Water Battleship returns for second year

Alexis Campbell, News Contributor

On Feb. 9 and 10, the Dixon pool will fill with canoes fighting to win Oregon State University’s second Water Battleship tournament.

In Water Battleship, teams attempt to sink each other’s boats by throwing water into them. Colby Schoniwitz, a fourth-year construction engineering management and business administration student as well as the program manager at Dixon for sports and special events, came up with the idea to bring Water Battleship to OSU. He hopes that it might grow enough to eventually become a league.  

Schoniwitz initially began planning Water Battleship two years ago after seeing that other schools had the event.

“All I had were videos and I thought, let’s make up some rules for this,” Schoniwitz said.

According to his rules, four team members sit in a canoe equipped with three buckets and one kickboard that can either be used for paddling or blocking the water thrown by opponents. Once water has gotten into a team’s canoe, they are forbidden from removing it. A team loses if their boat sinks. 

According to Schoniwitz, the first tournament was unexpectedly popular.

“I only planned for it to be 12 teams, and then after two weeks when the 12 teams had filled up my boss was saying, figure out a way to get more teams in because more people want to play,” Schoniwitz said. “So we moved it up to 16, then 24, then 30 teams as the cap.”

According to Schoniwitz there is no cap this year on the amount of teams that can participate. Currently, eight teams have signed up ahead of the Feb. 5 deadline. 

Darin French, a fourth-year kinesiology student, heard about Water Battleship last year from a coworker who suggested that they form a team. Despite not knowing what to expect, French and his team went on to win the tournament.

“We looked it up, and I think there was a Youtube video of it at another school so that was about all we had, an idea of what it was,” French said. “We weren’t expecting many people, but there were a ton of people there.”

According to French, there’s only a little strategy involved in Water Battleship, like stabilizing the canoe so that the team doesn’t sink themselves. Otherwise, it’s anyone’s game.

“There’s not much skill involved. We’ll try to win again, but we’ll see what happens,” French said.

According to Schoniwitz, the fact that teams likely can’t practice before competing makes it more fair.

“It’s tough to practice for this event, because there’s not a lot of people that own canoes. I think that’s what makes it an even playing field,” Schoniwitz said.

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