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Feb update on paintball age limit in Vic

By | Age Limit, Paintball | No Comments

Sadly not a great piece of news relating to to the legislation looking to lower the age of paintball in Victoria.

We were officially notified today that the Justice Legislation Amendment (Firearms and other matters) Bill 2014 has officially lapsed. This means that it will not proceed in its present form.

Hon Wade Noonan MP has stated that he will continue to work with stakeholders in relation to firearms matters. Prior to the election he confirmed support for the lowering of the age limit and hopefully this is reflected in future bills as they are introduced.

What this means –
1. There is likely to be a significant delay to any change to the age limit as this now requires completely fresh legislation to be introduced.

2. We will continue to engage with Hon Wade Noonan MP in conjunction with PAVs, other organisations and individuals to assist in the development of legislation that will benefit the industry.

I will of course update you all on any fresh changes as they occur.

 

Mathew

Snipers Den

 

What USA paintball can learn from Australia….

By | Paintball, Tournament | No Comments

Before I start there is a lot that is not perfect about paintball in Australia. For example each state has their own age limit, In Victoria you need to be over the age of 18, SA and WA are 12 and 16 in NSW. In Tasmania – we cant even play at all at this point!

We are also very restricted as far as what the paintball guns are able to be and do. For example as a general rule around Australia, the following are illegal…
1. Paintball Pistols
2. Folding stocks (fixed stocks are ok)
3. Magazines on the paintball markers (real or fake)
4. Full auto modes
5. With the exception of NSW – ramping.
6. Airsoft

There are also 2 very important restrictions that can be used as a case study for other areas of the world.

1. To own a paintball marker in Australia you need to hold a paintball license
2. Paintball can only be played at a recognised, registered paintball facility.

This is where the US can learn a few things from Victorian paintball.

Relax!! Before you panic, I am not suggesting that paintball in the US should be restricted in any way but by looking at the impact on Victorian Paintball is interesting.

The first thing to look at is the impact of the paintball licensing on the industry. One of the biggest factors people talk about in relation to the future of the sport is the recruitment and retention of new players. The biggest issues that appear repeatedly in paintball forums and facebook threads is one of the biggest problems people have is that generally the difference in skill level between a casual, recreational paintball player and a regular, competition level player is extremely high.

Now – to be completely honest I have never played paintball in the US but are under the impression that it is considered normal for a div 1 player to play on the same field as a new first time player with rental gear. This creates a dilemma for the more skilled player. On one hand they want to practice a the highest level that they are capable of. This can include cases of close bunkering and in some cases overshooting. On the other hand they don’t want to smash the person so badly that they don’t come back. Sadly I suspect that too often the personal motivation to win the game can outweigh the thoughts of the long term industry when the blood starts pumping. I highly suspect that this has contributed to the long term decline of paintball in the USA and around the world. Below is the google trend data showing the reduction of searches relating to paintball in the USA

paintball searches in US

Google Trend data for US searches of paintball

Now just in case that doesn’t scare you enough – have a look at the searches for paintball vs the searches for airsoft over the same time period. Paintball has not outperformed airsoft in any real way since pre-2009.

paintball vs airsoft

Paintball vs Airsoft searches in the US since 2004

Now there is always going to be a lot of banter between airsoft and paintball players but it is impossible to argue with the data. While airsoft has not ever reached the popularity that paintball dis pre-2004 it has managed to hold ground over the last 10 years while paintball has dropped dramatically.

Searches for paintball Aus vs US

Searches for paintball in US compared to Australia

Australia has been able to hold its overall popularity during the same period. And we did go through tough times with the GFC the same as the US. In fact the US currently has a lower unemployment rate compared to Australia in Jan 2015. (5.7% compared to 6.4%)

The big difference as far as I can tell is the separation of the 2 types of paintballers in Australia has lead to a more sustainable industry. Because you need to be licensed to own a paintball marker, they tend to train away from the general customers coming in for a birthday or a bucks party. This means that casual players play casually, with rental gear on an even playing field.

