By : Alexandra Picard / Photo : Juan Diego Rivera

Underwater Rugby - A sport rethought

Combine swimming, rugby and freediving and you get a challenging team sport played entirely underwater where players experience 360 degrees of action.

Where does underwater rugby come from?

It was in Germany in 1961 that underwater rugby was created. Its conception was to make the training of diving clubs more stimulating. Over the years, some decided to make it a local competition. This is how a craze was created and many enthusiasts spread their passion for this sport on the international scene.

Rugby is part of the CMAS which is the world federation of underwater sports. Several countries participate in different tournaments including the world cup which takes place every 4 years. The latter is supervised by the federation.

In Canada, rugby appeared in 2008 in Toronto. In Montreal, a team was created in 2011 within the CAMO club.

How do we play?

Underwater rugby is played with a snorkel, mask and fins. The game is played in the deep end of the pool, which varies from 3.8m to 5m deep, and is played in the width direction. Two baskets are set up at the bottom of the water, at each end of the playing area. The ball used can be held in one hand and is filled with salt water, which causes it to have a higher density than the surrounding water and to sink slowly to the bottom. During the game, the ball must not be exposed to the surface since the game is played underwater.

Each team consists of two goalies, two defenders and two forwards for a total of six players underwater and six substitutes outside the pool. The games are 30 minutes long, i.e., two 15-minute periods with a five-minute half-time between them.

As for the game itself, physical contact is only allowed with the player who has the ball. This implies that players who do not have the ball in their possession cannot grab the other players.

Security, first

Although it is a contact sport, it is governed by very strict rules that minimize the risk of injury and allow participants to play safely. No excessive force, violence or roughness is allowed during the games.

During practices, special attention is given to new players in order to integrate them gradually according to their comfort.

A fascinating sport, but for whom?

Underwater rugby requires a certain amount of cardiovascular capacity. However, the numerous swimming and freediving practices that the players on a team participate in allow everyone to improve and achieve their personal fitness goals. Speed, technique and endurance become the pillars of their success. Team spirit is the foundation of rugby where non-verbal communication and listening are paramount to outplaying the opponent.

For amateurs with a sense of competition, the possibility of participating in numerous local and foreign tournaments allows them to put their skills to the test.

How to participate ?

You can contact the CAMO underwater rugby club by email or on the Facebook page. As far as equipment is concerned, they provide everything that is required for the first practices.



Rugby Subaquatique CAMO
Piscine Joseph-Charbonneau
8200 rue Rousselot, Montréal
FB et IG : uwr.camo