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Saturday, 29 December 2012

First GoPro Videos are up on YouTube!

I played some rec ball yesterday at Windsor Rush and got a chance to try out my new GoPro Hero3 camera to get some paintball footage.  I spent a few hours at the field and switched between using my Axe, setting up my PMR and playing around with the Splatmaster.  

Before the first game, a guy's gun went down and I let him borrow my Axe setup so he could play this game, and I used my Splatmaster.  This was my first GoPro footage for paintball and his reaction to shooting my Axe for the game is awesome.  

I also turned the GoPro around to record behind the gun and a different perspective, it's cool to see the rest of the team moving around behind you.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and I'll have more paintball videos coming up soon!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

GoPro Paintball Videos Coming Up!

I got a GoPro Hero3 camera this Christmas, and I want to make some cool videos. I'm planning on recording footage every time I play paintball this season so I can build up a YouTube channel for you guys and girls to watch.

This could end up being barrel cam, head cam, mask cam or just handheld paintball footage taken up close without mounting the GoPro to anything.  I'll of course be working on new mounts and angles as the days playing with the camera go on and I get more experience with recording and editing videos.  So far, I plan on getting the GoPro Handlebar mount and mounting the camera to my barrel (or possibly tank reg), but I want to try out the Head Strap mount as well since I think it would provide a more stable perspective and show where I'm looking at all times, rather than where my marker is facing, which could be shaky while running.  There will surely be some FPS paintball footage.

Since I haven't picked up the handlebar mount yet, I stuck a flat adhesive mount to the side of my Z2 loader to get a similar effect for now, getting some paintball gun cam footage soon.


March Update:
I have since picked up the handlebar mount to use for a barrelcam, which I have used for most of the videos on my YouTube channel.  It gives a good view of what you`re aiming at, but as I mentioned above, the video can be shaky during movement and is missing the perspective of what the player is actually looking at.

There is also a new option for a GoPro mask mount, which is made by Jaz Hydrographics and can attach to the top venting of many masks including E-Vents, E-Flexes, Dye i4s, Profilers and more which I am looking into purchasing.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Parents, Let Your Kids Play Paintball!

With the holiday season here and parents looking for fun ways to spend quality time with their children, parents should really consider playing paintball with their families.  There are many benefits of playing paintball, including getting kids active with physical exercise, being social and playing together with others as a team to achieve a common goal.  Paintball isn't dangerous, it isn't really violent, it's overall a fun and active sport for anyone who is interested in playing.

To dispel some parents' fears about paintball, another Canadian parent and blogger has created ParentPaintball.com and a series of YouTube videos to help inform other parents on the fun and safe sport of paintball.  He focuses on the overall safety statistics of the sport, the benefits of spending active time with your kids, and the great attitudes of paintball players in general.  It provides an opportunity for father, son, mother and daughters to all participate together in the same game while everyone is on the same level.  If any parents are reading or have kids who have said they are interested in playing paintball, these videos are a great resource for giving them insight into what their children will experience during a regular day of paintball play.

Parent Paintball Videos:

Also, he has a series of videos of headcam footage that will show him and his son playing paintball, including a bunch of Father Vs. Son videos.

Be sure to check out his blog at ParentPaintball.com and watch his videos on his YouTube Channel.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Reddit Secret Santa Exchange!

First of all, happy holidays leading up to this year's Christmas!  I finished school for the semester on Thursday, ending off with a half hour marketing presentation, and I am really looking forward to enjoying some time off before school starts back up again in January.  So I signed up for the 2012 Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange this year through RedditGifts.

I shipped my match's gift out last week, and then sat and waited for my Secret Santa to deliver.  I was woken up this morning by Canada Post delivering a package to my door.  I took off the shipping wrap to reveal some nice red wrapping paper with some Christmas decorations, and then I tore in to see what my Secret Santa sent me.


Opening the package, I was pleased to find a set of two Empire barrel swabs, a bag of Evil paintballs (only the best from Reddit!), accompanied by a note and a picture of my Secret Santa and her sister playing paintball at TNT Paintball on the island of Vancouver, British Columbia.  With their recommendation of TNT as a great recreational field, I'll include their promotional video here for anyone from the west coast of Canada who may read this and want to check their field out.

I would like to say huge thanks to my online Secret Santa for making this year a successful first experience with Reddit Secret Santa for me, and I encourage more people to join in and participate next year.

Friday, 14 December 2012

B/S/T: Thoughts on Buying Used Paintball Gear

How Much Paintball Gear is Too Much?

Something happens at the end of every season as paintball players settle down for the winter.  It seems like everywhere you look, somebody is trying to sell their used paintball gear.  This happens every year, as the new product lines come out, players buy into them.  You can only wear one set of gear at a time while playing paintball: one jersey, one pair of pants, one mask, etc. and as the newer gear gets put to use, players old gear begins to get neglected.  Eventually, we realize that we don't need our old gear anymore and put it up for sale, or adoption.

