What is Canoe Polo?
Canoe polo, also known as kayak polo, is a worldwide competitive sport. Known simply as "polo" by its aficionados, polo combines boating and ball handling skills with a 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 and a range of other techniques unique to the sport. Each team has five players on the pitch (and up to three substitutes), who compete to score in their opponents goal which is suspended two metres above the water. The ball can be thrown by hand, or flicked with the paddle to pass between players and shoot at the goal. Pitches can be set up in swimming pools or any stretch of flat water.
The kayaks are specifically designed for polo and are fast and light which give them fantastic manoeuvrability. The blades of a polo paddle are 5mm thick and have rounded edges to prevent injury. Paddles are also lightweight and designed with both pulling power and ball control in mind. Nose and tail boat bumpers, body protection, helmets and face-guards are all compulsory.
How To Play
Canoe Polo is an exciting team event played on 35m x 23m pitches set up in swimming pools or on flat stretches of water. Teams of 5 paddlers endeavour to score goals in a net suspended 2m above the water, the ball being thrown by hand, or ‘flicked’ with the paddle. Naturally, the team with the most goals at the end of the match wins the game.
Similar to team sports such as Soccer and Basketball, the game focuses heavily on structure and positioning within the team as players look to move and break down defences in order to gain a goal scoring opportunity. Polo is a contact sport, consisting of boat tackling utilising the rubber bumpers on the front and rear of the boat, and hand tackling. The game is very fast and aggressive and each game consists of two 10 minute halves.