Pickleball in the sky with the Goodyear Blimp

Pickleball in the sky with the Goodyear Blimp

SAN CLEMENTE, CA - Anna Leigh Waters, Jay Devilliers, and Catherine Parenteau scored the chance to enjoy a ride on the Goodyear Blimp on Wednesday ahead of the inaugural CIBC PPA Finals in Southern California.

Come Championship Sunday, the Goodyear Blimp will enter the airspace above the Life Time Rancho athletic resort in San Clemente, making the first time it will provide aerial coverage of a professional pickleball tournament.

Admittedly, Waters was a little nervous ahead of the blimp experience.

“When I was walking up the steps, I was like ‘Anna Leigh, don’t be clumsy, don’t fall as you’re getting into the blimp,’” said Waters with a laugh.

The blimp soared over downtown Los Angeles, and the pros even got to see the Hollywood Sign from the sky.

“It almost felt like a ride when we were going up and down, but when we were at the top, it was really smooth,” remarked Waters. “I’ve driven past the blimp before in Florida, and I always thought it was cool because it goes to all the big sporting events. It’s so cool that it’s coming to the PPA this weekend. Hopefully, when I’m playing in a match, I can look up and see it in the air, but just getting to ride in it was super cool.”

Devilliers was equally excited about the unique opportunity.

“I’ve never been in a blimp before, so I was really excited and we had a great time,” said Devilliers.

A mini pickleball was court assembled inside the blimp, so Waters and Devilliers went head-to-head.

“We were dinking and I think he hit me in the face once with a ball,” said Waters. “He was intense, but it was fun.”

Enjoyment aside, Waters sensed that Devilliers was actually a little hesitant about the flight.

“He was low key freaking out,” claimed Waters. “He kept making comments to make me think he was nervous.”

“I’m not going to lie, there were some moments that were pretty scary,” shared Devilliers. “I have to say she was pretty scared, too. She was scared that we were gonna die at some point several times, so I feel like she was as nervous as I was.”

Waters and Devilliers ultimately overcame their respective fears and embraced the once-in-a-lifetime trip.

They're looking forward to seeing the Goodyear Blimp again to close out the weekend.

“The Goodyear Blimp being here is great. The sport needs more awareness still than what we have now,” insisted Devilliers. “More people need to know what professional pickleball is, so I think Goodyear flying around and promoting us is a great step for PPA.”