Caroline McEneaney takes it all out on her friends during paintball at Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
Need a dose of adrenaline? Try paintball. Armed with heavy guns that shoot marble-sized capsules of paint, you can take out any aggression you might have stored up. Al Forsan International Sports Resort offers paintball throughout the year.
Visiting the resort takes a full day. You have a choice of activities to try, including paintball – one of the few places in Abu Dhabi to ofer the activity. Deputy general manager Rashed Al Qubaisi says, ‘Paintball, along with wakeboarding and motorsports, is one of our most popular sports. We get many people coming here just for that activity. It’s one of my favourites as well.’
Approaching the resort is akin to entering a city. The guard at the front accepts the Dhs55 – Dhs25 of which is credited towards any activity you choose. Once inside, you wait for a shuttle bus that makes rounds every few minutes. This takes you to your desired location – in our case, the paintball area.
You need to come with up to 40 friends, as paintball here is offered in groups (some centres will group strangers together).
First-timers need to check in at a digital registration station below the main clubhouse, then head to the counter to receive outfits and paintballs.
Suit up in canvas jumpsuits, remembering to button all the way up to protect yourself from the paint, and put on a thick foam breast-plate.
Then all you need is your facemask and you’re ready to play. No helmet is required.
Rashed explains, ‘One of the highlights of our paintball packages is that we have several different scenarios such as Wild West and WWII Pacific Island. Players can choose from several different games including Capture the Flag, Protect the VIP and Elimination. The different possibilities make the game new and exciting every time you come.’
March through the resort in your gear and head to one of the two indoor paintball domes. The battle areas are heavily netted, and once inside the net, you must have your mask down to protect your eyes.
An Al Forsan employee serves as referee and helps you fill your gun with paintballs and demonstrates how to fire. After a few test fires, you’re ready to fight.
Hide behind metal barrels, in thatched huts and under sand ditches as you run around attempting to stay clean from yellow splatters. You make the rules, so you can play several rounds, stopping whenever you need. To exit safely, simply raise your hand and walk out.
Play as many rounds as you want until your ammunition – or energy – runs out. Your referee will suggest new games, helping out with rules and strategies. New players will benefit from this advice.
This sport isn’t for the fainthearted. The guns are powerful and getting hit hurts. The equipment provided will keep you safe and serious injury is unlikely; however expect to leave with bruises and welts. Battle scars, if you will.
Paintball is particularly popular for company outings, explains Rashed. ‘We get a lot of companies that choose paintball as an activity, because when else do you get to shoot your boss?’ he jokes. ‘It’s a great way to have fun and blow off some steam. It probably helps office dynamics, too.’
All of the equipment is available to rent, but players with their own equipment can play on the field as well for Dhs70 per person. Packages including equipment and 200 balls each, start at Dhs120 per person. Group rates start at Dhs1,200 for 10 people. Players must be at least ten years old.
Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi, www.alforsan.com (02 556 8555).
More paintballing to try
Pursuit Games Paintball Dubai
This is the only outdoor paintballing venue in Dubai and offers a range of different game options. Also has packages for kids aged ten to 12, as well as on-site catering.
Next to Wonderland Park, Garhoud Bridge, Oud Metha, www.paintballdubai.com (04 324 4755).
Sharjah Paintball Park
Paintballing here takes place over two arenas – Jungle and Savanna – with each area featuring different features such as bunkers, trees, trenches and bridges. Refreshments are also available and there’s even a shop for paintball enthusiasts.
Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, www.paintballuae.com (050 203 2288).