Pickleball and padel arrive to fanfare on Stockton Campus

Pacificans and the public descended on the world’s first pickleball and padel complex on a college campus Feb. 23 for a grand opening, ribbon-cutting and day of playing and watching the United States’–and the world’s–fastest-growing sports.

The eight pickleball and four padel courts at the facility adjacent to the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center were filled with students, regents, faculty, staff and others, some trying the popular sports for the first time. About 200 people attended the ceremony.

And now the facility is open daily and ready for action.

Community members can reserve courts during the day using the Playbypoint app and searching "Taktika Padel Stockton." Pacific students, faculty and staff will have exclusive, free access daily from 6 to 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Equipment can be rented free of charge at the facility.

Men’s tennis player Riley Hillenbrand ’26 said his teammates are embracing pickleball and padel and even using them in training regimens.

“The sports serve two purposes because both are fun to play and they can help your tennis game, too,” he said. “We incorporate volleying into our tennis training. The new courts are a great addition to our (racket sports) complex.”

Ribbon Cutting

First Lady Jean Callahan, Regent Janet Rogers, Founder and Chairman of Taktika Padel Gabriel Perez Krieb, Board of Regents Chair Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt and President Christopher Callahan cut the ribbon.

Last year, Pacific President Christopher Callahan announced the university had partnered with San Diego-based Taktika Padel to build the facility on the northwest corner of campus. He is pleased to see the effort come to fruition.

“Today we are unveiling a complex that does not exist on any college campus in the United States or, for that matter, the world,” Callahan said. “What you are seeing is the brainchild of my friend Gabriel Perez Krieb, founder and chairman of Taktika Padel.”

Krieb shared praise for Callahan and the Pacific team that made the complex a reality in little more than half a year.

“I have been to facilities all over the United States and I would venture to say this is one of the best built. This is a trailblazing effort, to be sure,” Krieb said. “These are sports for everyone. These are designed to be very social sports. People from 4 years old to 70 are playing the sport and playing it well.”


Students try out new padel courts

There are an estimated 8.9 million pickleball players nationwide and is it is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Padel, the world’s fastest-growing sport, has an estimated 30 million players in more than 90 countries.

David Lim ’27 anticipates the complex will have immediate appeal for Pacific students.

“I have played both of these sports in addition to tennis,” Lim said. “Pickleball and padel can be competitive, but not overly so. They are the type of sports that anyone can learn and enjoy. I know I will be using the courts a lot.”

Board of Regents Chair Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt said university leadership is pleased with the thought process that brought this project together.

“We are expanding our horizons and thinking about impactful things we can do outside the normal higher education box,” she said.