Clark Weeks Water Sports

Underwater Hockey to Scuba

Clark Weeks and Underwater Hockey – Is That a Thing?

Clark Weeks plays underwater hockey and told us about this sport which we had never heard of. He is on the National Men’s Team for Underwater Hockey. But wait, what is underwater hockey? How do you combine ice hockey and a swimming pool?

Clark Weeks underwater hockey - ice hockey on the bottom of a pool

The ice hockey seen above doesn’t seem like it would mix will with a swimming pool seen below.

Clark Weeks underwater hockey - how do you play hockey in a pool?

You probably know a lot of different sports played on land or above water, but I bet you haven’t heard of a sport played beneath the water’s surface. Introducing underwater hockey. Yes, it’s actually an up-and-coming sport that is played, you guessed it, underwater! Yes, this sport is played on the bottom of a pool.

Underwater hockey has the combined elements of hockey, diving, swimming, and snorkeling. Similar to ice hockey, players push a puck into the opponent’s goal using sticks of about 12 inches in length.

Players and their gear

Just like in any other sports, underwater hockey players’ equipment include a snorkel, fins, diving masks, ear protectors, gloves, and swimsuit. There are two teams for this game, with each team composed of 6 starter players and 4 “spares” who are in standby for substitution at any time.

You play the sport in a pool that is 25 meter by 15 meters in length and 2 to 4 meters in depth. An ideal pool for the sport has a flat bottom and has ceramic or glass tiles on the bottom.

How it started

Underwater hockey is originally known as Octopush, since it started with teams of eight and players used sticks called pushers to hit a puck called a “squid”.

Although underwater hockey is unfamiliar to many, it has been around since the early 1950s. The British Navy developed the sport. They wanted to keep their divers in shape and improve their ability to move and work under water, consequently enhancing their skills. It then became popular in Australia before evolving into a dynamic sports and expanding across the globe. Over 20 different countries worldwide now play this sport.

How it’s played

The game has two 15-minute halves and a 3-minute break, lasting for 33 minutes. With two teams starting at each of the pool’s end, both teams rush to get control of the 3 lb. puck that is in the middle of pool. The aim of the game is to move the puck into the opponent’s 3-meter goal using only their sticks. A foul is called in favor of the opposing team if another instrument or body part was used to hit the puck. By the end of the allotted time, the team that has scored the most goals is declared winner.

Why play it?

Why not?

As long as you’re able-bodied, this sport is great for all ages. Believe it or not, there are even players that are eighty-one years old and as young as twelve! Anyone can basically play this sport, as long as you know swimming and a bit of hockey.

It’s also a great workout while having fun. Most people get too lazy to workout. But, when your workout involves playing for fun, it doesn’t really feel like a workout and you’d be motivated to do it. As swimming engages all body muscles – from your head down to your foot – it keeps you in top shape, develops your cardio and stamina, and strengthens your muscles.

It’s a friendly sport. Unlike other sports where you can have bad injuries, you can play underwater hockey without the worry of falling down, breaking your bones, or twisting your ankles or worrying about pressure on your joints.

Friendly. Fun. Great workout. Underwater hockey is a unique sport with great benefits. Thanks to Clark Weeks for telling us about underwater hockey. An unusual and fun sport. See the following post about underwater hockey competitions.


Clark Weeks Suggests Scuba Diving in Cuba

Cuba is the Caribbean destination for every type of tourist. One experience that everyone must have while going to Cuba is scuba diving. Clark Weeks hasn’t been there yet but it is on his bucket list. Cuba is home to some of the best diving spots globally, and with reefs that have been exceptionally well-preserved because of so little tourism over the years, you can be sure to have sights that you will not forget easily. With that, let’s explore some of the best scuba diving destinations that Cuba has to offer.

Maria la Gorda

Maria la Gorda is the perfect place to start your diving experience. On the west coast in its farthest peninsula, Maria la Gorda is home to some of the most famous international dive centers in the world. The Bahia de Corrientes is among the protected zones on this island, which makes it perfect for divers. There are over 50 different sites for scuba diving here, including features such as caves, swim-throughs and plunging walls to name a few. As you marvel at the shoals of barracuda and jacks, stay cautious of the stingrays too.

