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Heading to the beach for some down time to relax and enjoy the sun, sand and water is about as good as it gets for most of us. You might even venture out for a swim or a walk on the beach to collect some seashells. There aren’t much better ways to leave behind the stresses of life and to re-energize yourself.
However, if you’re one of those individuals who wants to add some fun and activity, taking advantage of being out on the water, you may want to add some recreational time to your schedule. And if you are one of those thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies water sports may be just the thing to help you unwind.
A trip to the ocean, a lake or a river provides the unique opportunity to engage in any number of water sports. For those that consider themselves part of the thrill seeking crowd there are a variety of activities to choose from and enjoy. We have compiled a list of the top 10 water sports you should try that can be tried on a various bodies of water.
One of the most popular and well-known water sports in the world is surfing. This is a great way to really push your body to the extreme and feel the power of the ocean waves. While this sport does take a lot of practice as well as a special piece of equipment, it doesn’t require a lot for you to get out there and start trying to catch a wave. Before you head out to catch a wave with your board, it is a good idea to have an instructor or experienced surfer give you lessons.
2. White-Water Rafting
This is a great sport that allows you to spend time with some of your closest friends or family members while out on the water. While you may think that a day by the river will be relaxing, white-water rafting is thrilling, fast-paced, and will leave you wet and exhausted at the end of the day. This is a challenging sport that can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing, so make sure that you work with a skilled guide the first time that you go out on the rapids.
3. Water Skiing
A great way to experience the exhilaration of gliding across the surface of a lake, is to take up water skiing. It is a blast and is relatively easy for people of all ages to master the basic skills necessary to be able to successfully water ski .
Because the person driving the boat can control and adjust the speed of the boat , it makes learning for beginners a fairly smooth process and for more advanced skiers it allows individuals to try jumping waves and doing other tricks.
The experience of skimming across the water, with the wind in your face and cutting your skis across the wake of the boat is very addicting.
4. Sea Kayaking
Taking a kayak out into the open water is thrilling and challenging . This sport allows you and your friends and family members to get into a kayak and go out and battle the waves. Whether you want to go out for a few hours or wish to head to a nearby island for a night of camping, sea kayaking is a wonderful workout that will challenge you physically, while providing you with an exciting and enjoyable day out on the water.
Related: The Best Kayaks for Ocean Use
This is a water sport that isn’t as popular in some areas of the world as it is in the Caribbean, but is a great way to get out on the water and experience the feeling of flying.
Parasailing involves being towed behind a boat, which allows you to rise up and float through the air above the water. When you are ready to come down, the boat driver will slow the motor and you gently float back down towards the water and landing deck on the boat.
Parasailing provides a unique and surreal experience as the boat pulls you over the water. It is amazing how quiet it seems and the views of the turquoise waters, distant blue horizon and frequently you will be able observe various species of marine life. This experience is basically a fun, peaceful ride that can be done with 2 or 3 people on the parasail.
6. Jet Skiing
Jet skis are fast, fun, and a great way to cool off when it’s really hot out. No matter whether you want to slow down and really enjoy the scenery around you or speed across the water , after some brief instruction and a quick lesson, almost anyone can drive a jet ski safely, enjoying a day out on the water .
Additionally, jet skis are a great way to enjoy other water sports like snorkeling, swimming, or fishing as they provide you the means to access unique and ideal locations not accessible without a watercraft.
7. Scuba Diving
I love scuba diving. As far as water sports go, it’s incredibly relaxing and will provide you with a unique perspective of the ocean. Being able to go completely underwater and swim with marine life is a special experience and one you are truly going to enjoy.A scuba diver equipped with a mask, air tanks, a regulator and fins has total control of where and how long they want to explore this submerged world. Scuba diving does require that you receive training and get certified but the time and effort is well worth the opportunity to explore and view some of the most amazing sites you can imagine.
Related: The Best Air Integrated Dive Computers
8. Paddle Surfing
Stand-up paddle surfing requires a long surfboard and a paddle. You can take your gear with you to the ocean, a river, or a lake, and float along the water. When you become more skilled you’ll be able to ride waves in the ocean or catch the current of a river to help move you along. This is a challenging sport and one that requires a lot of practice to master the skills for stand-up paddle surfing.
This extreme sport is great for anyone who loves excitement on the water and is looking for a unique and challenging experience. I love that it combines the best of sailing and surfing and allows you to glide quickly across the water. Even younger children can try windsurfing, although it requires a great deal of practice, experience and skills to go faster and perform the more advanced skills and tricks.
While you may think of fishing as a quiet sport, there’s a wide variety of locations where you can fish, so it is possible to customize your experience. While I love a quiet day at the lake fishing with friends, getting out onto the open ocean and fishing for huge fish is a totally different experience and one that everyone should try at least once. Additionally, if you are successful, you’re sure to have an incredible dinner when the day is done.
Now don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with pulling out your beach chair, or hammock, and just chilling out under your beach umbrella. However if you are looking for a little variety and some excitement any of these ten great water sports are sure to meet your needs , no matter what body of water you choose to spend time on.
From scuba diving to get up-close and personal with marine life, to jet skiing with your friends, there’s a sport on this list for everyone to enjoy. So it’s time to get out and experience these great water sports to see which ones you enjoy the most . I have a favorite, and I’m sure that you will too. Let us know in the comments section what you choose and how your experience goes.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.