Destressing is more important than ever in the chaotic world we live in. Watersports are the perfect antidote to stress. You will get physical exercise as well as great mental benefits. There is just nothing on earth to improve your moods like physical exercise combined with water and nature. Water is truly therapeutic in many ways.
1. SUP (Standup Paddle Boarding)
There is something magical about standing on water. Standup Paddleboarding is one of the watersports that everyone should have a go at. You should start with lessons on flat water and then decide what type of paddle boarding you would like to do. There is a SUP variation to suit every water sports enthusiast.
SUP variations include SUP racing, SUP flatwater touring, SUP yoga, whitewater SUP, SUP surfing, and just recreational SUP paddling. Explore the options that sound appealing to you and make sure you get professional instruction in the sport and safety when you start.
2. Kayak Touring
This is one of the oldest and also most rewarding water sports. Touring kayaks glide effortlessly through the water. They are designed to be comfortable and fast. This is the perfect way to see large areas by exploring the water. Touring kayaks can be used on flat water as well as the ocean.
Paddling on a lake or river in a touring kayak is great for the mind and soul. You can read more here about the amazing health benefits of kayaking. You are in nature and the speed and stability of the kayak make it feel effortless. You can concentrate on enjoying the sights and sounds.
3. Surf Ski Racing
Surfski racing is the competitive side of kayaking that is very popular on the coast. If you are competitive by nature, this is the sport for you. Surfski racing is similar to kayaking, but the skis are designed to be fast in the ocean. There is also a world championship if you need some inspiration.
The equipment needed includes a surf ski (single or double), paddles, a paddle leash, and a personal floatation device. You will need to live at the beach or close to the beach to do surf ski racing. If you live inland then kayak racing will be a better option for you.
4. Whitewater Rafting
You can join a rafting company for a commercial trip or do rafting as a sport. Commercial trips can be a couple of hours to a few days longer. Rafting is a great way to explore nature and also get the adrenaline pumping. Rivers can range from relaxed grade 2 up to exciting grade 4 rivers for commercial rafting. There are also rafting teams and races if you like competing. Some lucky people even do raft guiding for a living. You will need to be qualified for this though.
Whitewater rafting is possible on most rivers that have a good amount of gradient to form rapids. These rapids are most often natural, but there are some man-made whitewater parks where the waves and gradients are built to make the whitewater. Contact your local club or whitewater training facility for more details.
This is another one for adrenaline junkies. Kitesurfing is not for the faint-hearted, but if you are fit and looking for a challenge this might be the one for you. Make sure to join a school and get instruction as safety is truly critical when doing kitesurfing.
The kitesurfing kit includes a harness, board, and kite. You will need to live at a location where this sport is possible. Usually, windy ocean locations are best, although there are a few lakes where people kitesurf as well.
6. Underwater Hockey
Here is something different for you. This is a small but relatively popular sport. There is a great community of people young and old who play underwater hockey. It is a social game as well as competitive. The benefits are that you will meet a lot of interesting people, learn how to hold your breath for a long time, and get super fit in the process. This is one of the rare team water sports that are played competitively.
Underwater hockey is played in swimming pools all over the world. The great thing is many of these pools are heated and indoor so playing all year round is possible. Kit includes goggles, snorkel, fins, a glove (yes one only), and a small wooden hockey stick. You will be using the stick to try and get a hockey puck to the goals. This involves a lot of fast swimming and holding your breath for long periods.
Watersports are a great way to keep mentally and physically fit. There is a watersport, or more than one, that is perfect for you. Whether you like team sport, competitive sport or just relaxing in nature you can do it with water sports. Try a few from the list above and you will not look back.