This isn't even all of my paintball gear, and it keeps adding up.

There are a few types of sales threads that go up from paintball players:

  • Testing Waters: Just looking for offers, seeing if they can bait a good price out of interested buyers
    • Example: Set price at $10,000obo and wait for people to offer.
  • Tournament Players: These are the kind of people that have more paintball gear than they could ever use, and are looking to clear out some space.  Many of these players will post up sales of whole gearbags loaded with everything you need to play paintball at the end of the season, as they are usually the first to buy the newest gear.  
    • Recent noted examples of this would be Thomas Taylor of XSV posting his entire gearbag up for sale including his custom XSV Axe, but it's not always the pros.  There are tons of local tournament players who would love the opportunity to pass on some of their extra gear to players in need, and will usually offer a good deal to buyers.

  • Just Wanna Get Rid of It: Whether they be players who decided to quit paintball, looking to get rid of a problematic marker, or have too much gear, they could offer you great prices to take this gear off of their hands.  You may end up getting high-end gear that is in great shape, or other times you could need to do some repairs that the seller didn't want to deal with.  These deals are usually great in favour of the buyer, and can help you get good paintball gear for a fraction of the retail price. 
    •  Recently, I found a local deal and picked up a leaking Proto PMR, an Empire Magna loader and an old Evil jersey all for $75.  By simply using the HPR from my backup marker on the PMR, I was able to get it working within minutes, and I now have another backup marker and loader to use or lend out to friends, picked up at a great price.
I picked up this leaking PMR for a cheap price and fixed it up quickly for a backup marker.
  • Non-Paintballer: The people who don't regularly play paintball who are posting ads to buy or sell gear.  Prices from them can either be ridiculously high or low, depending on the person and how much they know about paintball.  You may find some good deals here, but it's usually on low-end gear.  These ads are usually posted on general sales sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of B/S/T

Wherever you look for used paintball gear, the condition of everything will depend on the seller.  You'll get gear in great condition, you'll get gear with a few scratches, or you can end up with gear that costs more to repair than you paid for it in the first place.

The absolute best practice when buying used gear is to make sure you know about any issues before buying, and even better is if you can meet up with the seller to test out the marker or gear in person before handing over your cash.  When buying online and not having the opportunity to meet the seller, just make sure to ask about any issues you should know about before buying.  Many paintball exchange sites such as PBNation and TDOTBallers have feedback systems in place, so you can check if the person you're dealing with has a good track record.

Websites and Groups to Buy and Sell Used Paintball Gear

Sometimes the hardest part about buying used gear is simply finding what you're looking for.  Here are a few resources for finding people to buy used paintball gear from or to post yours up for sale.

Good luck on your paintball B/S/T adventures!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Shooters Paintball Pro Shop Launches Canadian Online Store

For any regular paintball player from Windsor who has played at Windsor Rush Paintball, you've met or dealt with the friendly staff of Shooters Paintball Pro Shop.  Shooters has been helping out local Windsor paintball players with finding the paintball gear that they want at prices they can afford, and now they are gearing up to provide the same service to paintball players all across the rest of Canada.

New Canadian Online Paintball Store

Shooters Paintball Pro Shop has now launched an online store,  based out of their Windsor, Ontario location, and is ready to ship orders all across Canada.

If you're from the area and haven't checked it out yet, stop by Shooters Paintball Pro Shop inside of Windsor Rush paintball to check out the new products and deals, or gear up to play some paintball!

Check out the website at:

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Flagswipe House League 2013

Looking for a fun and cheap way to play tournament style paintball in 2013?  Flagswipe has you covered!

The 2013 Flagswipe House League is series of 5 events at the indoor field.  It is a 3 man speedball format, with a twist: players can only use basic gravity fed hoppers and loaders.  This helps even the playing field in many ways by limiting firepower, which keeps the players paint costs low and the attitude friendly.  Flagswipe provides a great atmosphere for both new players getting into the sport and learning to play speedball, and also experienced players who want to play in a more relaxed setting than serious competitive tournaments.  The FHL is also a great way for young guns players to prepare for the ESPL league.

Sportsmanship Bonus!

As a fun bonus, the Head Referee will be giving out poker chip rewards for game wins, ties and sportsmanship!  These chips can be used to win free prizes at the final event auction.

Five Event, Low Cost Paintball League:

Costs are cheap, with the team's league fee being $100 for the 5 events, $10 per person per event entry, and cases of paintballs for as little as $55 for whitebox or $65 for Premium grade paintballs.  Players with Flagswipe memberships will also save $10 off of their team's league entry free.

