2024 has just begun, and it is time to start planning your adventures and apply for paid time off from work. If you’re adventurous, I’m sure you want to try something new, so let me give you some ideas.

Do you know the human body is 60 percent water? And even then, some of us are strangely scared of water activities while others are totally water babies. If you belong to the first group – know that it is completely normal to be scared. Maybe 2024 is the year for facing your fears.

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands
Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

Water sports are a fun way to enjoy the water while benefiting your health. Besides strengthening your core muscles and burning some calories, water sports minimize the risk of chronic illnesses.

Water activities like swimming and snorkeling are perfect for those with arthritis. Participating in water sports also enhances bone density. They also minimize stress, depression, and anxiety, enhancing your mental health.

Most beginner water sports include excellent aerobic and anaerobic exercise, boosting endurance and stamina. These sports also work for various body types. Discussed below are four exciting water sports you should try in 2024.

1) Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding - watersports to try in 2024
Wakeboarding – watersports to try in 2024 [CCO] via Pixabay

Wakeboarding is a thrilling water sport where a rider stands on a wakeboard and is towed by a wake boat. It integrates elements of waterskiing, snowboarding, and surfing, providing a fun and unique way to enjoy the water. Wakeboarding is done using several pieces of equipment, some of which aren’t the most affordable. They include:

  • Wakeboards: There are four wakeboard types based on rocker design, including continuous, hybrid, three-stage, and five-stage rockers. So, choose based on comfort, your height and weight, and other elements
  • Wakeboarding boat
  • Life vest
  • Wet suit
  • Helmet
  • Wakeboard line

2) Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Benagil Cave Guided tour: It is a 2-hour kayaking tour that leaves from Benagil Beach. Benagil Kayak Rental: If you have enough kayaking experience, then you can rent the kayak and do it yourself. But be careful of the rocks at the entry of the cave. SUP to Benagil Cave Beach
SUP to Benagil Cave Beach

You know how some sports are automatically regarded as “cool”? SUP is one of them. It’s all about standing on a large, stable board and using a paddle to propel oneself through the water. The paddleboard is similar to a surfboard but is typically larger, wider, and more stable to provide better balance.

The first time I tried Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) was on Achill Island in Ireland and then the second time was to reach the Benagil Caves of the Algarve in Portugal. Both experiences were completely different because it is easy to SUP on a lake but difficult on the sea. After this, I visited a nearby lake in Germany to practice a few times.

This is exactly why Stand-up paddleboarding has gained popularity – its accessibility to people of various skill levels and ages. It can be a relaxing activity for those seeking a peaceful paddle on a calm lake or an adventurous experience riding waves in the ocean.

Also, SUP is also used for fitness and yoga, with some enthusiasts incorporating yoga poses onto their paddleboards for an extra challenge. I’m a Yoga teacher but I didn’t have enough confidence to do a Yoga pose on my SUP in Germany.

3) Kayaking

Relaxing on our rented kayak on Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Relaxing on our rented kayak on Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

How can I make any watersport post without mentioning kayaking? It is easy, relaxing, fun and adventurous. Also, you can do it solo or with a friend.

Kayaking is a popular water sport you can try when on a vacation near a lake or sea. It’s a great form of exercise, and based on your interests and abilities, this water sport can be leisurely or fast-paced and quite physically challenging.

One of the best things about kayaking is that you can bring your drinks and snacks with you on the kayak (preferably in a dry bag) and make a picnic out of it in the middle of the water. That’s why, Kayaking usually results in people developing a great appreciation for the natural spots along the coastline.

Just be mindful of the trash and rubbish and bring everything back with you to the shore. Also, remember to bring comfortable and perfectly fitting life jackets to enhance safety.

4) Surfing

People gathered to see surfers riding the big waves of Nazare
People gathered to see surfers riding the big waves of Nazare

We all know about surfing, and how much fun it looks. Guess what, it isn’t easy at all. But hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Surfing is a dynamic water sport that involves riding waves on a surfboard. Surfers paddle out to the lineup, where waves break, and then catch a wave’s momentum to ride it towards the shore.

