Not quite tennis and not quite squash but a beautiful hybrid of the two, the sport is known as Padel, and it’s universally referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world, with more than 10 million people participating in over 60 countries. Now Africa Padel is giving those on the African continent the opportunity to be part of the global phenomenon.
Padel Africa describes the sport as a mixture between “tennis with walls” and “squash in the sun”. Padel is currently most popular in Spain, Sweden, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Mexico and with the World Padel Championship scheduled for 2021, we may be looking at a new addition to the 2024 Paris Olympics!
View this post on Instagram
The most important skill to poses in a game of padel is not strength or speed but match-craft, as points are won through strategic play. Padel is played predominantly in a doubles format on an enclosed court, boxed in by walls of glass and metallic mash about a third of the size of a tennis court. The rules are mostly the same as tennis, although you serve underhand and the walls are used as part of the game like with squash.
The resulting gameplay from this mash-up of tennis and squash leads to long and exciting rallies, as the walls prevent the ball from going out of play and so points are harder to win through brute force. The explosion in the growth of the sport is a combination of the fact that while it’s a great workout, it’s also low impact and easy on the body whilst remaining highly competitive and incredibly social.
The clubs provide the social aspect of Padel Africa, where both players and spectators are encouraged to network and socialise while enjoying themselves through the game. There is also a Padel Africa social app, that players can utilise to connect with one another, manage bookings, log their sessions and keep up to date with international news and statistics.
There are five different Padel Africa clubs in Cape Town that you can visit. You can book to play once-off or become a member. The courts can be found at the following locations.
- V&A Waterfront
- Fish Hoek
The gear used for Padel also differs slightly from the gear used in tennis or squash. A padel racket is short, stringless and has an elastic face surface perforated by a pattern of holes. The top brands are Adidas, Head, Wilson, Nox, Bullpadel and Babolat.
Padel shoes are similar to tennis shoes but provide ankle support and rubber reinforcements to provide durability.
Padel balls have less pressure, so the ball bounces less than a tennis ball, and they are also slightly smaller and softer than tennis balls.
Africa Padel’s vision is cast not only over South Africa but the entire African continent. The South African-Swedish business consortium responsible for this new and exciting sport wish to keep up with the pace of its international growth on South African and African soil.
Visit Africa Padel to find out more about court bookings, memberships, gear and the nuances of the rules, or download the Padel Africa App and set up your player profile.
Picture: Picture: @africapadel / Instagram