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Imagine playing water polo in a remote patch of ocean 20 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia or enjoying a major beach water polo tournament on the Sydney shoreline. This dream will become reality this summer thanks to Australian sporting pioneers using specially made water polo playing fields that float on the ocean’s surface.
Malus Island in the Dampier Archipelago will be the setting for the Western Australian event, which will see dozens of private vessels anchor for a unique Australia Day tournament. Inflatable water polo goals and custom-made water polo playing fields from Packaworld International will be used to create a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone taking part.
The Association’s President Justin Angove said the new inflatable fields allowed Australians to play in new locations and explore their country while enjoying the game they love.
“The inflatable water polo fields are helping us to reinvent water polo and bring a sense of adventure to the game,” he said.
“Being outdoors improves the experience. It gives the sport a real family vibe, and showcases what Karratha has to offer. It’s also a huge opportunity to engage with people who haven’t seen water polo before and get them involved.”
Mr Angove said other adventure water polo events were planned, including an event in Western Australia’s Millstream Chichester National Park at the remarkable Python Pool water hole, which is surrounded by cliffs on three sides.
In New South Wales, former Australian national water polo representative Scott Nicholson is planning to use two of Packaworld’s custom water polo fields off the Sydney coastline during the first Beach Water Polo Fours tournament on 16 and 17 December.
Mr Nicholson is a former member of the Australian Junior Water Polo and University squads, and the organiser of the Beach Water Polo Fours tournament. He expects the informal two-day event to attract up to 300 players a day for a truly unique water polo experience.
“If we had to set up lane ropes and metal goals, the cost would have been prohibitive. Now we’ve got a system where it’s going to take us about 10-15 minutes on the day. It’s going to make things so much easier, and we see this as an idea we will be able to take anywhere.”
Mr Nicholson said there will be a festival atmosphere at the tournament, with good food and great music. While wind and waves could “make things interesting”, shorter field sizes would make games accessible for players at any level of fitness, he said.
The event will be held at Hordern’s Beach in Bundeena, set within Royal National Park south of Sydney. Bundeena is accessed by ferry, and boats will be able to moor for spectators viewing the tournament, while friends and families enjoy food and fun on the beach.