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Out of left field

Underwater Rugby: The greatest sport you've never played.

Sunday 24 July 2016
Underwater Rugby World Championships, Helsinki 2011
Underwater Rugby World Championships, Helsinki 2011

Discover something different in this series of talks exploring culture and identity through the lens of sportspeople who engage in unconventional sports. 


Begging for swimming lessons at the age of 3, Annika has always loved the water, but had not heard of Underwater Rugby until she met Canberra Underdogs captain Bobby at swing dancing. Naturally, she decided it was worth a try. Over the past 3 years Annika has enjoyed the opportunity to represent Canberra in Australia's first ever national Underwater Rugby tournaments in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as playing with the Australian women's team in the recent Pan Pacific Cup. Annika relishes many aspects of Underwater Rugby - the welcoming community, the teamwork, the freedom of movement, the sheer ridiculousness and the fact that there is no need to yell or cheer while underwater. 


Accidentally stumbling upon underwater rugby at Uni, Bobby had none of the skills necessary to excel at the sport. Being a barely passable swimmer, he made slow progress and the only thing he was quick on was gaining a reputation for swallowing more pool water than anybody else. Despite these initial setbacks, Bobby eventually improved thanks to the friendly support and camaraderie of the underwater rugby community. He then went on to found a team in Iceland, where he studied for 6 months, before moving to Canberra and starting the Canberra Underdogs. Bobby even had the opportunity to be a part of the first team to represent Australia at the underwater rugby World Championships in Colombia last year. Bobby finds the exhilarating aspect of the sport to be the three dimensional use of space and the 'silent disco' nature of team work in an underwater playing field.