It was a Kiwi who was first to conquer Mt Everest. A Kiwi who was first to climb the world’s steepest street on a Segway PT. A Kiwi who was first to take a PT below the 47th parallel South. And a group of Kiwi technology entrepreneurs (the Pole Blacks) were first to lay down the gauntlet before the creators of Segway PT Polo in Silicon Valley (the Aftershocks) to play the world’s first international championship, in Auckland in February 2006. One of the US players, legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack, donated what would be named The Woz Challenge Cup, and the rest as they say, is history.
Ok, so maybe instigating this first international, untraditional polo match doesn’t quite scale the heights of climbing the world’s highest mountain, but it sure started something. In fact, Segway PT Polo players consider it the first new sport of the 21st century, and expect it to become increasingly popular. Pole Blacks captain Philip Bendall says “It is a true sport by every measure, and some people might be surprised just how much of a physical workout it gives. It requires skill, c0ordination, teamwork, and fitness. In play, it combines elements of horse polo and hockey, and the rules promote safety and fair play. And it gives back that thrilling ‘wind-in-the-hair’ experience to people who enjoyed fast-paced field sports in their teenage years.”
By 2007 there were three American teams facing off to determine the best US team to battle the Kiwis visitors state-side. In 2008 the US champions were defending against a team from Germany, and in 2009 the battle was being fought in Cologne, where the victors were from Barbados. Consequenly, this weekend (10-13th June 2010) teams of the International Segway Polo Association play off in the 5th World Series in the beautiful Caribbean. Competing this year eight teams are competing: three US, two German, two Barbados and one Swedish. Follow the action and results here.
The Pole Blacks are not fielding a team this year, but hope to return to international play in 2011 (and bring the cup home to New Zealand).