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Plenty of us have bucket lists for things to do, or places to see; that’s a given. But how many of us have a bucket list for water sports?
Water sports come in all shapes and sizes. They are fun, thrilling, and unique experiences. Because they are technical and require equipment, you can book to do all of them with a company, or professional.
Feeling like you need a challenge? Why not push the boat out (excuse the pun!) and experience something new? Here are 37 water sports to try at least once.
37 Water Sports & Water Activities
Surface Water Sports
These water sports are all done on the surface of the water. They are fun, exciting, and full of thrills. All are worth trying at least once in your life.
1 – Canyoning
Canyoning is a breathtaking water sport to try at least once. Canyoning lets you explore Mother Nature in all her awe.
Swim, climb, jump, and walk through rivers, waterfalls, and canyons. The stream splashing against your skin. The mist of the waterfall. It’s a great outdoor activity.
2 – White Water Rafting
Ride atop gushing whitewaters in an inflatable raft with your friends or family. Whitewater rafting is rapid, pulsating, and definitely worth trying at least once.
There are even artificial whitewater pools you can ride, if there aren’t whitewater rivers near you.
3 – Flyboard Flying
How fun does the flyboard flying look? Flyboards look like something out of Back To The Future. It’s a water activity you simply have to try.
Your first few goes will probably result in some hilarious video footage. But that’s all part of the fun. There are plenty of thrills and joy to be had flyboard flying.
4 – Spinnaker Flying
Spinnaker flying is a fun water sport. Spinnakers are special sails attached to sailing boats, that catch the wind and elevate.
Attached to the sail, you can gracefully fly up into the sky. It’s a whole heap of fun and a delightful water activity.
5 – Kayaking
You can kayak through many bodies of water. The little brother of canoeing, kayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
With your paddle, you can kayak through calm waters and enjoy the view. Or, you can take it up a notch, and try some rapid waters. Plenty of fun.
6 – Canoeing
Canoeing uses a single-bladed paddle, and it is often done with one, two, or more people.
From shimmering lakes to wild rivers, there’s so much to explore in a canoe. Its a brilliant water activity try try at least once in your lifetime.
7 – Wakeboarding
Difficult to master but so much fun to try, wakeboarding sees you towed by a boat as you stand on a wakeboard. It’s like surfing, with a little help!
We’ve all seen hilarious videos of people falling off wakeboards. As water activities go, this is an adrenaline rush, for sure.
8 – Kneeboarding
Wakeboarding too difficult? You should definitely give kneeboarding a try.
Kneeboarding uses a board you kneel on, and you can strap yourself with velcro too. This means it’s easier to stay on the board and have lots of fun.
9 – Paddleboarding
Want to drop the pace a little? Paddleboarding is a wonderful water activity to enjoy the great outdoors.
You can either stand or knee on a paddleboard. Gracefully, use your paddle to sail through calm waters and beautiful scenery.
10 – Skimboarding
Skimboarding is too much fun. It allows you to surf through very shallow water, and it is less technical than surfing.
Simply slide your skimboard through shallow waves and jump on. It’s a fun water sport for plenty of ages and abilities.
11 – Bodyboarding
Want to experience the rush of riding a wave without having to stand up on a surfboard? Try bodyboarding.
Once you catch that perfect wave, hold on as you propel through the water toward the beach. It’s such a rush and so much fun.
12 – Water Skiing
Let’s take it up a few notches once more! Towed from the back of a boat, water skiing is an exhilarating experience.
It will take a few goes to get the hang of it. But once you start staying on your feet, the thrill is so powerful. A must-try water activity, that’s for sure.
13 – Barefoot Skiing
Yes, you read that correctly! If your boat travels fast enough, at least 50km/h, you can ski off the back without needing skis!
At such speeds, the adrenaline truly takes over. It’s a water sport that’s fast, furious, and gets the pulse racing.
14 – Surfing
A water sport with such a devoted following and epic history, surfing is a water sport rush like no other.
When you stand up, and you’re riding that wave for the first time, the feeling is euphoric. It’s a water sport you simply have to try.
