Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Local Pickleball Champs

Cara Safro and Marshall Pura competed in Palm Dessert Pickleball Tournament
Cara Saffro and Marshall Pura competed in Palm Desert pickleball tournament

Local Pickleball players Cara Saffro and Marshall Pura competed in last week’s Palm Desert Games in Palm Desert, coming super close in the mixed doubles division before losing to the team that won a silver medal. Marshall, local Pickelball ambassador for the game, won the gold medal in men’s singles in the over-70 division.

“We played really great teams,” said Cara Saffro. “They never missed a shot.”

The Palm Desert Games is the largest pickleball tournament in California, with more than 300 participants in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

In case you haven’t heard of it, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country, according to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). The game is played on a small, hard court about the size of a paddle tennis court, with a light-weight paddle and ball. The game combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. At the most competitive levels, the best players have mastered the finesse shot, known as the “dink.” The game is designed to reward players who can hit the soft shots as well as the “kill” shots consistently, master the art of keeping the ball in play until they can hit a clear winner. The USAPA website offers instructions, rules, strategy tips, etc.

Saffro and Pura play at the Los Angeles Tennis Club’s pickleball court. They play twice a week with a rotation of guests and LATC players including John and Linda Hadley, Joanne Consolo, Jay Lichtman, Shelagh Callahan, Margaret Shipman and this writer.

This story was updated on February 29, 2016 to correct the spelling of Cara Saffro.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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