Canoe ball games have been played in Great Britain since the late 19th century and early forms of canoe polo were played in United States of America and parts of Europe into the first half of the 20th century. A national championships in canoe polo was first held in England in 1971, but it was not until 1986 that the International Canoe Federation (ICF) published its first set of universal playing rules for the discipline. The following year canoe polo was demonstrated at the canoe sprint world championships in Duisburg, Germany, and in 1990 the ICF finalised their international rules for canoe polo.
Canoe polo made its debut at the World Games at the 2005 edition in Duisburg, Germany, 18 years after the modern version of the discipline had been demonstrated at the canoe sprint world championships in the very same city. Germany and United Kingdom have contested all three women’s finals at the World Games, while in the men’s competition Germany achieved in 2013 what they have failed to do at the world championships, win the gold medal.