Oakhill School recently hosted its water polo festival at the ever-popular Knysna Waterfront Quays. Launched in 2011, this is the eighth consecutive year that the Oakhill Waterfront Chukka Festival has taken place for primary and high schools. Since its inception the action-filled festival has grown into what is fast becoming one of the not-to-be-missed sporting events for schools around the country.
What makes the Chukka Festival unique to any other school water polo event in the country, if not the world, is the fact that they are held in open water: the Knysna Estuary. This special appeal, in addition to the beauty of the location and the offerings of the Waterfront, has resulted in the exponential success of the festival. As a festival and not a tournament, there are no official results, thus providing schools the opportunity to hone and test their skills against opponents in a friendly, fun, yet competitive manner. Mark Brooks, head of water polo at Graeme College commented: “The Oakhill Waterfront Chukka Festival truly captures the essence of fun and camaraderie with which polo should be played. It provides an opportunity for the sport to steal the hearts of all the children who attend it.”
Over 700 competitors from 31 schools across the country participated in the festival this year, with primary schools enjoying the first weekend between 8 and 10 February. The high school leg of the festival followed between 15 and 18 February, where spectators were once again treated to great entertainment! Participating teams this year included schools from Gauteng (St Alban’s College, St David’s Marista Inanda and St John’s Preparatory), Western Cape (Bridge House, Camps Bay High School, Fish Hoek High School, Fish Hoek Primary School, Glenwood House, Llandudno Primary, Paul Roos, Pinelands High School, Reddam House, Rhenish Girls’ High School, Somerset College, St Cyprian’s, Sun Valley Primary School, Wynberg Boys’ High School, Wynberg Girls’ High School) and the Eastern Cape (Clarendon High School, Collegiate, Diocesan School for Girls, Graeme College, Grey High School, Grey Junior School, Kingswood, Pearson High School, Pearson Primary School, St Andrew’s Preparatory, St Dominics Priory, St George’s Preparatory, Stirling Primary School, Woodridge College). In addition to the participants who come to visit our town, many of their families took the opportunity to come soak up the action and enjoy all that Knysna has to offer.
The festival continues to have a wide appeal and attract and expose hundreds of visitors to Knysna. The continued support from Knysna Waterfront and local businesses is overwhelming and together we are able to give the festival participants and spectators a truly magnificent ‘Knysna’ experience. These festivals have become an integral part of Oakhill School, not only to grow the game of water polo but to expose our beautiful town and everything it has to offer to the festival visitors. As stated by Jonathan Watkins, head of water polo at Pearson High School: “The Oakhill Waterfront Chukka Festival is one of a kind and can be compared to the international All Stars match at Bondi Icebergs in Sydney! The festival is must-see on any water polo supporters calendar. We can’t wait to be back!”
Watch the video below by SuperSport Let’s Play, or see the full gallery of photos on our Oakhill facebook page: