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13 November 2014

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You are in: Dorset > Places > Places features > Sandbanks beach polo 2009

The game uses an orange ball for better visibility

The game uses an orange ball

Sandbanks beach polo 2009

Back for a second year, Sandbanks will again host the British Beach Polo Championships this summer, on July 10 and 11 from 12 noon.

Sandbanks beach will again be the scene for the British Beach Polo Championships, a two day event on the exclusive Poole peninsula on July 10 and 11.

Playing Beach Polo

Playing Beach Polo

Previously only seen in the more exotic locations of Miami and Dubai, the beach polo event - a variation of arena polo - was a first for both Dorset and the UK upon its arrival in July 2008.

It's now back for its second year, and organisers say they've agreed a five year term, meaning the event will continue annually on Sandbanks up to 2014.

Six teams of top international riders and horses will compete in the tournament in front of crowds of up to 2,000 people and on a specially-prepared area of Sandbanks beach.

'Good news for Poole'

Leader of Poole Borough Council Cllr Brian Leverett says the event is good news not just for Sandbanks but for the whole of Poole:

Cllr Brian Leverett

Cllr Brian Leverett

He says: "It's excellent for Poole because not only does it bring money into Poole but it promotes our town both nationally and internationally.

"When people see what Poole has to offer they realise what a truly beautiful place this is.

"It's a truly international event and we can do this because of the quality of the beaches in the town, and everyone can come and enjoy it. It really is a winner for this town."

One of the organisers is Johnny Walker, who says the game is for everyone to watch: "To play Polo to a high level is expensive but we still want people to come along and enjoy watching the sport.

"I can't afford to drive a Formula 1 racing car but I still like watching it on television. Beach Polo is a growing sport."

How beach polo is played

Speaking at the 2008 launch, international polo player Peter Webb explained the benefits of beach polo over arena polo.

Peter Webb

Peter Webb

He says: "By playing polo on the beach [spectators] are much closer to the action and you're more part of it."

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."

The condition of the sand 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."

The British Beach Polo Champsionships 2009, 10 and 11 July 2009. Games begin at 12 noon.

last updated: 08/07/2009 at 10:00
created: 11/04/2008

Have Your Say

Have you played Beach Polo? Is Sandbanks a good venue? Leave your comments below.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

There's enough rich people in Sandbanks without inflicting more on us. Can't they do it in Hampshire?

Flick Cowley
Fantastic idea! From playing Polo myself in a usual sand arena I can imagine just how fast-paced the action will be on the beach, especially with high strung horses enjoying the adventure just as much as the polo players. Brilliant idea, hope to see Beach Polo at more upcoming venues accross the UK soon.

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