You may know about the hardcore jousting revival spearheaded by the Knights of Mayhem, but have you ever heard of water jousting?
The Water Jousting Provence Championship is set to happen this summer in southeast France at Marseille’s Vieux Port (Old Port), with semi-finals on August 19 and finals on September 2. This epic event pits two warriors in boats against each other. The goal: cast your adversary into the sea without accidentally following him overboard. Jousters wear blue or red, with blue traditionally meaning you are a bachelor and red signifying you are a married men. Each jouster has an elaborate protective wooden breastplate strapped on and carries a small box – called a témoin – to stop him from deploying that hand rather than his lance to cause an upset.
Players must be adept at judging the right moment to lunge because they certainly don’t want to be the soaked loser enduring the added shame of swimming ashore. Seniors in straw hats and young boys rowing out to gather fallen lances add even more character to the event.
The whole idea of water jousting may seem bizarre, but depictions of it have been found on bas-reliefs dating back to the Ancient Egyptians. The sport was also practiced in ancient Greece and Rome. Now, water jousting contests happen all over Europe. But enthusiasm is especially strong in the Midi (southern France).