When it comes to water polo, Tauranga's Joe Kayes has seen it all.
This weekend, the Olympian is plying his trade at Water Polo on the Waterfront - a far cry from the intensity and pressure he faces in his professional career.
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Kayes was in his final year at Mount Maunganui College when he first made the New Zealand senior men's water polo team in 2008. However, after leaving school, his desire to chase his dreams saw him move to Australia, which he represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics after gaining citizenship.
In his professional career, he spent four seasons at the Szeged club in Hungary where he was mentored as a centre forward by Tamas Molnar, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner for Hungary.
Now, Kayes is two years in to a three-year contract with Italian club Pro Recco, a powerhouse of the LEN Champions League, the premier club competition in the world.
He said he was enjoying the laid-back atmosphere at Tauranga's Water Polo on the Waterfront, a five-a-side, shortened version of the sport, played in the open water. He is playing on team Marlins with a group of locals he described as "old boys" of the sport.
"It's most of the guys I grew up playing with at different stages and we just tried to pull them all out of the cupboard and back in the pool. I'm loving it, it's great all being back together but we're definitely not the best team here.
"This is great, I love it. It's hard case because obviously I would've just been chilling at this time but we pulled together a team and the organisers have put on a good show. Obviously, where I usually play there's a lot of pressure. This feels like a bit of a throwback, it's carefree."
Kayes said the event, being played on the waterfront rather than closed away in a swimming pool, was ideal for advertising the sport and building interest.
"Everyone seems to be loving it and the level is higher than I thought it would be. There's hundreds of people here, I didn't expect it to be as big as it is - it's great.
"It's definitely getting more traction around the world, these sorts of tournaments. Everyone loves it and it's far better than being stuck in a chlorine-filled pool all day.
"It's great to see all the different people from the restaurants and shops coming over to check it out. It raises the awareness and hopefully gets more people playing."
He said the way his career had panned out so far was a dream come true, considering when he was a teenager in Tauranga it seemed it may only ever be just that - a dream.
"I'm enjoying the ride as I go, playing top-level polo and taking it one year at a time. [The LEN Champions League] is the toughest in the world, it's kind of like the Super Rugby of water polo.
"It was always a dream but only really a dream because nobody had really done it before me. I guess I just took the opportunities as they came and that led to where I am now."
Kayes said the mindset of making the most of any opportunities that arose would be the best advice he could pass on to the next generation of stars, many of whom are also in action at this weekend's tournament.
"There's me and there's Rebecca Parkes who has taken Hungarian citizenship, she'll play at the Olympics for Hungary. We went to the same primary school. I guess the message is to keep taking those opportunities and leaving the door open to whatever could happen.
"I was very fortunate with the different little bits of luck I had along the way and I imagine Rebecca was too. The young players in Tauranga are being noticed more now I think."
Water Polo on the Waterfront continues today.The first game is at 9am, the women's final at 4pm and the men's final at 4.15pm.