One of the things I absolutely love about paintball and the manufacturers of various paintball products is the fact that many have an extensive background in the game itself. Ed Evans of Exalt, Denny Tippmann Jr and many others all love to get out and sling paint here and there when they can. How many other manufacturers in other sports can honestly state that they actually play the game that they produce their goods for? Stands to reason the manufacturers that do play have a real vested interest in producing a good quality product that people that paintball will enjoy using.
Welcome Paul Ciesun, paintball enthusiast for the past 18 years, owner of Forest Browns Old Challenge Park 45 minutes Southwest of Chicago for the past 8 years and an individual who has spent the past ten years dabbling in product development. As of now Paul is President of HydroTec Paintball based in Chicago Illinois, a company coming onto the paintball scene in late 2009. Previously a company not heard from, HydroTec shocked the paintball world with the introduction of a product concept that stands to revolutionize the industry and the game we all know and love. Paul not only acts as President but is also a big part of Research and Development alongside Ronnie Bayless. The company also boasts the likes of Chuck Hendsch on board as VP of Sales and Marketing.
The new HydroTec paintball, formally introduced to the masses at the recent Paintball Extravaganza in California was something that as Paul put it â€œwent far better than we had ever anticipatedâ€. The HydroTec presentation outlined a new paintball that has a water based fill that is 98% H2O and a shell comprised of a corn based bio polymer. In short a product completely eco friendly that stands to help facilitate industry growth and ease an entrepreneurs ability to open a paintball business. Traditionally field owners are made to jump through hoops and wade through mounds of red tape with local government and other agencies to show the impact of paintballs on the environment â€¦ well no more! With a completely true biodegradable product made from raw materials that are completely eco friendly, concerns by environmental groups could soon become a thing of the past.
The Catshack spent the better part of an hour on the phone with Paul of HydroTec in an effort to fully understand HydroTec and wrap our heads around this product. To begin with the paintball is not like the old RPS Advantage that had a shell created from potato starch. The RPS was designed at the time as a product that lessened the absorption of moisture. HydroTec is on the opposite end of that spectrum claiming to be completely immune to moisture and the havoc moisture wreaks on a standard paintball. Rain and water could soon be completely irrelevant as it pertains to paintball, now how interesting is that.
Further still HydroTec has created a 68 caliber paintball with a water based fill and shell design making it a lighter projectile with less joules on impact. With that understanding the Catshack quickly inquired about shelf life and as we had suspected with some new understanding, the product could for all intensive purposes be created with an indefinite shelf life without dimpling or flattening as does happen with stored paintballs such as they are today. Naturally with water based fill the Catshack had to inquire on how this impacts those of us especially here in the Great White North with respect to freezing and colder temperatures and the need for winter formulas. Paul explained they do have different formulas that are comparable to other brands. Out of the gate HydroTec formulas in relation to standard, non cold weather formulated PEG based paintballs, the PEG becomes ice cream consistency at 45 degrees F. HydroTec does not have data on specifically formulated cold weather gelatin paintballs.
On to the big question of the day â€¦ price point. A very difficult question to answer, Paul is adamant that HydroTec as a company is committed to the growth of the industry. That having been said pricing on the product will most certainly differ from region to region as any paintball pricing does. For example standard paintball pricing in California might be quite different than in Pennsylvania. Paul assures us that pricing will be in line with any other quality brands, not as cheap perhaps as â€œWhite Boxâ€ but certainly in line with standard costs compared to other quality brand names. HydroTec cannot set the retail price point. Their wholesale prices to fields in most cases will be at or less than what fields pay now, again at the wholesale level. Every market is different, as competitive forces, local economic conditions, and even climate dictate prices.
At the onset HydroTec will be releasing three grades of paint, “Element” (Field Series) ” Armada” (Scenario Series) and finally “Vapor” (Tournament Series), all formulated for the purpose of each style of paintball play.
Aside from paintballs, HydroTec is also close to adding a night UV Loader as well as a â€œglow in the darkâ€ version of paintball for night games. The additional product line will be complete with a retrofit kit to activate the glow capability of the product. Last but not least the company also includes promotional apparel â€¦ Paul remained tight lipped regarding any other products the company is currently working on, â€œ we wouldnâ€™t be a news source if we didnâ€™t ask that question Paulâ€ I laughed over the phone to conclude our interview.
Launch is set for January 2011 at which time the company will be mass producing and beginning to ship. For now The Catshack Reports will be waiting with great anticipation to see if this product truly delivers. What needs to be experienced first hand is if the new paintball shoots straight with accuracy over distanceâ€¦even when soaked, how well it breaks, fill consistency and the durability of product through testing. Should this product be true to its word, it really stands to revolutionize paintball and the way paintballs are made. I for one am positively pumped to see this product first hand to report on … stay tuned!