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The gentle gallop of horse hooves signal the start of another polo season for Oahu’s North Shore. Since 1963, it’s become quite the scene for the tiny nook of Mokuleia. Families and fans of the classy sport make their way to this countryside field every Sunday in the spring and summer months.
The equestrians themselves have traveled quite a ways, too. Teams from all over the world trek to this humbled part of the Pacific. They come from places like, New Zealand, China, India and Argentina – to name a few. There are also matches against teams from closer to home. A Maui versus Oahu game has always been a hit with island polo fiends.
Perhaps it’s the camaraderie among the polo community that makes this time of year so special for Mokuleia. Matches start around April and continue through July. It’s always fun to make a day of it out there. Because gates to the premises open a couple hours before the match starts, crowds often trickle in early to get a spot on the lawn that’s overlooking the beach. They picnic, play or just enjoy each other’s company on yet another relaxing Sunday in the islands.
Polo has been a part of Hawaii’s culture since the late 19th century, during the time of the Hawaiian cowboy – or paniolo. Since then, polo has galloped throughout the island chain from the mountain vistas of Makawao on Maui to the beachfront property of Kauai’s Anini Beach. Oahu has been graced with two open spaces of emerald-colored fields – one in Mokuleia and the other in Waimanalo.
Tailgating, Hawaiian polo style.
The Hawaii Polo Club credits an Australian cowboy visiting from India for introducing this dramatic horse sport to the islands. A beautiful blend of East meets West meets Polynesia – which perfectly defines the best of Hawaii’s polo.
Photo Courtesy: Hawaii Polo Club
OAHU POLO MATCHES • 68-411 Farrington Hwy., Waialua, HI 96791 • Sundays in the spring to summer months • Gates open at 11am, matches start at 2pm • $10 adults and $8 military (open seating on field), $25 for clubhouse seating, free for children 12 and under • 808-226-0061