PHOTOS: Bike polo players flock to Victoria for Winter Mixer tournament

Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Cris Hamersly and Robert “Robbie Boards” Taylor played on tea Greg’s List in the tournament. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Cris Hamersly and Robert “Robbie Boards” Taylor played on tea Greg’s List in the tournament. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)Bike polo players flocked to Topaz Park for the Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Bike polo players from across North America flocked to Topaz Park for the 15th annual Victoria Bike Polo Winter Mixer tournament on Nov. 9 and 10.

What do traditional polo and hard-court bike polo have in common? As it turns out, not much.

Both sports use mallets and helmets, but the similarities stop there. Horses are replaced by bikes, fields are replaced by asphalt courts and the rules are very different, player Ryan Harris explained.

“Polo is definitely cheaper on a bike too,” he said with a laugh. He owns Recyclistas Bike Shop which was one of the tournament’s sponsors.

The sport started about 10 years ago when people used bikes to practice for traditional polo, but hard-court polo made its official debut in Seattle in the early 2000s, he explained.

Nov. 9 marked day one of the Winter Mixer. Players milled around the tennis court-turned bike polo court waiting to play while reggae music and rain filled the air.

READ ALSO: 22-year-old Victoria man scoops up silver medal in combat wrestling for Canada

The players were shuffled randomly into seven teams of three for 15 minute games – typical for bike polo, Harris explained. Another variation would have six players to a team with games lasting up to one hour.

The games take place in an enclosed rectangle with a goal at each end.

Players who touch their foot to the ground – also known as a “dab” – must tap out by touching their mallet to a dot spray painted on the boards halfway between each goal, Harris explained.

Players came from all over North America – from Montreal to Calgary and down to Seattle – to play in the annual tournament.

Robert “Robbie Boards” Taylor came all the way from East Vancouver to attend – as he has every year since 2011. He enjoys playing in Victoria because there’s a strong sense of camaraderie.

”[Victoria] brings out the goodness in everybody,” Taylor said.

Not only does Taylor play in the tournament, but he also builds the boards for the make-shift courts – which is how he got his nickname.

Taylor’s teammate for the weekend, Chris Hamersly, travelled from Seattle to attend the Winter Mixer.

READ ALSO: Vikes kick off national soccer championship

Hamersly, who’s been playing for 10 years, was in Argentina for the World’s Tournament back in September representing the Cascadia region – Vancouver Island down to Portland. His team ranked third in the world.

He plays to get better and travel. He noted that there’s a steep learning curve for beginners and that while it may look intense, it’s fun, and those with experience are always willing to help out.

The Winter Mixer continues on Sunday and folks are welcome to come down to watch, Taylor noted.

“A lot of people think its very dangerous, but it’s actually not that dangerous,” Harris said. “I think soccer and a lot of other sports are actually a lot more dangerous.”

He emphasized that Victoria Bike Polo is always looking for new players. The group meets every Wednesday at the Fernwood Community Centre from 8 p.m. to midnight. No equipment or experience is required as folks are welcoming and happy to share, Harris noted.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

With the help of a $110,000 federal grant, Saanich will be adding 22 new EV chargers for its municipal fleet to reduce emissions from district operations. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich adds 22 new EV chargers for municipal fleet to reduce corporate emissions

Federal grant adds $110,000 jolt to project, installation to be completed fall 2022

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read