Canoe Polo is one of the eight disciplines of canoeing persued in the UK, known simply as “polo” by its officionados. Polo combines paddling and ball handling skills with an exciting contact team game, where tactics and positional play are as important as the speed and fitness of the individual athletes.
The game requires excellent teamwork and promotes both general canoeing skills as well as a range of other techniques unique to the sport. Two teams each with five players on the pitch at any one time (and up to three substitutes) compete to score goals in their opponent’s net which is suspended 2 metres above the water. The ball can be thrown by hand, or flicked with the paddle. Pitches can be set up in swimming pools or any stretch of flat water.
Boats are specifically designed for Polo and are shorter (3m) than typical kayaks which gives them fantastic manoeuvrability. Paddles are very light weight and designed with both pulling power and ball control in mind. Body protection, helmets and faceguards are all compulsory.
There are internationally agreed rules for the game, World and European Championships are held every two years. Great Britain is one of the world’s foremost nations, with the British men the current World Champions.
See Canoe Polo in action here
Within the UK there is a National League structure, with categories for Open, Women’s and Youth competitions, with many regional events held throughout the year.
During the summer months a number of canoe clubs host very large outdoor tournaments which attract teams from all over the country and some international teams, and many British clubs compete at similar tournaments around Europe and sometimes the rest of the world.
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If you are looking for a club that plays canoe polo, start here.