This is by far the most popular way to play paintball in Australia.

If a customer becomes interested in paintball as a sport they can come to a training session and see what it is about. We also find that due to a clear distinction in the types of customers, competition players are more likely to be inclusive of new players. They lend equipment, give advice and generally don’t bunker new players until they get used to the pace of the game.

Without any distinction between casual paintball and competition level competitors paintball in the US may continue to waver as new players are not willing to start in a sport with such a variety of skill levels on the field. Essentially it just isn’t fun to be dominated in any sport and when it happens in paintball – it hurts more then most.

In Summary – Separating new and experienced players helps in the following areas.

1. New players can play without fear of getting hurt or competing against vastly higher skilled players.

2. It helps identify players that wish to play a more competitive version of the sport

3. Players that wish to train at a higher level are playing against players that also want to participate as a sport rather than a hobby. This improves the skill level much more than if they were to practice against lower grade players

 

Another area that differs in Australian paintball is restriction on playing paintball away from a licensed venue. Every paintball field in Australia is registered and licensed and due to the fact that a paintball marker is considered a firearm, they are not allowed to be used outside these centers. This means that all training and competition as well as casual play occurs at these centers. At last count it is understood that there is approx 28 paintball fields servicing Melbourne.

There are legal supervision ratios – particularly for unlicensed players and this obviously increases the cost.

It also means that more money from training sessions as well as the casual sessions are funneled into established venues. Each venue competes and one of the most important ways is quality. The better the venue, the more customers and the better the venue gets.

In Summary on this point –

1. Always try to support an established venue with good fields and facilities.

2. Purchase your equipment there instead of online stores without an established paintball site

3. Expect to pay for the service. If fields are forced to compete on price alone, they wont be able to support paintball as a sport.

 

I would love some feedback on this but please help by sharing this post if you think that it is worth talking about.

Mathew

Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne

 

 

 

 

Safety of Air and CO2 paintball tanks.

By | Paintball, Uncategorized | No Comments

An Unfortunate accident in the US is a timely reminder for all paintballers to respect air tanks and be very careful in how they are handled and repaired.

In the last week a Cherryville man died after an accident in his own home whilst trying to repair his CO2 Cylinder.
All paintballers in Australia should use this unfortunate incident to think about how they approach safety around compressed air and the potential risks involved.

According to the Charlotte observer, Neman Bated died whilst trying to apply tape to a leaking CO2 bottle in his kitchen. He suffered severe neck and chest injuries and was pronounced dead a short time later. Another person in the room also suffered minor injuries according to reports.

Whilst there are very few paintballers that still run CO2 this sort of issue could still occur if people fail to respect compressed air.

A warning went out to the scuba diving community a number of years ago when a wide range of scuba cylinders were found to be at risk of breaking and or exploding. This certainly has proven correct with several exploding since. There are many structural similarities between scuba and the air tanks used for paintball.

Exploding scuba tank

Example of exploding scuba tank

In most of these cases the flaw starts around the thread where the bottle meets the regulator. Once this area starts to fail the resulting explosion can occur at any time. Reading the articles on this unfortunate – it is quite possible that something similar happened to Neman Bates. If he was attempting to stop a leak with tape as reported the most likely place for this to occur is around the neck of the bottle.

 

There are some important rules when it comes to staying safe around Compressed air.

 

1. Respect it. It has been often said that a standard paintball tank has similar stored energy to a grenade. I am not sure if this is true or not but I certainly would not want to be around when somebody finds out. If something feels wrong – speak up and proceed with extreme caution. Repairing or maintaining compressed air equipment is not something to “have a crack at”.

2. If you are working on an air tank…. Depressurize it completely. I tend to assume that the gauge is also faulty and remove a burst disk to ensure that all is above board.

3. Do not modify any component of an air system outside the manufacturers instructions or guidelines. I am sure that people have been tempted to use a higher grade burst disk when it blows repeatedly but this could be the last line of defense against total failure of the bottle. When something goes wrong in a gas bottle the burst disk is designed to fail. If a burst disk continues o blow – chances are that there is something more serious going on.

