2019 PHOF Inductee

Steve Paranto

Contributor

Steve Paranto

CITIZENSHIP: USA

BORN:  November 7, 1955 in Seattle, Washington

PLAYS: Right-handed

EDUCATION:

  • Eatonville High School, Eatonville, Washington
  • Green River Community College, Auburn, Washington
  • Masters Degree in Education, Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon

MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS:

Steve was one of the driving forces behind the development of the first lightweight composite paddle. As one of the early top competitive pickleball players, Steve and his father, Arlen Paranto, worked together to create a better, more balanced, lightweight paddle.

At the time, Arlen worked for Boeing and was familiar with the lightweight panels used throughout Boeing aircraft. In 1984, he purchased some of this material from Boeing’s surplus store and fashioned the first lightweight paddle. Soon after, Arlen formed the Ultra-Lite Paddle Company and began making the Pro-Lite line of paddles to fill growing demands for this new product. Ultra-Lite was the second company to make and sell pickleball paddles, but it was the only one with composite paddles for the next 14 years. Within a few short years after the introduction of Pro-Lite paddles, almost all pickleball players in the Pacific Northwest were using them in competition. By 2018, over 100 companies were making composite paddles. Almost all mirrored the construction model of the original Pro-Lite paddles. Steve also designed the first oversized “Magnum” paddle.

Background

Steve grew up doing many sports and activities with his dad. Fishing, baseball, basketball, table tennis, tennis, and bowling were favorite activities he enjoyed with both parents. Steve was also an entertainer from a very young age. His dad made him a ventriloquist figure when he was ten years old. Steve started entertaining friends and classmates at school assemblies. That turned into entertaining troops at Fort Lewis before the soldiers were deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. He was the youngest entertainer, performing once a month for the Fort Lewis troops. Steve enjoyed entertaining at home gatherings and public events throughout his adult life.

Steve taught elementary school physical education for 30 years and loved it. He felt it was very important to get kids involved in many physical activities so that those kids could turn into healthy, active adults. Today, he still plays pickleball with one of his early elementary school students. His name is Marty Butler, now age 50, and he teaches at a school near where Steve had him as a student.

Steve credits his love of sports and creativity to his dad, but his competitive nature comes from his mom. She also loved pickleball but hated losing more than anyone. She was known to let a few bad words pop out of her mouth, even during recreational play.

Steve was first introduced to pickleball during his freshman year at Green River Community College in the fall of 1974. He started competing in tournaments that same year. He has been involved in many areas of the pickleball world. Besides his contributions to the development of the first composite paddle, in 2014, he also invented “The Quiet Pickleball Pad,” which made the game a lot quieter. He was also one of the first certified pickleball instructors under IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association.) He is a contributing writer for Pickleball Magazine and has quite a few instructional videos available on the internet. He has produced 23 Pickleball Podcasts (Pickleball Talks with Steve Paranto.) In addition, he helped Onix design two of their top-performing paddles.

Steve promoted pickleball by teaching it as part of the curriculum during 30 years as an elementary school Physical Education teacher.  He also taught pickleball at Green River Community College and as a Certified Instructor for the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA.)   He was heavily involved in running the annual State Games of Oregon in the 1990s into the early 2000s.  In those days, it was the only pickleball tournament in the entire state of Oregon.

L-R Wes Gabrielsen, Arlen Paranto holding the World’s First Lightweight Paddle, Steve Paranto 

Steve is a retired Physical Education Teacher. I taught P.E. for 30 years to elementary-age kids. Pickleball was part of that curriculum!
Final Doubles match of the World’s First Pickleball Championships in 1976 with Steve on the left and his partner Dave Lester on the right. Dave won the singles in this event.

COMPETITION AND AWARDS RECOGNITION:

The World’s First Pickleball Championship

1976

  • Singles – silver
  • Men’s Doubles – silver

USAPA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS

1984 or ’85

  • Men’s Doubles – gold

USAPA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

2010 – Singles – silver

2011

  • Men’s Doubles 50+ – gold
  • Singles 55+ – silver

2014 – Men’s Doubles 55+ – gold

2017

  • Singles 60+ – bronze
  • Men’s Doubles 60+ – bronze

2019  – Men’s Doubles 5.0 60+ – bronze (with Bob Deller)

HUNTSMAN WORLD SENIOR GAMES

2012 – 2015

  • Singles – gold (in the highest division level in all four years)

NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES

2011, 2013, 2014

  • Open Men’s Doubles – gold (with Randy Bither all three years)

INTERNATIONAL INDOOR PICKLEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

2016

  • Mixed Doubles – gold (with Sheila Schoonover)
  • Senior Men’s Doubles – gold (in age group with Randy Bither)