The 2022 Paddle Australia Canoe Polo Championships will kick-off tomorrow in Adelaide, where fourteen teams from four states and territories will face off over the Easter weekend to claim the coveted Paddle Australia Canoe Polo Championships trophy.
The trophy was last assigned in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This year, the event returns to Kaurna country at the West Lakes Regatta Centre, that hosted the event in 2018.
The event organiser, Noel Holmes, who is also a member of the Paddle SA Canoe Polo Technical Committee and will be competing with the South Australian team entered in the Masters category, said athletes are looking forward to competing at the national level again in this energetic, fun and fast action sport.
“The Paddle Australia Canoe Polo Championships have not been held for a few years, so we’re super excited that we can again have the national polo players gathering to test their skills,” Holmes said.
More than 90 competitors from South Australia, Queensland, ACT and New South Wales are registered for the event.
The field has been distributed across multiple age categories adjusted to ensure a challenging level of competition, although only teams in the Under-18, Open and Women divisions will be competing for medal placings.
“Teams in the U21, Vets and Masters age groups will participate to enjoy the game – and to encourage and develop the young, upcoming talent, as we aim to rebuild national level canoe polo,” Holmes said.
Canoe Polo Technical Committee member and ACT Canoe Polo athlete Laura Kleinrahm said the time in between national events will bring new faces to the surface, and she’s just as determined as ever for a strong competition.
“The break means there will be some fresh faces debuting for their respective states which will be great to see. It’s a shame not all states can join us this year, but hopefully seeing the event go ahead will inspire future competitors for the 2023 National Championships,” Kleinrahm said.
“I’m really looking forward to competing against other female paddlers, and setting the precedence of Nationals being back on the yearly calendar.
“Our ACT Men’s and Women’s teams are both aiming high, hoping for grand final spots as a reward for a solid season of training.”
The event, hosted by Paddle Australia and Paddle SA Canoe Polo, will also be an opportunity to promote the development of officials, volunteers and referees within the sport.
Competition at the West Lakes Regatta Centre starts tomorrow Friday 15 April at noon, with finals scheduled for Sunday 17 April between 9am and 12.30pm.
The Australian Canoe Polo Championships is a free event for spectators, who are encouraged to visit the Regatta Centre over the three days of the event to enjoy and discover this exciting, though little seen, paddle discipline.
“Canoe Polo is an excellent spectator sport, as it has short games that are high intensity and feature exciting plays like charge starts and players pushing each other in,” Kleinrahm said.
“Spectators can expect to also see how Canoe Polo can be played at any age, and can find out more information about how to get into the sport.”
“There will be two fields of games running concurrently, with the young through to old contesting in games that are fast, furious and full of excitement,” Holmes added.
“We encourage locals to come down, have a look and cheer on their team,” he said.
For those who can’t attend in person, all results from the event will be available on Paddle Australia’s website at the 2022 PA Canoe Polo Championships page.