What is underwater rugby?

Underwater Rugby is an exciting, challenging and competitive type of sport, played by two teams below the surface of a swimming pool. Each team has no more than six people, and they wear the basic equipment of fins, a mask, a snorkel and a hat. The basic idea is to get your team’s ball into the opposing team’s bucket, by holding your breath and tackling underwater. The ball is negatively buoyant, so it sinks, and it is passed by almost “pushing” the ball through the water to your teammates.

The teams start at opposite ends of the swimming pool, with one hand against the wall. When they get a signal, both teams then race to collect the ball, which is eagerly waiting in the centre of the pool. From that point, the game has begun, and the aim is to beat your opponents using skill, strength and teamwork!

Who invented underwater rugby?

Underwater rugby was first invented in 1961, in Köln Germany. It has since become popular in many countries, and was recognised by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) in 1978 as an official sport.

How many clubs are there in the UK?

Despite underwater rugby being popular in many countries across the world, there is only one underwater rugby club in the UK – PURE underwater rugby in London.

When did the PURE Underwater Rugby start?

Pure underwater rugby was set up in June 2013, by Oliver Kraus, Robert Bonnar and Gemma Wilts. It was supported by both BSAC and Sport England as a potentially exciting and challenging new UK sport.

 What is BSAC?

BSAC stands for British Sub-aqua club,and is the national body for recreational diving in the UK, since it began in 1953. BSAC has supported the operation of PURE underwater rugby since its birth!

Where do you play?

Underwater rugby trains in Putney Leisure centre (London, SW15 1BL) from 9.00-10:30pm every Thursday evening.

Are there any underwater rugby tournaments?

Since the first championship in 1978, there have been many international underwater rugby tournaments across the world. Pure underwater rugby club recently played at a tournament in Wales, France and Florence, Italy, meeting and competing with players from across the world! Pure’s aim is to participate on at least two tournaments a year.

Is it difficult to play?

Many people think that underwater rugby must be difficult to play, and that you need to acquire a particular set of skills. However, in underwater rugby, the most important skill for success is the ability to work as part of a team, to have an open-mind, and to want to challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. The skills can be picked up and practiced in training, so the only pre-requisite is ability to swim and a desire to attempt something new!

How long does it take to learn Underwater Rugby?

There is no set time limit, on how long it takes to learn Underwater rugby. Every session presents a different challenge for each player – experienced players are still learning to enhance their skills and fitness, where unexperienced players may be learning the basics for their first few weeks. PURE welcomes players of all skill-sets and abilities, and provides opportunities for all players to learn something new each session.

How fit do you have to be?

There are a range of fitness abilities in every underwater rugby team. Although it is a challenging sport, which can be very tiring, on your first few weeks you can get involved as little or as much as you want, as you build up your fitness and skill-set.

Do you need to be a good swimmer?

To play underwater rugby, you need to be able to confidently swim. However your speed and skill in the water can be developed over time, so you do not need to be a competitive or even frequent swimmer to start this sport.

How much experience do you need to play?

None! The majority of players in PURE underwater rugby had never tried or heard of the sport before they came to London, with the exception of Oliver Kraus, who set up the team after developing a passion for it in Slovakia!

Do you have to pay an upfront joining fee?

NO! The first trial session is for free. What you pay afterwards is a BSAC yearly snorkel membership (£18.5) which covers you and the club with the insurance. Club runs as a charity so all we charge for is £60 per three months which covers the cost of the pool. Alternatively you can pay per session which is £8.

How do you get to the leisure centre?

Putney leisure centre is in walking distance of many buses and train routes in London.

Are there any social aspects involved with the club?

Yes! Pure underwater rugby values socialising above water, as much as it values teamwork below the surface. The team goes to the local pub after every training session, to discuss tactics and to relax and get to know each other. In addition to this, every tournament we participate on has a huge social aspect. It is just a great fun playing and chilling with like minded people for different countries for few days. Club also organises social events, BBQs, friendly international and exhibition games. All of that is just a great fun with great people!

Do you play matches?

A match is played every Thursday night at Putney Leisure centre, as well as the international tournament opportunities mentioned above! Matches are a great opportunity to practice and hone your skills in preparation for international games.

What do I need to bring with me?

Pure underwater rugby has kit (snorkel, fins, mask, and a hat) for you to borrow, but if you have your own, feel free to bring these. You must bring your own swimming costume! Once you do feel like this is a sport you would like to continue playing you will need to get your own gear.

What if I don’t want to come back after trying it?

If you come along to one underwater rugby session, and decide it isn’t for you, there is no pressure to continue the sport – however most players find they are hooked after one exciting game!

How many people are on a team?

Each underwater rugby team has a total of 12 players, of which 6 are in the water, with the other 6 players waiting poolside to substitute on fly. These are ready to jump in when players need a break. It is pretty exhausting sport so the turnover is very quick. One player is each time in the water for about 2 minutes but it depends on his or hers abilities and played position.

Is it mixed gender?

Yes, both genders play the sport and PURE underwater rugby has a mixture of male and female players of all ages.

Are there any restrictions?

At present we can only accept individuals over 18 for insurance purposes.

Underwater rugby is a full contact sport, where you tackle the opposing teams for possession of the ball, however, certain rules apply when tackling, as you cannot ever grab someone around their fins, or their neck. The ball can be passed in any direction, therefore is truly three-dimensional, however the ball cannot break the surface of the water, therefore is different than games such as water-polo. Of course there are many other rules which govern this sport. These can be found here http://www.cmas.org/underwater-rugby/documents-of-the-rugby-commission

What about the insurance?

All of your players are members of the British Sub-Aqua Club too. This means that every player is covered with the standard BSAC insurance.

 What is the depth of the pool?

Underwater rugby is played in a pool that has usually has a depth of 3.5-5m, with a length of 12-18m and a width of 8-12 metres! The Putney pool is 4m deep and about 13m wide and long.

How long are the matches?

Official underwater rugby matches last 15 minutes each half, with a 5 minute break to recover between! Pure underwater rugby training sessions however may have longer matches, to build up fitness and stamina.

How much does it cost?

Club runs as a charity so all we charge for is £60 per three months which covers the cost of the pool. Alternatively you can pay per session which is £8.

How many members do we have?

PURE has currently about 20 members (July 2015).

Can I come to try?

Yes! Pure underwater rugby is an extremely friendly team, which welcomes players of all abilities and ages to try this new and exciting sport, become part of a team, and challenge themselves.

What is the club’s structure?

Club runs on very informal basis however, Robert Bonnar looks after the club’s treasury and Oliver Kraus is the club’s chairman.

How to contact us?

If you have any questions about underwater rugby, contact us on the below links or simply submit your query through this website.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PUREUnderwaterRugby

Email: underwater-rugby@hotmail.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pureuwr