Presidio Wall pickleball hypocrisy heats up in San Francisco

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, but it's become a source of tension in some neighborhoods with debates about where and when to play it.

One dispute over a pickleball court in San Francisco has gone viral because of an online petition. 

The court in question is the court by the Presidio Wall, where the noise of the plastic ball is upsetting some people who live nearby. 

"The noise is just awful! Bang bang bang to your head," said one neighbor who didn't give their name. "It's a more distinct and staccato-sound, than what tennis balls and rackets make."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a woman who lives nearby this court – and who also happens to be the wife of a tech executive and investor – recently circulated an online petition, calling on the city to shut down the 12 new pickleball courts at the Presidio Wall until the city can do an environmental review.

She claimed in the petition that the noise is affecting home values, the environment and residents' way of life.

But she's getting a lot of backlash online, and on social media after it was discovered she has a pickleball court of her own in the backyard of her $36 million mansion.

Pickleballers in the community say it was hypocritical of her to shut down the public courts, while keeping her own.

People wonder why everyone involved can't find a compromise.

"Look at how many people are out there playing," said Helene de Baubingy, who lives in the neighborhood. "That's amazing."

She added: "I can understand the noise factor. Let's just try to work on innovation. We're so good at that here, right?"

Her suggestion: Do something to muffle the sound of the pickleball paddles. There are supposedly certain types of balls and paddle covers that can be used to diminish that pocking noise.

Tamara Aparton, a San Francisco Recreation and Parks spokesperson, said achieving a compromise would be ideal. 

"These neighborhood conflicts are as old as public recreation itself," she said. "People care deeply about their public spaces and our challenge is to balance their competing needs while providing quality recreation for everyone."

Aparton said the city is adding new pickleball courts across San Francisco, which should ease crowding at existing courts. 

In the case of Presidio Wall, she said the park and rec department is working with neighbors "and the pickleball community to find appropriate compromises."

At last check, the petition the woman had circulated, was taken down.