What is a Water-based Pitch?

The water-based artificial turf system is the top specification surface for hockey and is used for International and Olympic competition. The sports turf uses a denser pile than other surface types which, combined with the water layer, provides the truest ball roll of any artificial turf system.

The surface requires an integrated irrigation system and water cannons or sprinkers to apply the water 'infill' layer. The application of water helps to improve the slip resisting properties of the surface, provides some shock absorption to protect knees and ankles, and lubricates the pitch to allow the fastest hockey of any synthetic surface.

An international hockey game played on a water-based pitch

Our Services | Water-based

Blakedown are one of the leading hockey pitch construction companies in the United Kingdom. We have worked with many clubs, universities and colleges to create fantastic hockey venues and have been contracted to build pitches for major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games.

We are one of only six Sport England framework contractors for synthetic sports surface construction, a principal member of the industry body SAPCA, and one of the country's leading contractors for building hockey pitches that meet FIH performance standards.

Case Study | Furzefield Centre

Blakedown were chosen by Hertsmere Borough Council to complete the top-specification water-based synthetic hockey pitch at the Furzefield Centre in Potters Bar.

  • Client: Hertsmere Borough Council
  • Contract Type: JCT Design
  • Contract Value: £305,000
  • Build Time: 12 weeks

The project involved pulling up an existing worn surface and e-layer, realigning the levels across the base, new kerbing, installation of an irrigation system, installation of an Engineered porous tarmac layer, installation of a new in-situ shockpad, and laying of the playing surface: Edel’s Classic LSR WB turf. Blakedown also upgraded the facility with new footpaths and resurfaced access ways.

Choosing a Water-based surface

A water-based synthetic system is the premier choice for professional hockey clubs and tournaments worldwide and water-based systems can be accredited with FIH Global certification. The sports turf, when well irrigated, guarantees top ball speed plus superb durability. Our LSR turf products have low slide resistance with very low water requirement and enhanced performance and grip.

Football, basketball and netball can also be played on water-based synthetic turf.

A water-based hockey pitch with blue sports turf

Water-based pitch construction

Build up of a water-based turf system, from bottom to top: prepared formation and drainage system, textile membrane, stone base, porous 'Engineered' tarmac layer, shockpad, and turf carpet playing surface
Playing Surface
The playing surface of a water-based pitch is a densely tufted synthetic turf carpet such as Edel H2O. This top quality monofilament yarn product offers uniform ball roll and play characteristics without the need for a traditional infill system. An 'LSR' turf product will also help to reduce the water requirement for a more sustainable system.
The turf carpet is laid onto an 'in-situ' shockpad - a bound rubber pad that is formed on site - to protect players' knees and ankles from impact stress.
Engineered layer
The shockpad is laid onto an 'Engineered' base of single or double-layer tarmac to add long-term stability to the surface. This is a porous layer allowing rain water and irrigated discharge to freely drain away.
Stone layer, Textile Membrane, and Soil Formation
The base construction of a water-based pitch is comprised of free-draining stone layer and a textile membrane on top of prepared soil formation.
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