Photographer's Note

Matkot, or beach paddleball is a popular traditionally non-competitive game in Israel, sometimes called Israel's unofficial national sport.

The sport is named after the racquet, the matka. The word may come from the word maka (Hebrew) or madka (Arabic), both meaning a knock or a blow.

The racquets are traditionally made entirely of wood, although sometimes the handles are reinforced with a plastic covering. The head of a racquet may vary somewhat in size and shape. In Israel, the heads are essentially circular and about 30cm in diameter. In Brazil, the racquet head is sometimes more like a teardrop shape, and typically blue. The racquet handles are short, and with very little trunk between the handle and the racquet head.

The standard ball used is the same ball as is used in squash. However, novice and intermediate players sometimes use a ball that is similar in size to a squash ball, but is lighter and/or bouncier.

The game has developed a moderate level of popularity outside of Israel as a participatory sport, particularly where there is either a strong beach culture (e.g. Brazil, where it is also highly popular, but more commonly known as frescoball), or a significant number of Israelis living abroad (e.g. Thailand).

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Additional Photos by Assi Dvilanski (asival) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 293 W: 109 N: 750] (5307)
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