Pickleball community honor life of Utah man who died in Puerto Rico

Nov 25, 2023, 10:08 PM | Updated: Dec 4, 2023, 3:06 pm

SANDY — Friends and family of a Utah man who was found dead in Puerto Rico earlier this fall came together to play a sport he loved most on Saturday, pickleball.

Ben Kerbs, 52, went missing Oct. 26 while on vacation. He was last seen paddling out from the Playa Escondida beach in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. His body was found the next day, according to officials.

Utah man found dead after disappearing while paddling in Puerto Rico


“He was an adrenaline junky and did so much,” said his friend Jake Thomas.

Thomas also told KSL that Kerbs lived life to the fullest.

“He had a very action packed life but he went out of his way to make sure people had fun with him,” he said.

Thomas added that Kerbs impacted so many people including himself.

“Within the last month of him passing he was calling people and reaching out to them because he felt prompted to check on people, and that’s just the way he was,” he said.

Passion for pickleball

Kerbs is also known for his love of pickleball.

“I remember we had a tournament down in Orem where he had an injured shoulder, he came and played in the tournament with his opposite hand,” said Devan Egan, owner and co-founder of Club Pickleball USA.

Kerbs was well known in the pickleball community and was known for building one of the first indoor pickleball courts in the state.

“He’s one of the original people in Salt Lake that really got pickleball going in our community,” Egan said.

Saturday night dozens of players of all levels including several pro-pickleball athletes filled Club Pickleball USA in Sandy to play the game Kerbs enjoyed.

All proceeds collected from the event were donated to the Kerbs family.

“The sport itself is all about community and bringing people together and giving people an infrastructure, a support system, friend system and a social network that’s what Ben was to so many people.”

If you would like to continue to help the Kerbs family, click here.

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Pickleball community honor life of Utah man who died in Puerto Rico