About Us

The name Grip n Rip was founded in April of 2006 when ownership of The Newport Beach Tennis Club (NBTC) hired Craig Johnson as Director of Junior Tennis Development. The name Grip n Rip made sense to Craig as he envisioned establishing both a grass roots development program where they first understand how to “Grip” the racquet and as well as a competitive development program where they learn how to play and “Rip” the ball once that foundation was there.

Hence, two programs were formed with the Gripper Development and Ripper Competitive Training Programs. Year after year the program grew in popularity and is now arguably the #1 youth tennis programs in all of Orange County in terms of volume with over 10,000 students walking through the doors of NBTC with many of them attending the popular “Swing & Smash Summer Tennis Camp”.

The growth of the program is largely contributed to the administrative team of John-Michael Chamakoon (General Manager), John Craig (Director of Player Development/Communications, Scott VanSon (Curriculum Supervisor), and its dedicated staff of pros who care immensely about the growth of children both on and off the court.

In January of 2020, owner Craig Johnson established Grip n Rip Tennis, LLC which now employs on average 15 full-time instructors as well as additional seasonal staff in the summers. The success of Grip n Rip at NBTC has allowed the opportunity to expand its business which now includes operations at The Huntington Club in Huntington Beach, Ca. Both facilities are privately owned clubs, however has opened the doors for all aspiring youth players ages 5-17 to members and non-members alike.

Mission Statement

Since its inception and to this day, the mission of Grip n Rip Tennis is for all students who attend to learn and love the game of tennis. We find this is made possible through a positive-based approach to teaching along with interactive drills, games, and competitive play. Students must feel a sense of learning and accomplishment while on court. There must be a pathway for a child’s development.

This can be accomplished with the advancement from our Gripper Development Program to our Gripper Performance Program and ultimately our Ripper Competitive Training Program. Tennis is a difficult sport to play when first starting so to make it easier our programs offer classes using softer balls, mini-nets, and reduced size courts for youth ages 5-10. Children enjoy playing tennis when they can begin to rally and play so the implementation of these tools results in a student’s desire to learn and love of the game.

Watching student’s growth on the court and seeing them progress through the programs is the most rewarding aspect of the business and most gratifying part of coaching. Ultimately, if we can take a child who started in our development program at a young age and then graduate from our competitive development program and onto a varsity high-school team, the coaches and students know they have done their part.

Our mission is to accomplish this with every child who starts in our program.