How to Choose the Right Water Sport for You
Summer is finally here and what better way to get your heart rate racing than to try a new water sports activity? They’re an easy, action-packed way to interact with friends and family locally or on vacation. Whether you’re a family of advanced snorkelers or just beginning to learn how swim and maneuver in a nearby lake, there is a water sport perfect for you.
Swimming in the open-water is different than swimming laps and playing in a swimming pool. If your family is planning to vacation by the lake or the ocean this summer, there are some extra swimming skills you’ll need to know.
- Practice carefully-When in open water, make time for some practice runs that include swimming back and forth 250 meters each way. This allows you to grow familiar with where buoys are located and try some turns. In addition, it’ll give you some practice locating other swimmers so you’ll unintentionally bump into them.
- Drafting- Drafting involves keeping up with other swimmers in the waters, especially the lead or the fastest swimmer. Practice this skill to improve your speed, and within time, you won’t need to concentrate on checking where the other skaters are as much.
- Swim straight- Instead of swimming and breathing to one side, practice swimming straight. The side stroke and breathing can often veer you to an angle, and you want to avoid that, especially when you’re trying to gain speed. Pretend there is still a lane line in the open water and try swimming straight down the center of it, pausing to look up and breathe, around every 10 strokes.
Snorkeling is basically swimming underwater, outfitted with fins, a diving mask, and a snorkeling tube that helps you breathe. It’s become so popular since you can observe underwater fishes and vivid coral reefs without extensive training. Like other water sports, you’ll find that there are several different types of snorkeling.
The two most common types of snorkeling include reef snorkeling and cage snorkeling. Divers explore the small fishes and coral reefs with reef snorkeling. This type is most common on islands and beaches, such as Maui or the Maldives. If you are brave and adventurous, look for an aquarium that offers cage snorkeling. You’ll be able to observe a number of marine life, including sharks from an underwater tank.
Surfing is a sport that encourages you to use both your mind and your body. You’ll find that riding those waves is exhilarating and releases endorphins but it also improves your core strength and balance each time you ride another wave. You have a choice of a variety of surfboards and equipment, depending on your level of expertise.
- The Shortboard-These are the most popular type of surfboards today since they work for beginners and pro surfers. Short boards range between 5 ‘5” and 6’5” and around 95% of surfers prefer them because they turn easily in critical turns. Beginner surfers like them because not only are they smaller but they have less floatation, a key point in surfing.
- The Longboard-The longboard was the first type of surfboard of modern times, and it general measures at least 9’ long with a rounded nose and wide nose. These boards provide more buoyancy, thanks to their foam volume. They’re ideal for beginners and small waves, since they are more stable. If you plan on trying some tricks like hang-ten, you might want to consider this type of board.
- Stand-Up Paddleboard-The stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is like a longboard but it’s longer and thicker. Typically, they range from 9’ to 12’. They come in inflatable versions and traditional boards. You use a paddle to assist to you in propelling through the waves so it can be used in very small waves to high tide as large as 60’ waves. You can also use a SUP in flat water like lakes and streams.
Water skiing is another easy water sport, since it’s basically skiing on water, while being pulled along by a powered boat and tow cable. Most people use two skis, but you can water ski on one. Since you must have good balance, there are a few guidelines you should follow:
- Stand up Slowly-Begin in the water with your knees bent and your arms straight. When you feel the rope begin to pull, slowly stand up, keeping your shoulders level.
- Keep your eyes forward-Remember to only look straight at the boat or the sun’s horizon, because if you get nervous and look at your skis, you’re more apt to lose your balance. If this happens, let go of the rope, and fall in. Your life jacket will protect you.
- Use your body- Once you’ve mastered standing upright, you can learn how to turn or do tricks by applying pressuring in the direction you want to go. You can also practice skiing on one foot.
Among water sports, swimming usually tops the list simply because the swimming equipment you need is optional, and you can learn how in either a pool or open water as a child. But snorkeling, water-skiing, and surfing are all adventurous, fun options as well.