The five events will take place on January 20, February 10, March 3, March 24, and April 14.
For more detailed information, visit the FHL Facebook event page.

Teams can register for the FHL at the BuyPaintball.ca website, or by calling the shop at Flagswipe Paintball.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Saturday Rec Ball at Windsor Rush

I stopped by Windsor Rush Paintball, the local indoor field on Saturday. I was having quite a busy day, but I did get the chance to stop by to hang out for a couple of hours and played two games of recreational paintball.

Since I've only played tournament-style speedball all season, it was refreshing to play some relaxed paintball. Rather than using my Axe and electronic gear, I played low-tech using my trusty old plastic Tippmann Triumph marker and a gravity feed hopper. Rush's field setup is a large field with a mix of wooden walls and huts, as well as a bunch of air bunkers. Since I've been playing on air bunkers all season, I decided to blow right past all of the wooden bunkers and head straight for the airball bunkers that I know how to play properly. I focused on movement during the games and getting good angles to pick players off, and I shot a couple of players before getting shot out in each game. In total I shot about 100 balls in the two games I had the time to play.

Tippmann Triumph Marker with Dynasty Ion front grip
My Tippmann Triumph marker, complete with a custom Dynasty Ion body as front grip.

The mix of players was great, with a few renters, a few couples, a few employees, a bunch of members and field regulars. It was definitely cool to have a chance to reconnect with local recreational players, and see that paintball is thriving in Windsor, since my team practices are out of town in London and I rarely have the chance to play locally because of my busy work and school schedule. From the large player base that Rush has, there is definitely the potential for these players to become successful tournament players. I would really enjoy seeing a Young Guns team of local players from Rush playing in the ESPL next season, and it would be a great compliment to their successful Rookie division team.

I also had the chance to speak with the field owner, who told me that they are planning to order a brand new air field setup to cater to tournament players, and they are planning on hosting a tournament in the coming months.  When details are finalized, I'll be sure to share and help make this a successful event.  I would really love to see Windsor host a speedball tournament, as it has been years since there have been any local tournaments in the area.

All in all, Windsor Rush Paintball is a great indoor field environment that is great for paintball players of all skill levels.

A video from Windsor Rush Paintball's summer paintball drill camp, which helped teach newer players the basics and finer points of playing paintball.

For more information on Windsor Rush paintball, check out their website, and their YouTube channel for fun videos and a look at the field setup.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Evil Empire Art - Rage Against the Machine

So I remember listening to this Rage Against the Machine album a few years ago and though of the idea.  Since then, KEE came around and brought Evil (PMI) and Empire (NPS) together under one brand and gave me a real reason to photoshop this.  Since I had some time to kill at school, I quickly photoshopped the album art to include the Empire and Evil paintball logos, replacing the "e" in the center of the shirt with the Evil "e" logo.  I also threw in the Flagswipe Paintball logo, since it's my home field that hooks up paintball dealers in Ontario with these great brands.  It was just a fun little project I couldn't resist throwing together.

My photoshopped version of the Evil Empire album art.

The original Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire album art.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

JT Splatmaster 5 on 5 Match - Getting Kids into Paintball

The JT Splatmaster line is a great new product that has been introduced to help encourage children to get into the sport of paintball.  These spring-fed, pump-action markers markers shoot .50 caliber paintballs (smaller than the standard .68 caliber), are low-impact and fire at a velocity of around 140FPS (as opposed to the standard >300FPS of standard markers) so there's no pain from getting shot by these.    This match was a great way to gain exposure for the new product line by piggybacking off of the live webcast produces by Paintball Access, which was viewed by thousands of paintball enthusiasts.

At the recent 2012 PSP World Cup, JT held a special event on the center court field which featured two 5-man teams of children with Splatmasters going head to head.  The teams were led by professional players Nicky Cuba from Los Angeles Infamous and Thomas Taylor from Sacramento XSV.  This was perfect to show the product in action, on a level playing field where all players were young and equipped with the same gear.  Parents and kids who see these videos can really see the value in letting kids have fun with safe paintball markers, whether it be played at home with other kids or with the whole family.

Video from Paintball Access's live World Cup Coverage

Great execution from JT Paintball using their industry connections to promote their kid-friendly entry level paintball game.  They are available all over to help make paintball accessible to all people, you can even pick up a Splatmaster at Walmart for under $40, making it a very affordable choice for people interested in getting into the sport.

JT Splatmaster Experience

XSV's Rich Telford demonstrates the new JT Splatmaster Experience at PSP's MAO event.

JT's Splatmaster Experience has been traveling to major paintball events all over North America this year to promote the fun new product line.  Accompanied by the inflatable Megarena and target setup, this gives interested players a hands-on look at the Splatmaster, and gives them a chance to try it out, shoot at targets, or even do quick matches with friends, all in the safe environment.
The promotions that have gone along with the Splatmaster launch have been great at raising awareness, and there have been cries of support from paintball players everywhere who love the idea of getting new players into the sport.

