Kayak Polo National Championship 2023: Paddles, Passion, and Perseverance - ACA

Feb 20, 2024

Kayak Polo National Championship 2023: Paddles, Passion, and Perseverance

Kayak Polo National Championship

The Kayak Polo National Championship 2023, held on September 23-24, 2023, at Lake Sebago, New York, was a thrilling showcase of athletic prowess and camaraderie. Hosted and organized by the Sebago Kayak Polo Club under the leadership of Zak Aroui, the founding organizer, and co-organized by New York Kayak Polo, this event was a testament to the growing popularity of the sport in the United States. This Championship was sponsored by the ACA Lake Sebago camp, which played a pivotal role in securing the event location and providing logistical support, making it a grand success!

About the Game

Canoe/Kayak Polo, known as Canoe Polo in Europe, is an exciting paddlesport played by two teams of five in open water or a pool within a rectangular enclosure. The objective is to score in the opponent’s goal, suspended above the water at each end of the pitch. Kayak polo games consist of two halves, each lasting 10 minutes. The game uses a ball similar to water polo, which can be controlled by hand or paddle. The kayaks are smaller and lighter than typical kayaks, and the paddles have a thicker rounded edge to ensure quick movement and maneuverability.

Highlights from the 2023 Kayak Polo National Championship

A total of 17 teams with over 120 participants came from various regions and clubs across the U.S. and Canada. Teams hailed from Lake Sebago area, New York, Boston, Virginia, North Carolina, Austin, California, Montreal, and Edmonton, reflecting the sport’s nationwide appeal.

Players from the U.S. National team joined and played with their home clubs, elevating the competition’s level. The Kayak Polo National Championship 2023 witnessed intense and highly competitive games. Despite the challenging weather conditions, with rain and cold testing the players’ endurance, they displayed unwavering athleticism and determination.

A total of 63 games took place over the two days, divided into four divisions: A, B, women, and youth. The winners in each division were as follows:

  • Division A:
    • 1st place – Pelicans
    • 2nd place – Austin Aquabats
    • 3rd place – PC Sharks
  • Division B:
    • 1st place – B-Historic
    • 2nd place – PC Requins
    • 3rd place – Austin Aquabats B
  • Division Women:
    • 1st place – Fête du thé à Boston
    • 2nd place – West & the rest
    • 3rd place – Austin Aquabats Women
  • Division Youth:
    • 1st place – Rhinos
    • 2nd place – PC Baby Sharks
    • 3rd place – Sebago Otters


The Kayak Polo National Championship 2023 holds great significance for the sport. It serves as a unifying platform, bringing athletes from different parts of the U.S. together, fostering the growth of kayak polo in the country, building relationships, and determining the best team in the U.S. for the year. Notably, the event introduced the first-ever youth traveling trophy, encouraging the development of youth teams in the northeast.

Youth teams from the ACA Lake Sebago camp participated for the first time, marking a promising step toward nurturing future talent in the sport.

Zak’s Vision for Youth Development

Zak Aroui (The ACA Atlantic Division Competition Chair), the driving force behind the Kayak Polo National Championship 2023, is not only passionate about the present but also deeply committed to the future of the sport. He envisions a brighter horizon for kayak polo in the North East by actively promoting youth participation.

Currently, Zak runs a successful two-year kayak polo program at the ACA Lake Sebago camp during the summer, which introduces young enthusiasts to the sport. He sees this as a stepping stone for nurturing future talent and fostering a love for kayak polo among the youth.

Zak’s forward-looking plans include the creation of a dedicated youth league. This league will play a pivotal role in youth development, providing a structured platform for young players to hone their skills, compete, and enjoy the sport. Such initiatives are essential for ensuring the sustained growth and popularity of kayak polo among the younger generation.

With his unwavering dedication and innovative ideas, Zak Aroui is set to make a significant impact on the future of kayak polo in the North East, inspiring more young athletes to paddle into the world of this thrilling sport.

Make sure to check out the Sebago Kayak Polo Youth program, and feel free to reach out and come join us!