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).
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.
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.
- Water Polo — a team sport played in swimming pools, the aim is to pass the ball over the water and into the goal net.
- Inner Tube Water Polo — a variation of water polo that is played while sitting on inner tubes in a pool.
- Water Basketball — a mix of basketball and water polo played in a swimming pool with basketball goals.
- Canoe Polo — players in kayaks attempt to score by throwing or hitting a ball through a goal suspended two meters above the water.
- Water Volleyball — a team sport derived from volleyball in which the games are played in water.
- Kayak Football — participants in kayaks attempt to get a small soft football into the end zone.
- Open Water Swimming — competitive swimming races conducted over various distances (10km at the Olympics) held in rivers, lakes and oceans.
- Beach Basketball — a version of basketball played on sand with two teams of three players.
- About Beach Sports
- Rules of Beach Water Polo [pdf download]
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports