Emerald gelsoft finds followers
IMAGINE running along a sandy terrain, ducking behind a tree or log, crawling into shrubbery, and then having a laugh blasting your mates with gel pellets.
If that sounds like your idea of fun, the Emerald Gelsoft Group has you covered.
Gelsoft meetups in Emerald are now attracting more than 40 people a week, and interest in the hobby is steadily increasing.
The sport is similar to paintball, but uses softer, biodegradable pellets that are mostly water.
The Emerald group, started by Ashley and Dean Ross, plays once a week and in six months has shot to 400 members.
Dean said the group had received great feedback in its short existence.
“We’ve had people thank us for helping their relationships and giving them an outlet to burn off energy and something to look forward to on the weekend,” he said.
“I like doing it because it’s good exercise, can be competitive, and I like to build my own stuff.
“But you also get to hang out with a lot of different people who you might not meet otherwise.”
The barrier to entry is only the cost of a gelsoft gun, generally about $200, and a bag of pallets for about $15. Dressing the part in camouflage is encouraged, but not essential.
Dean attributes the sport’s uptake and broad demographic partly to the cheapness of playing after that one initial expense, and partly to the social aspect of each session.
“A big chunk of it is people who usually play computer games, and are encouraged to come along instead of sitting in front of the TV.”
“And then once the dads come out with their kids, they usually show up with a gun themselves the week after.”
Player participation rates across the state are only going up.
“It’s the biggest-growing sport in Queensland. We have at least one new face every weekend,” Mr Ross said.
“These things can change people’s lives once they find what they like doing.”
Find the Emerald Gelsoft Group on Facebook to express interest and stay in the loop about meetings.