Splatmasters are tons of fun, I've been shot by one point-blank and barely felt it, and I can't wait to pick one up myself.  I hope to see these take off and become popular, and usher in a whole new generation of paintball players by giving them safe, low cost options at getting started.

Fun For the Whole Family

Niteshadow Productions playing paintball with his daughter at Soldier of Fortune Paintball in Mount Hope, Ontario with their Splatmasters.

These are perfect for families, as they are safe, low-impact and short-range.  Perfect for backyard play at home for the whole family.  Easy to clean up and tons of fun.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Getting into Tournament Paintball - Living the Dream

So I've noticed a lot of new players out at the local airball fields that have the potential to compete in tournament series, but may not have the means or connections to play.  Although it seems complicated from the outside, playing local series is as simple as going out to the local field for a regular walkon day, with slightly more planning.  These events are usually 3-man, 4-man or 5-man, and do not require teams to commit to a whole season of events.  
You really only need a couple of friends with paintball gear to easily throw a team together to play at these local paintball events!

There's nothing holding you back from playing tournaments but you.  Just DO it!

Ontario: The ESPL Series

The ESPL Series is hosted by Flagswipe Paintball and Canadian Express in London, Ontario.  We offer two divisions of tournament play:
  • D3 Young Guns, 16 & under: 3 man format
  • D2 Rookie, all ages: 5 man format
 Events are held on Sundays, with the Young Guns division playing in the morning and the Rookie division playing in the afternoon.
Prices are very reasonable too:
  • Young Guns Entry: $100 per team
  • Rookie Entry: $300 per team

Blizzard Ball

A separate event from the rest of the ESPL Series following the same rules, Blizzard Ball is a yearly indoor tournament at the end of the outdoor season that has been a favourite for years.  Same rules, prize structure and great reffing as the ESPL series, but at the nice indoor field!

Prizes for these local events are great, cash or gear which will help players get more into the sport.  

If you're looking at getting into paintball tournaments in Ontario, Blizzard Ball on the 18th is a great place to start!

The first paintball tournament I ever played was a local 3man tournament at DieHard Paintball back when I was in grade 8, and my teammates were two classmates.  We lost every single game against the more experienced locals, but the event was a blast.  We were undergeared and outgunned compared to the regulars, but everyone was friendly.  Our team won the sportsmanship prize, and got some free gear for coming in last place.  On top of that, other players were quite friendly, and one older player even let me borrow his A-Bomb Intimidator for a few games when we had some marker problems throughout the day.  Sure we lost, but it was definitely worth the experience and rush to get into the sport!

A few months later, we put another team together and played a PETS event at Flagswipe, and our new team came in fourth place in Young Guns, winning some free Halo loaders.  These local tournaments are a great way to get started in competitive paintball as there is literally nothing to lose, and only great experiences to be gained!

Friday, 9 November 2012

DieHard Paintball supports the community and Essex Food Bank

Fight hunger by playing paintball!  Donate just 5 canned goods to receive a free pass to bring your own paint for a day of paintball near Windsor!

Paintball is a community sport with friendly players from all walks of life who are always willing to help out and support a cause. Every so often, a field will take initiative to help their local communities, and DieHard Paintball is stepping up this month to give back to the Essex community.

For the month of November, DieHard paintball will be collecting canned goods to support the Essex Food Bank and give back to the local community.  As a deal and incentive for players to donate, they can donate 5 canned food items and get a free BYOP paint pass for the day.  This is usually a $15 value, so this does a great job in helping players play paintball for cheaper by allowing them to bring their own paint purchased from other stores or fields and use it at a field that is generally field paint only.

"For the month of November: instead of a buying a paint pass, bring in at least 5 can goods. This won't be mandatory this Sunday but for the rest of November it will be. And again this is for own equipment only. Fill MUST break white or yellow ONLY! Let's help out the local food bank."

Join DieHard's Facebook group to keep up to date on all of their latest promotions and find the best day to come out and have some fun playing paintball!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Paintball in Russia: Not Just For Men

Russia's Hotball III Tournament

Paintball is a sport that is played worldwide, and sometimes you're surprised to discover just how large the game is in other countries.  The Hotball III event happened earlier this year at Moscow Paintball Palace and Paintball Club Arena and drew quite a large crowd of teams from all across Europe to compete.  The diversity between paintball players around the world really makes me want to be able to travel and attend these events in the future.  Here's a video supplied by Russia's Headshot Magazine which captured the day's intense action.  

Video found from PBNation's YouTube page.

