Float your boat: Kayak polo players make a row in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Canoe believe it?: Every Sunday, kayak polo players duke it out on the waters of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
for Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

They’re making a splash!

Crews of competitive kayakers ship out each Sunday for a splashy water sport in the river off of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Kayak polo is a ball game that appeals to those who love being out on the water, but want a slightly more pulse-pounding option than simply sculling along the East River, said the event’s organizer.

“Kayak polo is an alternative activity which is pretty rigorous, a little bit more competitive,” said Tom Potter, the park’s program adviser. “It allows people who get interested in kayaking an additional, aggressive way to get better skills and have fun.”

Kayak polo combines elements of basketball, water polo, and kayaking. Two five-person teams take to the water, competing to hurl a large polo ball into the opposing team’s goal — a net suspended a few feet above the water. A winning team is crowned after two eight-minute periods, with a “golden ball” overtime session resolving any ties.

The game is especially good at helping young people develop their skills on the water, said the park’s executive director.

“In terms of our kids’ program, it’s a really fun way to develop advanced boat-handling skills,” said Nancy Webster. “You need to be able to turn quickly. You need to be able to paddle backwards. You need to have very good maneuverability. You get to practice all of those skills while you’re playing a really fun game out on the water.”

The park holds three sessions of kayak polo each Sunday during the summer, with multiple short games in each. The first period is for dedicated players who sign up in advance, the second is first-come, first-serve, with preference given to kids aged 11–17; and the third is adults-only.

The park provides the kayaks, life vests, paddles, and helmets, so participants only need to bring clothes they don’t mind getting wet. Those who have not played before should show up at least 20 minutes early for a quick tutorial on the game.

Kayak polo may not be the Park’s biggest attraction, but it has drawn a dedicated crew over the last five years that keeps coming back for more, said Potter.

“It’s more for people who’ve done it the first time and want to do it again — they want to do something a little bit more aggressive,” he said. “It isn’t the largest kayak program in the park, but I’d say it’s for people who want to take the next step.”

Kayak Polo at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2 Dock [Furman Street between Old Dock Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222–9939,]. Sundays, 11 am; 12:30 pm, and 2 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, June 23, 2017
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!