Beach Polo

Beach polo is a team sport and close variant of arena polo.

Game play

A game of beach polo consists of two three-player teams as opposed to the usual four-player teams in field polo. A game consists of four seven-minute periods of play, called chukkers. The game is played in an enclosed sand arena with sideboards of approximately four feet in height, designed to keep the ball in play. Depending on playing areas available, some of the playing arenas have enclosed ends while others allow for 20 yards of run out room for the horses, past the end line, and utilize standing goal posts.

Two umpires are suggested for tournament play which may be stationed outside the arena to officiate the game. Penalties are called and resulting free hits are awarded to the fouled party.

Traditional polo ponies are used with players changing horses following each chukker.

Unlike the hard plastic ball used in field polo, beach polo employs a leather or rubber inflated ball no less than 12.5 inches in circumference. Other equipment employed is the same as that used in field or arena polo.

  • History

Dubai's Rashid Al Habtoor and Sam Katiela have been credited[by whom?] with the creation of the game in 2004, followed by the Miami Beach Polo World Cup in the United States in 2005. Additional tournaments and matches have arisen in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Thailand, The Netherlands, Uruguay and Wales.

Tournament competition ranges from entry level in Austria (on Lake Worthersee in Carinthia, Austria) to Miami Beach's higher-handicapped team play. International polo players include Argentine 10-goaler Gonzalo Pieres, Mexico's Carlos Gracida (9), USA 9-goaler Mike Azzaro and Australian 8-goaler Ruki Baillieu.

In 2008, the International Beach Polo Association was created, by current Chairman Alex Webbe, in an effort to increase the number of participating countries, to assist in promoting these events and to make rules and handicaps for the game more uniform.

In 2009 the Miami Beach Polo Club held the first South Beach Women's Polo Cup, a competition that fielded eight teams of women from six different countries. Following the 2010 AMG Miami Beach Polo World Cup, Matias Magrini (Argentina) became the first player elevated to a 10-goal handicap in the history of beach polo play.

The island of Jersey (off the coast of Normandy, France) staged its first beach polo tournament in September 2012 while New Zealand planned staged a tournament in December 2013, and Croatia created their first beach polo event in 2016.

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