ASH BASH 2005 - Beach, Palm Trees, & Airsoft! (2005-07-26)July 16, 2005
Airsoft, sun, beaches, palm trees, and people known for their hospitality and friendliness. These are the ingredients that made up Ash Bash 2005 in Hawaii. Curious about how these ingredients could be integrated seamlessly into a terrific event, RedWolf Airsoft flew to Hawaii to join the festivities. Hosted by Airsoft Hawaii and title-sponsored by Impact Games, Ash Bash is a major annual event that is supported by many companies, and attended by players from all over. A host of local retailers were on hand with large impressive booths showcasing their latest custom guns. There were also many manufacturer sponsors including Tokyo Marui, Laylax, PDI, and even PEPSI! RedWolf Airsoft also supported the event by donating a Chameleon SR. Other prizes included a CAW Revolver Launcher (with shells), rifles from G&G / ICS, and a cool blue-anodized Patriot M4 from The Q Project, who was also on location to show their support. The event was also covered by two reporters from ARMS magazine, including Boss Gerira who flew from Japan just for the game. This made Ash Bash 2005 one of the most internationally supported Airsoft events in the US. A total of USD 22,000 in prizes alone were given out that day!
Held on a beautiful sea-side ranch on the East Coast of Oahu island, just a convenient 50 minutes away from Honolulu, the Ash event was set up with a main event area and a marked off playing area over a tree-spotted hillside. Over 400 players attended the event, with an additional 70 or so spectators and staff to manage the event - for a combined total of 470 people! With the first game starting at 9am, the event ran a good 7 hours until 4pm.
With a focus on pure non-stop carnival fun, Ash Bash is centered on a series of short two-team shoot-outs, intermittently filled with all kinds of raffles, games and competitions. For example, there was an "Ugliest Gun" competition that invited players to submit the ugliest gun on the field for an upgraded Marui M4. The winning contestant was a young player who displayed his FAMAS held together with duct-tape. The gun was so ugly that judges hung the gun up and shot it up with high-powered rifles, finally running it over with a car! For a little taste of Hong Kong and Japan, there was also a simplified IPSC shooting competition where players had to shoot down 5 water bottles with a hand-pistol in the least amount of time. Contestants displayed quite impressive shooting with several players shooting down all 5 bottles in a couple seconds with crisp and precise shots. But the most heated competition of all was a speed-shooting contest, whose aim was to cut a piece of cardboard in half using a full-auto rifle. Contestants were expected to shoot horizontally across the piece of cardboard with enough precision so as to cut a straight line through it and causing the top-half to topple over. It was at this competition that players showed up with all kinds of custom AEGs, including an AK47 - SD hybrid with external 12v battery strapped to the shooter' s waist along with a custom auto-winding magazine based on a real-steel RPK magazine. One competitor used a high-speed modified Barrett, and many others used a wide array of M16 and MP5 variants. What became painfully clear within seconds was that an auto-winding magazine was a "must-have" to complete the round. Contestants relying on regular hi-cap magazines had to shoot and manually wind the magazine simultaneously with their free hand in order to pummel enough BB's through the cardboard to cut it in half. This proved to be a near-impossible feat and most players ended up mis-guiding their guns into the surrounding woodwork and causing BB's to ricochet back into the audience! Over half of the contestants failed to finish and left the cardboard standing defiantly. Finally, it came down to a shootout between two contestants. The winner used a modified M4 with auto-winding box magazine to cut the cardboard in less than 5 seconds!
More entertaining yet was the costume competition where contestants painstakingly put together authentic costumes for the ARMS representatives to judge. Characters included the familiar Halo Master Chief (who had my vote!),
Of course, we also got to skirmish and shoot it out in adrenaline packed 30 - 40 minute sessions. With one team starting on top of the hill and the other invading up from the bottom, the two teams are literally 200 yards apart when the whistle blew. Without hesitation, players on either side ran at full speed towards the conflict line and started exchanging fire. Unlike mission-based games that are much more popular on the mainland USA, this form of play encouraged players to simply charge and attack, with everyone looking out for their own. Re-spawn points were close by and a "re-spawn horn" was blown every 5 minutes to revive everyone standing in the re-spawn point at that given instant. This simple system meant that players were very willing to call their hits since re-spawn was quite convenient. Of course, this meant that penetrating through defense lines required quick onslaughts of massive force to ensure the battle is not drawn out unnecessarily to allow time for re-spawned enemies to reinforce a crumbling front line. Hence, few people sat around to test patience with enemies. There was definitely much more shooting than walking, taking positions, planning and posing combined! As I looked around, this style of play clearly had its benefits - everyone had smiles on their faces and there were no heated tempers or arguments. It was clear that everyone was there to have fun!
Airsoft Hawaii admits that Ash Bash was deliberately designed to be light-hearted and fun with an omission of war-themes. "Just like paintball, it's all about getting out there and just having fun", says Airsoft Hawaii. "It's a friendly environment and new players are less likely intimidated by a mil-sim type arrangement where players might be more serious and unnerving to some of the younger players", noted another organizer. "We want to get everyone out here to have fun and this is the best way to do it". Based on what we saw, we couldn't agree more.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed Ash Bash and meeting everyone down in Hawaii. The best part of it all was that I got a full day of competitions and shooting in, and was still able to make it to the beach with a pina-coloda in hand by 5:30pm. Tell me where else an Airsoft player can do that and we'll be sure to come. But for now, Airsoft Hawaii's Ash Bash seems to have the best formula for "fun guns under the sun"! So if you are planning your next vacation, why not consider heading down to Hawaii to check out Ash Bash 2006? Learn more about Ash Bash and other events in Hawaii at Airsoft Hawaii's website.
More on the RWC Chameleon SR Raffle Prize
One lucky winner walked away with the beautiful RWC Chameleon SR, which sported OD camo-colored SR receiver, RIS system, King Arms Aim-Point style scope, scope rails, and silencers, Ergo real-steel grip, RICO light, Milspex battery sling. The gun was upgraded to 400fps in conformance to Ash Bash limits. Thanks go to King Arms for donating those parts on the RWC gun in support of Ash Bash.