Pickle balls have grown in popularity in the Austin area over the past two years. Pickle Ball is a social sport on a condensed court that combines tennis and table tennis.
In seven years, participation in the sport in the U.S. has nearly doubled to 5 million, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. About 17% of players are 65 and older, while a third of players are under 25.
For Round Rock firefighter Seth Monroe, this presents an opportunity to create a new business.
“It’s suitable for all ages and for all body types, athletic shapes and body types,” he says. “You can be inactive or hyperactive and have success with kimchi.”
With that in mind, Monroe created 002, a brand focused on creating opportunities for kimchi lovers. It hosts kimchi contests, events, and even sells merchandise for the growing sport.
In early 2020, he began hosting tournaments with about a dozen teams.
Now, 002 has nearly 90 teams signed up for each game.
Austin resident AJ Davis plays pickle ball almost every day.
“It’s a great way to feel the community, meet new people and have a good time,” she said.
This weekend, 002 will host its biggest tournament yet. Over 260 people signed up for the second annual Dink and Slam Pickleball Jam.
It will be held all day Saturday and Sunday at the Austin Tennis Center.
This is one of 10 races organized by 002 this year, with more planned for 2023.