4. Be careful what chemicals come into contact with your air tank. Most people are aware that you should not put oil near the air tank but this is only part of the problem. As a rule we refuse to have any petroleum based lubricants onsite – just in case. We only use innox on our rental markers as there is no petroleum base to the spray. WD40 – whilst great for home use should stay a long way from any compressed air device.

5. Check that your tanks are “in date”. As well as being a legal requirement in Victoria, it is also the best defense against unexpected failure. If you need a tank tested – give us a call and we will help arrange it. There have been several air tanks detected out of the required testing dates.

6. Watch our for your mates. Education is the absolute key here. If you see someone coming into the sport – make sure that they are aware of the danger posed by incorrect handling compressed air and CO2.

 

Please make sure that you take the time to pass this information on if you feel that it would be helpful.

The social media share buttons are below.

Mathew – Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne

WCNC news link

 

Vic 5s 2015 Round 1 Preview

By | Paintball, Tournament | No Comments

2014 overall was a fantastic year for Victorian Paintball. We had the Newborough based side H20 (Hard to Overcome) dominate for the first 4 out of 5 rounds before being pipped in round 5. While they still walked away with the Div1 title for the year it certainly sets the scene for 2015.

With round 1 scheduled for 22nd February at Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne, the stage is set for a fantastic start to the season.

In Div1, H20 will remain the team to beat but there is likely to be more competition for them this year.
Hustle had some great rounds in 2014 and will likely improve after some time playing with the new list. Apparition was the only team to win a round from H20 and it will be interesting to see if they can do the same in 2015. Also worth a mention is the Raiders who stepped up from Div 2 to Div 1 mid season and performed very well considering a step up. With more time under the belt now in Div1 they are likely to continue to learn and adapt. They are certainly one of the most aggressive teams at the moment which makes them great to watch.

On November 30 the local Victorian and Melbourne Paintball teams were lucky enough to participate in a clinic run by arguably the best front position paintball players in the world. The level of improvement of the paintballers who participated in the clinic was extraordinary. This is sure to lead to a massive lift in the quality of local play and will make for excellent spectating.

Tournament Paintball clinic

Marcello Margott Clinic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For people wishing to spectate for the Vic5s Tournament Round 1

Location – Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne – 455 Centre Dandenong Rd Moorabbin
Entry and spectating – Free for all ages. Food and drink will be available on the day.

Safety As always your safety is our number one priority and all spectating will occur with full separation from the playing field. Snipers Den is unique with its roofed and walled structure making it safe to get close to the action whilst being safe from stray shots. We recommend people to not touch the netting as this minimizes the protection it offers.

 

Get in touch if you wish to spectate at this unique event but bookings are not required so fee free to just show up on the day.

 

Mathew – Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne

The Future of Tournament Paintball part 2

By | Paintball, Tournament | No Comments

The Future of Tournament paintball part 2. For Part one click here

Money

Money…. Probably the hardest to do anything about. But once you look a little closer there are a few factors that we can look at.

Th GFC caused a lot of problems for paintball. Not just paintball in America but Europe and Australia as well. Paintball is an easy thing to give up when money is tight. The flip side of this is that when economies are strong the sport grows. With consumer confidence in the USA and Australia growing we should start to see players either returning or starting i the sport.

The recovery has not really started to come into effect yet however. In the USA the Google searches for paintball has dropped progressively since the start of the GFC. (refer below)

USA searches for Paintball sice GFC
Paintball searches in the USA over time

Australian Paintball search stats are a little more forgiving but the trend is still negative. Australian searches are being propped up by the fact that the structure of the industry here makes it more conducive to work groups, bucks parties and birthdays.

So what makes tournament paintball so expensive? Paintball markers are pretty cheap when you you look at the second hand market. Facebook makes it easy to purchase paintball clothing including paintball masks interstate or internationally second hand. There are also plenty of Melbourne paintball players that sell gear on Facebook. The field fees to train are relatively inexpensive and are pretty widely available. Considering all of these the biggest expense is the paintballs.

