DUAL DUELLISTS: Dave “Mopar” Ohl (left) and Chris “Cougar” Johnson.
DUAL DUELLISTS: Dave “Mopar” Ohl (left) and Chris “Cougar” Johnson. Patrick Woods

Laser fans prepare for ultimate 'zap-off'

FOR Chris Johnson a session of laser tag is more than just something to pass the time on a rainy day.

It's an adrenaline rush, a game of intense strategy and a serious sport.

The 31-year-old is looking forward to representing the Sunshine Coast and the country at the upcoming World Laser Tag Titles.

And the best in the zapping business will converge on the Coast at Laserzone Warana for the event which attracts 80 competitors from across the world.

Players from Finland, New Zealand, United States, Hobart, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane will strap on their vests from Sunday until Friday to vie for the world title.

With 18 years' experience under his belt, Mr Johnson is dedicated to laser tag and both the camaraderie and competition the sport provides.

"It's a very competitive sport and it surprises a lot of people when I tell them we have not only a regional competition, but also a Queensland competition and now world titles," Mr Johnson said.

"They see laser tag as something for kids, whereas it is an adult sport that children can easily play.

"I love that it's different, and with a three-team dynamic in the arena, you need to think outside the box.

"A good laser tag player is not necessarily the fastest player, or just doing one thing well, like attacking, but it's about being able to adapt on the fly to all scenarios.

"There isn't one set position like in other sports."

A games store manager by day Mr Johnson is part of the strong Sunshine Coast group of competitive laser tag players who come from all walks of life including retirees and tradesmen.

Laserzone owner Annette Lasek said thousands of dollars were injected into the venue to have the facilities world titles-ready.

Held every two years, the world titles will be held in Australia for the first time ever between Sunday and September 5.

"People think laser tag is not a sport and well, if you're talking about the general punter off the street, prob

ably not, but when you see laser tag the way these guys play, you just want to go straight down your local site and start whipping around the arena like a modern-day ninja," Mrs Lasek said.

"Laser tag is a surprisingly athletic and skilful game with a unique strategically twist - three teams at once.

"There are guys and girls playing. The average age is about early 20s. The oldest is about 60."

Teams will have a map of the two-level Laserzone

arena and a chance to run through the course before the main events early next week.

Laserzone will be closed to the general public from 3pm Sunday until 5pm Friday, reopening with the new renovations at 6pm.

A camera crew will film the world titles for a documentary about the competitive side of laser tag.

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Player profiles

Name: Chris Johnson

Age: 31

Alias: Cougar

Experience: 18 years

Daytime job: assistant manager EB Games

Top score in competition: 15,000

 

Name: Dave Ohl

Age: 40

Alias: Mopar

Experience: 24 years

Daytime job: Laserzone technician

Top score in competition: 15,000


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