Pool sport gains more devotees

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Karratha residents playing a game of underwater hockey
Camera IconKarratha residents playing a game of underwater hockey

An obscure sport is making waves in the Pilbara just over two years after being launched in the region.

The sport is played on the bottom of a pool, generally 2m deep, between two teams, with the aim to score a goal by pushing a lead puck with a small bat.

West Australian Underwater Hockey held a trial of the game in Karratha in December 2018, hoping it would lead to the creation of a club and permanent weekly games.

The plan was a success with the formation of the Karratha Underwater Hockey, and weekly games and training held on a Monday evening.

Between six to 14 players dive into Karratha Leisureplex pool each week to participate in the social games.

Karratha Underwater Hockey player Justin Bees said it was one of the few sports that could be played all year in the Pilbara.

“It’s in the water, so you’re never as hot as you would be playing anything outdoors,” he said.

“It’s very low impact because you don’t have gravity working against you; it’s really good for your joints and your muscles.”

He said the sport was becoming more popular with social media and underwater video equipment becoming more affordable.

“You never really come to the sport without having watched it before,” he said.

“It’s gotten more popular with social media and video footage to show people what it is and it’s not as scary as people think.”

Karratha Underwater Hockey player Katt Andryskova said playing felt like a full-body workout.

“On top of your physical fitness, it’s also your mental fitness because you have to be aware of your limitations and your teams,” she said.

Andryskova said the club has a new player every week.

“There’s always at least one complete newbie, so it’s really nice to see how inclusive everyone is,” she said.

“We’ve had people of all ages try and we actually have a lot of girls playing as well.”

Bees said the league focused on keeping everyone included in the play and making sure players had a good time.

“It’s not an aggressive or dangerous sport, it’s a much more relaxed thing,” he said.

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