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This is your year! Instead of sitting on your couch dreaming of the sea, take the plunge and join a water sport!
No matter your ability or interest, there will be a water sport for you. From a relaxed day’s yachting to adventurous surfing, there are a myriad of choices on offer.
Today, we will show you 20 of the best options to try – explaining how to join in, what to expect, and the unique experience each will give you.
More and more people are discovering the wonder of outdoor sports. Be a part of this growing community, and dive into a year of excitement!
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 20 Water Sports & Water Activities To Try In 2022
- 2.1 Surfing
- 2.2 Hydrofoil
- 2.3 Kite Surfing
- 2.4 Sailing
- 2.5 Stand Up Paddleboarding
- 2.6 Kayaking
- 2.7 Wakeboarding
- 2.8 Scuba Diving
- 2.9 Snorkeling
- 2.10 WindSurfing
- 2.11 Jet Skiing
- 2.12 Parasailing
- 2.13 Sea Walking/ Underwater Scooters
- 2.14 Flyboarding
- 2.15 Free Diving
- 2.16 Jet Surfing
- 2.17 Canyoning
- 2.18 White Water Rafting
- 2.19 Fly Fishing
- 2.20 Cage Diving
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Summary
Water sports do not always have to be high intensity such as swimming, or tackling rapids or currents. Water sports can be relaxing, and calming, even though you are still using those muscles and gaining extra strength. Going outside and experiencing the world around us, while we get some fresh air and build up strength, is a great way to start enjoying exercise.
If you hate going to the gym, don’t, try out these sports instead.
Some people already know how awesome water sports are, and might have a list of the ones they want to try out. If this sounds like you, we’ve got one hell of a sick list for you.
Today we will go over the top 20 water sports that you should try in 2022, or at least, put on your water sports bucket list.
So, what are these water sports? Well, let’s get started with the number one!
Surfing must be one of the most popular water sports known to man. We all love it, and while it is an iconic water sport in the summer, surfers will tackle the waves all year round.
Starting your day with an early-morning surf is a fantastic way to ease into the day, much like closing out the afternoon on the waves, too.
There are endless amazing breaks and surfing conditions all around the world, with plenty of accessible spots to surf in, it is one of the most accessible sports you can do.
If you have not surfed before, then coastal towns will have plenty of businesses that offer lessons to get you started and help you learn the basics. While you might not fancy this, it is vital, because the waves are not always so kind.
Once you have done your surfing lessons, you will be hitting the waves, and a pro in no time at all.
Do remember though, there are three types of breaks which will affect the conditions you surf in, and the waves that you catch. There are reef breaks, point breaks, and beach breaks. Each will suit different levels of skill and experience, however beach breaks are typically the best option for learning beginners.
If you are already an experienced surfer and fancy leveling up, then you can always try hydrofoiling. This type of sport takes you to a whole new level of surf. Hydrofoil uses a hydrofoil board. This is designed with a foil attached to the bottom of the board, which, in the right conditions, will provide you with lift out of the water. It does this by using kinetic energy found in waves.
This means that you will feel like you are flying, and you could reach much higher speeds.
You can get boards with the foil, or ones that have an electric motor as well, which will provide you with the lift you seek in calm water conditions such as lakes and bays as well.
Kite surfing is also very popular. However, for kitesurfing, your main requirement is wind. You harness the power of wind for this rush. You will have a board strapped to your feet, and a large kite strapped to your waist. You will use the handles of the kite to control it as it catches the wind and propels you across the water.
With experience and knowledge, you will be able to reach epic speeds and even perform tricks such as jumps and flips!
If you are a beginner, this is another sport that requires lessons. Lessons in kite surfing usually cover flying the kite on the ground, then in the water, and then riding the board.
The schools that teach you will typically have the equipment to learn with, so you do not need to invest before you try, either.
You do not need to take part in a high intensity sport to enjoy the water, and you can remain fully clothed and even sit back with a drink to do water sports. Yep, we are talking about sailing. You could also call it yachting, of course. These luxury activities suit some more than others.
You could book a day trip, or even a multi-night trip to explore different reefs and ports on a yacht. You can relax on deck, snorkel off the sides, and explore more sports simply from having this vessel at your disposal.
Some companies will assist you in sailing the boat, depending on conditions.
