SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Padel, a racket sport enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity across the world, will officially land in San Francisco this October with the opening of two courts in Embarcadero Plaza, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Park Padel announced today.
Construction will begin next week on the temporary courts, part of a one-year pop-up by Park Padel. They will be the first padel courts open to the public in Northern California.
"San Francisco is a City that welcomes and celebrates all types of sports and activities, and we will continue to work hard to bring more attractions to our Downtown," said Mayor London Breed. "Adding these courts to Embarcadero Plaza is just one way our public spaces are evolving to meet dynamic new interests. This exciting new recreational opportunity will only add to the vibrancy of Embarcadero Plaza for our residents and visitors to enjoy."
Padel, frequently described as a cross between tennis and squash, boasts 10 million players across the globe. Invented in Acapulco in 1969, padel’s popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic alongside pickleball, as people turned to socially distanced activities. While pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., padel is one of the fastest in the world.
Like pickleball, padel is easy to learn, social, and usually played as a doubles game on a court about a third of the size of a tennis court. However, padel courts are bounded by glass walls, allowing players to hit the ball off multiple surfaces, much like squash.
“With interest in racket sports at an all-time high, we are thrilled to offer the first padel courts open to the public in Northern California,” said Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Our parks and plazas are about fun and connection, and these new courts will offer plenty of both.”
Park Padel, a women and minority-owned business, was started by Jessica Talbert, Neil Chainani and Katie Lampert. The three friends fell in love with the global sports craze while traveling in Spain, which has more than 20,000 courts. They plan to open a permanent, six court indoor padel facility in South San Francisco in spring 2024.
"Padel is an incredibly social sport and a great way to spend time with friends or coworkers. We have no doubt it will become San Francisco's new favorite pastime," Lampert said.
The two padel courts will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Court time will be free from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday but must be booked in advance. Court fees for all other times are $40 per person per hour, or $28 for those who opt for a monthly membership. Seniors are $28 an hour on weekdays. Players will be able to book on parkpadel.com or through the Park Padel mobile app.