Griffan Spanner, PALS World Cup Asia, Cobra Kai, and being a paintball commentator

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November 12, 2015
Hey Griffn, how’s everything?
Things are going great, just winding down from my month in the north west, getting ready to head back to Sacramento.


What have you been up to lately?
I have taken this month off to visit family and friends up in the Pacific Northwest. I had a wedding in Portland just before my trip to Malaysia, and I got to catch up with a lot of great friends. This week has been mostly catching up with family that I haven’t seen in awhile.

You were recently in Langkawi, Malaysia representing the United States with Cobra Kai, how was it?
It was a really amazing experience. I didn’t ever think I would get the opportunity to play at that level so when I got the call I was super excited to be apart of the program. All of the guys were really fun and we got to explore the island together which was a great experience.
I heard your journey was quite the adventure getting to the event, could you walk us through your series of random and misfortunate events?
Oh man, alright. So I had my flight booked for 6 am to leave from PSC. I set my alarms for 345 and 4 am so that I could shower, eat and get any last minute packing done I needed. Low and behold, we had a power outage that morning and the alarms didn’t go off so I woke up at 8 am, checked the clock and literally freaked out. I took a few hours on the phone with a travel agency to get a completely separate itinerary booked to get to Malaysia, and eventually got on my way after doubling my trip cost. Due to the rebooking, I ended up having a full day layover in Denver, CO. Matt Jurcin from bomber anodizing was able to pick me up last minute at the airport, and gave me a quick tour of the city, as well as a place to stay for the night. It was a ton of fun. Somehow between cab rides and going out to eat I had lost my backpack. Thank god only had some clothing and small items in it. Usually I store my passport in it, so I dodged a major bullet.


Once you got to the tournament what was your experience like?
It was really surreal. First I got to the hotel that the team was staying at and we all met up for dinner, introduced ourselves, drank a bit etc. If I remember correctly, I got in on Tuesday night and then passed out pretty quickly. On Wednesday some of the guys got linked up with Mark Kressin and Damien Ryan who had rented some boats, and “lots of princess floaty toys” to head out on an island tour. So we all got together and about 30 of us headed out to some island full of wild boars and long tailed macaques which is an “old world species of monkey”.   As soon as we hit the beach, we set down a couple of cases of beer and then as soon as we turned around to get the rest of the gear, one of the macaques ran down and started stealing our beers! It was so funny. Of course Mark and the boys had to get videos of it all so we tossed a group of about 7 or 8 individuals a couple of cans then cracked some cold ones for ourselves and shared them with the bravest monkeys to come over. I’ve known that various species of primates have been known to pick fruit and eat if after fermentation to get drunk so the alcohol isn’t specifically damaging to their systems.

What were some of the memorable things you experienced while in Langkawi?
The entire trip was to be honest. Every day was a new setting of beautiful scenery, amazing food, warm water, soft beaches and great friends. The most memorable moment may be the one that I don’t remember much of at all. Joe Barrett and Arturo Andrade had found a road leading up to the mountains with a few waterfalls and natural springs that we drove up to on our mopeds and hung out for a few hours. Some of the guys found some ledges on the cliffs to climb up. The natural platform at the top was perfect to jump off of, which was about 30 feet above the water. Of course after jumping once, the next logical step is to do a flip right? So Joe does his perfectly timed and lands no problem. I’m used to flips and rotations over water so I wasn’t worried about mine but what I wasn’t used to was the height.  I jump off and immediately put WAY too much rotation on my flip, so about a rotation and a half into it I hit the water straight on the right side of my face and knocked myself out cold. I was pretty dazed for about half an hour afterwards but luckily Arturo caught the whole thing on video, which I’m sure will be posted soon, and we all got a good laugh out of it.

