This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive commissions for purchases made through those links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info here.

23 Watersports To Make a Splash This Summer

Do you love spending time in the water? If so, you’re not alone. Watersports are a popular pastime for people of all ages and from all walks of life.

There are many different types of watersports to choose from, each with its unique appeal. There is something for everyone, from swimming and snorkeling to kayaking and canoeing.

This blog post will discuss different watersports and give you a brief overview of each. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, we hope this information will help you find the perfect watersport for you.

Parasailing

Two people parasailing Pin

Have you ever wanted to fly like a bird? If so, parasailing is the watersport for you. Parasailing is an activity where you are towed behind a boat while attached to a parachute-like canopy. As the boat accelerates, the canopy fills with air and lifts you off the ground.

Once airborne, you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some marine life below. Parasailing is a great activity for couples or groups of friends looking for an adrenaline-filled day on the water.

Fishing

Man fishing from a canoe Pin

Fishing is one of the most popular watersports in the world. You can fish from the shore, from a boat, or even from a kayak or canoe. There are many different types of fishing, including fly fishing, deep-sea fishing, bass fishing, and ice fishing.

Fishing is an excellent activity for those who enjoy spending time outdoors and appreciate the challenge of trying to catch a fish. It’s also a great way to relax and unwind. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, fishing is a watersport that everyone can enjoy.

Swimming

Young man swimming in a pool Pin

Swimming is one of the oldest and most popular watersports in the world. It’s a great way to stay fit and healthy, and it’s also a lot of fun. There are many different strokes that you can learn, including the breaststroke, the butterfly, and the freestyle.

If you’re new to swimming, it’s good to take swimming lessons from a qualified instructor. Swimming is a fundamental skill you need to learn to participate in many other watersports.

So, once you know how to swim, you can enjoy many of the other watersports on this list.

Kayaking

Kayaker on a lake Pin

If you are interested in outdoor recreation, kayaking is a popular watersport that many people enjoy. It’s a great way to explore the waterways around you and get some exercise simultaneously.

Kayaks come in different shapes and sizes, including recreational kayaks, tandem kayaks, fishing kayaks, and whitewater kayaks. You can even try your hand at sea kayaking.

Most recreational kayaks are very stable, and kayaking is a relatively easy watersport to learn, making kayaking a great watersport for beginners.

But it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and take safety precautions like wearing a life jacket.

If you are new to kayaking, it’s a good idea to start on calm water protected from wind and waves. Then, you can learn how to paddle, turn and get the feel of being on the water.

Canoeing

Family canoeing on a lake Pin

Paddling a canoe is another excellent way to explore the great outdoors. Like kayaks, there are different types of canoes depending on the experience you want.

You can choose a recreational canoe, solo canoe, fishing canoe, or even a white water canoe.

Canoeing is a relatively easy watersport to learn. One thing that sets canoes apart from kayaks is the carrying capacity. Canoes can accommodate more people and gear, making them great for camping trips or extended excursions.

Rowing

Man rowing on a lake Pin

Rowing is an excellent watersport because it provides a fantastic workout and is a competitive sport.

Rowing has been an Olympic sport for many years, and rowers can be extremely fit, with strong arms, abs, and legs.

You can row solo or as a team using various types of boats. Rowing differs from similar watersports like canoeing and kayaking in that boat is propelled with oars attached to the boat (vs. paddles that are not attached).

Rowing typically takes place on calm waterways, such as lakes and rivers. However, some people row in the ocean. You can also go pretty darn fast rowing compared to canoeing or kayaking.

Windsurfing

People windsurfing Pin

Windsurfing is not a sport for the faint of heart. However, if you are up for a serious water adventure, windsurfing might be just what the doctor ordered.

It takes a lot of courage to get up on that board and start sailing across the open waters.

Honestly, windsurfing is not too difficult to pick up, but it’s worth investing in lessons to learn the basics.

Windsurfing requires coordination and precise movements, but it’s also a great way to get in shape.

Once you are skilled, the wind and the waves are incredibly fun. They will take you on an exhilarating ride that you’ll never forget.

There are many different windsurfing boards, including slalom boards, racing boards, and freestyle boards. Take a lesson and determine which board fits your style.

Kitesurfing

Man kite surfing in the ocean Pin

Kitesurfing (also called kiteboarding) is one of the most extreme watersports, so this is your activity if you are an adrenaline seeker.

This watersport combines elements of surfing and wakeboarding and uses a kite (think parachute) to propel you across the waves and water. The kite catches air (wind) and has a tow bar that you hang onto.

You can catch some serious air kitesurfing and do some pretty impressive tricks. The best part is that you can kitesurf in various locations under the right conditions, including the ocean, lakes, and rivers.

Jet skiing

Man on a jet ski Pin

Watersports are a great way to get your adrenaline fix. Jet skiing is no exception. It’s the perfect mix of speed and excitement, and it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular watersport. But be careful – it can be addicting!

Think of a jet ski as a motorcycle on water. You sit on the jet ski and hold onto handles that control the throttle.