You could also take a ‘sail yourself’ tour as well, you can get a group of friends, get a boat and skipper the yacht yourself. You do need experience however, and a captain with a boat license, but if you have this it can be enjoyable and flexible.
If you enjoy laid back activities, but sailing is too laid back for you, then you could try stand-up paddleboarding. The large boards make it easy to balance while you use the oar to paddle around. It is a popular sport with all age groups, fitness levels, and it can also make a great activity for families.
You will get the benefit of a calm, incidental experience that works your core muscles, without you really noticing.
Beginners should start off on flat waters such as rivers and lakes. Yet, if you fancy a more challenging paddle boarding experience, then you can always hit the surf or practice yoga on your board while you float along. Anyone for tree pose on a lake?
Remember that you should avoid rough waters in these conditions and always ensure that the area is safe. As you learn, you do not want to hit rough waters and risk falling and hitting your head.
Kayaking and paddleboarding are often grouped together as they are relatively easy, and are low impact water sports that are great for everyone.
Kayaks are narrow, small water crafts that can fit one or two people in. They are propelled by a double-bladed paddle. It is brilliant as an exercise for exploring calm waters such as protected coastlines, lagoons, and rivers. They are small in size and in height, which means you get closer to the water and other scenery than you would in something larger like a boat.
This is also an excellent workout, not that you will notice while you are busy taking in all the beautiful scenery you are seeing.
Kayaking uses your arms, back and shoulders to paddle, while balancing engages your core. You use more muscles than you know and get in tip-top fitness shape while exploring the wonders of our world.
Wakeboarding is a fantastic and more extreme water sport. This is our first mention of an extreme water sport, and it is a good one. This is that sport you see clips of on Instagram, and in videos where you often see people fall off.
You get your feet strapped onto a board, and you hold onto a rope which is attached to the back of a boat. Then, as you are pulled along behind the boat, you ride the wake loving the thrill and eventually, learning tricks, flips, and jumps.
There are boats that are specifically designed for water sports like wakeboarding, so they will have the correct rigging and engine power to craft the ideal setting.
However, if you do not have access to a boat, there are parks that will give you access to these. They are typically in man made bodies of water, with a built-in cable to pull you around through a series of obstacles and jumps.
If you are a nature lover, and have curiosities about the world below ours that we cannot see, scuba diving might be the choice for you.
You can discover the depths of the ocean more closely with scuba diving, venture in underwater caverns, reefs, see corals and fish more closely. In places such as Australia, you will need to be certified before you can start recreationally diving, however the course is fun and educational and the certification is usually valid for life. This is true for more and more places now.
Learning to dive usually includes a couple of days theory and pool work before you put your knowledge to test in the open waters. However, once you are certified you can join day tours, or opt for a live-aboard trip where you can spend days out on the ocean, exploring.
Check out places like this around you, there are plenty of options worldwide, and you can see a world beyond ours.
Snorkeling is the less hardcore version of scuba diving. You cannot go as deep down, but you do get a unique look at life under the water. Scuba diving can be great fun for everyone, and it is a brilliant way to see the world under the surface.
It is easy to learn to snorkel, even if you have no experience. You just need to know how to swim, and learn to adjust your breathing with the mask and the snorkel.
Reefs and wrecks are the best places where you can experience sea life when snorkeling, see corals, fish, stingrays, turtles and more. Of course, what you see will depend on your location. However, you could also take a boat trip out to deeper reef systems or permanent reef platforms. Always be safe while you are snorkeling and apply plenty of sunscreen beforehand, though!
A mixture of the elements, wind and water. Windsurfing embraces that power of wind for the ultimate thrill. It is a unique combination of surfing and sailing, as you basically attach a large sail to a board and then strap yourself on.
This can be done in most bodies of water including oceans, lakes, bays, and rivers, all that really matters is that the wind conditions are correct to get the needed momentum.
You should take lessons beforehand, so that you can learn how to stand on the board, control the sail, and not risk injury.
It is one of the higher risk sports, and so you do need a relatively good level of fitness, and you should also know how to swim with confidence.
Yet, with practice and expertise, you can get some amazing experiences on the water through this sport, it can lead to high speeds, and some professionals even do tricks!
If you are more of an adrenaline junkie, who loves fast cars, big speeds, and roaming free, jet skiing is something of your dreams. Jet Skis are powerful water crafts, they get the wind in your hair, and the spray of the sea on your face.
