AREA51 - IMHOFF FARM, KOMMETJIE
Started in 1989 by entrepenuer Rod Panagos, Action Paintball commenced operations in Hout Bay with the original plastic single action 10 shot SplatMaster pistols. Not being semi-automatic one had to be very sure of your shot otherwise a miss would leave you struggling to reload whilst your opponent lined up on you. Heeelp!
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 6 inch mole snake to a 4 meter Cape Cobra.
By this time the paintball arms race was gaining momentum. Many a player had modified their Splastmaster 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 we 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-automatic 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 really amazing field located in the Tokai forest. Pine forest sloping down to into a shallow “Jungle” overgrown valley which in winter produced soggy swamp patches. These patchs 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 himself flat on his face in black ooze as his feet disappeared from under him. 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 came face to face with a huge male baboon. Game over!!
Time came for SAN parks to clear the alien vegetation and rehabilitate the area so yet another move. This time to our present venue at Imhoff Farm on the road between Fish Hoek and Kommetjie where at last we have 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 yrs), corporate, bachelors and advanced player groups all in one morning or afternoon session. Valleys, ridges, bunkers and more make it an exciting field to play on.
Having more space also allowed us to start a Lasertag field for all those ever eager kids who want to play paintball but have not yet reached our 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.