What Is the Future of Segway Polo?

When does a new technology cross the line from niche to mainstream?

For new modes of transportation, maybe that line runs across a polo field. Since 2004, Segway enthusiasts in California have been organizing matches of Segway polo. The group has grown into the International Segway Polo Association, which hosts an annual championship tournament called the Woz Challenge Cup (named after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak).

Intentionally or not, the game hearkens back to early matches of auto polo, which helped to popularize the automobile in the 1910’s. This Times article describes one game, held in 1912 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Library of Congress has a few intriguing photos of auto polo players in action.

Auto polo has faded from the scene, but not before demonstrating the agility, durability, and overall cool factor of the then-newfangled automobile. Might Segway polo do the same?

(Hat tip: Neatorama)


Rutger

Sorry, the cool factor of the Segway maxed out a few months after it was released.

Now it's just a iconic symbol of dorkiness (and not in a good way.)

Think of it as an expensive form of contraception.

Hobmonger

Talk about out of the loop... I thought they weren't made anymore...

Maybe some more advertising dollars to reach the non-wired group.

(I do think they are cool)

Cheers

Smitty

If Gob from Arrested Development couldn't popularize the Segway, I don't think anything will.

Rick

I wouldn't say that a Segway is wasteful in the least. An eight hour charge takes about 12 cents of electricity. Can any other Segway owners verify my findings?

kg

And they think we're strange for playing bike polo.

wwhopper

The Woz Cup was played in Indianapolis IN this year in conjunction with SegwayFesT 2008. It was a great opportunity to expand the game from Two teams that had played it for the past two years into four teams. 3 from the USA and one from Germany.

Again in '08 an American Team won, the first year it was a toss up, but the New Zealanders kept the thropy, in '07 the Americans (Silicon Valley Aftershocks) won and this year in '08 another California team the California Gold Rush took the cup home.

As an avid Segway user and coordiantor for this years FesT, there is no doubt in my mind that Segway Polo will continue on in the future.

What a great way to combine technology with sport! And yes the Nerds Win Again!

Next year look

Nylund

This adds nothing to the discussion, but I recently saw Steve Wozniak riding around Los Gatos, CA on his segway. My friend that I was with mentioned the segway polo thing.

AJ

Reminds me of an episode of top gear where they played football (soccer) with Toyota Aygos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flKzjuDhFDs

Stuart Moore

Another Segway Polo player here. In response to Rob's comment; the player with crutches actually hurt himself playing polo but that didn't stop him from participating in the Woz Cup (he could ride the Segway alright, walking was a different story). Not all of us agreed with his team's decision to allow him to play but it was left up to him.

The Segway is very stable and very safe but if you choose to use it in a way that pushes the boundaries you might get hurt, as you can in any sport. People can have accidents doing anything from taking a shower to auto racing.

BT

I was about to say Segway polo is too wasteful a sport until I read about auto polo. Any polo sport that requires fuel or electricity should be banned out of concern for the environment and our limited natural resources.

Jared

I don't think it will have the same effect simply because the Segway doesn't have the versatility an automobile offered. In fact, to spoil the fun of the post, I doubt that Auto Polo did wonders for automobiles like improved infrastructure and (like I said before) utility did. Plus, polo is probably not as popular as it once was. Now Segway football, that may be interesting, though it certainly won't help dissuade people from thinking they're dangerous.

Plus the stigma that Segways are for dorks won't be saved by the likes of polo.

Punditus Maximus

I want a Segway Concept Centaur so bad.

Victor Miller

As a long-time Segway polo player I can tell you that the game is great fun, requires concentration, agility and a large dose of hand-eye coordination. It may not be the greatest spectator sport ever invented, but neither is touch football.

Telstar

Here's a photo of Woz playing Segway polo in 2006:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/telstar/133567592/

Rob Mathewson

What are these people thinking!?!

The biggest misconception about Segways is that they are unstable and therefore, unsafe. Obviously nobody in the Segway Polo group thought about this when they decided to post a photo that included an injured player with crutches. Ugh!