Underwater Hockey FAQs

Underwater Hockey is a fantastic sport that has gone global and been around for longer than people realise. Continue reading to find out more about this unusual past time.

What is Underwater Hockey?

Underwater Hockey (AKA Octopush) is a sport, well, played underwater! There are six players in each team and you can have up to four substitute players. Subbing can happen as frequently as you like during a match and the playing team is generally split in to forward and back positions.

The game starts with a puck weighing about 1.2KG on the floor of the pool in the centre of playing area. When play starts, the forward players on each team will race for the puck and try to put it in a goal located at each end of the playing area with a stick about 20cm in length. When a team scores, the puck is returned to the middle of the pool. The entire game takes place on the pool floor, and players must dive down and hold their breath to play. Players wear snorkeling gear to help them breathe on the surface and watch the game from above, ready to dive and enter play again. The game is incredibly fast and gives any player great anaerobic workout!

What does a player wear?

Before a player gets in the pool to play their favourite sport, there is a certain amount of equipment they must wear. A water polo hat is worn to protect their ears during the game. Snorkels are used to allow the player to come to the surface, breath and ready themselves for another dive to the floor. A mask is worn to allow them to see the game under water. A special protective glove is worn on their playing hand to protect from accidental knocks during a game. In this hand they will hold a stick (pusher) which is about 25cm in length. Finally, a player wears fins on their feet to help power them along in the water.

To see all the equipment required, please visit our kit guide.

What is the history of Underwater Hockey?

1960's Underwater Hockey Pusher

Underwater Hockey was born in England, 1954 when a bunch of keen divers living in Southsea wanted something to do during the winter months. At the time equipment used was basic and bespoke. Nowadays the game is played with six-a-side, but originally eight players made up a team. This gave way to the name Octopush, eight players pushing a puck.

Many years on, and the sport has national and international teams established around the globe. The growth and popularity of the sport has also brought host to many specialist equipment manufacturers.

Are there competitions?

Yes, there are number of official competitions that are held at national and international levels. One of the biggest annual UK competitions is called 'Nautilus' and the finals are held at Ponds Forge, Sheffield at the end of each year.

Our team attends Nautilus every year and is currently in division 2 and ranked 14th in the country. In 2019 we got promoted from division 3.

Competitions aren't limited to the UK, there are friendly competitions held each year in Italy, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic and more. We regularly attend the Parma Cup held in Parma, Italy each year.

Is there a UK governing body?

The British Octopush Association (BOA) is the governing body for the UK. They are responsible for the promotion and organisation of events in the UK. Players must register and pay an annual fee to enable them to play in official competitions such as Nautilus.

How many Underwater Hockey clubs are there in the UK?

There are over a 100 Underwater Hockey clubs across the UK, stretching from the Orkney Isles to Cornwall. The BOA website has a full list here.

What are the rules of play?

The rules of play are very well defined and can be seen in this document on the BOA website. Rules Of Play.

After reading all this you fancy coming down to play a game, then contact Kevin at St Albans Underwater Hockey Club.