Going into the competition after everything that happened, where was your head at?
For me, it wasn’t as pressured as I was imagining because I knew I was going to be a 2nd string player. We had Travis Putnam, ex Oakland blast player, Joe Barrett who played for NY outlaws, I dragged up Thomas Kim from DMG and we snagged up Arturo and Penguin from the TJ All Stars who were playing for team Mexico in nations cup. So I knew I was going to be pit help who grabbed a gun once in awhile. It was all pretty crazy being around all of these teams I’d never seen and spending time on the center stage of the event. Before the games started we did the nation’s cup walk around and I got the shake hands and meet with the prime minister of Malaysia and that was all pretty crazy.

What was the competition like?
It was like old school super aggressive  ball. Paintball in Asia seems to be all about attack attack and less about contain. We lost our first game 0-4 which was…… an eye opener to say the least but we had I think 8 hours in between matches so we took the time to re evaluate our game plans and make some better match ups.  We ended up playing very heavy zone contain paintball. Just dumped pods onto lanes and let them run into our guns before gutting them down the D side. Once the team got rolling it was like a well oiled machine. Arturo and Penguino played together on the d side and we sent Joe and Thomas  into the stand up spots across field to lock off zones and help our attackers move down. We ended up winning every match after that other than 1 tie until the finals.


Which matches were some of the more memorable ones?
The preliminary rounds ended up as a blur for me. When we got up on bodies I got a few spins in, and helped close the door on a lot of teams. But we played the same game all weekend so not much of it stands out.

Our last preliminary game vs poison ivy at 11:30 pm on Saturday got a little, heated.
They were being coached by Knut Alstad of Joy division, who I have known for a very long time, and when we went up 2-0 they sent a body out wide to the d corner right in front of our pits. She ran through 2 lanes, and got chopped to bits. 4 or 5 hits on her gun and chest and we all figured G1 but she had, other plans. After watching her wipe off all the hits, and the refs who were honestly the worst I have ever seen at any event, which is saying a lot. Gave her the “clean” signal, I lost my mind. Got up against the net and really let her know how I felt about it until she finally got shot in the face. Well needless to say she was pretty heated after the match that we won 4-1 in a very dominant fashion. So she and 3 other players came running out of their pits, and she was really swinging for the fences. She came within centimeters of knocking me out cold in the pit area after the game, which was pretty crazy, but I totally deserved a good punch to the face. I’m just glad her teammates held her back haha. I’m probably the only one who thought it was as funny as I did but I talked to Knut afterwards and made sure we had no bad blood. The Ivy girls and us ended up partying together after the event for a couple nights so I assume she didn’t hold too much of a grudge.
What was that finals match like?
 The finals was really odd. We had known which team we would meet in the finals after watching their first few games but didn’t expect what we found. They were playing very heads up, gun battle oriented ball and getting lucky all weekend so we figured our pocket plays would put them away quick. Obviously they had watched all of our matches and had a perfect counter for our break outs and took 9 minutes off the clock in the first 2 points. They were playing like we had not seen them play all event.  With 55 seconds left, we sent a few guys balls out up the gut to clean house with a blitz and ended up bringing it 2 to 1 with 11 seconds left. Our only choice was to do that again and we did get all 5 kills but came just a second away from hitting the buzzer to tie it up before time expired. It was a very well played match by both sides and they really earned the win. Aisawan is a large team based out of Thailand and they really came to play.


I know you also do commentary for the Almost Famous Paintball League and got to do some commentary in Langkawi at Asia World Cup. Whats it like being a paintball commentator?
I always have a blast with it. On Friday morning I found out who was in charge of the media for the event and really just kept bugging her and her coworkers until finally they let me sit in for a match on Saturday afternoon and then luckily really liked how I worked so they pulled me in on Sunday as often as they could. Commentary for me has been a very good way for me to stay involved with the sport when I can’t afford to play it. The work I did with the National Speedball League paved the way for what I do now with AFPL and that experience has really been some of the most fun I have had with the sport. Knowing the body language of allot of the players and having experience on the layouts helps give me an edge when predicting moves and describing key aspects to games. It’s something that a lot of commentators can’t do in this sport.

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