Ladies Only! Arena Moscow Girls Cup

The Arena Moscow Girls Cup, a girls-only paintball tournament was also held at Arena Moscow earlier this year.  This event brought in ten all female teams to compete for an exciting day of paintball.  At some fields in Canada, it's rare to ever see any girls out playing paintball, this is a really refreshing video and event to show that there is nothing stopping girls from fully competing in the sport.  There is a full writeup of the event's coverage at PaintballX3's website.

Girls Cup video provided by http://bagira-yar.ru/ 

Day of the Dead 11 Big Scenario Game at Flagswipe

The dead are coming back to life, and they've invaded the forests on Flagswipe Paintball's outdoor field.  The living control the towns and populated areas, holding back the invading zombie forces.  Over 900 players attended this massive Canadian scenario paintball game just outside of London, Ontario on September 30, 2012.  The event kicked off as a helicopter flew into the field transporting the Living's general and the Hero For a Day winner, and the action did not stop.  Missions and objectives were set to be completed through the day, and players would stop at nothing to accomplish them.  The action saw tanks, rockets, smoke grenades, crazy costumes and epic firefights with thousands of paintballs in the air at once, battles through all terrain and all areas. A custom batch of RPS All-Star paint was made for the event with a blood red coloured fill to add to the gruesome and urgent atmosphere of the battles.

Video from Thisispaintball.ca

Paintball Industry Trade Show

To match the large-scale paintball action, there was a massive industry trade show on site.  Representatives from both local and major brands included event sponsors Tippmann, Ntensity Customs, Underground Productz, Aztek, Jaz Stands, Empire, Original SWAT Footwear, Recon, Valken, Dye, Rockstar and more.  The JT Splatmaster Experience was also on-site at the event to give visitors a hands-on look at the new low-impact .50cal Splatmaster line,which is marketed as a fun and safe way to help usher new players into the sport of paintball.  In my season of traveling to national US events, I have yet to see a paintball trade show as impressive as the one held at Day of the Dead.

Event T-Shirts printed by Ntensity Customs

Hero For A Day

The event included a Hero for a Day contest for players who pre-registered.  They were entered into a draw to win a VIP experience for the day: flight to the field in a helicopter, a free BT TM-15 marker hydrodipped by Ntensity Customs and a Shadow Squad practice jersey.  

Video from Keith and Liam from Flagswipe going on an adventure to discover the winner of the Hero for a Day contest.

Player Created Videos

Many players brought along cameras to record footage of the event, with barrelcams and mask mounted cameras a common sight for the day.  One player from THEMODASTUDIO strapped two GoPros to his barrel so he could capture both the action happening in front of him, as well as a view of himself, and put together this neat video from his first life as a zombie.  O.P.E.L. Army also captured some great footage from the human side, with lots of gunfighting action.  More videos continue to pop up on YouTube from other players who attended the event, and there is endless action to be watched.

From THEMODASTUDIO on the Undead team

From O.P.E.L. Army on the Living team

From Skarpz , featuring custom armor from Aztek Future Soldiers

Prize Toss

To top it all off, the day ended off with a massive prize toss.  Flagswipe brought out an entire skid of paintball products from event sponsors that were tossed into the crowd, and nearly everyone involved got to leave with something for free.  Prizes from the toss included all types of gear, masks, tanks and even a few paintball markers.  Dozens of pods were also tossed into the crowd, each stuffed full of useful products, tools and stickers.  To make sure the younger players got in on the free product toss fun without getting moshed by adults, they got their own section of the crowd for a special young guns prize toss.
Crowd at the prize toss with Human General Kaz from Visual Reviews tossing out freebies to the crowd, Shawn from Flagswipe tossing out a Tippmann Crossover marker, and tons of pods filled with prizes.

Video and images from thisispaintball.ca

This is one of the biggest and greatest Canadian Scenario paintball events.  Be sure to attend next year to make sure you don't miss out on any of the excitement at Day of the Dead 12!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Social Media Promotions in Paintball: Guerrilla Air, Social Paintball, Dynasty & Destiny

Here's a great viral video produced by Social Paintball for Guerrilla Air.  The video, part of a massive social media campaign from Guerrilla Air features pro team Dynasty facing off in a match against one lone man who happens to be a parkour master.  Our lone ninja warrior takes off running, jumping, diving and climbing around the field, and uses his skills to take out the entire professional squad.  It is introduced as a breaking news story, and is obviously staged, but there are a lot of cool action shots of paintball play and parkour tricks, and the video is very well put together.  It takes the fast dives and slides that paintball players make during games, and takes it to the extreme by showing free running which is seen more in mainstream media, used to dominate the game play.