You can go fast – really fast – but it’s essential to be aware of other people and obstacles in the water. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. Jet skis are great for jumping waves and exploring areas larger boats can’t access.

Jet skiing is relatively easy to learn, but it’s essential to be cautious and always follow the safety rules. You can rent jet skis at many beaches, lakes, and rivers.

Jet skis are available for single riders, or you can also ride tandem. You’re in for a wild ride no matter what type of jet ski you choose.

Water Polo

Men playing water polo Pin

Water polo is one of the most underrated watersports there is. It’s like a combination of hockey, maybe some basketball, and soccer but in the water.

To be successful, you need to have quick reflexes, be a strong swimmer and have good hand-eye coordination. It’s also a very exhausting watersport, but it’s a lot of fun despite how challenging it can be.

Water polo is perfect for people with a competitive spirit.

Water polo is a popular Olympic sport worldwide.

Traditionally water polo is played with two teams with seven players, six field players and one goalkeeper. But you can play with however many people you can gather.

The point of the game is to score by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

There are a lot of rules in water polo, but once you get the hang of it, it’s an incredibly fun watersport, and it’s excellent for building endurance.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diver at a coral reef Pin

Have you ever wanted to explore the underwater world but don’t know where to start? Then, scuba diving is the watersport for you.

With scuba diving, you can stay underwater for extended periods and explore the cool things below the surface. For example, you can explore shipwrecks and coral reefs and see fish and marine life.

You need to have a scuba diving certification to go on most dives. Once you are certified, a whole world is waiting for you to explore.

If you’re interested in scuba diving, check out a local dive shop and see if it’s something you enjoy. It might just be your new favorite watersport.

There is a lot of gear involved in scuba diving, but it’s all necessary for your safety. You will need a wet suit, fins, a mask, a snorkel, and oxygen tanks.

Snorkeling

Young couple snorkeling Pin

Have you ever gone swimming and wished you could stay underwater longer? With snorkeling, you can.

Snorkeling is another great way to see fish and other marine life without the equipment or investment that scuba diving requires.

It’s pretty easy to get started snorkeling, all you need is some essential equipment (a mask, fins, and snorkel), and you can start exploring the underwater world.

You can also rent snorkel gear if you are on vacation or don’t want to travel with extra stuff.

Water Aerobics

Women doing water aerobics Pin

Look no further than water aerobics if you’re looking for a fun way to exercise that will keep you in great shape.

This high-energy activity is perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels. You’ll get a fantastic workout while having a blast in the pool.

Water aerobics is low-impact water activity, so it’s great for folks who want to get some exercise without aggravating those joints. It’s also a terrific way to meet new people and make friends.

Classes are readily available at most gyms, pools, and community centers.

White Water Rafting

People white water rafting Pin

White water rafting is your watersport if you’re feeling adventurous and up for a challenge. When it comes to outdoor recreation, white water rafting is one of the most adrenaline-pumping watersports.

River rafting requires some technical paddling skills and knowledge of the river. As a result, many people hire a guide or a rafting company rather than go it alone.

This thrilling activity will get your heart pumping and adrenaline flowing. You’ll navigate through rapids and float down calm sections of the river while taking in the scenery.

White water rafting is an excellent watersport for people who love adventure and are looking for a new challenge.

There are different levels of white water rafting, so you can choose an adventure that is perfect for your skill level. Rafting is also a great outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy.

Wakeboarding

Man riding a wake board Pin

Wakeboarding is kind of like snowboarding on water. First, you’ll sit in the water with your feet in boots attached to the wakeboard. Then you hold onto a rope attached to the back of the boat.

As the boat starts moving, you will pop out of the water and glide across the surface. It’s pretty easy to get out of the water and get up on your board once you get the hang of it.

You can do all sorts of tricks on a wakeboard, from simple jumps to complex flips and rotations. Wakeboarding is an excellent watersport for people who want to learn cool tricks and show off their moves.

Kneeboarding

Man riding a kneeboard Pin

Kneeboarding falls in a similar category as waterskiing and wakeboarding. However, instead of standing up, you kneel on a board (like a bodyboard) and let the boat pull you around.

It’s a bit easier than waterskiing because you don’t have to balance on two narrow skis. Instead, you kneel on a much wider surface with both knees.

Like water skiing and wakeboarding, you can go fast and do tricks as the boat tows you.

Kneeboarding is an excellent watersport for people of all ages and levels of experience. In addition, Kneeboarding is an excellent option if you’re looking for a watersport that is easier than waterskiing.

Water skiing

Man water skiing in Arizona Pin

Water skiing is a thrilling watersport. While it may seem easy to some, it takes skill and practice to stay upright and navigate the waters safely.

Skiers use a tow rope attached to a motorboat to pull them across the water at high speeds, and they must use their balance and strength to stay upright.

Water skiing is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. You can waterski in many different settings, from lakes and rivers to the ocean.

You can waterski on two skis or one ski, also known as slalom. You can even barefoot ski (more on this below).

Water skiing is more complicated than some other watersports like wakeboarding or kneeboarding. With water skiing, you have to balance on two narrow skis, one on each foot. So it’s more challenging to get up and stay up on waterskis.

