Polo on the…
…beach, snow, a segway, in the pool. There’s a lot more to the game of polo than Polo on the Beach. We take a look at the different games that can be played and dare you to try one out.
There’s no horses required for this Olympic game. Recognised as one of the toughest sports in the world (players aren’t allowed to touch the bottom of pool and must tread water at all times) aater polo is an exciting and fast-paced game that combines the skill and tactics of football with the physical content of rugby. Playing in teams of seven, the aim is simple: score more goals than the opposition. Find out more and give it a go.
Known as the ‘sport of equals’ as no specific fitness level and age restrictions are required to play, Segway polo is an increasingly popular alternative sport – as demonstrated at Polo on the Beach 2014. Teams, made up of five players, are now gathering from all corners of the world including the USA, Germany and Sweden (the Stockholm Saints are the current world champions), with the UK officially joining the sport in 2014.
Originally conceived in 1959, the sport of Snow Polo did not get played officially until 1985 when the first match took place on the frozen Lake Moritz in Switzerland. Played on compacted snow or a frozen lake, Snow Polo is considered to be quicker in pace as it is played on a smaller field. Austria, France, the USA, Argentina, Russia and Spain all play, with the inaugural Snow Polo World Cup taking place in Tainjin, China in 2012.
Did you know that beach polo has the largest playing field of any sport played with a ball? In fact, the pitch is similar in size to an arena polo pitch – about a tenth of the size of a grass pitch. As Polo on the Beach founder Andy Burgess explains: “It’s completely different to grass polo, it’s more like arena polo. It’s a little tricky controlling the ball, but the horses love it and they can turn very well. Once they are used to the surface they go fantastically.”
As one commentator describes, horse polo is a noble game of control and grace. When it’s played on camels however, it can turn into a game of random chaos! Polo has been played on camels for centuries in the Middle East, but as any camel polo player will tell you, they can be pretty independently minded creatures compared to horses. Maybe that’s why camel polo is a great spectator sport.
As SUP (that’s stand-up paddle surfing) really takes off in this country and further afield, so is SUP Polo. As normal SUP already requires balance and strong core strength, the polo element brings in coordination, fast reflexes and skill. SUP polo is ideally played on a flat water surface such as a pool or calm sea. Why not give it a go at Watergate Bay?