Sandbanks Beach Polo: The British Beach Polo Championships took place in Sandbanks, Poole, 12th July 2008, and it was the first competition of its kind in the UK. Sandbanks beach was the scene for the first British Beach Polo Championships which was a two day event during the weekend of 12th / 13th July on the exclusive Sandbanks Poole peninsula.
Polo champion Peter Webb explained more about the game and the tournament at Sandbanks. Previously only seen in the more exotic locations of Miami and Dubai, the beach polo event - a variation of arena polo - is a first for both Dorset and the UK. Six teams of top international riders and horses will competed in the tournament.
A temporary arena 100m x 40m arena was built on the beach, and visitors to the beach were able to watch the games for free, opening up what some perceive as an ‘elitist’ sport to a wider audience. Beach polo players demonstrate the game. International polo player Peter Webb explained the benefits of beach polo over arena polo. He says: “By playing polo on the beach [spectators] are much closer to the action and you’re more part of it.” With many international polo players set to arrive at Sandbanks in Poole Dorset, the organisers would like the competitions to become a regular annual fixture, and they’re hoping for local support. Peter says: “Hopefully the UK crowds will support us, and we can show them what a great game polo is - it hasn’t been seen much in this country. Small orange ball Beach polo uses a different ball to other forms of the game. Peter describes it as ‘like a small orange football’, which is easier to see: “Snow polo uses a small plastic ball that is much harder.” Peter Webb The condition of the sand sandbanks is also crucial, too. “The key element is getting the sand pushed down and heavy enough for it to be level and so the ball can roll smoothly, and the sand is always rolled after each period.” Speed and agility is important in the game, and it’s hard work, say Peter. “You’re stopping and turning much more, and it’s very physical.”