Polo Safety and Gear


Safety, Polo Gear, and MKP Requirements

Kayak polo has different safety considerations than whitewater kayaking and, as such, the gear is a bit different.  For example, it’s important to protect one’s ribs in kayak polo because other boats can easily ride up into the cockpit area of the kayak during play. Because of that, polo PFDs are more about personal protection than flotation and are padded on the sides.  For the same reason, polo boats have padding on the bow and stern. The close quarters also make thin paddle blades that can cut skin very hazardous, so polo paddles are required to be thicker than many whitewater paddles. Also, ANY paddle blade near a face can be hazardous, so face masks are required.

In MKP games, all players must use a kayak polo boat, a paddle suitable for polo, and a helmet with a facemask. If you aren’t sure about the acceptability of your personal equipment, talk to a polo organizer. If you do not have your own polo equipment, you can use MKP club boats, paddles, and helmets free of charge. Keep in mind that club gear is used by many people. Plan to share, and be aware that club gear may not be maintained as well as your personal gear may be. Please plan to help with maintenance of the club gear if you use it, and bear in mind that all gear you bring into the pool MUST be totally clean!

The nature of the rules of the game make kayak polo a relatively safe sport. The following are for your protection, and are a part of the rules of the game:

  • Paddle blades less than 5mm thick are not allowed!
  • The front of all kayaks must be padded with at least 1.5 inches of soft foam (or similar material). Polo boats will have this padding and it must be in good condition. If you have special permission from the committee to use a non-polo boat, padding must be glued/taped on really well, otherwise it will come off!
  • We also require ALL players to wear helmets with a FACEMASK. The most common injuries in Kayak Polo are caused by accidental paddles to the face and those are entirely eliminated with the use of proper facemasks.

MKP Club Gear Includes:

  • 15 Plastic Polo Kayaks — Club boats are generally marked with a number or letter. These will be available for general use at polo free of charge. Please make sure you’re not accidentally pinching a private boat when you grab one!
  • 20 Helmets with Facemasks — All players are required to wear a facemask!
  • 31 Reversible Polo PFDs — In a wide variety of sizes.
  • 15 Plastic Polo Paddles — Thin-bladed whitewater paddles are not allowed!
  • One-Size-Fits-All Spray Skirts — These are really quite awful, but they’re better than nothing. We recommend bringing your own regular skirt or borrowing one if you can.
  • Polo Balls — We’ve got a whole lot of balls.  🙂

Bottom Lines:

        • IF YOU ARE NOT WEARING A HELMET WITH A FACEMASK AND A POLO PFD, OR
        • YOUR GEAR IS NOT TOTALLY CLEAN, OR
        • YOUR BOAT IS NOT PADDED AT THE FRONT, OR
        • YOUR PADDLE BLADES ARE NOT THICK ENOUGH,

YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE WATER!