Aquatic activities ➠ The jousting between tradition and competition
Both folklore show and sporting event, the water joust is an amateur sport whose origins date back to antiquity. Practiced in several ways depending on the region, the water joust unites thousands of licensees.
We find the first traces of water joust in Old Kingdom Egypt, more in the form of real fights. Jousters were armed with real weapons and wore no protection. Historians also found representations of nautical jousting in ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire.
In the US, we find the first evidence of water joust in 1270 in Aigues-Mortes (Languedoc-Roussillon). A document reports that "the crusaders, soldiers and sailors waiting to board for the Holy Land with King Louis IX (Saint Louis), faced in single combat is mounted on small boats."
The testimonies multiply in the fifteenth century, especially on the Mediterranean coast. But the road is long for the water joust that is seen officially recognized in 1960!
Although the principle of jousting is the same for all methods - on board a boat, two jousters compete with a spear and must bring down their opponent into the water - the rules differ depending on the regions.
In the Languedoc method - the most historical - two heavy boats (one red and one blue) are powered by eight to ten rowers and guided by two helmsmen, called "helmsmen bosses". Both jousters are placed on a platform (tintaine) 3 m of water. At the time of the assault, the two boats graze by the right side to the permettrent jousters to make the pass. Armed with a spear and a shield (shield), the tilter must bring down his opponent. Whoever manages to stay on the tintaine won!
Since 1743 at the end of August, jousting of Languedoc method will give appointment every year in Sete for the Grand Prix of St. Louis, the most important competition of the discipline.
In the Provencal method, the tilter is provided in addition to a witness that he holds firmly in his left hand, which will not be released under any circumstances during the pass.
The other most played methods are Lyon (the used lance is the longest and the heaviest nautical jousting methods), the givordine (same rule as his Lyon cousin, except that the boats cross here on the right) the Alsatian (the jouster carries no protection and plays barefoot) and Paris (the boats are propelled by engine).
Interested in team sports, discover water polo, aqua basketball, volleyball or aqua underwater hockey.