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A popular belief of the origin of the game, in the minds of many, can be traced to an article taken from the English national weekly “The Graphic”, dated September 1880, showing an etching of a game in progress at Hunt’s Quay, Scotland, where at the seaside, men sitting on wooden barrels and fitted with saddle cloths, play with a ball in the water.

Horsing Around


Each barrel was loaded under the waterline with a heavy loaded keel to keep it afloat. The players used feathered style of wooden paddles for propulsion and contact with the ball. Most probably these frolicking gentlemen were literally “horsing” around, imitating the land-based game of polo, and the eventual metamorphosis of modern canoe polo should not be considered to originate here for that reason.

It is of great importance to keep in mind that the word “polo” is not used in conjunction to a specific game, as it was derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “pulu”, from the Gujarat region of India, meaning ‘ball’. Thus, canoe or kayak polo is an aquatic game between two teams of players, using a ball to score goals.

The game of canoe polo has had many transformations and variations in the styles of play from the time of its introduction. In 1988, the International Canoe Federation (I.C.F.) uniformed the canoe polo rules, into one standard style, which was mainly based on the then Anglo/Australian/French version “hands only” style of play. These rules were used for an experimental four years by all the world canoeing federations.

In 1992, the I.C.F. compiled the final rules which formed the base for today’s modern game, as we know it. But long before then, there were many styles of play in many countries scattered around the globe, and it very fascinating to understand what styles were used in those countries in the past and how they came to be.

The following article is documentation of the research that I have done in sourcing the origins and development of this sport in many of those countries. Mentioned where possible, are the people who were the “pioneers” or motivators in starting up this movement in their relative countries of residence. 


#3 Guest 2009-11-07 23:20
:) grande articolo!
venite questo weekend per il torneo a praga?
a presto
#2 the deacon 2009-11-07 23:19
In return for your compliments, I would like to add that it was a pleasure to have my article published on the best canoe polo wesite on the WWW today!
Sincerely, I would not have chosen any other!
#1 TheMasterG 2009-11-07 23:18
Wow, I just got through reading this properly from start to finish, excellent!
Great job Reza :thumbup:

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