Fun Fact: Did you know that surfing sport has ancient roots? Polynesians practiced wave riding centuries ago, but it gained global recognition in the 20th century.

Portugal’s Nazare is a famous surfing destination because the largest wave that was ever surfed was recorded here, and new records get created here every year or so.

5) Flyboarding

Flyboarding - coolest water sports
Flyboarding – coolest water sports [CCO] via Pixabay

This is actually the coolest one – it involves using a water-powered jetpack attached to a personal watercraft, allowing participants to hover above the water and perform acrobatic maneuvers.

Flyboarding is an exhilarating watersport that combines elements of jet skiing, snowboarding, and acrobatics. Invented by French watercraft rider Franky Zapata in 2011, flyboarding has gained popularity worldwide as an extreme and visually spectacular activity.

Here’s how flyboarding works:

  1. Strapping In: Participants wear special boots that are attached to the flyboard. The boots have nozzles underneath that expel pressurized water.
  2. Connection to Watercraft: The flyboard is connected to the watercraft by a long hose. The operator of the watercraft controls the water pressure and directs it to the flyboard.
  3. Taking Off: As water is forced through the boots, the rider experiences upward thrust, lifting them out of the water and into the air.
  4. Maneuvering: The rider can control their movement by shifting their weight and tilting their feet. Skilled flyboarders can perform a variety of tricks, spins, and flips.
  5. Safety: The tether to the watercraft ensures that if the rider falls, they are immediately back in the water, ready to try again.

Flyboarding is known for its combination of excitement and accessibility. While it may seem challenging at first, many people can learn the basics relatively quickly. The sport has also evolved with competitions and events showcasing the skills of professional flyboarders who push the boundaries of what can be done in the air and water.

6) Bodyboarding

Bodyboard - like surfing
Bodyboard – like surfing [CC0] via Pixabay

Bodyboarding is a fun water sport suitable for ocean enthusiasts and adrenaline seekers. It’s among the least costly and simplest water sports and requires the following essential equipment:

  • Bodyboard
  • Fins
  • Bodyboard leash
  • Wetsuit
  • Rash guards

When looking for a bodyboard, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Width
  • Length
  • Tail shape
  • Material used

While a wide board offers easy paddling and more stability, a narrow one provides more control and speed. The wave types you’ll be riding are another major consideration when looking for the right bodyboard. To do wave riding with more control and confidence, it’s important to master basic techniques, including catching waves, paddling, turning, and body positioning.

7) Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Coron Island, the Philippines
Snorkeling in Coron Island, the Philippines

We all know about Snorkeling, and chances are that you would have tried it already. If not, then 2024 is the year that you need to go for it.

Just in case you don’t know, snorkeling is an underwater sport, that involves swimming along the water surface while enjoying the underworld. One needs snorkels to ease breathing with your face submerged by water, swim-goggles (for clear vision underwater), and not a “must-have” but swim fins help to move with more control.

Perfect snorkeling areas are temperate, warm seas, with clear water, nearly no currents or waves, and lively marine life. To make the most of your snorkeling experience, consider:

  • Improving your swimming skills to ensure safety in the water
  • Practicing
  • Enhancing your breath hold technique to optimize your time underwater

To conserve your air when snorkeling, take deep breaths to help keep your heart rate down, allowing you to relax while saving energy.

Closing Thoughts about Trying New Water Sports

Not every kind of water sport is fun for all, so pick something that makes you feel good, and don’t push yourself to a point that it becomes stressful. Yes, movement is good for the body but pick something that makes you feel good mentally too. Besides being fun, water sports are great for your physical and mental health.

Remember: it is always better to stay safe. My husband suffered from an injury when he had a cliff-jumping accident in Puglia, Italy. I was also supposed to jump from that spot but my intuition told me not to. Since then I always say that yes, it is good to do something that scares you but don’t push yourself into a situation where you hurt yourself.

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