Author Topic: What is speedball?  (Read 1420 times)


  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 102
    • Paintball Association (Singapore)
What is speedball?
« on: 27 December 2010, 09:10:46 PM »
What is Speed Ball?

Speedball is commonly used to refer to the modern day 'tournament paintball' format but in actual fact it simply refers to the original adaptation of woodsball competitions in 1989. Back then the majority of tournaments were held in the woods, players wore full camo and goggles (not the modern mask). In '89 SC Village in Southern California developed a new form of competition that was more spectator friendly and less military-looking. The field was 30 x 60 yards surrounded by 8 foot fencing and netting above that with brightly painted truck and tractor tires and 10 gallon drums used for cover. Each side of the field was a mirror image of the other with 7 players per side. Games were quick due to the small field size.

Games such as "Center Flag" are in general played on a speedball field. Games typically last no longer than 10 minutes. SC Village held their first tournament on their new 'speedball' field concept in June 1989 with players turning up in brightly coloured jump suits, Hawaiian shirts and baseball pants. Numerous forms of 'speedball' were developed by the various promoters for tournaments during the 90's.

In 1996 WDP makers of Angel and Pure Promotions, producers of the NPPL created and launched Hyperball with the Hyperball World Championships held in the UK. Hyperball fields utilised black corrugated plastic tubing of various lengths and sizes to create futuristic looking field layouts. The fields were relatively easy to set up and an entire field could be delivered on the back of a truck.

Hyperball is considered the for-runner of the modern tournament game. One of the first players to test out the Hyperball format and fields was Laurent Hamet who played for the French team the Ton Tons. Hamet then went on to create Sup'Airball fields.


Laurent Hamet and his partners were paintball players and promoters. They had organised the Toulouse Cup in France for many years and (most likely inspired by Hyperball) wanted to create a bunker system that could be easily set up on any surface, sand, fields or in stadiums with the minimum of set-up time or damage to the environment. These inflatable bunkers caused paintballs to bounce, rather than splatter causing much less paint sludge on the ground and making it easier to see paintball splats on players. They also provided a great advertising space for sponsors logos. After tournaments, the bunkers could simply be deflated and packed into the back of a van.

The first 'Airball' event was held in 1996 called the Toulouse 7-man with many American teams and industry promoters in attendance. With 1300 spectators at the event, the Americans were in awe of the stadium venue and the spectator friendly set-up the French had created. It wasn't long before airball fields were being used for American tournaments and became the standard bunkers for all tournament competitions.

Sup'Airball allowed tournaments to be played at such locations at Huntingdale Beach, Toronto's Skydome and Disneyland. These air bunkers are still in use today.