Today’s canoe polo is a game of thrills and spills that contrasts with the relaxed recreational canoe ball games of the past. The birth of the modern sport could be considered the demonstration games at Duisberg, Germany in 1987. But for over 100 years before this, canoeists played games of boat, paddle, and ball.

Modern day canoe polo
Boat Paddle and Ball

A short history of canoe polo – by Ian Beasley

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A short history of canoe polo in Victoria

A short history of canoe polo in Victoria – Unknown author

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Scroll down for some cool historical canoe polo videos!

1.      1938 – Marlow Regatta, England

Early English regattas included fun and games on the water that included polo in canoes. The videos shows two players to a canoe, doing whatever they can to get the ball.

2.      1949 – River Football, England

River football on the Thames River with two players to a canoe. More organised than the 1938 Marlow Regatta, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Canoe polo with two players to a canoe was played in Melbourne in 1952 – 1970.

3.      1966 – kayak football, France

Canoe polo has been played in France since 1929. This 1966 video shows the long kayaks and the big playing fields (the fields were 60 –100 m long). The goal is a rubber ring sitting on the water.

4.      1970 – Bat polo, England

This 1970 game at the Crystal Palace is a defining moment for canoe polo. This version of the game (compared to the French and German games with large playing areas on rivers) developed out of the schools. It is defining because of the small playing area, the above water goals and the especially developed kayaks (baths advanced trainers or BATs, giving the sport its name of Bat polo).