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)
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 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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria archery club says goodbye to outdoor range in View Royal

Province-owned View Royal property will house handyDART facility

Hotel workers gather in Victoria, demand right to return to work

Workers also asking the government to make sure employers don’t use pandemic to replace them

MISSING: Victoria woman dubbed high-risk, last seen mid-June

Kristy Bolton is known to frequent the Rock Bay area

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

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

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read