Why Water Sports?
For some vacationers, a trip to the beach is prime time for a lazy day. Wading in the water, collecting seashells, and cooling out at their beach hotel. For others, a trip to the ocean presents a unique opportunity to engage in any number of adrenaline-pumping water sports.
Watersporting is one of the most adventurous activities. Most people prefer this over other activities because it’s a blast and you can often indulge with family and friends. Watersports are not only fun but also helps you stay fit and healthy. You just need to have the enthusiasm to plunge into those waters.
Those who count themselves among this group of thrill seekers have plenty to choose from. Sailing, boarding, diving, and more—the water holds something for everyone, no matter your skill level or experience. One only needs to discover which activity interests them the most. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest water sports and what makes them a favorite of so many.
Jet Skiing - Originally the brand name of a specific variety of Kawasaki water vehicle. The term “jet-ski” has become a catch-all for all the snowmobile analogs seen on the water.
Jet skis are a powerful craft. They have an output similar to some boat engines and accelerate much like a motorbike. It makes sense, then that the adventurous find them to be the perfect mode of water transport.
Anyone considering riding a jet ski should prepare themselves for an awesome experience. They should also take a few precautions. Because of their speed and power, jet skis can be hazardous in the hands of a novice. One should always don the proper safety gear and brush up on safe handling practices before taking to the water.
With a personal watercraft like a jet ski, it’s just you and a 7-10ft. floating object that is completely open. The sense of freedom out on the water allows you to enjoy what you would otherwise not be able to see all at once. Being able to look around 360 degrees without anything around you is pretty spectacular. Not many people own personal watercraft like they do other things, so it’s a real treat when you can rent one.
Imagine using a boat to carry a kite through the air. Now, replace the kite with a person attached to a parachute-like canopy. That’s parasailing.
The rider soars high above the water, taking in the majesty of the ocean. Some canopies can even accommodate two or three passengers at once.
The inspiration for the towable parachute as recreation came from an unlikely source: NASA. The space agency used the modified chute as part of survival training should pilots have to eject from aircraft over water.
After tour operators caught on to the act in the late 1960s, parasailing grew to be a common sight along coastlines drawing a crowd. New technology has followed as parasailing has increased in popularity, adding more passengers to a single ride, bringing passengers higher than they could have reached before, and of course improving the safety of the experience.
Parasails allow riders to go up as high as 600-1200 feet. It’s like being a bird without having the wings. For any that want the experience of soaring through the sky like a bird, parasailing is the activity of choice.
An increasingly popular activity. Riders take to boards, with paddles, and navigate the waters. Boards come in many shapes and sizes, and many materials as well.
If you’ve never been on a stand up paddle board (SUP), it can be hard to understand the attraction. But you’ll have to trust me when I say it is incredibly fun.
Paddleboarding is always more fun with a buddy. On the water, you’ll be closer to wildlife than ever before and there’s nothing like sharing that sensation with a close friend.
An increasing trend is iSUP, the inflatable stand up paddleboard. These inflatable vinyl or nylon boards are soft, to limit injuries for novice riders. The boards are also tough so that they can withstand the same dangers as traditional hard boards.
Stand up paddling is an incredible exercise routine. You can easily traverse +4 miles and burn 200-500 calories an hour just under recreational conditions. You will work out a variety of muscle groups and improve your core strength and balance. Best of all, this is a low-impact sport, so your joints are protected. It’s a full body workout that most other sports can’t offer.
If you want to keep it leisure, you can sit on your knees or bottom and have just as much fun.
Waterskiing & Wakeboarding
Waterskiing has been around for nearly a century. In June 1922, eighteen-year-old Ralph Samuelson of Minnesota, proposed the idea that if you could ski on snow, then you could ski on water. Ralph first attempted water skiing on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota, towed by his brother Ben. The brothers experimented for several days until Ralph discovered that leaning backwards with ski tips up lead to successful water skiing and it’s been a hit ever since.
Waterskiing and wakeboarding both make use of boats to tow people at high speeds. As the names imply, waterskiing requires riders to wear skis, while wakeboarding involves a small board (similar to snowboarding).
Both activities require strength and coordination. The adept can pull off stunts and tricks while participating – jumps, flips, turns, and more.
If you like water skiing, surfing or snowboarding, wakeboarding is a great summer sport that offers many different health and fitness benefits. And the best part is, you’re having so much fun out on the water that you won’t even realize that you are exercising!
