Player Profiles: Interview with Griffan Spanner


Griffan Spanner Tiger Stripe Alien Deception
Griffan Spanner

Rank D3

Owner of Parabolic Paintball
Sales, R&D at Alien Paintball
Marketing Director at AFPL

When and how did you first get introduced to paintball? When did you get hooked?

I got introduced to paintball back in the summer of 04. A friend of mine had talked his mom Into buying him a Spyder Electra for really no reason. We went out to a dry creek behind his house and took turns shooting each other with it.
Soon enough I was begging my parents to buy me one so I could shoot back.

My dad took me to Big 5 and I got a ZAP Winchester starter set for 60 bucks.

After that I discovered that we had a field in the area and as soon as I stepped foot out of the car in the parking lot I was hooked.

Played my first few games hiding in an apple crate in the back of the field haha.

 

When we talked before, you said you just can’t seem to get away from paintball, though you hate it, or something like that? Or something along the lines of anxiety for tournaments messes you up, but recball is cool? Seemed like you really love paintball, but it is a love hate?

Absolutely.

My tournament career *if you can call it that* started with two seasons of second place finishes in the WCPS (West Coast Paintball Series). Every event I played, and in every division, I got second.

Around 2013 or so I started to get extreme anxiety surrounding competition and that need to get my gold medal.  

Over time it just got worse and worse as I got second after second and by the time the end of that season rolled around I was puking at the start box during the finals… Where I got second place… again.

Griffan on far right in yellow shirt, with silver medal, and disappointed face.

Griffan on far right in yellow shirt, with silver medal, and disappointed face.

 

By the third event of the 2014 season I got my fairy tale game finish.

Slugfest over time first place win against a team that had handed us most of our second place finishes the season prior.

After that I decided to take a break from competition and get into other parts of the industry.

Griffan Spanner Chris Rangel WCPS 1st Place

Griffan, second to right. Look at those #1 fingers and hard earned happy faces.

 

What are your current and previous roles with the paintball industry?

Jack of all trades.

In the last two years alone I’ve started a company, done R&D for a few brands, did some designing, marketing management, and a ton of event commentary.

Currently I am taking things up a notch with my barrel company Parabolic, and working as a marketing director for the Almost Famous Paintball League (AFPL) as we get ready for the 2016 season.

For the last few years I worked with Alien Paintball, but over the last few months that has really slowed down now that all the guns are built and on shelves.

Griffan doing commentary for AFPL tournament game I played with team Lost Coast Lunatics in Vacaville 2015

 

So whats up with your barrels and your company? What’s the deal? The pitch? Where are you at now with them?

The project started out when I was wrapping up my degree and needed a final project in my physics class.

I didparabolic phi barrel2 a bunch of testing with various amounts of porting closed off and used a bunch of barrels of different lengths to locate the best length of control bore for efficiency.

A few months after I got it graded I started looking at the kits I was using and realized that all of the optimal data points were just in the trends. None of the kits I had actually landed on the right numbers.

This frustrated me to no end and I sort of forgot about it until Alien had me design them the barrel system to be included with the Deception. This was a couple years back and I just took the data I had collected and sent that to the designer as a two piece kit.

What I did differently which lead to my one piece concept was I made the tip bore only .005 larger than the biggest control bore of the kit which was a .690. I had a .690 back and a .695 tip to work with.

Lucky for me, the barrels used the same threading as a few other systems so I tested the effect on a larger or smaller tip bore and found what I was expecting, that as you increase the tip diameter, you lose more air around the ball and the sound increases.

It took me a year to find a manufacturer who was even willing to produce my design because of how difficult it is to counter bore from the other side. What I proposed was an 8.6 inch control bore and the rest of the barrel to be .005 larger.

I started with .685 and a .690 tip with gradually increased porting towards the tip.

At this point, I only wanted to make one kit. Just for me to use.

I wasn’t interested in going into business with them at all but when I finally got the first run of test units in, everyone who knew about the project wanted to buy them so I sold off the ones I didn’t need *had to place a minimum order to get them done*. The feedback from that first set was incredible.

First run batch of Phi barrels

First run batch of Phi barrels

By the time they got delivered, I had dozens of people hitting me up to order them so I decided to take a bunch of pre-orders and do a second run for the people who wanted them.

During that run I had 50 barrels made and they were sold before they landed to me.

I made a few changes to the design to test some other ideas which didn’t work out so I went back to the original drawing and just decided to bet the house and spend all of my money on a large run and take it further and that’s where I am now.

The barrel itself is a dual bored one piece.

So you start with your standard one piece barrel.

14 inches of solid bore and then I go in from the tip and have them bore it out .005 larger.

