Canoe polo is a fast moving game that combines ball skills and similar game plan of netball or water-polo with kayaking. Apart from being a great game in its own right, it is very good for improving your white-water paddling skills.

The club hosts a winter league for beginners and more advanced paddlers. Games are currently being played during Term 2 (school terms) at Riverside pool on Wednesday nights with the required gear available at the pool.

Polo has been extended an extra 6 weeks until 16 August 2017.

Training at different levels of the sport is available.

Club teams also compete in regional and national events.

A number of club members have done very well in competitions nationally and internationally. Freya Sonneland (pictured) was a key player in the NZ Women’s team who earned the silver medal in the World Canoe Polo Championships in Germany in 2006 and just missed out on a medal in 2008.

For further information email or visit the Nelson Canoe Polo Google Group to subscribe for emails.

All participants of Nelson Kayak Club Polo activities are responsible themselves for reading and understanding the club’s canoe polo safety information:

Canoe Polo General Safety


Nelson Kayak Club hold an annual working bee before the start of the winter league to ensure all Canoe Polo Gear meets safety requirements. Checks are also performed as required.

If you are using your own equipment you are responsible for ensuring that your gear also meets the requirements. See Canoe Polo Equipment Checks for details.

Life Guards

Canoe polo is played at a pool venue and operates under the OSH standards of the hosting pool. It is a requirement that a life-guard from the hosting pool is present to ensure the OSH standards of the pool are followed by all canoe polo players and observe on water activities.

To support the pool guidelines:

  • No seal launches – as this can damage tiles
  • Brief participants about monitoring one another, that their gear does not interfere with access around the pool. Watch out for boats and paddles causing damage to people or the pool.
  • Check that new participants can fir a spray deck correctly and do a wet exit or have them complete this drill assisted by a mentor.
  • Report any incidents to the safety officer.

New Players

If you are new player you are responsible to let the organiser on the night know this. New players are briefed on all safety aspects of the game when registering for the first time. The organizer will ensure that new players are capable of exiting an upturned boat unassisted and know the correct fitting of a spray skirt and how to release it.


We use the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Polo rules.

There is also the ICF online rules tutorial.

All players are responsible for being familiar with the current and full rules, details available here.

The rules are monitored by experienced canoe polo players familiar with the rules acting as referees; these are volunteers coordinated by the Canoe Polo Officer on behalf of Nelson Kayak Club and take no responsibility for any loss or injury received by any players.
On occasion games between experienced players will not have a referee and will instead be called by other players on the water. There is however a separate pool life-guard on duty who is not in the pool.


Share this page