PaintballX3 Magazine September 2013 - Page 88

interview to the safety valve design. It’s been fundamental in the safety of our sport. I have been awarded several patents on it, but we never enforced them as it was so important for the sport. You’d need to be playing paintball with twelve-grams and not using any of my goggles, hoppers or other accessories I have designed over the years in order to play paintball without any product I have been a part of. (BIG SMILE) Josh: What single project was the most fun or most gratifying for you in paintball? Simon: Inventing forcefeed hoppers? Back It was also very fun to do a bunch of the Intimdator styles for Bob Long. The first proj- when I did it people told me it was impossible, and wouldn’t even take me seriously ect I really did for National Paintball Supenough to see my working prototypes. ply after licensing my patents to them was Now though I get a lot of satisfaction from the original Empire Intimidator. I’ve been involved with almost all of the products that great value guns, such as the AXE, that break less fragile paint than high end guns have come out of the R&D department at three times their price and that keep people KEE/Empire since I joined NPS in 2003. playing competitively for far less, and also That includes some of the currently very successful products such as the Z2, the Axe from goggles because it’s so important from a safety point of view and also because and the E-Flex. There still some very cool when you look at someone you look at their projects coming from KEE/Empire that I was involved with and I can’t wait for them face. The first time I saw two teams facing off wearing the original E-vents goggles, to be released. People don’t realize that there is often years of work involved in new that was just awesome! products and so by the time the public sees Josh: So after years of successful work something it has likely been in the development process for a year or more, maybe designing creating and bringing to market numerous majorly successful products for even many years. Over the years I have designed guns, goggles, loaders and more. KEE/Empire, you left. Why? Simon: I wasn’t happy. It was that simple When I joined NPS I set myself a goal that and it was totally my choice. I love what I do, but I needed a change of direction I wanted to be able to turn up to an event and more freedom in my life to do what I and everyone I saw playing would be believed in. The only way I saw for that to using something I helped bring to fruition. That has been the case for quite some time be possible was to take control of my own destiny. now, in part mostly due to one of my innovations that most people know little about but that has been fundamental to the safety Josh: You open-sourced and are basically of our sport. The safety slots you see on al- giving away the design for the Pico forcefeed loader - why? most every single tank valve and regulator Simon: Because I was tired of making in paintball. I designed it after two people awesome things and then not being able to were killed by jettisoning tanks. I do not believe this has ever occurred since thanks bring them to the market for various rea- 88 PAINTBAL