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1999 Zap International Amateur Open - On Scene Coverage






Coverage (with links to previous years)

Team Effort Events
Zap Am Open Page

Stolen Equipment Alert!!

Once again the city of Cranberry, PA just outside of Pittsburgh, under the guiding hand of Team Effort Events has become the host to Amateur paintball teams from around the globe, as well as a showcase for the latest products in the sport.

The Zap International open is more than a paintball tournament.  Held at 3 Rivers Paintball, it is a meeting place for the entire paintball industry.  It is the place where the majority of large new product announcements take place, and where dealers and field owners meet directly with manufacturers and distributors. 

This year, National Paintball Supply of New Jersey hosted a private wholesale only trade show.  Seperate from the noise and bustle of the field store owners were shown entire product lines, and able to conduct busieness that will bring the latest technology and gear to their customers.  The trade show was followed by a paintball luau.  National's Gino Postorivo hosted an incredible event.  Hundreds of people who do business in paintball were treated to dinner, drinks, music, and even a hula contest poolside at the Sheraton Hotel.  The chance for business owners to meet face to face in a social setting was a great networking and business benefit for many of the attendees.  Even distributors and companies in direct competition with National Paintball Supply were welcome guests.  It is refreshing to see this open approach, working to build the sport and industry as a whole.

As usual, the companies sponsoring the event have come up with some major promotions to help introduce themselves to the paintball world.

Redz Comfort Gear has taken a tip from Willy Wonka.  Enclosed in one case of Zap paintballs sold during each event (5 man and 10 man) was a Redz Golden Ticket.  A novice team, "Lake Effect" from Ohio was fortunate enough to purchase this box.  In the staging area, they opened it to see the gold certificate, which entitled the entire team to be outfitted from head to toe in Redz' gear.  For the team, which had sold much of its gear to raise travel funds, and worked as referees to pay off part of their paint bill, this surprise was definitely a blessing.

Brass Eagle is touting their latest goggle, the Extreme 280 pro.  The pro is basically the "bubble boy" goggle that was debuted at this same tournament in 1997, with the addition of the one feature many players requested, a sun blocking visor.  The lower section of the mask is now more flexible as well.  To introduce as many people to this product as possible, Brass Eagle is giving them away to the first 600 players who sign an agreement to wear them for the duration of the tournament.

Tippmann has released an exciting new product  - the Flatline.  Using a radical new barrel design the Flatline puts a backspin on paintballs that changes their flight path from an arch to a straight line, also providing increased range.  See the commentary in the Technical section for more details.

WDP has unveiled the latest incarnation of the Angel, packed with microprocessor technology.  An LCD read-out in the grip frame gives feedback from the microcomputer system controlling the 'gun.  With an open architecture, new firing modes and features can be added by installing new software (downloadable via the internet).  Security features, such as a PIN code required to activate the 'gun are aimed at theft deterrance. 

AKALMP's booth featured their new paintgun - The Excalibur.  This closed bolt electropneumatic paintgun takes advantage of the company's knowledge in low pressure design, and is quite compact for an Electropneumatic.  About to move into field testing with AKALMP sponsored teams in a couple of weeks, the Excalibur should be shipping before the year is out.  According to AKALMP's Arron Alexander, the Excalibur's electroncs are TTL based, with the physical circuitry providing only semi-auto fire at a maximum of 14 shots per second.

AirStar showed the SuperNova, and the soon to be marketed SuperNova ET.  The Super Nova starts with the Nova 700 design they released last year.  The regulator is moved to the bottom of a 45 style grip frame (the two are integrated allowing the grip to act as a heat sync).  The expansion chamber area in the rear of the receiver is filled with aluminum alloy pellets providing plenty of area for heat exchange and a high thermal capacitance.  The end result according to the company's Bruce Gillette is a very consistant gas pressure for better velocity stability and accuracy.  Additionally, the SuperNova has a shorter trigger guard than the 700, to comply with changes in trigger guard requirements.  The ET model takes advantage of the Nova's electronic design and replaces the trigger valve with an electronic valve.  AirStar has decided to only release a semi-automatic firing mode with a 13 shot per second limit, conforming to a recent industry agreement.

The action on the fields for the competition has measured up to its usual levels of intensity, and several players have commented on the reffing being superior to years past.  The natural wooded fields, supplemented in some locations have proven full of surprises.

The Players Party was a huge festivity as it is every year.  Airgun Designs, Worr Game Products and Scott USA sponsored this event to show their support and appreciation to the players.  In addition to the 5 Man trophies, the party was where the Zany Zap awards and a number of other awards were given.  10 Man awards were given out on Sunday.

Zany Zap Awards included:
Beauty - Angelle Chustz
Beast - Doyle McComas
Young Guns - Cobra
Name Game - Hellbound Midgets
Long Distance Runners - OPM Allstars (Germany)
Old Fossils - The Flying Pigs

The Shining Stars award is given to the referees by vote of their peers.

5 Man
Chris Martello, Tom Ivey, Michelle, Jim O'Brien, Eric Walker

10 Man
Marko Polak - Field 1&2
Lenny Christakoff - Field 3&4
George Baker - Field 5&6
Billy Cook - Field 7&8
Jim Rave - Filed 9&10

5 Man Overall Sportsmanship Team
Wrecking Crew (Colorado)

10 Man Overall Sportsmanship Team
OPM Allstars (Germany)

5 Man Zap Ambassador
2 Die 4

10 Man Zap Ambassador
Flying Pigs

Target Shoot Winner:
Lenny from Green Dragons

Benchmark Manufacturing donated a custom Automag, which was awarded by raffle to Josh.  The raffle contestants were all of the Team Effort Events Junior Staff Members who spent the week keeping the tournament grounds clean and orderly.

Jeremy Day was awarded a Shocker from Smart Parts, from the raffle run in their booth.

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