Pickleball Craze Has Hit WHB


Brody Schaffer, Staff Writer

Summertime is coming and pickleball courts will be packed in Westhampton Beach.

Pickleball has been around for generations dating back to 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington. Three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum  – are credited for creating the game. Pickleball has evolved from original handmade equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout the US and the world. 

Pickleball’s popularity grew during the pandemic, and it has become very popular with WHBHS. The competitive games around WHB are growing. 

Senior Aidan McCauley says he likes “the intensity and competitiveness of the game.”  He started playing pickleball after the Laube family invited him to play.  He said, “My love for the game flourished from there.” 

His best move is his “two handed backhand.” He says, “My most deadly weapon is my serve.”

Senior Avery Merrihew also likes “the high intensity, teamwork and how there’s so many weird rules like baiting others and talking trash.”

His interest in pickleball started at the high school.  “When I first started playing pickleball in gym with Scotty [Leogrande]..I just knew it was love at first touch.”  

Avery added his most deadly move is “the double steak bowl chipper spike; it’s essentially just a hard hit that sometimes doesn’t work.”

According to both Aidan and Avery, senior Chance Brindle is WHB’s toughest opponent. Avery says Aidan is his toughest. “He is so awful that it actually hurts to play against him.”   But Avery points out, “I have never lost a game to McCauley.”

Check out pickleball at The Barn in Westhampton, which has  six tournament-level pickleball courts ready and is open to anyone. Locally, the Westhampton Country Club has four pickleball courts with rackets there to use for members. Lastly, Hamptons West Park  in WHB (near the air base) with five courts. An indoor facility will be coming soon to Riverhead.