You will find many locations around coastal areas that will offer guided experiences that would have you tearing it up on an adventure tour, or you could take it at more of a leisurely pace to explore.
It’s not a free-for-all, though, as there is a minimum age for driving that applies. However, it can still be an awesome family experience, you can have the kids riding with the adults so they can get an experience of this epic water sport too.
Depending on where you live, it is possible that you may need a boating license for general hire. However, you usually do not need this if you join a guided tour. Always check the requirements in this area before you book something like this.
Parasailing is an incredible sport, we don’t know who thought it up, but it is a great idea! This gives you a birds’ – eye view of the world from a parasail high above. It is exhilarating, and perfect for adrenaline junkies. You will be launched off the back of a high speed boat while you are attached to a large parasail.
Sitting comfortably in a harness while you enjoy the sea breeze, and the stellar views. You do not even necessarily have to get wet with this water sport, either.
When your flight time is up, you are guided back to the boat for landing.
There is usually a minimum age for this, however, and you will also find weight restrictions too. Paragliding is also a great water sport activity for those with disabilities too!
Sea Walking/ Underwater Scooters
For those of us who love indulging in marine life, these are two options that are best for this. You do not go deep down into the abyss in these underwater sports, however, they are fun, and they give you a glimpse at a world you would otherwise not get to see.
They are best done in areas with coral reefs, and companies will provide you with the equipment to do so.
Sea walking is an experience like no other. This is an activity which lets you walk at the bottom of the sea and see marine life closely. Even if you cannot swim or water makes you anxious, you can still try it out. It is easy and a great way to see the oceans. However, remember that walking in water is not all that easy, and you will find yourself using the muscles in your legs a lot.
Sea scooters are a lot like sea walking, except instead of walking along the sea floor, you have a scooter that helps to get you through the water. This is a great option for people who want to try out something different, and if you are phobic of the water, it gives you a chance to still experience the underwater world without worry. Parking shouldn’t be an issue either.
One of the most fun water sport experiences you can have is to go flyboarding. It is a relatively new water sport that has only surfaced in recent years, and coincidentally, this sport is all about being above the surface.
It uses high-powered propulsion to launch you high above the water, you can even reach heights of up to 80ft.
You are attached to a board that has a hose connected to another watercraft, like a jet ski, for example. This vessel is what gives the board propulsion.
It is super quick to learn, taking less than 10 minutes for you to master the basics. You can scoop, swoop, flip, drive, and fly. You can imagine yourself as a superhero on these boards and do all sorts of tricks.
It is a very popular sport to partake in on vacations and sailing days. We certainly recommend that everyone try out this wild sport at least once, it gives a thrill you just can’t match.
Free diving, relive those times as a kid when you were that one kid in the pool who tried to hold their breath as long as possible. This is a form of underwater diving, where you do not use any breathing apparatus, just hold your breath. Obviously this sport requires you to have legendary lungs, and it will push you to your limits, needing as much mental control as physical.
It does take a lot of practice to be able to safely do this, starting off with learning how to breath and hold your breath properly, as well as properly slowing your pulse.
It is wise to take a training course that will help you to learn these techniques to help you free dive safely.
You could even get to a professional level one day. Professional free divers can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes and even reach ocean depths of 650 feet!
We spoke about surfing, and hydrofoils, this is another option that fits into a similar category.
You get your adrenaline pumping with this option. This is basically a surfboard with an engine attached, so the premise is pretty simple. This also means that you can create your own momentum, without needing waves. What does this mean? Well, this means that it is awesome for flat and calm waters, like you might find with rivers, lakes, and bays. You do not need waves.
You hold on via a handle that contains the controls, and your feet are strapped into stirrups, preventing you from falling off.
This is a unique experience, a lot like a mad combination of surfing, wakeboarding, and electric hydro-foiling, minus the lift.
When you go jet surfing, you could even expect to reach speeds up to an insane 35 miles per hour. It is the perfect sport for speed-hungry water sport enthusiasts.
Canyoning is another option, and one that is rather different from the rest of these options. You get to truly immerse yourself in the natural landscapes of our world. This is a sport that is a mixture of water sports and trekking or climbing. You will traverse ancient waterways that have cut out deep canyons and ravines through mountains and rocks over the course of history.
You will often find yourself heading deep into forests and hills to begin your journey, following the water through narrow gorges, down steep cliff faces and over waterfalls.