Social Paintball, who have been doing paintball media coverage and video content since 2009, also released a detailed "making of" video, which shows footage from the day, the planning and setup, as well as how the crew set up their cameras.  The video was produced by Guerrilla Air and the stunt crew was from the Tempest Free Runners, who's members have been involved in many other commercial productions, television shows and movies that have extreme stunts and motion. 

Guerrilla Air's Social Media Campaign

This was a part Guerrilla Air's social media campaign that centered around their Facebook page, YouTube channel, and their wordpress blog.  They have been doing a lot of social media advertising, viral videos and Facebook contests, and even have a Facebook App.

Their most notable contest also involved team Dynasty, and gave one lucky winner a trip to Hollywood Sports Park in California to join the professional team in a usual day of practice.  The winner of the contest was Hailey Froese, a girl from Canada who was flown to California and brought to the field for the day while  cameras captured the day's action.

Hailey is also a paintball writer for Grip Paintball and a blogger, running girlpaintballer.com, as well as a YouTube channel where she does many video blogs with interviews and advice that is helpful to newer players.  She was also  a member of Team Destiny, and is now the spokesmodel for Empire Paintball.  She is travelling around the world playing paintball, living the dream.

Destiny is heading to Malaysia to compete in World Cup Asia, and is currently working on raising funds for the trip.  They have sold team jerseys, and also have a team fund setup on ChipIn to help cover their costs and are asking for help from fans to contribute.  Good luck to them in their journey to Malaysia and in the event next weekend!

It's really amazing how connected everything in the paintball media industry is, and how so many contributors  and projects cross over.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Paintball Offseason Begins..

World Cup is over, Halloween has passed, and I haven't played paintball in about two weeks.  Yup, it's that time of year again: the offseason.

All across North America as the weather changes, outdoor airball fields are being taken down.  Our local air field at DieHard went down two weeks ago, and the airball field at Flagswipe's outdoor has been down since Day of the Dead last month.  This means it's now harder to play speedball and get team practices in, all teams are going to have to fight to schedule practice time on indoor fields.

"Coming home feels like surrender, feels like we're giving in.
When the shows are over, is there any other reason to live?"


Sure it was written about a touring rock band, but this really captures the feeling at the end of the tournament paintball season.  Players go from grinding practices and events nearly every weekend, down to playing once a month if they can find field time.  As paintballer players, it feels like we're living two completely different lives, flipping back and forth between being surrounded by paintball where everyone knows each other, to the real working world, where your paintball knowledge is nearly useless and normal things seem to feel alien.  We want to be out on the road, at the field, at tournaments, hanging out in hotel rooms with our teammates.  The offseason brings this drastic difference, as we go from being completely busy and our of town on weekends, to suddenly have free time to have a normal social life.  This weekend coming up will be the first full weekend I've been home in Windsor in months, and it's almost overwhelming to have this freedom again.  This is the time when the paintball players return to the real world, without paintball.  We head back to school, jobs, careers, families and friends, and for some of us, no matter how good life on the outside is, we just want to be back at the paintball field, grinding out points with our teammates.

At the same time as this freedom comes, there's also a brand new rush to play paintball.  Although the season just ended, teams across the country are already starting tryouts and building team camps to prepare for next season.  As soon as we get time off from the season, we get a whole new schedule pushed on us with tryout dates and everything for the next season.  It seems almost crazy to start rebuilding so early, almost before players have even had a break, but it's what teams need to do now because everyone's doing it.  Paintball players want to play every weekend, and if they can't play with their team, they'll go wherever they can.

The offseason is the time of year that makes players question everything: whether they'll be coming back again for next season, if they want to stick with the same team, who they want to be at this time next year.  There's also the hard questions: can I afford to play a full tournament season next year?  Am I wasting my money or should I just play rec ball?  They're the hard decisions that every paintball player needs to make, and everyone needs to make for themselves.

Here's a cool video from DQ Films back in 2009 from the Palm Beach Vipers' offseason. 

It's a little different down there in Florida since they have nice outdoor weather, while us Canadians are heading back indoors, but it's the same focus: playing all offseason to be a better team for next year.

The first PSP event for next season is coming up in March.  That gives us five months to be get prepared for the biggest competitive paintball season of our lives.  We'll be grinding at Flagswipe all winter, and we will be ready to bring it.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Living the Dream: Teamwork, Commitments and Connections

So here's the first follow-up post to my Living the Dream segment on tournament paintball.  There are many things people need to understand about paintball teams about all of the work that goes into running a successful paintball franchise.  

