BOYS TO YS
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