If you’re looking for the best water sports you should try in 2020, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you want to add some leisurely fun to your relaxing day at the shore, or you’re searching for an exhilarating adventure that will enhance your adventure on the water, there are many great activities you’re likely to love. To help you choose which fun water sport is right for you, we’ve gathered ten of the best recreational water activities in this simple guide to help get you one step closer to your next unforgettable adventure!
Here is everything you need to know about the best marine sports you should try on the lake, river, or ocean this year:
10 of the Best Water Sports
Spending time near lakes, rivers and the ocean is a great way to connect to the natural world. There are many water sports you should try that are great for people of all ages and skill levels. Many activities can be customized to your experience, and the proper gear will keep you safe, comfortable and enjoying the water.
Here are some of the best water sports you may enjoy trying, and everything you need to know to get started:
A water sport classic around the world, surfing is a fun and adventurous activity that connects the rider with the waves of the beautiful blue sea. It’s a great way to push your body, and your skill set, while feeling the power of the ocean under your feet. To get started surfing you’ll need to invest in a quality surfboard for beginners, or rent one from a reputable local shop. Before you hit the water to catch your first wave, it’s a good idea for your safety, and others, that you take surf lessons from a surf instructor or an experienced wave rider. Additionally, you can train at home using a skateboard or balance board designed for surf training. Then it’s time to catch your first wave!
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There are many great reasons to give surfing a try, such as:
- Surfing is a fun ocean sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.
- You can ride waves at top surfing destinations around the world.
- Surfing can be enjoyed throughout the year, even in colder weather.
- A classic sport appreciated by people around the world, surfing is a great way to connect with other ocean lovers.
- Surfing requires relatively few pieces of gear, and you can travel with your surfboard.
2. Paddle Boarding
If you’re looking for a fun way to either leisurely explore the water, or get a quality full-body workout, then paddle boarding may be the right water sport for you! Using a stand up paddle board (SUP) that’s designed for beginners is a fantastic way to explore the water of rivers, lakes and the ocean waters with the ease of standing, kneeling or sitting. Many paddlers choose to explore in groups, or even to bring their dog with, and you can even practice SUP yoga at your favorite stopping place in the sun or shade. Along with paddle boarding being a fun sport for all skill levels, it also provides you the opportunity to explore places that other vessels just can’t go. Additionally, there are inflatable boards available on the market that are ideal for traveling and packing light!
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With so many incredible reasons to try paddle boarding, here are some of the top reasons it’s such a popular sport around the world:
- Stand up paddle boarding is a great sport for all ages and skill levels.
- This versatile sport can be enjoyed casually for leisure, or for a full-body workout.
- You can bring your dog with you on a paddle boarding adventure.
- You have the opportunity to practice SUP yoga.
- Inflatable board options are available for light traveling and packing.
- Paddle boarding can be enjoyed in all seasons, even in cold weather.
The beauty and unpredictability of nature is elevated when you dive underwater and start exploring the life that lives beneath the surface. Adventuring into these incredible ecosystems can provide you with stunning and exhilarating fun, and unforgettable memories. These experiences that can only be found while submerged can be enjoyed at top destinations around the world, and by all ages and skill levels. Although snorkeling is often used as a casual and leisurely way to explore life off-land, this water sport can also be used as a full-body workout. While some gear is required for a safe snorkeling adventure, such as a mask with purge valve and snorkel set, it’s relatively little equipment that can be packed for a day at the shore, or while traveling to your favorite marine destinations.
Snorkeling is a fun and adventurous water sport that is great for so many reasons- here are a few:
- Snorkeling is a safe and fun way to explore life underwater.
- Bringing an underwater camera allows you to take photos of submerged adventures for ultimate underwater photography.
- Snorkeling is a great sport for all ages and skill levels.
- This versatile sport can be enjoyed casually for leisure, or for a quality workout.
Snorkeling can be enjoyed around the world at top destinations.
Loading up your kayak with gear and hitting the water is a thrilling, challenging and exhilarating experience you’re sure to remember forever. This fun water sport allows you to spend time with friends and family, or on a solo adventure, while getting up close and personal with the lush natural world. Whether you want to spend a few hours exploring a lake or river, or you’re planning an epic camping trip on a nearby island in the sea, a kayak is a great vessel for getting you where you want to be on the water. Additionally, kayaking is a great full body workout that challenges paddlers physically, while providing you with enjoyment and excitement in a variety of marine environments.
- Kayaks can be enjoyed as a solo rider, on a tandem adventure, or even with your dog!
- This versatile water sport can be for casual and leisurely paddling, or to push limits for a full body workout.
- Kayaking is great for rivers, lakes and oceans.
- Great for beginners and experienced kayakers alike, there is a kayak designed for nearly all ages and skill levels.
- Kayaking can be enjoyed throughout the year, even in colder weather and climates.
Parasailing takes water sport adventure to a whole new level, allowing you to rise up and float through the air, high above the water. Here you’ll ride in a harness, either solo or tandem style, while being towed behind a boat with experienced and licensed captains. While parasailing is more popular in some areas of the world than others, most tourist destinations feature local guides who provide you with an opportunity to see the ocean from a whole new perspective. It’s a unique and surreal experience being pulled through the air where the world is quiet, seeing the beautiful turquoise water and sea life from an entirely new view. Here you’ll find the ultimate view of the horizon, and often you’ll also be able to observe species of marine life, like dolphins, rays and fish, from high above.