There are four main pillars that support every long-standing paintball franchise, and all need to work together smoothly for success.  These pillars being:
  • Players:  Obviously, you need players to take the positions on the field, do their jobs and lead the team to victory.  Commitment to your team is essential for a good season.
  • Management & Coaches:  Necessary to keep players in order, let them know who's playing which positions, and to keep track of game plans that players may miss from their limited viewpoints on the field.  Management is responsible for keeping the team together and making sure everyone knows what job they have to do.  They are also the main line of communication between sponsors and the players.
  • Pit Crew:  Responsible for keeping the team and games running smoothly.  Pit crews keep the team supplied with paint, cleaning off hits, collecting pods, teching markers, etc.
  • Sponsors:  Team's connections to the industry will dictate how often they can practice, what gear they can use and what their tech support at events will be like.  Depending on commitments, players may be expected to put in a large deal of work for their sponsorships.


Aside from being committed to your team for the season, attending practices and helping out with your team, you have to be prepared for playing the game itself.  There are a few things players need to know ahead of time before walking into a tournament.  If possible, study the field layout, know where all the lanes are, know which bunkers are key, where you should be looking from certain positions and be able to recognize when you're in danger and know how to act to win your situation.  
Communication and field awareness is key.  If your players don't know what the kill count is at or what bunkers the opposing players are in, you might as well be blind as you'll be running into the lanes of other teams who have their game together.  This is definitely crucial for knowing when to make a move on the field.
Example: if you're playing the home bunker, and your dorito side corner player gets eliminated from somewhere across field that you didn't see.  Even if you know that corner is a key bunker and should be filled, you should make sure you know where that player got shot from before you try to fill to the corner.  If you don't know where he got shot from and you run to fill that corner bunker, chances are you're running into the exact same lane of paint that killed your teammate, and your move out to fill becomes completely useless as your team throws a body away.  In this case, instead of filling that bunker and wasting a body, it would be smarter to take control of the field from your current position, figure out where the other team is and move up the field from there.  Don't rush your game or you can make stupid mistakes.  There are similar and unlimited situations that we could talk about for days, but that's not what I want to focus on.

Coaches and Management:

These are the people that hold a team together and make things happen.  They've got to organize players, games plans, codes, schedule practices, make sure jobs and events are covered, and of course to collect payments from the players for the season.  Without a reliable coach or manager, teams would fall apart: players would miss practice, they wouldn't know their positions, wouldn't pay their dues, etc. 

Pit Crew:

Essential to any smooth-running team(X-ball especially), the pit crew has tons of work to do to keep the players focused on playing their game.  Duties include filling pods, picking up pods from the field between points, transporting paint, cleaning hits off of players, filling air tanks, and most importantly, staying the hell out of the way.  In higher divisions, it is best to have the majority of the pit crew outside of the actual pits if possible to give the players as much room as possible to be comfortable and in the zone to play.  
Putting a table outside of the pits and keeping it organized with areas for dirty pods, empty pods and full pods with a few people manning stations will be best for a smooth pit.  If your pit crew is big enough, designate jobs to people: pod runners to get pods from the field between points, pod cleaners, pod fillers, paint runners to grab more cases of paint, and someone to ensure pods are packed tightly and don't shake.  You should also have a couple of people inside the pits to assist with wiping hits off of players, fill tanks and fill packs with pods, as well as doing quick tech work.  If a pit crew is run properly, the players should not have to worry about anything during a match except for playing paintball.
For another article on pit management, check out this great post on View From The Deadbox, the blog from the coach of pro team Tampa Bay Damage.


This is where the money comes from, how teams can afford to compete at these national events.  Sponsorships are never a something-for-nothing deal, and many teams have to put in tons of work to receive these benefits.  Depending on the level of sponsorship, a contract is usually involved, and you will be committed for the season.  Do your jobs to pay it forward, keep your sponsors happy and to help out in your community, and you will have a more fulfilling life in paintball.
  For example, as part of our sponsorship with Flagswipe paintball for practice field time, Canadian Express maintains the airball field at the outdoor location and sets up, runs and refs the ESPL (Empire Series Paintball League) for 6 events per season.  Although we spent weekends putting in work, this also helps to reduce the costs paid by each player over the season, and creates a situation that helps all parties involved.

Commitments and Connections: Where it all pays off.

This past 2012 season has been a huge transition from playing recreational paintball to being part of a committed team.  As an Empire team, Canadian Express spent the season reffing ESPL to provide a tournament series for local players, played D3 in the NPPL and also took the opportunity to pit for pro team Infamous during the last two events in DC and Vegas.  While some players may loathe working in the pits, we rose to the challenge to keep Infamous ready to play on the field during all of their matches.  Life in the pits was hectic, packed with two pro teams, their coaches and pit crew, and we had to work fast to develop a system that worked smoothly and kept the pits clear for the players to focus.  It's a great feeling to be a small part of a crew helping pro teams run their games, and especially when you get thanks from the pro players who you've grown up admiring.
Here's where it all pays off: the connections from your sponsors and the teams you help can lead to possibilities that you may have never imagined.  Recently, our team has announced tryouts for the 2013 season, and as we began posting our tryout flyers, we received a pleasant surprise in the form of promotion from the Infamous Facebook page, as well as a few of their players' pages.  This was way more support than I was expecting, and I'm really glad to see that the effort that we put in was appreciated by the players and the team.  The share from Drew Templeton praising us as, "Best pit crew in paintball! Show some support and check this event out." really makes people feel appreciated for the hard work that they put in.