This does a few things. At around 8.5 inches *depending on the gun and valve etc* the ball starts to lose its acceleration due to friction in the barrel.

So I cut the control bore to that point and rather than using a larger tip like everyone else *Simon at Inception Designs is the only exception* I keep more of the air behind the ball which keeps the ball going just a tiny bit faster until it reaches the tip, and then gravity takes over for the rest of the shot.

I’ve got a team in Portland who are all shooting clones this season and I sent them up a set to test with and see if they wanted me to sponsor them in the NXL this year.

When compared to the shift kit that they already had with the guns, they found a 20 feet per second increase in velocity and a noticeably lower sound signature with my barrel.

NXL team Griffan Sponsored

NXL team Griffan Sponsored

 

What separates Parabolic from the competition?

Parabolic in a lot of ways is the same as a lot of other brands.

It’s a guy with some cool ideas and some how the project pays for itself.  

Where I differ from the rest *I believe* is that I’m taking more time to make things perfect before releasing.

.001 of an inch at a time boring, where the porting is located, how the weight of the barrel is distributed, how the paint is kept outside of the ports, and lastly, I’m spending easily twice as much per barrel as anyone else.

I’m trying to do with my barrels what Palmer did in the 90s with his, and I don’t think anyone else is willing to do that these days.

 

What do you consider the brand of Parabolic Paintball?

I started parabolic as a social group and a think tank.

The motto has always been “ride the spiral” which is from an album written based on the Fibonacci Sequence.

Song by the band Tool that inspired the motto of Parabolic Paintball: “Ride the Spiral.”

 

This sequence exists in EVERYTHING. Plants, shells, the way galaxies form, the way that particles arrange themselves, the ratio of our own limbs to one another and to our body, the way that we process information and are naturally drawn to objects that follow these ratios as beautiful, the way our DNA arranges itself to store and transfer information.

This set of numbers and the ratio are literally the blueprint to everything organic and a TON of what is not.

My idea is to just keep growing.

Keep reaching for new ideas, keep expanding and the right opportunities will find me if I keep my eyes open, and over the last few years they have.

I plan to continue growing and evolving and taking chances as they come to me and I want the people who use my products to grow and learn and adapt that way too.

I had an opportunity to move to California and work for a company I’d always loved.

That lead to me being able to make my own products, that lead to another job with a new league that has flown me all over and that work lead me to play at world cup in Malaysia against some of the best players in the highest division in the world.

 

By social group, you mean this facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ParabolicPaintball/?

Yep. That was me and five guys throwing around ideas and then I decided to open it up and it became a bst (buy sell trade).

My first project was having Kohn make barrel covers for us and then we did a jersey with one of my best friends as a designer who has since been hired by virtue to do what he used to do freelance.

And from there it’s just been me taking as many chances as I can.

parabolic facebook group banner

 

How does that brand transpire into your business operations and products?

It’s because of my trust in this process that I named my company as I did, which is based on a song on that album that got me through a lot of good and dark times.

The barrel name PHI is the name of the ratio that appears as the spiral grows and as the numbers extend outward. As the name suggests, the bore cut off point for the barrel is on that exact spot. 8.62 inches out of 14. 1.618 times the length of the control bore. The porting is the sequence 2-3-5-8 and the spacing between the holes shrinks at the same rate.

This just happens to be the most efficient way to use energy in a shot. It blew my mind when I realized that the ideal conditions for a ball to accelerate and steady itself was exactly what I was trying to do with my life. So I decided to take that as a sign and jump in with both feet.Parabolic Phi Barrel

To finish up, you started the JT Pro-Flex Mask collecting craze or something via a facebook bst (buy sell trade) too right? When?

Haha yeah. I found a website with a ton of old masks and I bought a bunch. I started a group to hype up my sale and it EXPLODED.

JT got involved for a while and we got to design the new lenses and ears. Then the great flex war happened and it’s been a mess ever since.

jt proflex bst flex nation facebook group

 

What was the flex war?

Someone sponsored the group and then freaked out when I deleted one of his posts that broke the rules so he copy/pasted my rules into a new group and talked a ton of trash for months and manually added all of my members into his page.

Naturally I called him out and everyone in the page at the time picked a side.

Drama got so bad that I just handed the group off to my admin and stopped paying attention to it.

paintball drawing parabolic ride the spiral jt center aDrawing I did for Griffan inspired by this interview. Water Color, Sharpie, Pen, Marker, Color Pencil, Crayon.

 

If you would like to purchase a Phi Barrel or contact Griffan, shoot a message to the Parabolic facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ParabolicPaintball/

Jacob Bloom

Jacob Bloom

Editor, Artist, and Writer at Green Ops
jacob@greenops.info
Jacob Bloom

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