Cayo Largo

Cayo Largo Cuba
Beach on the Cayo Largo island in Cuba

Situated eastwards from Isla de la Juventud in Cuba’s southern coast, Cayo Largo is one of the prime diving locations. It is shallow yet home to a rich variety of marine species. Steep walls and tunnels along with corals are abundant on the 30 plus dive sites. The marine life here includes eels, lobster, barracuda, grouper, and sharks among many other species.

Bay of Pigs

Bay of Pigs may be famous as the site of failed invasion by the US supported rebels, but it is home to something else- a diving experience straight from the shore that houses more than 17 different coral species and all types of fish. There is also the Jaruca, which is a sunk-wreck (purposely!) specially created for exploration. For the more advanced diver, Punta Perdiz offers a rich variety of fish species along a deep wall.

Cayo Coco and Jardines del Rey

Along the northeast Cuban coast, housing white-sand beaches and a variety of rainbow-colored reefs lies the Jardines del Rey, also known as Gardens of the King.  Its warm waters offer perfect visibility, unmatched by any other diving site in the region. Make use of this opportunity to spot parrotfish, angelfish and schools of spadefish and tarpons.

Scuba Diving in Cuba
Scuba Diving in Cuba

Jardines de la Reina Marine Park

The Jardines de la Reina, also known as the Gardens of the Queen, is located in Southern Cuba. This is probably the best underwater treasure that Cuba has, which is why it is also protected by the government. The Jardines de la Reina Marine Park is considered as the best scuba diving destination that you will find in the Caribbean region. A total ban on commercial fishing is applicable in the region, which lets you experience the abundance of marine life. Expect to see everything ranging from sea turtles to black tips, hammerheads and much more. This is just a small part of the beauty that Cuba has to offer for scuba diving lovers. For those planning to experience it for themselves, this is definitely the best inspiration to explore the best of Cuba. We hope that you and Clark Weeks fulfill your dreams and go scuba diving in Cuba some day.


Tips on Sailing in The Caribbean

Clark Weeks Enjoys Sailing the Islands

Dreaming of a great vacation is the easy part. The key is to make it a reality. Sailing in the Caribbean is one such awesome experience that requires perfection in every aspect. Considered as the ultimate extravagant vacation destination, the Caribbean has something for everyone. So, if you have had your eyes on that sailing holiday in the Caribbean, then be sure to keep the following tips in mind to make it into a memorable experience.

Clark Weeks sailing and vacationing in the Caribbean

Research

Give plenty of thought and time to what you want to do on your Caribbean sailing trip. What type of boat do you want to select? Do you want to sail solo, or with a companion or family? These preliminary questions will help you align your budget and allocate funds accordingly. Plus, whether you need a captain or can bare boat charter. Also, check if your vacation will coincide with any local holidays or festivals. It will add a nice touch to your sailing experience.

Planning

Chalk out a rough plan of the route that you want to take. This can depend upon the places that you want to visit or the stops that you want to make. Sailing around the Caribbean is no joke, so a well laid out plan can always come in handy. There are numerous islands and anchorages that you can select, so choose wisely.

Selection

Talking about choosing, selecting lesser-visited destinations can be a bonus to the relaxation factor of your sailing vacation. For instance, avoid Barbados. It may be beautiful but it has no natural harbors. Some of the best sailing destinations are the Windward Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, the Leeward Islands, Saint Martin, and the Abacos Islands or the Bahamas. Selecting a boat is also a very important step, especially if you don’t own a yacht. Depending on your skill and budget you may decide that you want assistance in sailing the boat.

Clark Weeks sailing

Packing

Apart from food and beverage, make sure that you have plenty of basic medical supplies in case any one of the crew falls sick or meets with an accident. It is always a good idea to pack a little extra on the sustenance and medical supplies for any unforeseen circumstances.

Flexibility

Nature is unpredictable and the sea is no exception. In this light, make sure that your plan remains flexible and that you can modify it as the weather permits. Luckily the winds are usually fairly steady. However, be aware of any bad weather warnings before you set sail. Sailing insurance is another way to be prepared for any eventualities that might upset your voyage and add to the cost of the holiday.

