Water sports are a great way to spend a warm summer day. A water sport is any sporting activity that takes place on the water; they can be performed on the ocean, on lakes, or even in man-made environments.
Participants should already know how to swim before they attempt any water sports. A strong swimmer will be able to avoid injury and return to shore if their board flips over. Choose a water sport based on the location, the ease of the sport, and the equipment that is available. There are sports suited to participants of all ages and capabilities.
Popular Water Sports
There are many types of water sports both in and out of the water; these are just a few of the most popular:
- Surfing - This classic water sport involves little more than a participant, their board, and the waves of the ocean. Surfers swim out towards incoming waves and ride them back to the shore. Although typically performed on the ocean, surfing can also be done in rivers or other settings.
- Bodysurfing - A surfboard glides on top of the waves. Many talented swimmers mimic this effect by bodysurfing the waves without a board or other devices.
- Windsurfing - A windsurfer uses a sail attached to their surfboard to speed across the water. Windsurfing requires the same skills as both surfing and sailing; the addition of the sail lets participants go out further and perform a different set of moves and tricks.
- Wakeboarding - A wakeboarder balances on board towed behind a boat at high speeds and "surfs" the wake of the boat. As speed picks up, the wakeboarder may attempt to do flips and tricks. There are many offshoots of wakeboarding, including kneeboarding.
- Water skiing - Water skiing and wakeboarding are as similar as skiing and snowboarding. Many participants find it easier to balance on a pair of water skis, which are significantly more maneuverable.
- Water tubing - Water tubing requires far less skill than water skiing or wakeboarding. Participants sit in an inflated tube as they are towed by a boat. This version of riding is great for children, beginners, or anyone looking to enjoy the water.
Common Equipment Needed
To partake in any water sport, participants need to wear a swimsuit or a wetsuit. Regular clothes become heavy and clingy as they absorb water; wearing a t-shirt and jeans can make it difficult to swim and potentially put the wearer at risk. Instead, choose swimwear designed for safety and flexibility.
Participants will also need a life jacket for activities like water skiing or wakeboarding. Although many surfers do not wear a life vest, beginners should always consider wearing one for safety. Advanced surfers may find that the vest gets in the way of swimming and instead rely on their board for buoyancy. A boat is required for wakeboarding, water skiing, and water tubing. A trained participant must stay in the boat at all times to ensure it is operated correctly.
Finally, participants will need the board required for their preferred sport. Surfboards are often too large to be substituted in other water sports. A wakeboard, kneeboard, and water skis have straps to hold the user onto the board while the boat tows at high speeds.
Some windsurfing boards can be used as regular surfboards if the rig is removed. Water tubes should be selected carefully for durability and size. Choose a riding tool that matches the intended sport and purchase a high-quality version.
Benefits of Partaking in Water Sports
Water sports are an excellent physical fitness activity. Participating in these sports requires strength, stamina, and flexibility. Those who become skilled at these sports will find themselves becoming physically fit as well. All of the sports listed here require balance and good body posture to be performed successfully. Learning to stand on a surfboard without falling down can result in improved body posture overall. Water sports can also be great for anxiety or depression. Something about the combination of bright sunshine and glittering waves helps many people set aside the stresses of life. Finally, all of these sporting activities help bring friends and family together. Teamwork is required to successfully get out on the waves. From surfing to boating, a day out on the water is a great activity that the entire group will enjoy.