C'Mon In — The Water's Fine!

Discover New and Exciting Watersports to Beat the Summer Heat

Amy R. Connolly, Writer
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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August’s here and with it comes heat, humidity and generally unbearable weather. After working long days in the summer misery, roofers want to chill with their friends and families. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cool down while ramping up the fun.

Watersports — in an ocean, lake or river — take summertime entertainment to a new level. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for the next heart-pounding adventure or like to take things slower, there’s plenty to do.

Activity: Waterskiing
Best for: Lakes, oceans
Close cousins: Wakeboarding, kneeboarding, boat tubing
Why do it: Probably the most challenging part of waterskiing is getting up — and staying up. Water-skiers balance on one or two skis and grip a tow rope while getting pulled behind a boat at about 40 mph. The sport tests your balance, flexibility and endurance every step of the way.

If waterskiing isn’t your thing, there are other tow-sports to try:

  • Wakeboarding has many of the same challenges as waterskiing but uses a single large board rather than one or two skis.
  • Kneeboarding is easier to learn than waterskiing and wakeboarding and is just as much fun.
  • Boat tubing is the easiest of all tow sports but provides as many chills and thrills as the others.

Activity: Jet Skiing
Best for: Lakes, oceans, rivers
Close cousins: Personal hovercrafts, water jetpacks
Why do it: Personal watercrafts (PWCs) — known by the brand names Jet Ski, WaveRunner and Sea-Doo — combine the thrill of motorcycling and relaxation of boating. Riders can zip across the water at speeds up to 70 mph, tow water-skiers or tubers and troll for fish from the same vehicle.

Other PWCs may be less popular, but no less interesting:

  • A personal hovercraft, like this one made by Renegade, is great for both water and land sports. You can even build your own.
  • Water jetpacks may not be as popular as a Jet Ski, but they look like a ton of fun and may be exactly the type of water adventure you’re seeking.

Activity: Scuba
Best for: Oceans
Close cousins: Snorkeling, Snuba, freediving
Why do it: Scuba diving is a perfect way to get up-close and personal with marine life and underwater artifacts. Scuba is usually associated with ocean diving, but there are plenty of freshwater spots in rivers, lakes and springs. For safety's sake, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) recommends individuals get scuba certified before attempting any dive.

Other types of diving provide a similar experience:

  • Snorkeling involves using a diving mask and a snorkel breathing tube to float on the water and see marine life.
  • Snuba, a cross between scuba diving and snorkeling, allows divers to submerge while connected to a surface-based air supply.
  • Freediving or skin diving relies on divers holding their breath to swim underwater rather than diving gear.

Activity: Canoeing
Best for: Lakes, rivers
Close cousins: Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, rafting
Why do it: Whether you’re out for a leisurely paddle or ready to take on choppy waters, canoeing can be a great way to explore nature. Canoes come in different lengths, hull designs and passenger capacities for better stability and maneuverability.

If canoeing doesn’t float your boat, try these other paddle sports:

  • Kayaking can be easier than canoeing because kayaks are lightweight and easier to maneuver.
  • Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great way to soothe body and mind. The best part is your furry buddy can ride along.
  • Rafting, including river rafting and white-water rafting, uses an inflatable boat and a crew of brave rafters to navigate quick-moving waters and river rapids.

Activity: Surfing
Best for: Oceans
Close cousins: Windsurfing, Boogie Boarding, skimboarding
Why do it: Hang ten, dude! New surfers have a lot to learn — from correctly laying on the board and paddling to standing up and balancing. Be patient and prepare to fall. Surfing is most commonly associated with oceans, but river surfing and lake surfing are popular for those living inland.

If regular surfing doesn’t work for you, try other genres:

  • Windsurfing, also called sailboarding, combines sailing and surfing. Beginners usually start in small lakes or lagoons in winds no more than 10 mph.
  • Boogie Boards, lighter and shorter versions of surfboards, allow riders to lay flat while riding waves rather than standing. Boogie Boarding is also known as bodyboarding.
  • Skimboarding or skimming uses a flat finless plank to glide along a shoreline or inland where there’s shallow water.

Activity: Recreational boating
Best for: Ocean, rivers, lakes
Close cousins: Sailing, pontoon boating, catamarans
Why do it: Nothing says summertime recreation than boating. Boats come in a multitude of styles, making them ideal for every lifestyle. Be prepared for expenses such as boat storage, accessories, fuel and insurance.

If motorboating isn’t your speed, consider other types of boats:

  • Sailing can be complicated for the novice boater but easily mastered with patience and practice.
  • Catamarans have two hulls, which provide more stability over traditional sailboats and more deck space than single-hull boats.
  • Pontoon boats are primarily used in inland water areas for fishing or just cruising with friends and family.

Activity: Free-floating tubing
Best for: Rivers, lakes
Close cousins: Sunbathing, napping
To call free-floating tubing a watersport might be a stretch since it is one of the most chill summer activities out there. All you need is an inner tube and a bunch of friends. Be warned, however, that you might break a sweat when carrying your floating cooler to the water.

If tubing is more activity than you want, think about:

  • Sunbathing on a float in the water isn’t a sport in the least, but still an activity. Don’t fall asleep on the raft or you might float away.
  • Napping on a hammock near the water isn’t a watersport either, but it sure is satisfying after a long work week.

No matter which watersport you choose, remember to play safely. Don’t mix alcohol with any water activities, keep aware of your surroundings and wear sunscreen and a personal floatation device (PFD).