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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Rasa Fournier

Kapolei Paintball Facility Is A Hit

Kapolei’s Hawaii Extreme Paintball & Airsoft (HXP) field isn’t a new facility, but it sure looked new when the owners celebrated a June 1 grand reopening and blessing. In addition to live music, a buffet and raffle prizes, the impeccably clean paintball fields invited a flurry of action that left them thoroughly splattered by the end of the day.

“Although we’ve been open since last fall, it was only on the weekends and a kind of ‘hidden gem’ for local paintball enthusiasts,” said general manager Mike Yelton. “With the only certified field in the Pacific, HXP has about 200 paintball regulars, from intermediate to advanced, from age 12 on up, military and civilian.”

HXP plans to expand its schedule beginning next month, opening up to groups of 10 on any day by appointment, and promoting its facility as a place for birthday parties and corporate team-building programs.

“We will be announcing annual memberships at heavily discounted prices this summer,” Yelton added, “and we hope to work with tour companies and concierge desks to build our visitor market, as well as the military, for recreation and debriefing exercises. The June 1 event was really about bringing people in the community to experience paintball for the first time, to introduce them to something new.”

Many of the 50 or so people who decided to try their skills on the field June 1 had never played before. The accompanying paintball gun and protective mask gave them an authentic look, on par with the veteran paintballers who were covered head to toe in cammo. The biggest difference was that the former group was nervously discussing: “Does it hurt?” “How long is the game?” What happens if I get shot?” “Oh, goodness, I’m so scared.”

A group of referees (aka staff on the field who makes sure everyone is OK) gave the group a thorough rundown before the more experienced players led the novices to their respective home bases: Iraq versus USA. The rules were to hit as many of your opponents as possible with balls that splattered neon orange and yellow. During the first 10 minutes, if you got shot, you ran back to base and tagged yourself back into the game. During the final five minutes, a hit meant you were out for good. The final minute of the game was an all out paint-bath accompanied by a cacophonous tattoo of firing.

By round two, everyone was a veteran and raring to return to the field.

The refs have any number of game ideas ready for willing participants. One game, for example, had everyone vying for a flag positioned in the middle of the field.

Whatever the format, there’s rapid fire as fatigued figures dart from a tuft of bushes to an abandoned bus and between dozens of other well-positioned barriers. Some folks choose to stay hidden and get in a snipe attack now and then, while others charge forward relentlessly. The adrenaline rush of the game might only be surpassed by having family or colleagues ducking behind the bushes beside you, or facing you in the opposing camp!

“Paintball is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., with more than 6 million active players,” noted Yelton. “HXP recently hosted one of only eight National Professional Paintball League tournaments in the country, which attracted international players. There’s a lot of room for growth, and we welcome beginners to professionals – everyone can have a great time.”

For more information, call 838-9324 or visit hawaiiextremepaintball.com.

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