Racket over? Oak Bay man hopes to quiet the debate with new pickleball invention

CHEK

The back-and-forth between pickleballers and people sick of the sound may be coming closer to a truce thanks to an Oak Bay man’s invention and a new Langford facility.

Howard Haugom is the co-CEO of Owl Sports Canada and says the Owl paddle is the quietest and best pickleball paddle the sport has ever seen.

“It’s the real deal and it’ll solve a lot of problems,” he says. “It’ll help the neighbourhood problem and it’ll allow the player to play with a clear conscience.”

It was developed out of necessity after Haugom received complaints from neighbours about the sound coming from his home pickleball court. Since the Owl was developed, it’s the only court he and his guests use for their afternoon sessions, and the complaints have stopped.

“It’s the peace paddle,” he says.

Haugom says the Owl paddle delivers decibels at roughly half that of a traditional paddle. The idea started with him a year ago but has taken off with a clever mix of marketing and sports science.

“This is no gimmick,” he says.

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The playability of the racquet is endorsed by athletes like John McEnroe, Tracy Austin and Drew Brees. Shipping is free in Canada and the US for online orders, but Haugom says people on Vancouver Island can get a better deal by shopping locally.

“It’s about $25 less in stores,” he says.

While the decibels have always been divisive, there’s been a push to move the sport indoors. Owners of a new six facility have secured a lease in Langford for the South Island’s first dedicated indoor facility.

“It’s about 15,000 square feet,” says Victoria Pickleball Centre co-founder Brittany Buna. “There are other opportunities to play in rec centres and school gyms, but they’re not dedicated to pickleball.”

Buna says the space at 2950 Westshore Pkwy. will be open in early spring, right around the time Howard Haugom plans on rolling out another product.

“I’ve got a new ball in the works,” he chuckles. For him, it’s about playability and keeping the peace.

“I just don’t give up,” he says.

Jordan CunninghamJordan Cunningham

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