15 – Cliff Diving
There’s something awe-inspiring about conquering one of Mother Nature’s massive creations.
Cliff diving is a rush like no other. For a brief moment, you feel like you’re flying. It’s daring, thrilling, and an experience you’ll never forget.
16 – Jet Skiing
Jet skis are stylish watercrafts, and they are so much fun to ride. On your own, or with someone else, twist the throttle and hit the waves.
You can travel at some breathtaking speeds. The feeling of roaring through the waves makes this a must-try water sport.
17 – Kite Surfing
Kite surfing takes surfing to a whole new level. Once your kite catches the wind, you’ll be propelled across the top of the water.
It’ll take a few attempts to get used to it, but once you catch your first gust, the feeling is incredible. It’s a breathtaking water sport and has a large community all over the world.
18 – Windsurfing
As you can imagine, a sail attached to your surfboard takes things up a few notches. Windsurfing is a beloved water sport and one you should definitely try.
Combing the thrill of riding waves, while getting air time from the sail, is an adrenaline-fueled adventure. Even to watch, windsurfing is majestic.
19 – Rowing
Who doesn’t love a great rom-com with a rowing boat scene? There’s something magical about taking a rowing boat out onto a lake.
Rowing allows you to calmly glide through the beauty and rush of nature. It’s relaxing, a good work out, and a great way to spend an afternoon.
20 – Parasailing
Parasailing is a fun, thrilling water activity that most people can do. Towed by a boat, once you pick up speed you’ll sail high into the sky.
Looking out over the land from above is breathtaking. Parasailing is definitely one of those water sports to add to your bucket list.
If you’re looking for more technical challenges, these water sports are all done underwater. Naturally, you will need more confidence in the way and be able to swim.
These underwater activities are exciting, unique, and show you a side of the water few people get to see. They are definitely all worth trying.
21 – Underwater Scooter Adventure
Underwater scooters allow you to see the wonders beneath the surface, while taking care of the hard work.
You can use them with a scuba or snorkel, depending on how deep you go. It’s a brilliant way to explore the ocean, and a unique water activity.
22 – Snorkeling
Snorkeling is very easy. With your snorkel and equipment, you can look down into crystal waters and see so many beautiful fish and sea life.
Fun to do alone, or with a group and professionals, you’ll see some truly beautiful things. Snorkeling is a must-try activity for water lovers.
23 – Cage Diving
What could be more exhilarating than getting up-close and personal with some of the ocean’s most feared creatures?
Cage diving is an adrenaline rush like no other. Being so close to sharks, the predators of the ocean, is something you simply have to experience in your life.
24 – Deep Diving
Snorkeling is great fun, but deep diving gives you access to a whole new underwater world. The sights and lights are magical to behold.
With your masks and oxygen tank, you can dive beyond depths of 20m and see things that will take your breath away.
25 – Free Diving
How long can you hold your breath for? Free diving is an exhilirating experience in the company of a professional.
Holding your breath while seeing such beauty is a rush like no other. It’s a water sport you have to try at least once in your life.
26 – Ice Diving
Ice diving is definitely for thrill-seekers. It involves diving into freezing water beneath ice, with equipment, from one entry point.
The sight of the vast ice sheets above your head is spine-tingling. For just telling people you have done it, it’s a truly worthwhile water experience.
27 – Scuba Diving
Scuba diving allows you to see shipwrecks, coral, beautiful fish, and so much more. Scuba diving covers that perfect distance between snorkeling and deep diving.
There are so many beautiful places to scuba dive. You’ll experience such wonder and beauty. It’s definitely worth trying out this beloved water sport.
28 – Aquathlon
If you like competing, you should sign up to do an aquathlon. An aquathlon consists of two of the triathlon disciplines: swimming and running.
Aquathlons can be done over many distances. An open-water swim, followed by a run, is tough, but such a great achievement.
29 – Spearfishing
Spearfishing has been practiced for thousands of years. Many people in the world today still catch fish this way.