Here are some of the top reasons you should give parasailing a try:
- Parasailing can be enjoyed as a solo rider, or as a tandem adventure.
- This exhilarating water sport gives you an entirely unique perspective and view of the water and life below.
- Parasailing is great for those who enjoy a ride where they don’t have to control the vessel.
- There is no minimal skill level required for this water sport, anyone can ride.
It’s a fun and unique experience, unlike any other water sport.
Bodyboarding is a fun and exciting water sport where the surfer rides a wave while laying on their stomach. Unlike using a surfboard, bodyboards are compact in length, approximately three feet long, and have an extended width to ensure it’s capable of holding your body out of the water.The rectangular shape of these boards are great for surfing a wave towards the shore in a prone position, and to enjoy waves at the seaside with your friends and family. Because bodyboarding is a water sport designed for all skill levels, it can be enjoyed by all ages. To find out more about how hard bodyboarding is for beginners, check out this article.
Here are some of the top reasons to try skimboarding at the beach this summer:
- Bodyboarding requires relatively little gear, simply a quality board, bodyboarding fins, and a bodyboarding wetsuit for colder waters.
- This fun sport is versatile and suited for all ages and skill levels.
- You can learn bodyboarding tricks for enhanced fun at the shore.
- Great for learning how to surf or skimboard.
Bodyboarding can be practiced at home during the off season.
7. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is the ultimate way to connect with life underwater, and an experience that you’re likely to never forget. As far as water sports go, scuba diving is an incredibly relaxing activity which will provide you with a unique perspective of the ocean below the surface. The ability to fully submerge below the waves and swim with marine life is a special experience that’s truly unlike any other. You’ll need the following scuba diving gear before you dive in which you’ll need to invest in, or rent from a reputable dive shop at your favorite destination:safety underwater, you’ll also need to get Scuba Certified by a quality, experienced and reputable Scuba Instructor or Dive School. For more information on how to get Scuba Certified, check out this article in the Seaside Planet blog: How to Get Scuba Certified, the Complete Guide.
8. Paddle Surfing
If you’re looking for a fun take on surfing, with the leisurely style of paddle boarding, paddle surfing may be the water sport for you! Stand-up paddle surfing allows you to catch waves on the comfort of a long surfboard with a paddle. While this sport does require practice, and likely lessons or training from an experienced paddler, it’s a great activity for beginners and advanced riders alike. When you become more skilled on the board, you’ll be able to ride waves with ease or catch the current of a river to help you maneuver small rapids or waves. This challenging and fun water sport is one that requires practice to master the skills, and it’s so worth the effort when you find yourself gliding on the ocean’s surface with the wind on your face!
Here are some of the top reasons to try paddle surfing on your next trip to the shore:
- Inflatable SUP surfing boards are available for light packing and traveling.
- This fun water sport is a unique combination between SUP and surfing.
- Ideal sport for those who want a challenge and to learn tricks on the water.
- Great for Rivers and Ocean use.
- Paddle surfing can be enjoyed at top destinations around the world.
Windsurfing is an exhilarating and extreme water sport that’s great for anyone who loves excitement, adventure and a unique and challenging experience. It combines the best qualities of sailing and surfing, while allowing you to glide quickly across the water and move briskly with the wind along the shore. While this fun water sport does take practice, the proper gear and training, even young children can try windsurfing with proper supervision. As you progress in your windsurfing experience, you’ll be able to hone in on your skills and enhance your abilities on the water, eventually learning some fun new tricks.
While there are many great reasons to try windsurfing, here are some of the top reasons that it’s enjoyed at tropical destinations around the world:
- Windsurfing can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
- This exhilarating and extreme water sport is a fun combination of sailing and surfing.
- Enhancing your windsurfing skills means the ability to perform tricks on the water.
- Windsurfing can be enjoyed at top destinations around the world.
- This water sport can be enjoyed throughout the year, even in colder weather with the proper gear.
Every visit to the beach you’ve likely seen someone hitting the water skimboarding and thought that it looked like quite fun. If you’ve ever wanted to try a fun water sport similar to surfing, but nearer the shore, then skimboarding may be the right activity for you! Skimboarding gear is simple, all you need is your swimsuit, your board and plenty of sunscreen, because you’ll want to spend the entire day catching waves on the shore. While it takes some practice to learn how to maneuver your skimboard, it’s very rewarding when you get the hang of it. Additionally, there are boards suited to nearly every size and this fun water sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to enhance your skills on the water, or a veteran looking to kick some tricks at the beach, skimboarding is an activity enjoyed by many people around the world.
There are many reasons to try skimboarding, and here are a few:
- This versatile sport can be enjoyed on the shore or for skimboard wave riding.
- Skimboarding can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels with some practice.
- With practice you can learn skimboarding tricks on the water.
- Skimboarding is a classic and simple sport that can be enjoyed at your favorite destinations around the world.
- This fun water sport requires little gear, which is great for packing and traveling light.
With so many fun, unique and exhilarating water sports to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong. With the proper preparation, gear, and training when necessary, you’ll hit the water for the ultimate adventure in no time! Use this guide to decide which water sport is right for you, and to get one step closer to your next adventure as soon as possible!
Here at Seaside Planet we’re nature, ocean, and adventure enthusiasts. We’re also here to help you find the resources you need to explore and experience the natural world in a responsible, fun and safe way. If this guide has helped you to choose which water sport you’re trying next, join the community and share it with us in the comment section below!
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.