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid heading out into the sea on the day that cruise ships crowd the bay. It might become difficult to sail in the limited amount of space available
  • Avoid sailing without insurance. If you fall sick or damage your yacht, the entire cost will fall on you. Insurance can help you avoid this, and you can sail with a more peaceful mind.
  • Avoid doing too many things and visiting too many places in a tight schedule. To make the most of your holiday, pick a handful of destinations and spend time there. Get to know the locals, their culture and language for an enhanced experience.

We hope this was helpful and you will enjoy sailing in the Caribbean as much as Clark Weeks loves sailing there. For other Clark Weeks inspired water fun, check this out.


Underwater Hockey Competitions

Clark Weeks told us about the underwater hockey competitions, and even just underwater hockey in the first place. He is an avid player and on the men’s national team.

Underwater hockey is one of the most difficult underwater sports of the modern athletic world that pushes the endurance of players to extremes. Invented by the British Navy in the 1950s, this game has now spread to all parts of the world and is currently being played in over 20 countries. This popularity has also given rise to numerous competitions in this sport. The most prominent of these is the Underwater Hockey World Championship. It is held every second year and is the most coveted event in this category.

Underwater Hockey - photo coutesy of Yori Huynh
Clark Weeks loves underwater hockey
Photo courtesy of Yori Huynh
Photo from https://www.sportsdestinations.com/sports/hockey/inside-events-usa-underwater-hockey-10709

Underwater Hockey World Championship

Conducted on behalf of CMAS, the Underwater Hockey World Championship traces its roots back to 1980 when it was first held in Vancouver, Canada. Until 2006, this event was held every year. In 2006, due to a dispute between the CMAS underwater hockey commission members, the championship was shifted under the purview of the World Aqua challenge Association. This, however, was just an interim set up, as in 2008, the championship returned to the CMAS. The next Underwater Hockey World Championship is scheduled to be held in 2020 in Australia.

Competition Categories

It was decided to split the Championship into two events. There is now one for the Junior Grades which consists of U19 and U23. The other competition has the Elite and the Masters groups.

Dominant Countries

New Zealand and France are the World Champions at all levels except the Men’s U23 group which Turkey won.

2020 World Championship

The Championships will be held from July 20th to August 2nd. The location is the Gold Coast Aquatic Center in Gold Coast, Australia. Never heard of Gold Coast? It is on the east side of Australia, just a bit south of Brisbane.

The Aquatic Centre is impressive. It is state of the art and has six pools. The pool where the main competitions will be held is 50 meters long, 10 lanes wide and is 2 meters deep throughout the pool. Players will like the pool because the bottom is tiled. This makes for a fast surface. Two full sized courts will be set up in this pool.

In addition, there is a dry land dive training facility whatever that is as well as meeting rooms and a complete fitness center.

USA Underwater Hockey National Championships

The USA National Championships will happen a month before the World competition. They will be held from June 26th to 28th. The location will be in Denver, CO. So they will not only have to hold their breath underwater, they will also have thinner air to deal with when they surface. Seems like a double whammy.

The Rules of the Game

Underwater hockey is a thirty-minute game with a three minute halftime. Both sides have 12 players each and out of these only 10 can play in a single game. At any given point in time, the rules allow the presence of only 6 players on each side in the pool. The remaining 4 are interchange players. The sports equipment includes fins, snorkel, diving mask, and gloves. The puck weighs nearly 1.5 kilograms which makes sure that it does not float on top of the water. Underwater hockey is a contactless sport, which means that no player can interfere with another player.                

Benefits of Playing Underwater Hockey

Since it combines the basic elements of diving, hockey, swimming, and snorkeling, underwater hockey has gained importance as a holistic water sport. The participating countries now promote the sport. Gone are the days when only the seamen of the British Navy played it. England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and France are the biggest promoters of underwater hockey.

Fitness Benefits

This sport has strong fitness benefits that can help you stay in shape. Since the players swim constantly, it translates into benefits that that can derive from a cardio exercise. It is also beneficial for your back. Interestingly, in underwater hockey, your body suffers minimal strain, since you play it underwater. So, if you have suffered an injury playing land-based hockey, you can easily transition to underwater hockey. This sport attracts an assorted range of players from across the field of aquatic activities. As a sport that can literally, take your breath away, underwater hockey is surely more fun to play than its grass field or ice rink based counterpart.

