Aspen Kern freely admits to being addicted to pickleball! He has competed with some of the best pickleball players of all time, and I hear Aspen makes a terrific doubles partner. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2015 USAPA Nationals VII, Men's Open Doubles - Bronze with Brian Ashworth
2015 USAPA Nationals VII, Men's Doubles 19+ - Silver with Matt Staub
2013 USAPA Nationals V, Men's Doubles 19+ - Gold with Wesley Gabrielsen
2011 USAPA Nationals, Open Men's Singles - Bronze
2015 Fall Brawl, 5.0 Men’s Doubles 19+ - Gold with Matt Staub
2015 LeMaster-Davison Classic, 5.0 Men's Doubles - Gold with Enrique Ruiz
2015 Grand Canyon State Games, 5.0 Men's Doubles - Silver with Steve Wong
2013 Grand Canyon State Games, Men's 5.0 Doubles Silver with Dan Gabanek
2014-2015 Grand Canyon State Games, Men's Doubles 19+ - Gold 2014/2015 with Steve Wong
2013 with Chris Miller
What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Paddletek Tempest Graphite. It is a well-balanced paddle and Paddletek is a great to work with as a company sponsor.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
Eight years ago I was introduced to Pickleball at the Santa Barbara RV Park. I was 15 and my family were full-time RVers. We were there for the famous Rancho Oso fires and I remember playing pickleball and using the ashes on the court to determine if a ball was in or out. After Santa Barbara we would only pick RV parks that had pickleball courts. That's how fast I became addicted.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I prefer outdoors, especially in the winter here in Phoenix. I don't mind indoors as long as the surface is textured and not meant for another sport.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I prefer doubles. Singles is just small tennis to me and not what makes the sport so special. The strategy and speed are greater in doubles and the partnerships on both sides of the net are what I believe is the reason the sport is growing so fast.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
I enjoy playing at La Camarilla in Scottsdale, AZ. It has a resort feel to it and the people are the most friendly I have found. Any tournament that offers cash prizes is my second favorite place to play.
What’s your 'secret sauce'? Any tips for players?
Secret sauce is probably Alfredo, preferable on fettuccine with a nice salad and glass of house wine... Actually I think I am known for my spin on the ball. I use a variety to keep the opponent guessing and it makes it more fun having a wider variety of shots to use. A tip to players would be to use your footwork to keep the distance from your body to the ball as consistent as possible to have a repeatable motion when hitting.
What’s your day job?
My day job and my night job is pickleball! I told you I was addicted.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play about 15 hours a week in the summer and closer to 20 hours in the winter. Did I mention I was addicted?
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
My goal has been the same for 8 years, I want to be the best pickleball player in the world, or at least in my neighborhood! Did I mention I am humble?
Thanks, Aspen, for sharing some of your pickleball 'addiction' story with us. Best of luck to you in your future competitions!