Surfing & Bodyboarding
Both are old school water sports classics. Just about everyone has seen a video of surfers tackling monumental waves like it were a walk in the park. They’ve likely also seen less skilled surfers wiping out on baby waves in embarrassing fashion.
Surfing is highly addictive. It’s one of the most popular board sports ever invented. There are over 20 million surfers in the world, and that number continues to grow as more and more people have exposure to the sport, usually while on a vacation.
Both surfing and bodyboarding take a degree of talent to pull off right. There are entire catalogs of surfing and bodyboarding knowledge to absorb, detailing different kinds of boards, riding styles, waves, techniques, etc., but most rental places offer quick lessons to get you up on the water in no time.
To get started, though, all one really needs is a board and a grasp of the basics. Several shops along the Ocean City Boardwalk offer board rentals, including 48th Street WaterSports and K-Coast Surf Shop.
Everybody knows what scuba diving is; it is the diver with the air tank on his back and a mouthpiece. The basic scuba set-up is a tank of compressed oxygen on the diver’s back, with a line to a mouth piece. The oxygen is delivered through a mouth piece, allowing the diver to breath.
Your carbon dioxide is then either released into the water, or, in self-contained systems or rebreathers, back into the tank.
Few people actually know that scuba stands for something, however. The word scuba is actually an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Some have the notion that Scuba is difficult to grasp, but it’s fairly easy to pick up with the right instruction. There’s basic gear one will need, but for those that don’t wish to buy, equipment rental is a suitable alternative. There’s also a certification involved. It’s much less expensive than most have been lead to believe. Some courses are as little as $250.
There is no other sport or hobby more exciting or rewarding than scuba diving. Scuba diving gives you access to underwater life in a way nothing else can. Seeing things from a new perspective can provide a whole new outlook on life. Not to mention, the view underwater is amazing.
Not exactly the same as canoeing, but even more fun when one gets the hang of it. Kayaking (generally) involves the use of closed-deck watercraft that encases the rider’s legs and hips. Some kayaks incorporate a more open “sit on top” configuration. Others are inflatable and may mix elements of both.
Few activities give the outdoor enthusiast such a varied array of experiences as kayaking. Whether you are seeking the heart-stopping exhilaration of a roller coaster or the serenity and peace of getting lost in the moment, you can find your passion in a kayak.
Kayaking is a great way to traverse the water with increased maneuverability. Skilled riders can even use kayaks as a way to access diving locations that they can’t swim to readily.
Some may view sailing as an old man’s water activity. These individuals are sorely mistaken. Sailing is a very active past time that demands physical exertion from its participants. For those who really like to get involved, it can be a great form of exercise.
At the same time, there are opportunities to relax while on the water. With the right boat, you can entertain a few guests. Have a few drinks or a meal, and enjoy the serenity of being out on the open water.
Sailing is an invigorating sport that offers many rewards, not the least of which is that it’s simply so much fun. Imagine white sails billowing against a clear sky, the brisk feel of the breeze on your face, and the gentle motions of the boat as it cleanly slices through the water. Sailing aficionados often say that sailing is more than a sport—it’s a lifestyle.
Ocean swimming provides an opportunity for testing one’s physical endurance. Triathletes recognize it as one of the biggest challenges required during their events. Many consider it to be the most harrowing of the three. Anyone wishing to get in supreme swimmer shape would be hard-pressed to find an activity more demanding.
Despite the common misconception, swimming in the ocean isn’t just for elite athletes. There’s no comparison to a swimming in a pool — swimming in the ocean is much more interesting than staring at the tiles of an indoor pool. With the sun on your back and the edge of a continent close by, you’re getting a unique view that not everyone gets to enjoy. Take advantage of a “natural” pool if you can, and leave the indoor pools to the land-locked.
It’s also great for your skin, you don’t realize you’re actually exercising, you get a different experience every time and it’s free. It requires no special equipment, so anyone can plan a swim for just about any time.
Skimboarding has a rich history. What started over 60 years ago on round wood boards has evolved into a highly competitive water sport. Most people know skimboarding as “that thing you do on the sand,” and while this is true, skimboarding has become so much more than that.
A skimboard is like a smaller surfboard without the fins. Instead of paddling out to the water and catching waves in, skimboarders start at the beach, use momentum to carry themselves out to the water, then catch the breaking waves back to shore.
It takes balance, and there’s a fair share of falling involved in learning to do it right, but it’s an alternative to surfboarding that some find safer and more enjoyable overall.
Something for Everyone
Water sports are a great way to enhance one’s experience beyond the beach. Sure, the land has a lot to offer. The sea, however, holds boundless potential for some serious fun!