Paintball shoot-em-ups for gung-ho adventurous types and typettes has become huge worldwide since it was invented by the US Marines a decade or so ago to train its soldiers.
Here in Sri Lanka it has taken root big time, nowhere more than at the Splatter Paintball camp at Ambagaspitiya, in the Gampaha backwoods north-east of the capital Colombo.
It’s proving to be an especially big hit with the increasing number of Chinese visitors to Sri Lanka, a great counterpoint to the Culture Triangle, Hill Country and beach resort itineraries.
Says a recent Sunday Times report: “For Sanka Arambawaththa, setting up Splatter Paintball in Gampaha was all about giving people the chance to experience an unparalleled adrenaline rush.
“Being an adrenaline junkie himself, Sanka has conditioned his body to live on the whim of adventure. However, he too stresses that safety must take priority when it comes to paintball, as is the case with all adventure sports.
Sanka stresses that “it’s really not dangerous as long as you abide by the rules,” and the Tippman 98 custom guns used for paintballing are customised to maintain a pressure of less than 1500 Pascals, effectively suppressing its firepower but this doesn’t mean that players can afford to remove their helmets.
The guns run on the simple mechanics of a liquidized carbon dioxide filled gas tank that powers the paint bullets. American Safety Standards are adhered to, and guns are programmed to fire at less than 300 feet per second.
The ‘bullets’ are soft, round pellets filled with coloured ink and topped off with a Gelatin cover. Upon impact it breaks open spraying paint. Players are pronounced ‘injured’ if hit once and ‘out’ if hit twice in the body.
The Splatter website says that “this place gives you the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate adventure of paint-balling. For reaching at the place where you will experience this thrilling activity, the transportation is included by the local operators who organize this activity and they will give you all the information you need.