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June 25, 2022

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Indoor pickleball courts open in north-central Vancouver

Business caters to fastest-growing sport in United States

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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7 Photos
Conner Weber, bottom left, returns a volley at Padelhorn in Vancouver. Padelhorn is the first indoor pickleball-only business in Vancouver or Portland.
Conner Weber, bottom left, returns a volley at Padelhorn in Vancouver. Padelhorn is the first indoor pickleball-only business in Vancouver or Portland. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Vancouver and Portland’s first indoor, dedicated pickleball courts opened in a brand new building in north-central Vancouver.

Padelhorn, co-founded by brothers Rod and Rick Dallum, is at 9210 N.E. 62nd Ave. Building A, Suite 110. Padelhorn’s grand opening is at 1 p.m. Saturday, celebrating the facility, which has cutting-edge software that allows it to operate with no employees.

Among six courts, where players young and old smacked perforated plastic balls with paddles over small nets, the Dallum brothers and co-founder Christian Ekhorn looked at their new project. They mentioned that pickleball, a sport similar to tennis but with a smaller court, net and a wiffle-type ball, is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., according to the Sport & Fitness Industry Association.

The sport can be played at many locations in Clark County already, but only on outdoor pickleball courts or indoor multi-use gym courts with boundary lines for other sports, including volleyball or basketball.

Padelhorn has six indoor courts, which are on high-quality sports flooring and top-of-the-line nets. The new building also has heating for the colder days and sliding garage doors for summer.

Padelhorn is also importing what they believe to be the state’s first Padel court: a sport similar to pickleball, but with glass sides to encase the court; it’s basically halfway between racquetball and tennis. The glass has been stuck on shipping containers for months, the brothers said.

The Dallum brothers said they played pickleball a few times in high school, but it fell from their interests until a few years ago when their brothers began playing and invited them. They had a renewed interest in the sport, and around the same time, met Ekhorn, a foreign-exchange student from Sweden who was a senior at Battle Ground High School.

Ekhorn moved back to Sweden, and the three of them began to send emails about opening up the first indoor courts dedicated to pickleball. They named the business Padelhorn because of the sport “padel” and Ekhorn’s last name.

“We’re pretty excited to see how this goes,” Rod Dallum said.

The software for the courts allows users to book reservations online. When they show up, a code allows them access to the court, and an overhead light illuminates their court until the time runs out and the light turns off.

Jake Tapani, 66, founder and president of JRT Mechanical, brought some of his employees to Padelhorn on Friday for an after-work Christmas party.

Tapani said that he has played pickleball for about a year and a half, and it’s easier on his body than tennis.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” he said.

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