Raising the standard
Huntington Beach, California was the home of the first NPPL Super 7 to start off the 2003 national tournament season. This tournament was unbelievable. The tournament fields were right on the beach. This provided an unbelievable crowd of spectators. Many people from Huntington Beach came to see what all the commotion was about. There was a live DJ spinning tracks in between games and announcing the teams and what was going on, on the fields. There was a Budweiser VIP tent were you could grab a beer and some food as well as watch the games. A large stadium style grandstand housed a crowd of spectators right in front of the Super 7 NPPL field. There was a huge trade show with many vendors. With three Bauer compressors and 15 bulk tanks there was no air line. They even had extra air nozzles to blow the sand out of your equipment. There was a players only area with restricted access, so all your gear could be safe. They also served fresh fruit and cold water to the players. A professional chiropractor was also in the players area to deal with any injuries. The vibe of the whole tournament made you feel like you were an athlete competing in a sport.
Many vendors came out to the super 7 to show their wares to the public in attendance. Paintball industry vendors as well as non-paintball vendors were there. WDP had a large booth showing all the coolest angel products. Their new 03 angel looks really good. I can't wait till we get one in a store up here. They also had a lot of add-on parts to totally trick-out you angel or Ir3. Hoodies, chic shirts, and stocking caps were there also. All this was sold by very helpful "angels" dressed in cute little green patent leather, army nurse outfits.
R.P. Scherer was there with their Evil line of products. They a new gun coming out that force feeds the balls into the gun with every shot. It looks cool and crazy at the same time. They also have a lot of new Evil mods and add-ons for the impulse and autococker. These seem functional as well as cool looking.
Raven was also there with their new display trailer. Showing all the jerseys and packs. They also came out with a new spyder that's cut and milled. It also looks great. This means that even the newbies will be looking good this year.
JT had a good booth also. They had daily autograph signings from players from avalanche, lockout, and the brass eagle all-stars. JT has a new pack coming out that allows you to custom make your own unique pack. You can make a pack with anywhere from one pod to twenty pods. It also is contoured to fit your back. Really nice.
There were also many other paintball companies selling lots of stuff. Non paintball vendors were there showing off products like, Fuji selling disposable cameras, Budweiser selling 180 energy drink, and Dank selling cool hoodies, t-shirts, and hats. A new company called Lovesacs was also in attendance. They sell huge bean bag chairs. These things are big enough for two people to lounge on and were by far the largest bean bags I have ever seen.
This tournament site was definitely mainstream. We certainly were not playing in the woods or out in a cornfield. This was downtown Huntington Beach. The tournament site was super close to a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants. There was even a Burger King across the street. How many times have you been to a tournament and wanted to grab something to eat because you have an hour or more break? At this tournament good and hot food was only a short walk across the street.
The 7man fields
The layout of the fields was nothing like anything that I had played on. Most NPPL ten man fields have traditionally been set up with three or more strong stand-up back bunkers that you could support your front guys with and, if needed, mount a strong defense from. These fields were the opposite. They were deifnately a mid players field. The corner bunkers were mostly teacups or small cubes with an occasional lay down. If you wanted to play a big bunker, you had to move up. I asked some of my friends about this and was told that the European style 7 man fields are all like this, so that the games keep moving, it forces you to be aggressive, and not sit back. The sand kept a lot of players from taking a lot of ground on the break. So, there were a lot of bump and runs from the front guys. The fields were also shorter which made the shooters sweetspotting on the break, victims of the dead box as well as the runners. It seems that this is the way the super 7 will set up the fields this year. This will definitely make everyone play more aggressive.
Play of the tournament
Undoubtedly the dopest move of the tournament was on the JT field. The game was between Kapp factory and Hypersonix. The JT field was laid out with a huge pyramid on one tape and a zipper-style arrangement of bricks on the other. The JT pyramid is the largest bunker I have ever seen. It's probably 20 to 30 feet tall and wide enough to have two to three players comfortably play in. Jai of Kapp factory was in the pyramid and just got done stickin' his opposing player on the other side of the pyramid. Jai knew that the pyramid was clear of hypersonix players but, the main threat came from the mid player in the stand up behind the pyramid that was posted up on his location. If Jai even peeked around the corner the hypersonix player would blast the edge of his bunker.
Now, the top side of the pyramid at the base corner is over six feet tall and the side edge of it is getting blasted from the hypersonix player. Jai does a vertical leap, high enough to see over the top of the bunker and shoots two balls from his intimidator, while in mid air. Before he even hits the ground the hypersonix player recieves two hits to the gogs and with a roar from the crowd goes to the dead box. That is most definitely the move of the tournament. So, at our next practice when you warm up by doing a little snap-shooting drill. You better remember Jai from Kapp factory and start doing some jump shots.
Here is an update on 'The sniper" from the world cup. If you remember one of the scandals of the 2002 world cup was the sniper incident. A player from Avalanche, the pro team, decided to give his team some extra support by borrowing an all black, super quiet stealth matrix, don his black ninja outfit and proceed to dump a hopper on Ground Zero from the shadows of the Florida jungle.
The preliminary game between Avalanche and Ground Zero started out fast and furious, like most pro on pro games. It seemed like Ground Zero had the upper hand with their front guys moving into the fifties on both sides of the field. Thatís when the sniper came into action he proceeded to eliminate one entire tape before he got caught. ( caught and dragged out of the jungle by a few members of Ground Zero to be exact)
As a result of his strategy, his team was ejected from the world cup and the x-ball depute held at Disney's wide world of sports. I thought we would surely never see Jeremy Salm aka "the sniper" again.
Well, it seems as though Jeremy has confessed and been sentenced. He is currently serving his time by giving back to the sport. He was sited several times at Huntington Beach (this time without the ninja outfit). He is has decided to help out a novice team and a rookie team that will play all of the super 7's. Jeremy is very good at reading fields and analyzing a teams' strengths. He has been working with Vicious and vicious kids in an effort to give back to the sport that he feels he has taken from.
This takes a lot of guts to come back and face the crowd after what he did. I think that it shows that he is making amends with the community.
Many New teams
With the splitting of the NPPL and the PSP there are a lot of new teams. There are the Viewloader all-stars, an Evil factory team, a team Maxim (from the magazine), Redz factory team, a pro team called Wone factory team (with 12 year old brothers), A second Boston paintball team, and a bunch of Bushwacker teams.
Right before the finals started a lady came out and sang the star spangled banner just like at other sporting events. Then there was a tribute to Maurice Gibb who passed away recently and was deeply involved in paintball. They released his doves and let them go free.
The finals were played in a best of three format that made two teams play for 1st and 2nd, while two and then two other teams play for 3rd and 4th. Dynasty, a group of California boys played the French team the Ton Tons in the pro division This game was exciting as both teams took a lot of ground on the break and also did a lot of run-throughs on each other.
prizes were cool. The pro's competed for $20,000 in cash but,
This tournament is really like nothing I have attended yet (after attending every NPPL for the last three years). Thanks to all the people that put it together, cuz I certainly had a good time. I would like to thank all my teammates. Those that came and played, and also those that didn't. I would also like to thank my sponsors, because without their help A LOT of things could not happen. R.P.Scherer/PMI for the ultra evil, it shot great, breaks on all my victims and too slimy to cheat. Raven for the cool jerseys, packs and goggles. Splat Tag, Inc. and PGI for having the perfect place for us to train.
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