BOYS TO YS

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Hong Kong Tatler - - Boys Toys -

Beach polo can be con­sid­ered “polo lite” or “polo 101”— Sav­age ex­plains that the vast­ness of a tra­di­tional polo field can be alien­at­ing and that “new spec­ta­tors to the sport have dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing what’s go­ing on when the ac­tion is four or five foot­ball pitches away.” By plac­ing fine polo ponies and brave rid­ers in a smaller arena closer to spec­ta­tors, Sav­age hopes to stir up a new breed of polo en­thu­si­asts—par­tic­u­larly if he can in­clude sun­shine, a sea breeze and some cock­tails.

Sav­age may be right. Asia’s in­quis­i­tive so­cialites are scour­ing the re­gion for sub­lime ways to spend their time and money. The nou­veau riche are delv­ing into re­gal pas­times steeped with her­itage for in­spi­ra­tion; a com­pe­ti­tion such as polo is spark­ing their cu­rios­ity for el­e­gant self-ex­pres­sion and lav­ish ad­ven­tures. Yet the swathes of per­fectly man­i­cured grass at Asia’s polo clubs re­main in­ac­ces­si­ble to the av­er­age cos­mopoli­tan. Would-be polo en­thu­si­asts are dis­cour­aged by out-of-town lo­ca­tions, the vast­ness of the pitch and the per­ceived dan­ger of the game.

Alex Webbe, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Beach Polo As­so­ci­a­tion, ex­plains why the game is a per­fect so­lu­tion for city-dwelling glit­terati in search of a new sybaritic out­let. “The play is di­rectly in front of you, with a back­ground that fea­tures rolling waves and is ac­com­pa­nied by a gen­tle ocean breeze.” The el­e­gance of the sport of kings is be­ing re­claimed and is set to be en­joyed on some of the finest seafront lo­ca­tions in Asia.

Thai­land has proved it­self some­what of a front-run­ner in the re­gion’s beach polo scene. The clear blue skies and serene white sands of the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Hua Hin have now played host to Thai­land’s pres­ti­gious Beach Polo Cham­pi­onship for six years. Teams lock mal­lets to com­pete for the prized Princess Pa’s Cup in front of high so­ci­ety of Thai­land and be­yond.

Mean­while in north­ern China, So Dalian trans­forms the shores of the city’s East Port Ma­rina into a flurry of yacht­ing, so­cial events and the Beach Polo World Cup each sum­mer. In­ter­est­ingly, founder and CEO Del­phine Lig­nieres puts the suc­cess down to

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