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Our Story

How Pickleball Began in Surf City / Huntington Beach


Established in 2007


In 2007, Les, Diane, Nancy and Shirley began playing at a middle school black top in Huntington Beach. During the first year, they put together a portable net named "RED" rotated bringing the net each week, taped the lines, used unmarked pickleball paddles, and the DuraFast 40 pickleball to play on Saturday mornings in Huntington Beach. 

The first couple of years a small intimate group of 8 pickleball players were "in search of a better playing surface," and in 2007 they found Worthy Park basketball courts. 


They were having so much fun they extended the invitation to their family and close friends, with each passing year, they grew to 16, to 24 to 36 to 54 on a busy day, and all pitched in to purchase the additional nets and balls, and rotated the task of storing and bringing the nets to accommodate the crowds on Saturday mornings. Through cooperation they they found the true essence of sport, volunteerism, and patience over power.  


Creating regular play, and and experimenting with a variety of rotations to accommodate the large numbers, all skill levels, they now dedicated their time to help NEW players get started by explaining the rules, "rules review."  This is how it began, and over the course of five years the City of Huntington Beach was the first city to paint pickleball lines/courts to be shared with basketball.    


Pickleball was a little known sport, so in 2013 the name Surf City Pickleball was founded by Diana Abruscato to give credibility to the sport, and to open up the invitation to our Huntington Beach Surf City community.  Most folks had never played before, so each week the original 4 players would rotate to volunteer to welcome new people, players, visitors from all over. As the group grew, volunteers established an inclusive learning environment where community could feel comfortable learning without feeling pulled into experienced games. The intimacy of the group was feathering, this created the need for basic rules, etiquette and sportsmanship signs to help folks navigate their way to play comfortably. 


Over the next few years, the game was expanded on additional play day (Wednesdays) by 3 volunteers (Izzy, Diana, Craig) for 5 years. We carted our supplies from an unused storage bin weekly days a week. The ultimate goal was to "have the courts filled everyday all day." We had a long way to go to accomplish this goal. This meant folks had to buy their own nets, and play on various days as not to stand in enormous wait lines and expand play opportunities.   

2014 4th of July Parade partnering with HBCOC
"RED" Net 
Nancy showing a visitor how to hold a paddle.
Cleaning up
Setting up portable net!
Packing  Up

To help set the tone of this welcoming and friendly inclusive cooperative environment, a volunteer sought input to create cooperative play environment to follow the rules, cooperate, patience and flexibility. All attributes of an athlete, this is an extension of the vibe beyond the game, that also extends to a playing "environment" that makes it safe for all, and all to feel comfortable. This semi-structure accommodates all levels, all abilities, families, youth, and importantly players with special needs. This particular established semi- structure accommodates everyone equally with no advantage given over one skill or the other, and no self interest, just pure philanthropy for the community. This is the heart and soul and how Surf City Pickleball came to exist and will always embrace the founding premise of volunteering. 


In 2014, a request for (8) dedicated, permanent lighted pickleball courts at Worthy Park was submitted and and presented. We have arrived!  The basketball courts were removed, and painted over and dedicated pickleball courts installed as part as part of the new development at Worthy Park in 2017.

Diane & Nancy passing the Torch to Diana 
Diana & Izzy
Les is an original player from 2007! 

Over the course of 13 years Surf City Pickleball participation exposure had grown exponentially. In 2016 Surf City Pickleball was NOW host of the Annual Surf City Pickleball Tournament which is USAPA Sanctioned completely operated by ALL VOLUNTEERS keeping in line with the philanthropy of how pickleball began in Surf City USA. It is beyond the passion of the sport, however, community, fair play, and following the rules with revered patience.


Worthy Park is the first park in Huntington Beach and continues to be a point of interest on 17th & Main Street.  It holds a special place in our hearts as front and center on 17th and Main for our families, friends and visitors alike. That is why Surf City Pickleball Society continues to provide a warm, welcoming and inclusive environment, and an entry point for many, while accommodating  the World who come to see us! 


"Get creative, look for a open viable space, bring your own net, tape, paddles and balls and set up!" Keep it organic and watch it grow!    


While this history could not be accomplished without the commitment over the years from a vast number of community volunteers, and supporters, we thank you for your continued efforts in supporting the "spirit of the sport" in which it was originally founded in Surf City. Always know, this could not be done without the "you" the volunteer! 


The foundation has been set for 13+ years in Surf City and a platform such as, the Surf City Pickleball Society has been established to meet the ever changing environment. While always striving that flexibility, etiquette, sportsmanship, cooperation, volunteerism remains at the forefront of all that we do! 




City Manager's Newsletter

2014  - Approved

Published in 2016

 Future Considerations 

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