A true team sport, Canoe Polo is unique within the sport of paddling.

Played by two teams of five players on a rectangular pitch, Canoe Polo combines the skill of paddling with that of hand-eye coordination as teams aim to score goals in nets suspended above the water at each end of the pitch.

Brothers Canoe Club in Brisbane is the largest of only a few specialist Canoe Polo clubs in Queensland, having opened its doors fourteen years ago in an effort to grow and advance the discipline.

“When the club first started we did sprint and recreational paddling as well as canoe polo, but we now focus specifically on the one discipline,” said club President, Head Coach and Development Coordinator, David Peters.

“We want people to know that there’s more than a few ways to have fun in a boat, that there’s more to paddling than sprinting or some of the other bigger disciplines.

“In our first year of operation we had maybe 10-15 members, but we’ve basically tripled in size over the last decade.

“We’re located at Ambrose Treacy College in Brisbane and all of our 40-50 members train there multiple times a week.

“In the grand scheme of things you wouldn’t consider us to be a very big club, but due to our specialist focus we’re really quite happy with our numbers,” said Peters.

The Brothers Canoe Club owes a lot of their growth to school-based programs they have run successfully over the past fourteen years, with Peters stating that they have several young athletes join their club after taking part in the school programs each year.

“We run a canoe polo program at Ambrose Treacy College that sees every class from grade four to grade 10 play a six week canoe polo season each year,” he said.

“In addition, we also run the program at Brigidine College which is a girls school here in Brisbane. We’re always aiming to get into more schools and get more young people playing.

“We have a few people join our club after they do the school program. Every sport is a numbers game and it’s the same for us. We run a combined total of maybe 250 boys and girls a year through the school-based program and maybe get five to ten per year signing up to our club.”

With a strong base of players that have been with the club for years, Brother Canoe Club has a social focus but also provides competitive opportunities to its interested members.

“Our focus is the social side of things. We don’t actually offer any elite programs, we just play for fun and aim to encourage people to enjoy the game, make friends and hopefully fall in love with the sport,” said Peters.

“Week to week there’s very little opportunity in canoe polo to compete regularly against other opponents or clubs due to the size of the sport in Australia. In our case, there’s probably only 10-15 athletes throughout Queensland that aren’t members of our club

“In saying that, if our members want to get serious about the sport, we can help them do that.

“When we get the opportunity to compete at the national level we often field a couple of open men’s and women’s teams as well as a few junior teams and generally do very well as well. Earlier this year we competed at the national championships and won the open mens, open womens and the over 45’s which was amazing.

“Our club also represents about a third of the people going away to the World Championships later this year and that’s something we’re very proud of,” he said.

Regardless of results, Peters and the Brothers Canoe Club are most proud of their friendly atmosphere that sees all members treated with respect.

“We pride ourselves in the fact that we treat all our club members the same – everyone from our open athletes to our new juniors playing socially are all treated with the same respect, and I think that’s really important,” said Peters.

To find out more about Brothers Canoe Club, visit their Facebook page or website.

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