There you have it, proof that putting hard work into your season on and off the field can pay off in ways that you never expect.  Your commitments to your sponsors and associated teams can lead you to connections that few other players ever get the chance to make.

Monday, 22 October 2012

PSP Paintball World Cup 2012 this week!

This upcoming week marks the most exciting time of year for the paintball industry.  The 2012 PSP World Cup is taking place in Florida this week and will be a time for new product launches, fierce competition and new chapters in many paintball team franchises.  In addition to bringing back 10-man to the many divisions of speedball play, PSP has joined with the UWL to bring woodsball back to national paintball competition scene.

World Cup Product Launches & Vendors

PSP's World Cup has always been an important launching point for creating market buzz in the paintball industry and releasing new products for the next year's season.  It is arguably the largest paintball event in the world, with the most players(over 300 teams), the most fields, and the most vendors attending.

List of Event Sponsors,Vendors and Rumours:

Bud Light
Carmatech Engineering:
Their new SAR12 Tactical marker is an exciting looking First Strike compatible milsim rifle that is sure to draw a lot of attention.
Circus Spectacular
Contract Killer
Dye: Dye's new D.A.M. Tactical marker is expected to be released at Cup, as well as the new DM13 to continue the Matrix legacy.
Empire: A new mystery Empire marker has been spotted in the hands of a couple of Infamous players over the past weekend.  Appearing wrapped up in tape to hide the looks of the marker's design, not much is know about the marker, but rumours on PBNation suggest that it is a brand new high-end marker that will be released at Cup.  Hopefully we'll get more details this week.

Exalt Paintball
Fat Sam’s Concessions
Ninja Paintball: Ninja's air system's have been top-quality since their introduction to the market.  Their new Pro Regulator has the useful feature of having a rotating collar, which allows the user to rotate their tank reg to change placement of the gauge and fill nipple.  With this regulator, you'll never have the fill nipple in the way of your wrist again!
Paintball Media Group and Social Paintball
PbRack Clothing
Raza: Raza has plans to release new products at cup this year including a new line of polo shirts, jerseys, gloves, shorts and headbands.

Canadians Playing World Cup

I want to take this opportunity to wish good luck to all of the Canadians from Ontario traveling down to Florida to play World Cup.  New Canadian teams of note include:
  • Toronto Force D1:  Force is a brand new PSP team that is made up of veteran Canadian superstar players from the CXBL. Take a look at this Outside the Mesh Article for more info regarding this new powerhouse team.
  • Alliance D3:  This is a new camp that will be making its premiere at PSP World Cup this week.  Made up of players from the Cambridge/Kitchener area including many from the CXBL and MXL divisions.  Alliance is planning on creating a camp for next season which will have teams ranging across most of the divisional games.
Alliance's World Cup jerseys, printed by Ntensity Customs
  • SportsAgressor Moscow D3:  Although this is a Russian team, there are Canadian players on the roster and it is possibly the most exciting team in the division.  Coming together at the previous PSP Mid Atlantic Open event, two of my Canadian Express teammates joined up with the Russians to take on the American paintball scene.  After narrowly missing making the Sunday cut for finals, SportsAgressor Moscow is returning to shoot for the top this event and will definitely be a team to watch in D3 at this event.
SportsAgressor Moscow at PSP MAO, pic from PaintballPhotography.com

    PSP Paintball World Cup 2012 Webcast From PaintballAccess

    Continuing their great series of live webcasts for the 2012 PSP season, PaintballAccess.com will be returning for World Cup to bring live paintball to the online digital world. 

    The live webcast is starting off this Wednesday with a World Cup Pre-Show.  This will feature paintball legends Matty Marshall, Todd Martinez and Chris Lasoya to get the latest behind-the-scenes news on teams, roster changes and player injuries.  You'll also get some analysis of the past PSP season to see what teams are expected to be on top and who to watch out for during the games this weekend.

    Coverage for the rest of the event will include commentary from professional paintball players, interviews with players and of course intense paintball action during the event.  Webcast coverage will begin on Thursday and continue through Sunday's finals.  Pro team coverage will take up most of the webcast time, but we may get a chance to see divisional teams' games being broadcasted as well.  Be sure to watch the webcast this weekend if you've got some free time at home, wishing you were playing paintball in Florida!

    Using the simple taglines, "Watch it. Love it.  Live it." 
    Paintball Access is the place to be for everything paintball this week.