June 15, 2023
Tom Filippini

The Launch of Pepper Pong

We unveiled our homegrown-game-turned-mini-pickleball-revolution at The Pickleball Tournament of the Pro's in Albuquerque, NM...the land of the PEPPER! 

We proudly launched Pepper Pong on June 1st at the “Tournament of the Pros” headlined by the world-renowned pro pickleballers Zane Navratil, Parris Todd, Simone Jarim & Kamryn Blackwood! Fittingly, it all went down in the pepper motherland - Albuquerque, NM 🌶️😊! 

The journey to this milestone is as fascinating as the game itself. Over decades, our founder & his paddle-wielding pals tinkered with a mishmash of gear to invent a pongesque concoction as playable & portable as a deck of cards. 

"The Game" was intentionally crafted to ensure long rallies & close matches regardless of skill, with novel rules designed to prevent lopsided matches & blowouts. 

But what WASN’T intended was for Pepper Pong to be dubbed the “pickleball version of ping pong.” After all, its journey began long before pickleball caught fire. 

But during early field-testing, pickleball players couldn't help but view our new game as a scaled-down version of their beloved pickleball, with one infamously exclaiming, “it's mini f%#king pickleball in my ACTUAL KITCHEN!"
The accidental pepper-pickle bond was *officially* sealed by the pro pickleball players in Albuquerque playing Pepper Pong for the first time.

We’ll never forget Zane Navratil, ranked as high as #1 in the world, strolling by our booth unable to resist the temptation to grab a pepper paddle. 

No surprise, Zane was an instant phenom and marveled at how closely the timing of shots & rules aligned with pickleball. 

Zane’s enthusiasm soared when he discovered that volleying the ball, while forbidden in ping pong, is encouraged in Pepper Pong leading him to flawlessly execute a pickleball “Erne-like” shot which he advocated to be named "The Zane" (we obliged!). 

Zane's fast mastery of the game and invention of “The Zane” solidified his mark on Pepper Pong's legacy and his contagious enthusiasm led fellow pros Simone Jardim, Parris Todd, and Kamryn Blackwood to play next.
Simone and Parris, undefeated doubles partners in the world of pickleball in 2023, faced off against Kamryn and Pepper Pong's inventor, Tom Filippini. 

The match was intense, with long rallies and strategic shots that showcased the game's unique qualities. In the end, Simone and Parris emerged victorious, solidifying their unbeaten streak in both pickleball and Pepper Pong in the year 2023! 

All four pros were astonished by the resemblance between Pepper Pong and pickleball and immediately recognized the immense value of Pepper Pong as a training tool to improve their skills no matter where they are.  

They declared that Pepper Pong would become an integral part of their pre-match routine before important professional pickleball matches.

So, while Pepper Pong was never intentionally designed as a miniature version of pickleball, the endorsement from both amateur and professional players has sealed its fate. 

We are thrilled to see Pepper Pong being hailed as an invaluable training tool and a fun, engaging game in its own right by anyone & everyone who picks up a paddle.
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