In 2009, United States Marine Prime Hall, who had passed the three-week Marine Corps Water Survival School in which less than 50 percent of enrollees complete, was an instructor to certify combat water-safety swimmers. That’s how, in 2010, he met and trained Don Tran at Camp Pendleton in California. From that point on, Hall and Tran spent nearly a decade learning to remain calm in any and all dangerous underwater situations.
IRVINE, Calif. — Some sports are played on fields, other in rings, and some in pools. This new sport developed by two former military special forces members combines elements from things played on land and water – and heads underwater.
Known as “Underwater Torpedo,” it combines elements of football, mixed martial arts, and water polo.
Spectrum News 1 took a deep dive to find out what the Underwater Torpedo League is all about and why the sport is making a splash in Southern California.
A new water sport attracting active military members and veterans, MMA fighters, CrossFit enthusiasts, surfers, lifeguards, freedivers, former collegiate swimmers and water-polo players got its start here in California.
Underwater torpedo tasks two teams of five players with placing a torpedo-shaped toy into a kid’s hockey net anchored to the bottom of a 13-14 foot pool. Sound easy? It’s not. All the action happens underwater, requiring swimming skill and breathing endurance. Pop above the surface with the torpedo in hand and that’s a penalty.
Sunset Beach, on the North Shore of Oahu, has long been the proving ground for aspiring pro surfers. Growing up in Southern California, Cole Houshmand had heard about its endlessly shifting peaks, territorial locals, and fierce rip current. But nothing prepared him for its punishing impact zone.
Deep End Fitness (DEF) and the Underwater Torpedo League’s (UTL) training methodology was started when my co-founder, Prime Hall and I were working as Marine Corps Water Survival Instructors at Camp Pendleton together in 2010 while training to be a Marine Raider at the Marine Special Operations Command.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Underwater Torpedo League (UTL) will begin its expansion into Los Angeles in January 2019. USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center and UCLA’s Spieker Aquatic Center will serve as the 12th and 13th pool in the UTL with three additional pool locations to be announced later in 2019. The expansion efforts…
Take a game kind of like rugby. Take away the uniforms and the cleats. Take away the field. Turn the ball into a torpedo. Keep the passing. Keep the strategies. Keep the tackling.
Now, take the whole damn thing and put it under water.
It’s called Underwater Torpedo League started and run by a man named Prime Hall.
Two teams enter, one team leaves—victoriously, that is, as this Marine Raider-created sport isn’t one played to the death, though it can be just as cutthroat as any game found it in a Mad Max movie.
With its roots in water polo and underwater football, the game’s original design was to create a training tool to help develop underwater confidence and the skill to remain calm.
In order to play the game successfully, you have to have a high level of athletic skill, stamina and calm…
There’s even a league for it.
Underwater Torpedo is a water sport developed by Marine Spec Ops water survival instructors.
“In training sometimes you get these instructors that are strictly sink or swim, and there’s definitely times you need that, but in pool training — a lot of people have had bad experiences in the pool — it’s best to have a ‘calm breeds calm’ training approach,” Prime Hall, a former Marine Raider and the game’s creator, told Task & Purpose.
The genesis for the sport began simply enough: Tossing a torpedo underwater and watching it zip across the pool gives you something else to focus on. You’re less concerned with your air, and more interested in making precise passes — one, two, five, ten, and so on.
It looks like a submerged version of the Thunder Dome, or a very rowdy game of water polo, but with more moto-tats. Pioneered by some of America’s most elite warfighters, it requires extreme stamina, athleticism, and confidence. And it’s gaining traction far beyond the special operations community where it began.
Called Underwater Torpedo, the sport was developed by a group of Marine Raiders as a swim-training tool to help them remain calm underwater. But if you’ve watched any of the gameplay footage, or seen the photos, it’s hard to imagine this has a calming effect on anyone…
Club sports at the college level offer a wide variety of options for students. Organizations range from club baseball and softball, to basketball and even lacrosse. The Underwater Torpedo League (UTL), however, offers a complete departure from the traditional intercollegiate athletic landscape. Rooted in games developed in U.S. Marine special forces training, the UTL resembles a cross between water polo and rugby.
Teams of five, donning only a swimsuit and goggles, face off and attempt to move a small torpedo that is not unlike a child’s pool toy into the opposing team’s net at the bottom of the pool to score points. Any movement with the torpedo must occur while the player is underwater, and perhaps more importantly, any contact in an attempt to steal the torpedo while underwater is legal. Despite the inherently rough nature of the sport, the UTL prides itself on being inclusive of players of all skill and experience levels…
Prime Hall, former U.S. Marine, is the founder of Underwater Torpedo League. The game started as a survival training tool; now it’s an official sport. Players are tasked with putting the torpedo in the net…. at the very bottom of a pool. Only seven months old, the game is growing fast.
A new experimental underwater sport is coming to San Clemente from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the San Clemente Aquatics Center, 987 Avenida Vista Hermosa.
Watching the matches of the Underwater Torpedo League can make one gasp for air, even if while not participating. The object of the game is to shoot a hand-held “torpedo” into the opposing net…
Just spectating the sport can make one gasp for air.
Underwater torpedo, a new submerged sport played in the depths of a swimming pool, has started gaining interest as it evolves.
The Underwater Torpedo League (UTL) is the governing body of the sport and was designed by Prime Hall, a former U.S. Marine Raider. Hall, along with many other active and former service members, pitted teams from San Clemente and Oceanside against one another for the first ever Aquabowl championship on Jan. 27 at the San Clemente Aquatics Center, which San Clemente won two games to none in a best-of-three series.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Prime Hall.
Prime, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a marine corps water survival instructor, with my co-founder Don Tran, I had the privilege of training thousands of individuals in the pool as they were testing out for their mandatory swim qualifications.