On Saturday, July 23rd, 2023 I played pickleball for the first time…

I was instantly obsessed. But when a friend handed me a paddle to play with I immediately had two thoughts: 

  1. This thing is hideous. 
  2. What is this made out of, plastic??

I dove into some research and it only highlighted the issue at hand - it became clear that most pickleball paddles and basically all high performance paddles were manufactured overseas out of energy intensive forms of single use plastic that would all end up in landfills, taking centuries to break down. 

I figured that since pickleball was America’s fastest growing sport, pickleball was probably also America’s fastest growing contributor of single use plastics to landfills.

In Detroit during the summer of 2023 there were many days that outdoor activity was rendered dangerous by the smoke from massive wildfires, and it struck me that the manufacturing of the paddles used to play pickleball was contributing to the environmental conditions that were making it impossible to play outside.

As a woodworker and artist I thought that there must be a way to make a paddle out of wood that would be much better for the environment, and lend the natural beauty of wood to the, frankly, ugly plastic paddles that existed.

There was plenty of precedent for wooden paddles - the very first pickleball paddles ever made were cut from sheets of plywood. That version of a “wooden” pickleball paddle has endured as a low cost, high weight, low performance version of a paddle. Wood had gotten such a bad rap in the paddle world from these basic plywood paddles that wood was essentially synonymous with poor performance. 

But my years of woodworking, furniture design, and fabrication experience led me to an idea for a design of a lightweight, high-performance, hand-made paddle.

18 prototypes later and I am proud to offer the world’s first hollow core wooden pickleball paddle. Not only is the primary material of the paddle a renewable, biodegradable, natural resource - I have also sought out materials for every other part of the paddle that are natural and biodegradable. 

And so our company was born, and my amazing partner was kind enough to lend us her last name for the business, Bigwood. 

We think it only makes sense that athletes of all kinds should be the most concerned about protecting the earth, and it doesn’t hurt to look good while you are doing it. We are just beginning a journey to revolutionizing sustainability in sporting goods, and we are so excited and grateful that you are joining us on this mission!

For more information about our products, materials, and designs please take a look at our blog.

Thank you for your interest and support!


-Forrest Hudes

Founder, Bigwood Sporting Goods, LLC