The San Francisco Sirens (Cobine at the top right, holding up a “one” Whoops! actually, lower right, with pink hair) after their NXL World Cup win in Miami | Photos submitted by Scout Cobine


In case you haven’t noticed, Humboldt’s local ladies have been kicking butt in the sports world the past year, with women from our area winning medals, being inducted in halls of fame, and becoming national champions. Now another local woman has joined the ranks, helping her paintball team win the National Xball League (NXL) World Cup Championship games in November. 

The team, the San Francisco Sirens, placed first in the women’s amateur division at the world cup in Miami and includes one of our own – Scout Cobine, who owns and operates Humboldt Paintball in Fortuna. Cobine has been playing with her teammates for about a decade, and said that it’s because they’ve been together so long that she and her team were able to bring home the title. 

“We’ve been together for over 10 years as a team,” Cobine told the Outpost in a recent phone interview. “We’ve been through so many ups and downs and we’ve had the rug pulled out from underneath so many times. And as a squad, we’re like a family. We work together really well. We communicate really well.”

Cobine said that the win was a wonderful end to what was otherwise a very difficult season. Prior to this season, Cobine’s team had long played pro as the Sacramento Diamonds, until they were recently sold to a team in St. Louis. When the team learned about this and were told they would have to travel to Missouri to practice, they were not very excited. Traveling that far was not really feasible for most of the team, Cobine said, so they had to back out of their professional spot. 

When they called the NXL about it, Cobine said, they were told that they could still play in the amateur division. Without a coach and without any financial backing, the team traveled to Chicago for the Windy City Major games in September, where they placed second. After that, the team found sponsorship and a coach, Anthony Portillo, through Fairfield Extreme Sports. 

“[Anthony] was absolutely phenomenal and coached us into a first place win, in hopes of getting us back to our pro spot,” Cobine said. 

Cobine, 35, has been playing paintball most of her life. She was first introduced to the sport at about 12 years old, by her brother, who took her out to shoot in the woods off of Freese Avenue in Eureka, near the McKay Tract. She did not exactly fall in love with the game the first time, and Cobine said the experience was actually “awful” — she was the only girl playing, and all the boys were super mean to her. 

Her love for the game began a few years later, when Cobine was about 15 or 16, and she was introduced to airball, a term for competitive paintball played on a field with blow-up, air-filled bunkers. Someone took her to play at the airball field in Fortuna, which she now owns, and when she played the game on the field, she was completely won over and hasn’t stopped playing since. 

In high school Cobine began training with then-Humboldt paintball team Trainwreck. During her senior year of high school and her freshman year of college, Cobine would play with the team every week at a field near Sacramento called Wild Adventure Paintball. Every Sunday for two years Cobine would get up at 3 a.m. to drive down to the field, and drive back up the same night and be back to class on Monday morning. 

During that time, Cobine met a couple of women paintball-players who she clicked with and they started hanging out and playing together. Eventually the women asked her to join their Sacramento team, and she has been playing with them ever since. Having previously played with mostly male teammates, Cobine said she was a little worried about how she would get along with a women’s team, but said it turned out to be wonderful. 

“It just turned out to be the most wonderful experience of my life,” Cobine said. “Like they have just turned into my absolute family.” 

Paintball – which basically consists of shooting the opposing team with paintballs – includes a lot of different types of play, with varying team sizes and ways of scoring the game. Cobine’s team plays Xball, which consists of five players on each team trying to score as many points as possible in the allotted time. If you want to learn more about how the game is played, here is a video that explains it better than this ignorant reporter ever could:

Cobine took over the paintball field in Fortuna about eight years ago, starting with some gear she bought from a friend who was closing down his own paintball business. She started out with six paintball guns, a set of bunkers and a compressor,  and has now grown the business to two full fields, offering 50 gun rentals.

Even with running a business, Cobine makes the roughly four-and-a-half-hour drive down to Fairfeild for team practice once to twice a month, and also has to travel for tournaments during the season. Cobine is also a mother of three – a five-year-old, eight-year-old and a 12-year old — and sometimes has to travel with some or all of the kids in tow. 

The paintball field does get pretty good business, Cobine said, but it’s still not always enough, especially in the winter months, when not nearly as many people come out to the field. To help make ends meet, Cobine also works nights at Winco. 

But the business of her life does not stop her from continuing to play with her team, which she says is incredibly important for her. Cobine said that she already has most of her next paintball year planned out, with the Sirens next headed to the Las Vegas Major in March. In the meantime, Cobine wants to focus more energy on the paintball business and hopes that reading this might inspire people to come check out Humboldt Paintball, whether they are a seasoned player, or have never tried it before. 

“I’m a local from Humboldt and I’ve found something in such a small area that completely changed my life,” Cobine said. “You never know what you’re going to get into.”

The Sirens celebrate their victory.