HOBBY GOES ON: Ashley and Dean Ross in February. Photo: Kristen Booth
HOBBY GOES ON: Ashley and Dean Ross in February. Photo: Kristen Booth

Gelsoft keeps enthusiasts busy through pandemic

EMERALD gelsoft enthusiasts are staying absorbed in their pastime, physical restrictions notwithstanding, by showing off new or customised equipment with one another.

Members of the Emerald GelSoft Group say it is this characteristic that makes the sport attractive even if playing fields are temporarily closed.

Secretary Dean Ross said he got involved in the sport by buying a basic blaster and playing with a handful of friends. Not long afterwards, he caught the hobby bug.

“Next thing you’re buying two of them, buying camo, and starting a club,” he said.

“I was looking for something do locally because other sports I’ve been interested in require a lot of travelling.

“It’s good to go play on a Sunday and come home on the same day, and it’s a good bit of exercise.

“It’s good encouragement to run when someone’s chasing you.”

Because of Covid-19, the Emerald club halted its weekly games, which were beginning to draw in upwards of 90 participants, in March.

But an element of the sport other than the play is keeping players interested: collection and customisation.

Gelsoft blasters can be built from scratch or disassembled to replace and paint parts.

Dean said it enabled hobbyists to show off their individuality.

“I’m a bit of a tinkerer,” he said. “I started customising right away.

“There are a lot of mechanical parts to it. You can customise the look and change the outside appearance, which encourages people to give it a go.

“My blasters are aluminium and I’ve stripped the paint off and polished it all so it’s chrome. Nobody has something like that. You stand out a bit and there’s a lot of banter on the club days.

“You’re proud of it and always trying to build something different to anyone else.”

Emerald GelSoft Group president Ashley Ross said the sport had two aspects, the physical and the mechanical.

“Your normal everyday family is happy enough to buy a blaster off the shelf and come out on weekends for a shoot,” he said.

“The other side is where you can tinker at home and have the satisfaction of building your own blaster.

“It’s all fully customisable. We had a guy that was all he ever did, just build guns and sell them.”

Ashley said the maintenance and personalisation of equipment kept people passionate off the field.

“At the moment everyone’s getting on top of maintenance, and it’s an opportunity to go and do a few mods.

“That’s how we’ve kept going.”

The group hopes to resume its regular meetings next month.

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