Canterbury Area Pickleball festival – a day of firsts!

Elise and Matt reflect on a thoroughly enjoyable day of pickleball at the first Canterbury Area Pickleball festival and our first trade stand and paddle demo court. Hopefully the first of many to come..

Preparing for our first trade stand at Canterbury pickleball festival felt very different to what we are used to with Bribar table tennis. We are very experienced with trade stands, having done them on the table tennis circuit for many years, but this being our first pickleball trade stand, we had to make sure we were catering for all levels/abilities.

We thought it would be a good idea for us to put together a paddle demo set, so that people entering the festival, albeit beginners to the most experienced players, had the chance to try the latest pickleball equipment before buying. We found this very useful in the table tennis world, people don’t like to buy blind, they much prefer to try before they buy. 

This being said, we took a total of 22 demo paddles with us, ranging from beginner paddles at £39.99 going all the way up to advanced paddles at £179.99. We had lots of interest in the demoing of the paddles, people mainly trying the £50-£100 paddles price range. 

With us being relatively new to pickleball, we haven’t got the same level of experience as we do with the table tennis side, but that being said, we are doing lots of research and paddle testing to bring our knowledge up to speed as fast as we can. This is why the paddle testing is a great idea as we got to get different feedback from different players of different levels.

How did the paddle demo works:

  1. Come choose a paddle to try or ask our team @Pickleball Complete for advice
  2. Have a go with it for a couple of games,
  3. loved the paddle? you can purchase a brand new one,
  4. Not for you? bring it back and try another!

Our trade stand ended up being quite large and us bringing more equipment than what was needed. We always try and bring as many products to events as we can, to ensure we cover everyone’s needs and requests. I think this was appreciated by the picklers in the festival as we sold a bit of everything.

We managed to sort a few people out with injury supports as they had a few niggles, people with towels due to the heat and re-gripping people’s paddles with different kinds of grips, due to their old grips wearing out or the heat of them slipping and needing the non-tack dry feel grip from Vulcan.

We also had unbranded paddles available to borrow for the day, to anyone who wanted to give pickleball a go for the very first time.

Our colleague Ron, serious table tennis player, took part in a 1 hour taster session. When we asked if he enjoyed he said: Having never played, it was great to have some coaching. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was harder than I thought. I look forward to play Pickleball again.

Throughout the day Elise had a chance to play a few games. “I play once to twice a week in local clubs. I know most of the picklers there so the idea of entering the festival felt a bit scary to me as it was taking me out of my comfort zone. But I quickly realised that I had nothing to worry about. The atmosphere was incredible. Players were all very friendly, cheerful and supportive. If I have the opportunity, I will enter again. I might even consider entering the English Nationals this October”.

At the end of the event, the raffle organised by CAP was drawn of which one lucky winner received a Paddle Candle Sugar Skull paddle donated by Pickleball Complete.

Well done to Lisa from CAP and her team for organising such a great event and for raising $436.91 to the Friends of Thai Daughters charity.

And a big Thank you to David Wood, Kent county representative, for all his help and advice throughout the day, both on and off our trade stand.

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