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Sticky mess left behind after pickleball tournament leaves some city courts unusable

Tennis courts at the Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park were damaged during a weekend pickleball tournament.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 3:30 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 4:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tennis courts at the Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park were damaged during a weekend pickleball tournament ― and now players are concerned about the potential safety hazard.

Organizers of the inaugural Pacific Rim Pickleball Cup say it was a successful event, but the tournament left a mark no one expected. Gooey adhesive from peeling bright yellow tape put down for the tournament is causing concern.

“We’re here several times a week today, for example, we changed courts three times to get a court that we could actually play on,” tennis player Joan Crete said.

Regular players say they were shocked that tape from last weekend’s pickleball tournament had not been removed. And where it was removed, residue became sticky traps.

“You can run for a ball and hit one of those sticky spots and trip very easily,” tennis player Diane Hiatt said.

“We don’t need accidents. Also just trying to follow which lines we’re playing on. It’s very disorienting,” Crete added.

Tournament organizers with Hawaii Pickleball Oahu say they used a tape designed for pickleball play that’s been used for five years without issues.

“We tested on three other city and county parks prior to our event,” said Donna Fouts, of Hawaii Pickleball Oahu.

But when they tried to remove the tape after the tournament, pieces of the court’s surface came off with it.

“We stopped all and decided the best thing to do at this point was to stop lifting, leave some courts with the tape on,” said Fouts.

She said she asked the city Parks and Recreation Department if she should continue removing the residue and remaining tape, but was advised not to do anything further.

Fouts believes the courts’ surface was flawed to begin with and says she’s waiting for direction from the city.

A city parks spokesman said they’re holding the organizers’ $600 deposit and getting a repair estimate for resurfacing the courts. He asked park users to be patient.

Court user Ilene Samson said the space is very busy.

“We have now six courts that are playable out of 20,” Samson said.

Players want the city to do more to accommodate both tennis and pickleball players, such as creating courts with blended lines so tape won’t be needed.

“We are so sorry. Secondly, we want to work with you. We want to try to get a workable solution, I want to get them back out in those courts as quickly as possible,” Fouts said.

“It happened on our watch, and we are willing to help and do what’s possible to make it right.”

Meantime, the Department of Parks and Recreation is asking for feedback through a survey and public hearing at Kapolei Hale on June 28 on commercial tennis and pickleball lessons at its courts.

To join the virtual Zoom meeting, follow this link.

The public survey can be filled out by clicking here until 4:30 p.m. on July 5.

For more information, the pickleball court website is at bit.ly/OahuPickleball and the dedicated tennis court website is at bit.ly/OahuTennis.

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