AN outing with some workmates to play paintball three years ago proved to be life-changing for Raelene Winter.
The 26-year-old, who was in Coffs Harbour on the weekend for Operation Invasion, an extreme skirmish event at Karangi, is now a fully-sponsored professional paintball competitor, who travels the world to test her skills.
"I'm not a person who can sit behind a desk," Ms Winter said.
"I'll do anything that's extreme.
"Paintball is a great sport because there's lots of adrenalin and excitement and it pushes my fitness boundaries, especially when I'm sprinting or diving out in the field.
"It also requires a lot of mental concentration, thinking about tactics and second guessing your opponent."
Coffs Harbour chemist Pat Ward says he's been hooked by the competitive fun of the game.
"I use parts of my brain I don't normally use and discover muscles I didn't even know were there," Mr Ward said.
"Every guy likes to have a bit of a shoot."
To a background of yells, a busy two-way radio and the rat-a-tat of what sounded like gunfire, Operation Invasion organiser Scott Seccombe said what was being shot were small gel-filled balls of paint.
"It stings a bit when you get hit and it might bruise but it's really like a game of tag in the bush," Mr Seccombe said.