Who are you & what makes you so special?
My Name is Ledz or Antony Leadbetter and for what makes me special, well I can drink a pint pretty quickly…I’ve been playing Paintball since 1986, I’m one of the owners of Planet Eclipse. Played Pro Paintball with Banzai Bandits and Nexus, played for Team GB and I’m the Captain/Owner the Sandbaggers. Apart from that, I’m just a baller like everyone else.
“Goggles were not compulsory”
What was your first experience with paintball?
I played a customer day that a friend organised back in 1986. Goggles were not really compulsory. If you shot 20 balls in a day through the fairground modified air rifles then you were like Rambo. But I was hooked from that day till now…
You own one of the most respected brands in paintball (Planet Eclipse) and the Sandbaggers team has become a respected brand in their own right, what’s your secret?
God only knows. We started Planet Eclipse because we wanted to get the latest gear (like children in the sweet shop) then we wanted to make better gear, so we did and we are trying to do the same today. We have always tried to keep our feet on the ground, be honest and fun loving.
Sandbaggers is the same, life is too short not to have fun! If you want to watch our story we made a video some years back, check it out!
How has EG Smoke grenades effected your gameplay?
In so many cool ways. I wasn’t convinced the smoke would be any good as I’ve seen some rubbish smoke over the years but the EG stuff is thick and dense. We have been able to use the EG Smoke grenades to distract, conceal and dominate the opposition… We have become like the Black Smoke Monster from Lost 🙂
Do you see smoke being used more in paintball competitions like the UWL?
I hope not, I like the advantage it gives us. If anyone is thinking of using it in the UWL or anywhere, I wouldn’t bother 😉
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Had you thought about using smoke before it was suggested to you?
Nope, not at all. Even when the first shipment arrived Stoney was like “take these out with you”. I didn’t want too at all but to keep him happy I did. In the next game, there was a standoff near a swing flag on the tape line. I popped a smoke, crawled into the thick smoke coverage and switch the flag to our colour. Easy, not even a shot fired. I then crawled past their defensive line and took out the two guys I had been battling with for 5 minutes!!! Should have done it 4 minutes earlier…
You have played every type of paintball, what is your favourite these days?
I still like them all, scenario games, big games, Supair, Ultimate Woodsball tournaments (UWL), they all give me something different. Sometimes you need to just chill out and play for fun (remember that’s why we all started playing in the first place) and other times you want a proper battle. If I had to choose my last ever game I think it would be a woodland tournament of some kind. Ask the Disruption guys if I’m any good in the woods 🙂
“Sometimes you need to just chill out and play for fun”
Did I hear a rumour that you also played a bit of airsoft, True or False?
True… I have to say I love it, but not all of it. I’m a CQB Airsofter pretty much exclusively. I like to go to venues that I couldn’t play Paintball in due to safety issues. I have played in Chemical factories up gantries 4 stories up and had a blast. If I had played Paintball it would be slippy in 5 minutes and people would be slipping off the gantries to their deaths. So any CQB stuff I’m up for.. If I had a choice between Airsoft and Paintball, Paintball would win hands down every time.
If you had a crystal ball, what is the future of paintball in the UK?
No idea. I wish I could say I’m shaping it in some way but it’s shaped at the grassroots level at sites and venues around the world. I think it’s become a lot more established now and almost mainstream. If the economy keeps improving and we have good people offering good service we will continue to grow and hopefully prosper. But we have to be careful, as the Paintball markers look more and more real these days and guns is a bad word we have to be careful we don’t tread on too many toes and cross too many lines.
To follow the crazy Sandbaggers world follow them on Facebook.com/operationsandbaggers
Thanks to Ledz and all of the Sandbaggers for keeping the spirit of paintball alive and grinning from ear to ear…….EG