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Beach Water Polo

Beach water polo is a team sport played in open water off the beach. The game is very similar to Olympic water polo which is usually played in an indoor pool, though beach water polo is played with just four players (a goalkeeper and three field players) in a smaller sized pool.

Originally the sport of water polo was played on the rivers and seas, indoor swimming pools not being deleoped until much later. In 1995 the Associazione Pallanuoto
Sempre Water Polo association led the way in deleoping a smaller faster version of water polo to be played at the beach, and taking the game back to its roots.

There are no official rules and field dimensions for beach water polo, though competitions tend to use similar rules (see these rules from the Italian Water Polo Association). The field diagram displayed below shows a field size of 15 by 11.5 meters. The goal area is 2.5m wide and 0.8m high. For the Beach Polo Cup on Longbeach 2019, the course size was 18m long by 11m wide. Buoyant lane ropes are used to mark out the area. Teams for beach water polo can be male, female or mixed (2 males and 2 females).

a beach water field layout a beach water field layout

Beach water polo is conducted in continuous play, meaning there are no stoppages, even after a goal is scored. There is no timekeeping, the game continues until a set number of goals are scored. The first team to score five goals wins the game, and the first team to win three games wins the match. Ties are decided by penalty shootouts, with three shots per team. The match duration can last from 20 to 30 minutes.

a beach water polo game a beach water polo game

There are beach water polo tournaments held throughout the world. A beach water polo exhibition event ran concurrently with the FINA World Championships in South Korea in July 2019. Beach water polo has also been on the program for the Asian Beach Games since 2008.

Beach water polo is not to be confused with Beach Polo, which is (horse) polo played on the sand at the beach.

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