Clark Weeks and Underwater Hockey Competitions

Today, the Underwater Hockey World Championship is the most prominent tournament in this sport. There is, however, a push from the players to incorporate more tournaments to enhance the popularity of this sport. We hope that our story from Clark Weeks about underwater hockey competition was interesting and possibly even make you want to try it yourself.

See another post on underwater hockey here.


Clark Weeks and Scuba Diving in the Cook Islands

It’s summer time again and you’re thinking, “Where should my next vacation trip be?” Well, if you’re looking for gorgeous beaches and crystal clear waters to beat the heat, delve into the waters of the Cook Islands. It is one of Clark Weeks favorite spots for scuba diving.

Clark Weeks scuba diving - cook islands

The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is a self-governing state in the South Pacific that is in free association with New Zealand. It has 15 islands spread out over a vast area. The islands, particularly in the southern group have a variety of combinations of atoll and high-island formation.

The northern islands are atolls resting on reefs that are rich in marine life. In addition, these islands have a limited range of flora, with pandanus and coconuts predominantly thriving throughout the land. On the other hand, the southern islands are much more fertile and offer a variety of indigenous species of tropical crops which include bananas, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit. The majority of the southern islands’ fauna include farm animals such as pigs, chickens, dogs, goats, and horses.

Cook Islanders have mixed Polynesian ancestry brought about by intermarriage with European, African, and Chinese settlers. Only the inhabitants of the isolated island of Pukapuka are predominantly Tongan and Samoan origin.

Scuba Diving in the Cook Islands

Stunning coral reefs surround lagoons. White sand beaches. Shady palm trees. Volcanic, mountainous islands. Blue, oceanic abyss. Sounds like a dreamy, summer adventure? You have yet to check the action underwater.

The Cook Islands is famous to divers seeking for a thrill in exploring the underwater realm. The main diving sites are the islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Rarotonga

Most of the diving sites lie in the capital island, Rarotonga, which is well-equipped with resorts and PADI Dive Centers. Airports, restaurants, resorts, and accommodations are well within your budget if you plan to spend your holidays here.

Are you a first-time diver? Fear not. Rarotonga has a lagoon that is protected from the open sea so it’s easy for beginners to learn how to dive here. However, the more experienced divers looking for more exhilarating actions can dive at the passes where the currents are swift. But don’t worry too much about being a beginner. There are about 40 diving sites to explore on the island, comprising beautiful coral gardens, caves, passes, and a few shipwrecks such as the Mataora Wreck. I’m pretty sure you’ll get a lot of diving experience at these sights.

The waters of Rarotonga Island are also perfect for snorkeling. Underwater, you will find an amazing world filled with the beauty of coral reefs and a variety of brightly colored tropical fishes. On the west coast of the island, you can find the Aroa Marine reserve. It is one of the best snorkeling spots because the outlying reef protects the waters from the open sea. No worries about drifting into the biggest ocean in the world!

Aitutaki

Aitutaki is another island much like Rarotonga. It isn’t visited much by tourists because of its hard-to-reach location, but if you’re seeking to dive with an intimate, romantic feel, this is the island for you. The island still offers beautiful sights – turquoise lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, and uninhabited islands. Its main attraction however, is a small islet in the south-east called Tapuaetai or One Foot Island where a tourist can see the best views of island’s lagoons.

The best part of diving in the Cook Islands? It’s the opportunity to bump into one of the largest species of animals in the world, whales. Humpback whales. They pass by Rarotonga and Aitutaki during the summer and autumn season of the Southern Hemisphere when they migrate to warmer waters in the South Pacific.

Best Time to Visit the Cook Islands

Planning on a vacation to Cook Islands? The best time to go there is during the months of May to October, when it is the dry season. The bright, warm sunshine matched with the never-ending water activities – relaxing on the beaches, diving into the clear waters, kitesurfing, whale watching, and even hiking across the islands! August is also an exciting month for Cook Islanders because of the Manureva Aquafest, which is five days of non-stop partying! In late November, you can witness one of the world’s biggest paddling competitions, the Vaka Eiva, which is sure to keep you cheerful before the rainy season begins. The rainy season lasts from December to March which brings a mix of short, heavy downpours and long periods of sunshine.

Clark Weeks Hopes You Enjoy the Scuba Diving

If you do end up going, since Clark Weeks loves scuba diving and the Cook Islands, he hopes you enjoy it as much as he did. For more posts about underwater activities, click here.