It’s an ocean activity that requires plenty of skill and practice. But if you do manage to catch a fish, the feeling would be incredible.
Team Water Sports
If you’re looking for water activities to do with other people, you’ve come to the right place. Team water sports are competitive and mostly done in swimming pools.
Here, you’ll get the chance to try some unique experiences. All the while, you’ll challenge yourself, keep fit, and meet new people.
These are all great reasons to try these water sports at least once.
30 – Underwater Rugby
Ready for a little rough and tumble? Underwater rugby takes the famous oval-ball game and plays it in a pool, beneath the surface.
Purely just to say you’ve done it, it’s worth trying at least once. It’s tough, frantic, and plenty of fun.
31 – Underwater Hockey
Underwater hockey has a global community of players. It’s limited contact and requires plenty of skill to move the puck along the bottom of the pool.
If you like your underwater sports with less contact and more technique, underwater hockey is worth trying. It’s challenging, unique, and lots of fun.
32 – Underwater Football
Picture a cross between underwater rugby and hockey, and you have underwater football.
Requiring plenty of skill and effort, underwater football is a game for great competitors and thrill-seekers. It’s a memorable experience and worth trying once.
33 – Water Polo
Water polo is one of the most popular team water sports. You’ve probably watched it during the Olympics. It’s played in countries across the world.
Water polo is frantic, skillful, and a really good workout. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with others and be part of a community.
34 – Water Volleyball
Water volleyball is so much fun to play. On holidays, it’s commonly the game everyone loves to play in the swimming pool.
It’s a great way to make friends, and get in a good workout. From hotel pools to Olympic pools, there are so many places to try water volleyball.
35 – Synchronized Swimming
Love tearing up the dancefloor and busting out a move or two? If so, synchronized swimming is definitely the water sport for you!
You may have seen synchronized swimming on television. It’s technical and challenging, but so much fun to try. Plus, you’ll get to dance to some groovy music.
36 – Sailing
Sailing is one of the most well-loved water sports in the world. It’s a wonderful way to spend time out on the water.
Sailing is very technical, so you’ll need to try it with a professional. But once you get the hang of it, it’s so rewarding.
Sailing through blue waters, watching the sun on the horizon, is a sight you’ll never forget. Sailing is definitely worth trying at least once in your life.
37 – Water Aerobics
Water aerobics is a true community water sport. Classes are done in swimming pools across the globe.
Water aerobics is great for people of all skills. Whether you’re an accomplished swimmer or new to the water, it’s challenging and lots of fun.
Water aerobics classes are usually done to lively, fast-paced music. It’s a great way to meet new people and stay fit. A water sport to try at least once, for sure.
Water Sports to Try at Least Once Summary
Taking ourselves out of our comfort zone is how we grow as people and become more confident.
Water sports often seem daunting, but look amazing. We watch in awe from the beach on at our televisions and wish we could do it too.
But the crazy thing is, all those people, at one point, had no experience in that water sport. It was only by trying it, did they realize how much they enjoyed it.
There’s so much fun to be had with water sports. Whether you enjoy relaxing experiences, staying fit, or you’re looking for a thrill, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Next time, say ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’. These water sports will challenge you, excite you, and give you a unique experience.
And who knows, you may end up loving the water sport! You may discover a new hobby, or make some brand new friends.
One final time, here is the full list of water sports we covered in this article. If you can, try them all. You never know how much you may love some of them!
- White Water Rafting
- Flyboard Flying
- Spinnaker Flying
- Water Skiing
- Barefoot Water Skiing
- Cliff Diving
- Jet Skiing
- Kite Surfing
- Underwater Scooter Adventure
- Cage Diving
- Deep Diving
- Free Diving
- Ice Diving
- Scuba Diving
- Underwater Rugby
- Underwater Hockey
- Underwater Football
- Water Polo
- Water Volleyball
- Synchronized Swimming
- Water Aerobics
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Images licensed via Shutterstock
Author: Dale Johnson is a content creator and strategist, who has been a digital nomad since 2015. He loves creating in-depth guides for the best travel gear, experiences, and remote work topics.