By Sara Valente
18 Oct 21
A Brief history of the Dittons Dolphins
It all started one warm summer’s day in July with a taster session run by Blue Chip at Thames Sailing Club. Several curious paddlers from Dittons Paddle Boarding Club wanted to have a go at a niche sport called “SUP polo”, which is a cross between lacrosse and water polo…on paddle boards. With mixed teams, it is a very inclusive sport. Even as experienced paddlers, SUP Polo proved challenging even for the most agile paddlers. We fell backwards and forwards, sideways and belly-flopped, we landed on each other’s boards and found creative new ways to fall into the water.
Suffice to say after a several hours of aiming footballs at a bouy using the SUP Polo paddles and taking immense joy at knocking each other into the water, the Dittons paddlers were hooked. Not long after, they formed the team “Dittons Dolphins” and started practicing at Hampton Sailing Club once a week playing friendly matches against Chichester SUP Club and Blue Chip. It was a steep learning curve but after a month of practice, The Dittons Dolphins felt ready to enter themselves into the National SUP polo tournament.
SUP Polo tournament
The Dittons Dolphins and support team arrived early at the Real Blue Chip SUP polo tournament 2021 and set up a base camp at the Guildford Lido. They had a gazebo, eight camping chairs, two camping grills, a BBQ and several weeks worth of food. The Dolphins knew that sustenance and stamina would be the key to a successful tournament.
The first match was played against SUP Junkie, an experienced team and fierce competition. Despite getting a goal, the Dittons Dolphins lost 6-1 in the first match. They made a valiant comeback in the second match winning 5-1 against the Dorset Dunkers but lost again to the Blue Chip Raiders 3-0 in another tough match. The final match against Chichester was an extremely close draw 0-0 as both teams were strong in defence and both narrowly missed scoring.
The final result saw the Dittons Dolphins place third at their first National tournament. Dittons Paddle Boarding Club couldn’t be more proud of their Dolphins and hope more will join the sport and get practicing for the next tournament looking to take place Spring 2022!