Made in the Northwest: Selkirk Sport

HAYDEN, Idaho – The sport of pickleball has grown exponentially over the last several years and so, too, has Selkirk Sport, the Hayden company that’s been manufacturing pickleball paddles since 2014.

“It’s been a roller coaster, mostly up,” said co-owner Rob Barnes. “And it’s been a really fun experience to expand as a company and really expand the sport.”

Rob and his brother, Mike, say Selkirk Sport has grown tenfold since its start six years ago. Its 25 employees now make tens of thousands of paddles per year, mostly for serious players.

“Our niche is sort of the premium, higher end and that’s where we’ve been really able to make a mark in the industry,” explained Mike Barnes.

Selkirk Sport is extremely proud of its newest paddle, the Vanguard, which retails at $200 and was just released in late June.

“It gives you low dinks, great drives, consistency, consistent spin and a larger sweet spot overall,” said Rob.

“It’s been a really popular product. A lot of demand,” added Mike. “We actually sold out within the first two hours of launching it in our website.”

The Vanguard is approved by some of the sport’s top pros, including four-time national champ Tyson McGuffin.

And in the COVID era, with social distancing in mind, pickleball is a sport the whole family can enjoy together.

“You’re already kind of naturally six feet from people. You’re outside most of the time,” said Rob.

“People have been putting up nets in their front yards, their street, anywhere they can so they can start playing pickleball,” added Mike.

The Barnes brothers continue to invest in the company with things like CNC machines to cut the paddles and a high tech printer that helps Selkirk Sport keep up with its increasing demand.

“We’re constantly investing in new technology, new materials, new manufacturing processes to make the best products we can,” explained Mike.

But Mike said they also invest in the growth of the sport.

“We have a program where we give paddles away to schools so that they can introduce pickleball in their schools and also the fire departments and first responders.”

And seeing Selkirk Sport paddles in places like the national pickleball championships gives them a great deal of pride.

“Just to see something that we’re making in the U.S. and see that used on the court to win medals and just perform, it’s a very special feeling that’s pretty hard to replicate,” said Rob.

That’s why Rob said Selkirk plans to stick around as pickleball’s popularity continues to grow.

“I think this sport is going to explode to be one of the biggest sports in the world.”