For many seasons, SUPBALL creators, Manly Kayak Centre had played their own version of Kayak Polo, known as Kayball. This innovative sport was played as an activity within the Kayak Centre’s fitness program. Unlike Kayak Polo, Kayball used round buoys for goals instead of floating nets, and was played with no stoppages unless a injury or a capsize occurred. When a goal was scored (by hitting the opposing team’s buoy with the game ball), the scoring side had to retreat back around their own buoy/goal to enable them to be deemed onside and continue playing.
Manly Kayak Centre purchased its first fleet of standup paddleboards (SUPs) in early October 2010 when they recognised the emerging standup paddleboard trend. Over the course of the following weeks, boards were used by staff in their down time and this is where SUPBALL was born.
Legends Are Born
From that first game in December 2010 the team at Manly Kayak Centre continued to play whenever the opportunity arose. As they played, new skills, techniques and game strategies developed. They soon perfected the ideal team sizes, goal distances and game play.
Manly Kayak Centre recognised the growth potential in standup paddleboarding and invested in more SUPs the following Spring. As paddleboarding in general grew in popularity there were less oppotunities for staff to grab boards to have a sneaky game of SUPBALL! The team decided that the time was right to set aside a dedicated SUPBALL timeslot on Sunday afternoons.
October 9th, 2011 was the first Sunday game of spring and had attracted a larger than expected line up of excited players: all the usual suspects from the Manly Kayak Centre (MKC) staff and friends plus a new brand of team from Manly Ocean Adventures (MOA).
SUPBALL Heats Up
“SUPBALL Sundays continued through until mid-December 2011 and became a highlight of everyone’s week. The standard of play, fitness and physicality moved to the next level as both sides revelled in the competitive environment.
What also emerged was the ever increasing number of spectators that were taking a keen interest in the game. SUPBALL games are played directly in front of Manly Kayak Centre and adjacent to the very popular Manly Wharf Hotel, resulting in a high level of exposure for the sport.”
The Story Continues...
From that summer 2011/12 comp between MKC and MOA, SUPBALL grew and grew with new teams joining every year. By 2014 the sport had grown in popularity enough for Team SUPBALL to create a new dedicated weeknight competition on a Wednesday evening.
2015 saw the sport grow again to include another comp on a Saturday morning making a total of three tournaments that year.
SUBPALL is played by 28 teams of 198 players across 4 competitions and continues to grow year on year. As well as dedicated competitions, SUPBALL has proven to be a popular choice for a range of events. From corporate team building days to kids birthday parties, school groups and even hens and bucks days, SUPBALL’s versatility knows no limits!
The game has also developed a global reach with games being played in other locations in Australia as well as internationally in the UK, France, Spain, Germany, NZ and Brazil.
How to Play
- Matches are played between two teams of five heading in opposite directions with up to 5 substitue players
- A goal is scored by hitting the ‘SUPBALL goal buoys’ with the match ball
- SUPBALL has a unique continuous game play and an off side play allowing for very strategic tactics.
- Matches consist of two 15-minute halves with a 5-minute break. Teams swap directions at half time
- There is no boundary to a SUPBALL field
- There are two different versions of SUPBALL that you can play – contact and non-contact. Contact allows players to tackle or push other players off their boards, whereas non-contact only allows a player to nudge another player’s board with the paddle to destabilise the competing player
- Once a player is in possession of the ball they must stop paddling
- A player who doesn’t have 50% or more of their body on a board is deemed to be out of play until they get back on a board. Without being on a board they are not allowed to interfere with the ball or with other players
- No player can purposefully interfere with unoccupied equipment in order to disadvantage another player
- The defending player (player who has been tackled) has board advantage in any board challenge situation. Final decision on ANY board challenge will be made by the referee and cannot be contested
- Once a goal is scored two quick whistles will be sounded by the referee. The team who scored the goal must paddle around their defensive ‘goal buoy’ to be considered onside. Until they have done this they must not interfere with the ball or other players
- You may tackle players off their boards (contact) or destabalise a board with your paddles (non-contact), but no paddle-to-player contact is allowed
- No player is allowed to hug the goal with their body at any time. Players are permitted to block the goal with their paddle or board
- Once a player/players break a rule the referee will blow one blast of the whistle. The offending player will be signaled and will have to undertake a penalty paddle around a nominated penalty marker. The player is deemed offside until they have paddled around this marker. All other game play will continue and only this player is deemed offside for this time. If the player does not immediately embark on their penalty paddle they will be sent off court for 2 minutes in the sin bin
- The referee has the right to remove a player from the game if they continuously break the rules and their team will be short a player for the rest of that half of the game.
The following acts constitute rule-breaking behaviour:
- Foul play
- Unsportsmanlike behaviour
- Excessive force
- Any non-compliance with the listed SUPBALL rules
- You may play at the ball with your hands, paddle or any other part of your body
- Boarding other peoples boards is permitted during contact games. You may do this in order to knock another player off their board, steal the ball, block a goal etc.
- If unmarked, a short pass ahead of yourself is a good way move up the field with the ball legally
- Standing during the game is encouraged in all SUPBALL games. Trainers will aim to get all players to this level of game play during training sessions/SUPBALL Lessons
- Leaving a defensive player protecting your goal is effective not only in defence, but if your team scores a goal, this player can immediately retreat around the ‘goal buoy’ and rush forward to attack while the rest of their team is retreating to get onside.
Be Part Of It
The future looks bright as the community builds in Manly and beyond!
- …want to book your own SUPBALL court…
- …want to feature SUPBALL in an article or any other media…
- …want to join us for another epic season…
- …want to tell us how amazing SUPBALL is…