6 Easy Watersports for Beginners
Whether you’re vacationing at a beach, lake or river, or live near one of these bodies of water, there’s plenty of fun to have in the form of watersports. While some water sports require a high level of skill and or/experience, many others can be enjoyed by just about any beginner.
"Water sports" is a very broad category that keeps evolving over time with innovations in aquatic equipment. Some watersports like surfing and scuba diving require lots of skill, lessons and experience to master. Other watersports are easy enough for just about anybody who wants to jump right in and have some fun. Here are some easy to learn watersports that are great for beginners.
Whether it’s to explore a body of water or get a solid upper body workout, kayaking is an easy watersport to learn. A kayak is a narrow watercraft that comes in various sizes for both single riders and for tandem rides, and it only requires a paddle and a little upper body strength to maneuver one.
Kayaking also calls for the use of a life jacket or vest, as these watercraft can easily tip over. Kayaks can be used for sport, and racing them is a lot of fun, but they’re often enjoyed best on leisurely paddles across calm waters.
2. Stand-Up Paddleboarding
What's SUP? Stand up paddleboarding, that's what's SUP! This watersport has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years, and there are countless SUP lifestyle communities dedicated to it.
A paddleboard is exactly what its sounds like: a large board with a tall paddle. It's an easy to learn watersport without lessons. Paddleboarding does take some skill to master, but once you learn how to stand up and balance on the board, it’s smooth paddling from there. This watersport for all ages has evolved to include fitness activities like SUP yoga. Flat water is the best environment for paddleboarding, and it’s a great way to interact with marine wildlife like dolphins and manatees when you’re out at sea.
Wakeboarding is basically the aquatic version of skateboarding or snowboarding, except that you have a boat with tow ropes pulling you along.
Wakeboarding is basically water skiing (another fun beginner watersport) but with a board under your feet instead of two skis. You strap your feet to the wakeboard, hold onto a ski rope and enjoy the thrill of a boat towing you along at high speeds while you ride its wake. Once you get the hang of holding on tight, standing upright and maintaining your balance, you can graduate to jumps, flips and other tricks!
4. Tow Tubing
There are two versions of water tubing, and one version is less of a “sport” and more of a relaxation activity than the other. There’s the version of water tubing where you just float down on a river in an inflatable tube and let the current do all the work.
And then there's the other, much more physically exerting type is tow tubing, where you get towed by a boat or personal watercraft at high speeds while holding onto dear life! It’s actually a lot of fun, but could also be very dangerous. Inflatable tubes towed at high speeds can flip over, crash into rocks, bounce you around hard, or even worse, send you flying into the boat. Tubes can also get separated from the tow rope and leave you at the mercy of a strong current. Like with any other watersport, make sure you have a life vest or ski vest on when tubing.
5. Jet Skiing
This one is a bit of a cheat since there are age restrictions for riding jet skis, but these personal watercraft can be ridden in tandem with minors. Not everybody can afford jet skis, but what are friends for? You can also rent them, and they come in large enough sizes to bring along young passengers and let them co-pilot, making jet skiing a great beginner watersport for family fun.
Jet skiing doesn’t require much skill to master, but these personal watercraft can throw you off and injure you if you go too fast and turn too hard, so once again, make sure you’re wearing a life jacket or ski vest when you ride one.
Fun Fact: "Jet Ski" is actually a personal watercraft brand made by Kawasaki. However, because it was the first widely popular and commercially successful watercraft of its kind, "jet ski" became universally accepted as a word to refer to all PWCs, and "jet skiing" became the general name used to describe this watersport.
6. Sea Scootering
Ok, so “sea scootering” is not a real word, but we just made it one! We’ll group this one in with snorkeling, another great beginner watersport. Since sea scooters are made for underwater enjoyment, you should have snorkeling (or scuba) gear to try them out. Sea scooters are great for exploring underwater marvels like coral reefs and sunken ships. They’re lightweight, water-propelled devices that are fun to bring along on any kind of boat trip. People of all ages can enjoy sea scooters, and they’re not super fast, so maneuvering them is a piece of cake. They typically range in price from a few hundred dollars for low-end models to several thousand dollars for higher-end models that can dive deeper and go faster.
These are just a handful of watersports just about anybody can enjoy. As with any water-based activity, just make sure you have the proper safety gear, and use the buddy system for trying any watersport regardless of your swimming abilities.