Some like football. Others swear by swimming. For the two international business students Frederik Pynt Herlman and Jacob Hvam, it was another sport that turned out to do the trick: padel.
“We met in Lisbon in 2019 during an internship and padel is huge, both in Portugal and Spain, the second biggest sport in Spain after football and in the beginning, we were just standing on the court with tennis rackets, not really knowing what it was. But we found out and started playing quite a lot. Then, we came back to Denmark, and it wasn’t really a big thing here. We looked through all the student organizations at CBS, and padel was missing. So, we thought it was a great opportunity to create one!” Frederik Pynt Herlman says.
And just like that, the fastest growing student organization in CBS history was born: CBS Padel.
But what exactly is padel? Padel is basically a combination of tennis and squash. You play against a wall like in squash, with a court and a net in the middle like tennis. An easy sport to get into as a beginner, since the ball can’t leave the field, with an equally high upper limit, packed with advanced techniques and strategies.
Sold out in 18 hours
Starting up the organization during the corona lockdown, the pair quickly felt they’d caught the right end of something. After a study start with barely a foot set on campus, the need for social interaction was bigger than ever:
“We wanted a social organization that was about something other than beer drinking or case competitions – and padel is rising in Denmark. We heard it mentioned all around us, without people knowing we were in the early stage of starting the organization, and it confirmed for us that people would be interested.
We facilitate tournaments every second month at the moment. Our first tournament was sold out in just about 18 hours!” Jacob Hvam adds.
We had to create a waiting list! It was crazy!
As it turned out, Frederik Pynt Herlman and Jacob Hvam were right, and the whispers were true. Within a year of founding CBS Padel as a student organization, without even being able to host a proper tournament for most of the startup period, things took off like a padel ball ricocheting off a wall. CBS Padel, currently sporting the title as both the biggest organization based on members and the fastest growing, is rapidly becoming more than the founders could have imagined when they first left Lisbon behind.
“We just thought it’d be fun. Let’s see if we can get some partnerships, and have some more people to play with. But the day we opened for membership sign-up, we gained over 50 members. We had all these plans for the first tournament: Sunday we would release the tournament, Monday we’d do a post about prizes, Tuesday we’d do a funny post to spread the word, and Wednesday it’d hopefully be sold out and we had planned a ‘sold out!’ post. We were surprised to find out that it had sold out by Monday morning. We had to create a waiting list! It was crazy!” Jacob Hvam says with a smile.
A gap in the list of student organizations
With the overwhelming growth of CBS Padel comes the question: how did it get from walking around campus with an idea for something new prompted by a gap in the list of student organizations, to a success story like this? According to the pair, there’s really no right or wrong way to go about a project like that other than just trial and error. Simply try it out, learn as you go, and it’ll work out:
“We’ve never tried any of this before. We’ve never started a student organization, never held a padel tournament, so we’re sitting there a couple of days before our tournament thinking ‘Okay, now we have all these people here. How are we actually going to do it?’ It was difficult in the beginning, but we learned along the way. We still haven’t got it all figured out, but now at our fifth event, we have a team of fellow students, and everything is going a whole lot smoother,” Frederik Pynt Herlman says.
So what’s next for CBS Padel, now that growth and membership collection is squared away? Time will tell. With everything so far being rapid and very much in the now, Frederik Pynt Herlman and Jacob Hvam can still take a moment to glance into the future. One day they’ll be done with CBS, and the student organization they created will be entering unknown waters. But the future is bright, according to the pair. With the hope of continuing to spread news of the sport, perhaps the waters will not be so unfamiliar after all:
“We want to expand padel as far as possible and grow it even further. We would love to host tournaments with other universities. CBS against KU, against ITU. You know, it could be nice to add that ‘CBS is playing against RUC! Hope we win!’ feeling to it.
We are already the biggest organization, and the one with the largest growth. We just want everyone to know about it. We would love to see CBS Padel stay at CBS, even after we’ve graduated. Something that lives on, that’s the ultimate goal,” Frederik Pynt Herlman says.
Want to have try padel? Sign up for CBS Padel here: www.cbspadel.dk