View Original Notice ? Beach water polo returns to Long Beach
Beach water polo will take over Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay this weekend, with competitions featuring everyone from teens to Olympians.
The 15th Annual KAP7 Beach Water Polo Cup Games will take place Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6-7, with large crowds expected to watch competitions at the five courses set up in the water off Bayshore Avenue. The games attract players of all ages 10 and older, and all skill levels.
“This is a favorite event of the year for many as it is just after the intensity of competition of the summer and just before the intense competition of the fall,” said Nick Baba, president of the Irvine Youth Water Polo Corporation, which helps organize the event. “The most enjoyable water polo event of the year.”
Match times are 20 to 25 minutes of straight play, with 5 minutes between matches. This equates to 5-to-7-minute quarters of traditional water polo but without all of the stoppages. Each match is a best-of-five games, with each game being played to five goals. It takes three games to win a match.
During the all-day event, spectators can watch from the beach, while wading in the water, on boards around the courses and on boats anchored in the bay.
Ever since the International Swimming Federation added Beach Water Polo as an Olympic event in 1990, more and more have come to enjoy this sport in its nontraditional environment.
The Beach Polo Cup was formed about 2005 when Robert Lynn was club director at Shore Aquatics and he saw interest in the sport growing. After a couple of years, the number of entries declined and Lynn approached Baba and Kahuna Events, which is part of the nonprofit Irvine Youth Water Polo Corporation, in 2007 to develop and grow the event, according to the competition’s website.
“We are pleased to see more teams than last year,” Baba said, “although slightly less than 2019 pre-COVID event.”
As is tradition, the teams all have clever names like Yabba Dabba Doos’s, One Fuzzy Ducky, Totally Tubular Tigers, Aquaholics and the Hot Messes. Another tradition is the first responders match for bragging rights.
“We are planning on having the traditional Police versus Fire departments game on Saturday evening around 4:30 p.m.,” Baba said wrote in an email, “to showcase and honor the folks that keep us safe in Long Beach.”
Bayshore Avenue will be closed to traffic each day. Schedules for the weekend will be posted on the event website, beachwaterpolocup.com.