A sport little known to many outside of the Olympics, beach water polo, will be firmly in the eyes of the public when it hits the shores of Nelson Bay next month.
Following on from events in Wollongong and Cronulla, the team behind Beach Water Polo Fours will bring its modified rules and inflatable setup to Little Beach for two one-day tournaments on March 16 and 17.
“Our modified rules level the playing field no matter what level swimmer you are,” Beach Water Polo Fours founder Scott Nicholson said.
“If you’ve ever wanted to try the sport, or perhaps you haven’t played for a while, then this is the event for you.
“We particularly encourage all sports clubs to give beach water polo a go.”
Nicholson has played water polo for more than 20 years and is a current national champion of the sport.
He said he is passionate about growing the sport and making it accessible for everyone, which is why he founded Beach Water Polo Fours.
Nicholson said they picked the Bay for its fifth ever event as it was close to Newcastle, which has a “really strong water polo community”, and ideal for the inflatable setup required for the tournaments, while still being close to shore for spectators to watch.
“Little Beach has minimal swell and exposure to the conditions,” he said.
“All that is needed is teams to fill out the event and spectators to enjoy a day at the beach.”
Unlike regular water polo, Fours has a continuous play format.
That means there is no ‘up and back’ swimming required and the ball is always in play.
Other rule modifications include a reduced field size – 18 metres instead of 25m – and the ability to substitute from anywhere on the field at any time.
The women’s and mixed tournaments will be staged on Saturday, March 16 and men’s on Sunday, March 17.
The event is suitable for all ages. The basic requirement is for a participant to be able to float.
Team entries are being taken now at www.beachwaterpolofours.com.
Individuals can express their interest in participating, and will be matched to a team.