Dink ‘n’ Dish serves up pickleball profiles that uncover the heart and soul of the pickleball community, one conversation at a time.
Today we chat with Michael Boraas, the founder of Pickleball Tours, a travel consultancy that brings the joy of pickleball to enthusiasts while curating unforgettable experiences. From European river cruises to Floridian wellness retreats, if you have a group looking to enjoy the sport across the globe, Pickleball Tours is your guide.
After years of working in the corporate world, Michael made a bold career shift, one that many of us pickleball fanatics dream of: starting his own business and even launching a volunteer career coaching platform.
Pickleball Rookie: Introduce yourself. Please include a bit about your pickleball journey.
Michael Boraas: In April 2018, I found a pickleball group through Meetup.com and then went to a Community Education Class playing pickleball on an indoor gym floor in the middle of winter in Minnesota.
PR: Tell us about the very first time you heard the term “pickleball.”
MB: There was a program taking place at a local fitness center, LifeTime. I then reached out to them and inquired about employment opportunities.
PR: What were your initial thoughts when you played pickleball for the first time?
MB: Super fun, social, easy to learn, less intense than tennis, more casual, and a friendly group.
PR: How often do you currently play?
MB: 2-4x a week
PR: What was the motivation for starting Pickleball Tours?
MB: I was in a corporate position but loved the travel aspect. I took a sabbatical and traveled and then retired. After that, I discovered pickleball and launched a travel brand.
PR: What are a few domestic and international travel trends you are seeing?
MB: The game is evolving. When I was very young, tennis was going through a similar explosion, so this is history repeating itself on a smaller court. Tennis in the 1970s was egalitarian, open to all socioeconomic levels, welcoming, and very inclusive. The same is playing out now in pickleball.
PR: Where do you see the sport of pickleball in 10 years?
MB: I hope it doesn’t go in the direction tennis did after the boom, but if it does, I’m afraid we’re already seeing big dollars, corporate control, exclusivity, celebrities, and some pretentious aspects. Americans monetize everything, so while I’m hopeful, I have some doubts.
PR: What advice do you have for anyone on the fence about getting started playing pickleball or an absolute beginner?
MB: No-brainer. Just try it. Go home and think about it and I’ll see you back on the courts. It’s like trying sushi.
PR: If you could make one change to the sport, what would it be?
MB: No change. Keep it where it is, or even travel back 4 years ago.
PR: Where would your dream pickleball match take place? Give us specifics about the destination and why. Dream big!
MB: I went to Dubai this year. It’s insane, and everything is completely over the top ostentatious, pure unbridled avarice. I suppose you could do it there.