It’s time for another hall of fame focus…

You may have noticed we have a selection of great trophies on display in the concourse– but how much do you know about the people who have won them? In our series of interviews we’ve been finding out more about the different winners and the stories behind them.

This time it’s the University of Southampton Paintball & Airsoft Club talking about their range of awards.

What trophies have you won?

So far this year we’ve taken two third place trophies at the local, regional competition held just 20 minutes away.  We’re working on our skills now with the intent to take first place at the Student Cup, a title currently held by UWE Bristol.

How long have the paintball club been together?

The paintball club has been around (in some form) for at least 13 years now, and has seen some big names in paintball over the years.  From 2001-2004 the club included Shelley Farmer, who has since gone on to captain the GB Ladies team, along with a job providing commentary and interviews for the Millennium Series European Paintball Championships webcast from each of their four events.  The current tournament team have been together for a mere four months, following a fairly turbulent few years, however all is now settling back down.  Our tournament team are making significant progress with their quest to top the tables at both local and national level.

Who are the members?

Our current team is formed of: – Chris Malton (Team manager) – Alongside a Monday-Friday day job, Chris remains a member of the Students’ Union, the club and its committee and continues to give his time to the club he looked after while at Southampton. Chris has been playing paintball for nearly six years, has been involved with the making the industry better since day one. – Ben Hendy – Ben is a second year Geography student.  Having caught the paintball bug himself, he seems to have passed it on to his brother and at least one of his house-mates.  Long may it continue we say! – Luke Pembroke – Luke is a first year Biology student, and caught the paintball bug last summer after a few trips to a local paintball site with one of his mates.  He’s now one of our key players on the field. – Chris Riseley – Chris is a second year PhD Physics student and has been playing paintball on-and-off for 4 years.  He used to marshal for Skirmish Exeter, and having discovered the team’s existence at Southampton in late 2013, he’s decided to continue his hobby while doing his PhD. – Max Hayman – Max is a first year Computer Scientist who lives and breathes paintball.  When not playing for the University club, he also plays for the Mayhem Knights second team. – Edmund Bannister – Ed’s a first year History student with a bright personality.  He first got involved with paintball working for a paintball site and is now hooked. – Jack Harty – Jack is a second year Geology with Physical Geography student, who blames his involvement with the club squarely on Ben who dragged him to one of the tournaments we played.  Now, of course, he’s hooked! – Andy Southworth – Andy is the quiet one of the team but a very capable player. He’s a first year studying geography and is always willing to muck in with team activities, not to mention the fact that he’s had experience working on a site like many of the team have.

How did you prepare for the competitions?

Until we got all the paperwork signed off and everything agreed by SUSU for our new training facility on Sunday mornings in The Cube, we had to learn our skills from watching Youtube videos, members doing their own practise at home and occasionally put them to use in the woodland.  Our easiest way to prepare for competitions was to actually play them, and climb the exceedingly steep learning curve.  Now that we can train in the Cube, we’ll be making use of these practise sessions to improve our skills and try and top the rankings.

What was the biggest challenge?

In our case, there are two big challenges: 1) Keeping things cost-effective for members.  As a club we work tirelessly to ensure best value for money.  It’s why we’re ever so grateful to SUSU for providing a facility we can use to train at minimal cost to our members, which means that when we do go and play tournaments, the total cost of the training and the tournament is much less than it would be with many other paintball teams. 2) Training space.  Having somewhere big enough to practise tournament paintball is a massive ask, and SUSU have helped massively to get us a space we can use.  It’s no match for having a full-size tournament paintball field to practise on, but it’s the next best thing.

How did you feel when you won?

The moment we took our first match win on the tournament paintball field was just fantastic.  It meant that four months of hard work by the committee and then by the team members had finally paid off – sadly we then went and lost the next couple of matches.  We can only attribute this to the

What are your plans for the future?

We hope that from here, the club will continue for many years into the future and have a successful future driven by students wanting to take the exciting adrenalin rush of paintball to the next level.  Our ultimate aims are to be top of the leaderboard for student teams in the UK (a position currently held by UWE, Bristol), and maybe at some point, consider entering a team into the European Championships.

What would you say to anyone considering joining?

First off – none of us are crazy paintball gun-toting lunatics, and that certainly isn’t what we’re about as a club. Secondly, there’s no need to have any previous experience with paintball – the club can teach you what you need to know. Forget all you know of paintball – come and talk to us and find out what we’re about on Sundays from 9:30 to 11:30 in the Cube or drop us an email: committee@supac.org.uk.  Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list as well at https://members.supac.org.uk/subscribe