Started in 1989 by entrepenuer Rod Panagos, Action Paintball commenced operations in Hout Bay with the original plastic single action 10 shot Splat Master pistols. Not being semi-automatic, one had to be very sure of one’s shot, otherwise a miss would leave you struggling to reload whilst your opponent lined up on you.
Development forced a move to Muizenberg across the M5 road opposite Marina DeGama. A lovely playing field with high dunes providing soft landings and shaded tunnels through which players silently leopard crawled to sneak up on unwary opponents. Players were not the only things sliding through these tunnels. The occasional scream of “Snake!”, accompanied by rapid undignified backwards scrabbling signified anything from a six inch mole snake to a four meter Cape Cobra.
By this time the paintball arms race was gaining momentum. Many a player had modified their SplatMaster pistols to become pump action pistols, thus giving them the edge, but this was short lived, for rapid fire pump action rifles with 40 ball hoppers were starting to arrive.
Things really got going when the South African company Armson produced a well engineered pump action rifle. Being a manufacturer of gun sights for the military they knew what they were doing and also produced the first rifled paintball gun barrel. These guns are so robust that 20 years later Action Paintball still have 22 of them in operation for special retro events.
Then Tippmann and PMI (Pursuit Marketing Incorporated) really escalated the arms race and introduced semi automaitic rifles with 150 ball hoppers. Armson again came to the party and delivered a high quality, though a bit of a gas hog Armson semi-automatic. Fire power was in and the days of shooting 50 paintballs during the course of an afternoon’s play was over.
Again development forced a move. This time to a field located in the Tokai forest: pine forests sloping down to into a shallow “Jungle” overgrown valley, which in winter produced soggy swamp patches. These patches appeared quite innocent, as they were covered with light green winter grass, which an unsuspecting player believing it to be firm ground would charge across and promptly find themselves flat on their face in black ooze as their feet disappeared from under them – not great for the be-sludged player, but hilarious for his mates. Equally hilarious was watching a base defender in his bunker hear a noise behind and turning to see who was coming towards him, come face to face with a huge male baboon. Game over.
Time came for SANParks to clear the alien vegetation and rehabilitate the area, so yet another move, this time to Action Paintball’s present venue at Imhoff Farm on the road between Fishoek and Kommetjie, where at last the organisers had enough space to open up four big fields and increase capacity to carry a hundred players simultaneously in one huge game; or to provide for kids (11 to 14 years), corporate, bachelors and advanced player groups – all in one morning, or afternoon session. Valleys, ridges, bunkers, a small urban village and more make it an exciting field to play on.
Having more space also allowed for the start of a Lasertag field for all those overeager kids who want to play paintball, but have not yet reached the minimum 11 years age appropriate requirement.
“25 years on we continue to service the paintball playing community by providing well managed safe venues for players to come experience an adrenalin rush that few other sports provide,” conclude the folks over at Action Paintball.
* Address: Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie Rd, Kommetjie
Visit actionpursuit.co.za for more information.