If you’re interested in trying waterskiing, there are many different ways to get started. One great way to get started is to take lessons at a local watersports center.

No matter what your skill level, waterskiing is a great way to enjoy the water and get some exercise. So put on your life jacket, grab a tow rope, and hit the water. You might have the time of your life.

Skimboarding

Young man skimboarding Pin

One of the most popular beach activities, skimboarding is a watersport where you skim across shallow water on a thin board. Mostly done at the ocean, as waves roll in and then roll out, you toss the skimboard on a thin layer of water and step on the board.

Skimboarding requires a relatively flat beach, balance, and timing. The goal is to get the board to float on top of a thin layer of water. You run along the surf, drop the board on the water, and step on the board—like stepping on a rolling skateboard.

You have to time your approach correctly and maintain balance as you step on the board and glide across the water.

If you toss the board in water that is too deep or too shallow, it won’t work correctly, and you can end up face-first eating sand.

Skimboarding takes practice, patience, and balance. But, if you are up for the challenge, skimboarding is a lot of fun.

Bodyboarding

Man bodyboarding Pin

Bodyboarding is also known as boogie boarding. The process is very similar to surfing in that the goal is to catch a wave and ride it as long as you can.

A bodyboard is smaller than a surfboard and is made of foam. You lay on your stomach on the board as you ride the wave with bodyboarding. You don’t stand up like surfing. You still have to paddle to catch your wave, and some people use flippers to help.

Bodyboarding is excellent for kids or anyone who might not be ready to catch some waves surfing. You also don’t need huge waves. You can ride smaller waves and still have fun on a boogieboard.

Renting a boogie board is a great way to start, or you can buy a board for about $30.

So, if you want to try your hand at riding some waves, consider bodyboarding. It’s a lot of fun, and anyone can do it.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Young couple paddle boarding Pin

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is very popular right now.

Paddle boarding is a great way to get on the water and enjoy the sun and scenery when it comes to outdoor activities. SUP is similar to surfing in that both require you to stand on a board and maintain balance. With a SUP, you paddle your way through the water.

You can go paddle boarding on lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Some folks like to paddle board on white water too.

One great thing about paddle boarding is that you don’t have to stand up and be a pro right away. Instead, you can sit or kneel on a SUP until you get comfortable enough to stand up.

Honestly, paddle boarding has some advantages over kayaks and canoes because you can sit, kneel or stand, which can be good if you have back problems.

Once you get the hang of it, paddle boarding is a lot of fun. You can even catch a wave on a paddle board if you are up to the challenge.

Some people love to practice SUP yoga which requires strength and balance. Paddle board yoga is a calming experience.

You can rent a paddle board at a local shop or many beaches or buy one for around $500.

If you’re looking for a new watersport to try, paddle boarding is a great option. It’s easy to learn, and you can do it in many different waterways.

Canyoning

Woman canyoning Pin

Canyoning is the perfect watersport for thrill-seekers who want a little bit of everything. You get to experience the excitement of jumping, swimming, and climbing through canyons, waterfalls, and rivers, all in one activity.

Canyoning is excellent exercise and a fun way to explore new places.

If you want to try canyoning, you should be in good physical condition and know how to swim. It would help if you also were comfortable with heights.

Canyoning is a unique experience and can be dangerous, so it’s essential to go with a guide who knows the area well.

Guided tours typically cost around $200 per person.

So, if you’re looking for an adventure, canyoning is the perfect watersport for you. Just be sure to go with a guide and take all the necessary precautions.

Barefoot waterskiing

Barefoot water skiing Pin

We touched on kneeboarding, wakeboarding, and waterskiing, but what about barefoot waterskiing?

Barefoot waterskiing is exactly what it sounds like. You ski on the water without skis.

It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a watersports enthusiast, it’s something you should try at least once.

Of course, before you can waterski barefoot, you need to be a pretty good waterskier.

Surfing

Young man surfing Pin

Last, but certainly not least, is surfing.

Surfing is one of the most popular watersports in the world. But, unfortunately, it’s also one of the most challenging.

Balance, coordination, and strength are important ingredients for surfing. You also need to be comfortable in the water and waves.

With surfing, you lay on your stomach and paddle into the ocean, and wait for the right wave to ride. Then you paddle with the wave until you “catch” it and lock-in. Next, it’s time to stand up on that surfboard and ride the wave.

Surfboards come in different sizes, depending on your experience level. Some people also wear a wetsuit to keep warm in the water.

You can rent all the necessary equipment at a local surf shop.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, surfing is your watersport. Just start small and work your way up to bigger waves.

If you want to try surfing, you can take a lesson or two. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can try it on your own.

Wrapping up

Watersports are a great way to stay active and have some fun in the sun, and there are a lot of watersports to choose from. So whether you’re looking for a new challenge or want to try something new, there’s a watersport for you. So get out on the water and have some fun!

Photo of author
About the author
Steve
Steve is the owner of Paddle About, a blog that's all about helping people get out and enjoy nature. He loves to kayak, camp, hike and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not out exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.