Now this seems like something we have little control of and to a degree this is right. The margins on paintballs for licensed players is very low and the price is at the whim of the AUD/USD exchange rate. So what options do we have?

When you look at NSW where there are a significantly more active teams there only seems to be one major difference in the way things are done…. Ramping. To understand ramping I have added an explanation here.

The main advantage with Ramping from a financial standpoint is that it caps the rate of fire that is possible during a tournament. While it becomes easier to achieve most players are likely to shoot less paintballs and therefore compete for a lower price. As a side note ramping is used in other states and countries and it would also allow players to compete more easily in other states.

The other barrier at the moment is the cost of purchasing equipment when initially entering the sport. One way we have started helping in this area is by making it easier for new players to access second hand equipment. Players have already started donating used gear to a pool that new players can use or buy cheaply to get into the sport. Any money made from selling the gear is then used to help build and promote entry level players getting involved.

If you have any ideas on how to build the sport, want to get involved or have gear to donate contact us on our Facebook page or google+

 

The future of Tournament paintball in Victoria…. Part 1

By | Age Limit, Paintball, Uncategorized | No Comments

Victorian paintball has gone through a number of changes in the last 20 or so years. It all started with pump action paintball markers out in the bush and we are now at the point where we are playing on the same layouts as teams on the other side of the world with paintball markers capable of 20+ paintballs per second.

For the last 5 years however the rules and formats of paintball have consolidated leading to a period of stability in the sport from a competition point of view. Sadly during this period the amount of people competing in paintball tournaments in a regular basis in Vic has dropped significantly.

It peaked in around 2012 when 28 teams participated in PAVs – now called Vic 5s hosted by Snipers Den Paintball Melbourne. Last round of Vic 5s we had 12 teams total. And this was the equal max for the season. So it is evident that there are issues recruiting new players, holding onto existing players or perhaps a little of both. After chatting to players, field owners and other event organisers and a few trends seem to keep coming up.

tournament paintball competition

Victorian paintball competition in action

Age limit

The legal age for paintball in Victoria is 18 and over. Obviously most sports do not have an age restriction and this forms a big part of how they recruit players. When look at organisations such as Auskick for AFL football it is evident that this has a big part in recruiting players to the sport and fostering long term retention of the players.

The legislation is looking like it will change the paintball age limit to 16+ in early 2015. Hopefully this will help but we will still be chasing our tails unless it lowers a little further. Assuming the age limit lowers it will also depend on how the legislation is enforced from the perspective of paintball licenses. The best guess currently is that people under the age of 18 will not be able to hold a paintball license. This is only based on the implementation of other firearm categories and hopefully is a little more lenient than that but we will need to see how it occurs.

Once we do have under 18’s around the sport players will need to make adjustments also. As a sport that has been restricted to 18+ for a long long time it may require adjustments to the culture and appropriate language. If paintball in Melbourne to be taken seriously as a sport we need to represent ourselves as such. Younger players are going to bring parents and families and this influx of paintball players could easily dry up if we scare off the new source of paintball competitors.

Conclusion: Lowering of the age limit will be a great boost to tournament paintball but we need to be careful to represent our sport professionally when this happens.

junior paintball

In the USA there is no official minimum age for paintball

 

For more read on to part 2 here….

 

Booking the Marcello Clinic…

By | Paintball | No Comments

To make it easier to book please follow the instructions below.

We will not be allowing not paying tournament players to attend the venue. This is obviously a truly closed session.

paintball clinic booking

First step to booking a paintball clinic – Click “Book Now”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paintball Training Clinic Step 2

Click on the 29/11/14 and “Training Clinic”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paintball clinic booking process

Fill in your details – Group name and reason not important

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcello Margott Training clinic

To confirm the booking you need to pay in full. I will hold spot using the deposit setting but only for a few days.