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Welcome to KitsFest!!

Thank you to all our partners, sponsors, athletes and YOU - our supporters, for making KitsFest Vancouver's hottest annual sports and healthy lifestyle festival! We've reinvested in community legacy upgrades in projects such as the Kits basketball, Kits tennis court renovations and Kits Beach palm trees. Let's continue to spread our passion for active living and healthy lifestyle and the amazing beauty of West Coast living!

If you wish to support this movement by volunteering or donating please contact us at the following kitsfest@gmail.com.

waterpolo-home

We are excited to announce that this year we will be hosting a tournament style open ocean water polo event at KitsFest 2017.

We are now accepting applications for teams. Sign up as a team OR as an individual.

To register please complete the sign up form here

When: Fri Aug 18th (5pm – 8pm)  & Sat Aug 19th (3pm-8pm)

What: Open Ocean Water Polo Tournament

Who: Masters Open

Where: The Main Beach near Volley Ball Nets at Kits Beach, Vancouver, BC (see map)

Cost: $50 / TEAM

Water Polo Photo Gallery

 

Water polo players have a ball kicking it on Pacific (Ocean) time

 

Making a big splash this weekend at Kits Beach

 
By Yvonne Zacharias, Vancouver Sun August 7, 2015
 
A game of water polo plays out in English Bay near Kits Beach in Vancouver on July 30, 2015.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch

VANCOUVER — You might be forgiven if you do a double take when you see heads with blue and white caps bobbing in the water at Kits Beach this weekend along with two nets that look like they somehow became unmoored from a kids’ hockey game and blew into the sea.

Given that this is likely the first time a water polo tournament has been held in the ocean in Western Canada, it’s sure to form an unusual spectacle at the seventh annual KitsFest, an outdoor smorgasbord of sports with a heavy emphasis on basketball, tennis and volleyball.

Every year, it seems two-time basketball Olympian Howard Kelsey, the driving force behind the big beach party, comes up with a new twist to what has become a rite of summer. This year, water polo — a swimming-pool sport — is making the biggest splash.

He has brought on Robert Barton, former water polo coach at Simon Fraser University, to organize the competition that will be held just west of Kits pool on Vancouver’s west side.

Lest anyone thinks this sport is a casual dunk in the water, a practice run one evening in advance of the festival proved otherwise. It is fiercely competitive, with players thrashing like egg beaters around in the water as they try to score on each other’s net.

Every now and then, just as the spectator’s mind was drifting lazily off to the stunning North Shore mountains in the background, the shrill sound of a whistle pierced the clean ocean breezes, bringing the focus back to the intense game at hand.

The sport is anything but genteel. “It’s fierce. There is a lot of grabbing, there is a lot of kicking, there is a lot of pulling. There is a lot of everything,” said Barton. He added with a laugh, “I’ve been explored.”

You might think that playing water polo in the ocean is a bit of a stretch, but given the requirement for a depth of seven feet and the lack of pool space in the Vancouver area that reaches that deep, it is really a slam dunk in Barton’s books.

Fortunately, the tides are just right this year and the water is just the right depth west of the pool, so “this is just the perfect storm for us.”

Nevertheless, the setting poses particular challenges.

“There is a little bit of wind, there is a little bit of tide and a lot of sun,” said Barton, who emerged from the water to do an interview on shore.

All of that adds up to greater unpredictability in the ball’s movements although he quickly added that that’s part of the fun.

He expects about half a dozen teams competing with players coming as far away as California. There are about 11 members per team, including a few women on coed teams, with five players and a goalie in the water at any one time.

In keeping with the spirit of KitsFest, which is part competition and part a celebration of summer in one of the world’s most spectacular outdoor settings, no one is expecting the water polo event to set the world on fire.

For Barton, the sport is all about having fun, staying fit and seeing old friends who show up at masters tournaments around the world.

“We just hope that everyone leaves with a smile on their face.”

Kitsfest runs from Friday until Sunday at Kits Beach.

yzacharias@vancouversun.com

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