• Picigin – the best beach sport in the world


    You’ve never heard of picigin? Well you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
    This peculiar beach sport, pronounced “pih-tsih-gheen”, is native to Croatia, or to be more precise, its Dalmatian city Split and Bačvice Beach. Its creation was, as with most good things, completely accidental and unplanned.

    Picigin – the best beach sport in the world Bacvice Beach Split Croatia

    Bacvice Beach – Split. Croatia

    The story goes like this: in 1908 Split students returning from their studies in Prague came to their home town with an unusual game called water-polo. However, since the sea level on the most famous Split beach Bačvice is as low as it gets, playing water-polo turned out to be impossible. But the students were persistent. Through the method of trial and error they came up with a completely new sport – picigin – which finally turned out to be a unique combination of volleyball, tennis, acrobatics, water-polo and martial arts. Try imagining all this at an ankle to knee leveled water and you’ll get a pretty close idea on how picigin looks like.

    To help you a little here are some basic rules:

    • Picigin is an amateur sport that must be played in a shallow water on a sandy or pebble beach
    • Number of players is not set, though 5 is considered optimal
    • Players are organized in a circle, and move around trying to keep the ball from touching the water
    • The traditional ball, called balun, is actually a peeled tennis ball
    • The goal is to to keep the balun in the air and out of the water for as long as possible
    • Players don’t catch the balun, but bounce it around with the palm of their hand
    • Groups of players can be mixed by both age and gender
    Picigin – the best beach sport in the world People are playing picigin

    People playing picigin

    Though rules of picigin are easy to describe, the actual game can only be experienced. Believe us, it’s a real spectacle! Players are running, diving, throwing themselves in all possible and impossible ways – basically doing everything trying to keep the ball from touching the water. And the best thing is everyone can be a player. No matter what age or gender you are, you can step in the circle and enjoy this perfect beach game. There are no winners, no losers, no points… your only duty is to have fun. And keep the balun from falling of course :)

    So if you come to the Adriatic Coast don’t be surprised when you see people on the beach throwing themselves around trying to catch a tiny ball. They’re not silly, they’re just having fun, and now when you know the rules there’s nothing stopping you to join them :)


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