It gives you the chance to experience pure, untouched nature that you would rarely ever get to see otherwise.
Yet, it is not for everyone, some passageways can be very narrow, so it is a no-go adventure for claustrophobic people. Safety is also a key aspect, and you will be provided with wetsuits, helmets, life jackets and so on, depending on the location.
You know those water rides you get at theme parks? Well, what if you could do that, for real? White water rafting is a cool adventure with an adrenaline kick. You traverse river rapids in an inflatable raft as your guides navigate around rocks, trees, and waterfalls. It is very exciting, but do not worry, there are different grades of rapids, ranging from Class I and II which are easygoing and gentle, all the way up to class VI, which is more extreme and only really for professionals.
A majority of commercial rafting tips are between classes II and IV, and do not worry, you will be given all the needed safety gear.
It is not unlike canyoning, and it is a wonderful and fun way to immerse yourself in nature and see the parts of our world we do not usually get to see and visit. All with an extra dose of excitement and adrenaline.
Of course, let’s not forget one of the most popular forms of water sports, fly fishing.
This is a well known, accessible water activity, fun for all the family and different levels of experience. It can be as simple as throwing a line in off the beach or as full on as heading out for a multiple day adventure.
It can be peaceful and calm, or packed with action, it is all up to you. You could hire a boat on a quiet river and spend a day out on the water. Or you could head down to the local jetty for an evening fishing session after work. It does not require a massive amount of equipment, and you can appreciate the scenery and landscape between bites.
It can be just as action packed as it can be relaxing and chilled, you can crack open a beer and watch the sunset or sunrise as you wait to get a bite on your fly.
This is not a sport for everyone, but for the oceanic lovers, and those who have a little more daring in them, you can give it a go.
You can face your fears and learn about the creatures of the deep in their natural environment with cage diving. This will often take you out to the deep to come face to face with sharks, including Great Whites.
You can see some of nature’s largest predators in their natural environment, rather than at an aquarium. You will get submerged in a steel cage, so you are entirely protected but still able to get up super close. You do not even really need a scuba license, or diving experience to do this.
You should, however, always keep in mind that you select a business that does this with the best interest of the sharks at heart. Any experience that you have with any animal should never be at the cost of their well-being. So, make sure that whoever you do this with, has a focus on the animal’s safety, as well as your own.
We have spoken to you about a wide array of water activities, however, there are still many more. You could play sports underwater, you could try horse surfing (yes, that is a thing) and much more. However, we will not list them all. Instead, we know you have many questions, so we will take the time to answer these questions for you.
What Are Water Activities?
Water activities are just activities that are focused in, on, or around water. This includes any body of water, be it the ocean, rivers, lakes, bays, lagoons, and so on. It includes all of the aforementioned sports activities you can do and more!
What Is The Easiest Water Sport?
Out of all water sports, kayaking is probably the easiest and most affordable water sport. You can always pack some sandwiches and a water camera and just head out to a lake or bay for a few hours of calm paddling. It is easy to learn and great to do.
How Dangerous Are Water Sports?
Sadly, water sports and boating activities also present danger. Every year, carelessness and operator inexperience contribute to drowning deaths and serious anoxic injuries for those who survive drowning accidents. Unintentional drowning in the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the US. This is why it is so important to be careful and if you do water sports with a company, always double check them first. While these sports are fun, it is important that you train and learn properly and, if you are a beginner, are adequately supervised. Respect the water.
What Are The Safety Measures In Aquatic Sports?
In aquatic water sports, such as swimming and so on, there are some safety measures to ensure the health and safety of people in the water. They are simple measures, asking that you not get in the water unless you know how to swim, to never swim alone, to know how to perform CPR and other rescue techniques. You should also NOT drink alcohol if you plan on swimming, and only swim in areas where a lifeguard is present.
There are many ways in which you can enjoy the water. For some of these you may need training, and to learn to do these sports, however, there are so many, that there are plenty of options for beginners, and for those who are just dipping their toes in the water.
You could go for a relaxing option, such as yachting, or something more exciting, such as cage diving or white water rafting. Nature lovers could go for canyoning, or scuba diving. You have so many options. These days you can even combine sports like horse surfing, or you could get a closer look up at the world we don’t get to see, and go scuba diving with whales, or dolphins. What do you feel like doing? The world is your oyster!
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.