New England Canoe Polo

Information for New Players

Welcome! We’re excited you want to give kayak polo a try. Here’s what you need to know.

How Do I Start?

Every player is a bit different; please contact us before attending a practice so that we can determine the best way to get you started. Please tell us about any previous polo or kayaking experience, and let us know if you have any of your own kayaking gear.

During the summer season, we ask new players to attend 1-2 intro sessions before joining regular practices. During the winter season, new players will generally attend our regular weekly practices under the mentorship of one or more experienced players.

In either case, we will teach basic boat control and safety skills, go over the rules of the game, and practice some basic polo techniques.

Although you’re welcome to observe a practice, we encourage you to jump in a boat and participate right away–our club has a wide variety of experience levels, so it’s easy to get started, and practices and scrimmages are the best opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of the sport.

What If I Already Have Experience?

Experienced polo players can generally jump right into practices. Drop us a line at

Otherwise, if you have had formal instruction or significant experience in whitewater, slalom, sea kayaking, or another form of kayaking your basic paddling skills will translate to polo, although you may find the boats and gear somewhat different from what you’re used to.

At your first few sessions we’ll focus on getting you accustomed to the equipment and polo-specific skills.

What Should I Do To Prepare?

Please read our quick start to the kayak polo rules (PDF, 358K) before your first session.

Our introduction to kayak polo gear may also be helpful.

How Much Does It Cost?

We want to make it easy and fun to try out polo, while also considering the club’s costs.

Your first session is free apart from the required insurance fee. Season and/or session fees vary from season to season based on location and attendance. See Where & When for more information.

Equipment loan is free year round.

At your first session you will need to sign an insurance waiver and pay for a membership with the American Canoe Association (ACA), which provides our club insurance. You have several options:

  • $5 for a 1-day event membership
  • $15 for a 6-month introductory membership
  • $40 for a 1-year membership (or $60 for a family membership)

Where Do You Play?

In the summer we play outdoors, usually on the Charles River in Auburndale. In the winter we play in a local indoor pool. See Where & When for more information and directions.

What Should I Bring?

Sessions typically last around two hours. You will get wet!

During the winter season we play in a warm heated indoor pool. During the outdoor season weather conditions vary widely. Sessions are (very occasionally) cancelled for thunderstorms or other severe weather, but otherwise we run rain or shine.

Here’s what to bring:

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Water shoes
  • Water
  • Warm clothes for after practice
  • Short-sleeved shirt to wear over your swimsuit. Materials that dry quickly and wick moisture are best, e.g. a rashguard, capilene hiking shirt, or neoprene top. Avoid cotton.
  • For rain or colder weather during the outdoor season: fleece shirt, windbreaker or paddling jacket

If you have them, also bring:

  • PFD
  • Paddle
  • Sprayskirt

What Next?

Please email us at We will contact you to get some more information on your background, arrange gear, and set up your first session.

Want more? Read our FAQs.

Welcome to NECP! We look forward to playing with you!