger Cox and Shaun Tolson
FUNAIR Shaded Double Lounger, $2,875; funair.com
STELLA MCCARTNEY swimsuit, $455; stellamccartney.com
MESSIKA PARIS diamond pendant necklace, $2,950; messika.com
DOLCE & GABBANA sunglasses, $370; dolcegabbana.com
MISSONI HOME beach towel, $265; missonihome.com
The PickleNet Deluxe by ONCOURT OFFCOURT ($406; oncourtoffcourt.com) stands out for its solid build and stuff-in-a-bag portability. If you prefer the stability of a permanent setup but require portability, nothing beats the hefty, 215-pound DOUGLAS PPS-22SQ Premier Portable Pickleball System ($1,399; douglas-sports.com).
Power players gravitate to paddles like the carbon-fiber standout GEARBOX GX5 Power ($140; totalpickleball.com), while competitors wanting the finesse of touch and control often choose a graphite stick like the popular ONIX Graphite Z5 Widebody ($100; totalpickleball.com).
ALO tank top, $68; aloyoga.com
NIKE shorts, $30, and shoes, $180; nike.com