Nude pickleball is … er, um … busting out all over.
Naturist resorts from coast to coast are finding out that nudists want more pickleball – just like the majority of people who don’t do their dinking in the raw.
Nude pickleball is beating the pants off its competition.
Clothing-optional resorts are advertising their pickleball facilities, holding tournaments, and putting in more courts to meet the demand.
Mike Sullivan is a USA Pickleball ambassador and a resident of Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.
“Pickleball is the biggest sport here by five times,” Sullivan said.
Pickleball at Cypress Cove began modestly 14 years ago when a couple visiting from England drew chalk lines on the two tennis courts there.
Five years later, the resort had its first two pickleball-dedicated courts. Five years ago, those two courts multiplied into six, and today pickleball is the most popular recreational pursuit at Cypress Cove, with 172 dues-paying nudists playing there seven days a week.
“Nothing else comes close,” Sullivan said. “Tennis is dying. Most of them have died off or hurt their knees. I think they have eight people left.”
The only recreational pursuit other than pickleball that is holding its own at Cypress Cove is cornhole, a bean-bag tossing game that is similar to horseshoes.
“That’s just a drinking game,” Sullivan said. “They play four hours a week, and it’s scheduled around happy hour. We play pickleball all the time.”
Sullivan is arranging home-and-away pickleball matches with other Florida nudist resorts and getting ready for his community’s July 4th pickleball tournament, which is called the “Clothing Independence Day Tournament.”
The nudist resort keeps cultivating new players with ball machines to practice drills, lessons and encouragement.
“We tell people, just bring your tennis shoes. We provide the paddles and the balls,” Sullivan said.
People who play pickleball in the nude say that it’s much more comfortable than playing while clothed. There’s no sweaty, clinging clothing to deal with, and it’s easier to cool down after playing a few games.
“As with anything nude vs. clothed, it’s the feeling of the sun and the wind on your body and the freedom of it,” said Larry Ford, who owns the Clothing Optional Home Network, and operates from the Alpenglow Ranch, a nudist bed-and-breakfast resort in Bend, Oregon.
Alpenglow Ranch put a pickleball court in the middle of its 50 secluded acres about five years ago. The resort has a gated entrance and a quarter-mile driveway to afford nude pickleballers an extra measure of privacy.
“It’s very recreational play here,” Ford said. “The host couple plays 4.0 pickleball, but it’s not competitive play. And our guests love to be able to play nude.
“A lot of people book here just to play nude pickleball.”
Back in Florida at the Eden RV Resort, a nudist camping spot in the Pasco County community of Hudson, about 30 people play clothing-optional pickleball every day, said general manager Tracy Pangburn.
The resort’s one pickleball court isn’t enough, Pangburn said.
“We’re putting in a second court,” she said. “I had to get rid of the shuffleboard to make room for pickleball.”