Summer is fast approaching and after two years of travel restrictions and lost opportunities, now is the perfect time to try something new. Water sports are one such option if you’re outgoing and lucky enough to live close to the coast or an activity centre.
There are plenty of benefits to having a go too. Many of us will be familiar with the calming sensation of sitting close to or in water, and physical exercise of any kind is proven to boost our bodies and minds.
Certain water sports are great for your joints and flexibility too, as you’ll be constantly moving and engaging your muscles. It’s a good idea to check your financial options before delving into an individual pursuit, though, given the potential cost of equipment and lessons.
So, which water sports should you dip your toe in before jumping in at the deep end?
Surfing is arguably the most iconic water sport around – and it’s easy to see why. There are few better feelings in life than riding the crest of a wave as the sun sets. And from Cornwall to Yorkshire and the Outer Hebrides, the UK boasts more surf spots than you might think.
Many beaches host surf schools, so you can learn the correct technique before hitting the water.
Outdoor swimming has boomed over the last couple of years, with Outdoor Swimmer magazine reporting a growth in female participation in particular. Advocates report enhanced muscle recovery, reduced inflammation, and even extra brain power, making it especially popular among older generations.
You’ll want to practice ‘sighting’, which involves fixing your eyeline on an object in the distance to make sure you swim straight. If you can, find a local club to help you get started.
Kayaking is a relatively easy, low-impact option that allows you to explore coastlines and rivers and get up close with nature. It’s a great arm, back, shoulder and core workout too!
You could take a tour with an experienced guide to give you a feel for it before going it alone or with a friend.
If you’re feeling brave, scuba diving is a magical way to explore more of what’s below the surface. Many people learn to dive abroad in places like Australia and Thailand – but there are lots of spots in Devon, Scotland, and Wales too.
Scuba diving courses typically last several days or even weeks, ending with an assessment to make sure you’re fully competent and safe.
Paddleboarding is a relatively new sport that involves kneeling or standing on a wide board and propelling yourself with an oar. It’s best done on flat waters like rivers, lakes or calm seas, though you can get more experimental as you grow more confident. It’s great for families too – you can easily fit little ones on a board with you!
Could any of these water sports become your new hobby?