The Brutal Yet Refined Art of Boat Jousting

In the paradise that is the southern coast of France, the ancient sport of water jousting is serious business. Teams on two boats each field a champion who attempts to knock his rival into the water. But they can’t reach each other unless the entire team maneuvers the boats perfectly!

The jousters fight as they balance themselves on long wooden boats, powered by 8 to 10 rowers and a helmsman. A wooden platform, called tintaine, extends off the boat about three meters above the water. The jousters stand on this platform at the back of the boat, while carrying a 28-inch wooden shield and a 9-foot lance. The liveries worn by the rival boats and teams are always red and blue – blue for bachelors and red for the married. At the stern of each bark, an oboist and a drummer sporting flat-brimmed straw hats play medieval tunes that help the oarsmen stay synchronized.

There is plenty of strategy involved, especially at the tournament level. For the audience, it’s a great laugh. Read all about water jousting and see videos and more pictures at Oddity Central.  -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Felix Koenig)

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