The proposed five-a-side beach water polo tournaments will be played at the same venue on selected weekends over the summer, open to any interested teams from around across Western Australia.
Ms Luscombe believes the fast pace and high visibility of beach water polo provides a great opportunity to introduce the sport to new people and grow Bunbury Water Polo Club player numbers. The Packaworld field and goals were “remarkably easy to set up and pack down,” making it simple for competition organisers to take the sport to new locations.
“Like many country centres find, competing with mainstream sports is our biggest hurdle … but as a coastal town full of youth, young families and water based activities we are optimistic that if we create the right environment and events such as these, we can grow.”
Beach events run by Beach Water Polo Fours have been a phenomenon in New South Wales in recent years and nearby Karratha Water Polo has attracted good numbers for its annual Australia Day ocean tournament at Malus Island. Events in Koombana Bay can be just as successful, she says.
“Bunbury has a beautiful coastline and great summer weather and we wanted to use that to our advantage in showcasing our sport.
“We would love to see tournaments grow to big events that people in the water polo community refer to and the local community love to watch … once travel restrictions are lifted we are not opposed to Australia wide involvement.”
The club also runs Junior and FlippaBall programmes, along with a five-a-side indoor tournament for corporate teams. Ms Luscombe says the corporate tournament was launched this year, and was free for new players thanks to a Water Polo Australia initiative that saw competition fees for new participants waived until the end of Ausust. The event proved a huge drawcard and many of the participants have gone on to join the club after finding their passion for the sport.
“Our pre-season training nights are now so well attended that having the extra Packaworld set up has been extremely handy. We will continue to utilise the set up for times when we want to run half pool games or when pool space is limited as they are perfect for those needs.”
Ms Luscombe says Bunbury’s location in the south-west corner of Western Australia means it has been “largely shielded” from the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they will remain vigilant and continue to deal with any challenges that come their way.
Packaworld chief executive Peter Roberts says he is pleased to see water polo on the rise in Western Australia, especially during such a challenging time for sport globally.
“Beach water polo has been going from strength to strength in recent years and we’re hugely proud that our innovative inflatable goals and fields are playing a small but important part in its growth.”
Packaworld’s portable fields, Water Polo Packagoals and Water Polo Packanets and are now widely used at high profile beach water polo events in Australia, USA, England, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. Among the many notable mentions are the Quarry Scramble in Ohio, the MANUP! festival series in the UK, international beach water polo in Dubai, and the first ever water polo match on the Great Barrier Reef, featuring members of the Australian national Aussie Stingers squad.
>> For more information about Packaworld’s high-quality inflatable water polo goals, fields and back nets visit our water polo product page.