10 Epic Water Sports for Your Next Beach Vacation

Last Updated:

Sun-kissed sand, turquoise waves, and the salty tang of the ocean air … beach vacations offer the ultimate escape. But for the adventurous soul, basking on the shore just doesn’t cut it. The real thrill lies in conquering the water itself.

Whether you are an experienced athlete or just looking for something new to do on your next beach holiday, this article has 10 epic water sports that are sure to be the highlight of your trip.

1. Surfing

Surfer tackling a wave

A sport said to have been invented in the 12th century, surfing has become ingrained in Polynesian and Pacific islander cultures. Right now, it remains a highly respected sport even among non-native participants.

Not only do you have to maintain your balance while riding a board, but you also need to learn how to “feel” the waves and time your takeoff. Expect a lot of wipeouts during the first few days of practice, so consider starting small.

As you’re starting, pick beach areas where the waves aren’t as harsh as elsewhere. Aside from Hawaiii, Indonesia and Australia are also great spots to learn the sport. You also need to buy or at least rent a board with a wider and thicker body.

7 Fantastic South Coast Beaches in NSW Australia

2. Bodyboarding

A person bodyboarding on a small wave

In case surfing is too advanced for you, consider trying out bodyboarding as an introductory lesson. Unlike surfing, where you will need to keep both feet firm on the board, bodyboarding only involves lying flat on the board and letting the wave take you back to shore.

Also known as boogie-boarding, bodyboarding is ideal for younger surfers and even for older people who would like to practice their paddling and develop an ability to assess the height and speed of waves.

Mastering this simple watersport will make surfing easier and more manageable.

3. Wakeboarding

Another extreme sport you might want to get into is wakeboarding. Developed in the 1980s, wakeboarding is considered a distant cousin of water skiing. The only difference being the speed and type of equipment used.

In wakeboarding, your principal tool is a tow cable with a good grip. With this cable, you’re pulled across the water’s surface by a wake boat specifically designed to generate waves. Your feet are secured using boots built into the wakeboard. This allows you to perform aerial tricks, spins, and flips as the boat reaches 45 mph.

A good grip is the most basic skill to master if wakeboarding is for you, but it will take a long time before you get to master aerial techniques and more advanced skills. Just be sure to wear a high-quality wakeboarding vest and wetsuit because you’ll be wiping out plenty of times before you get better!

4. Waterskiing

A couple on a motorboat pulling a water skiier.

While wakeboarding is for those who thirst for anything extreme, water skiing is for thos of us who just want to know what it feels like to walk on water.

From a fitness perspective, waterskiing can also help you tone up your body and improve your cardiovascular health.

Like wakeboarding, waterskiing requires a fast boat and a strong cable. You also have the option of using a single ski or wearing double skis. Either way, getting started won’t be as difficult as learning how to surf or wakeboard.

5. Kayaking

Person kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park

This activity has to be the best choice for people who are not into extreme water sports. Choose kayaking if you want slow-paced rowing that counts as low-impact exercise.

Aside from improving your upper body strength, kayaking helps relieve stress and eliminate fat.

While you can find many kayaking activities in national parks, you can still find beaches offering this relaxed yet invigorating watersport. If you can’t buy a kayak yourself, some all-inclusive resorts can let you rent one made of fiberglass or lightweight plastic.

6. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfers above the water. Beach in foreground, windsurfer beneath the kitesurfers.

Kitesurfing involves the same things you use in wakeboarding: You have a strong tow cable to hold onto, a sturdy board for skimming through the surface of the water, and a floatation device.

The main difference between wakeboarding and kitesurfing is that wakeboarding involves greater speeds than kitesurfing. Wakeboarding relies on a boat, while kitesurfing uses a large kite to pull you through the water.

Water and wind make a good combination for trying out epic watersports. Depending on the weather, you could reach a maximum of 25 mph. That’s already fast enough to pull off air tricks.

7. Parasailing

Parachute carrying parasailers behind a boat

Another way you can enjoy the blessings of both wind and water is parasailing. This exhilarating activity involves tethering yourself to a parachute, known as a parasail wing, using a winch.

Once you are on board, the boat will accelerate until the wind catches the wing.

Soon, you will be soaring through the sky, enjoying the exhilarating sensation of weightlessness while taking in the spectacular scenery below.

Don’t go parasailing if you have a serious fear of heights. On the other hand, if you do give it a shot, it might become your go-to beach activity from here on out.

8. Windsurfing

Four windsurfers on calm water

Ever since windsurfing was added to the Olympic Games in 1984, it has become a popular beach activity. It’s one of the most fun water sports and appeals to people of all ages.

The beauty of windsurfing is that you don’t have to rely on a motorboat. You simply stand on the windsurf board, adjust the sail angle to catch the wind’s direction, and go for it.

The most challenging part of mastering this sport is probably learning how to control the sail, but with a bit of practice, you should be able to do it.

9. Flyboarding

Let’s go to one of the most recent watersports that’s becoming increasingly popular. With flyboarding, you are fixed to a board that’s attached to powerful water jets. These jets pump out water with so much force that it will launch you up in the air.

This is one of the most epic water sports out there, because it’s only available at a few beaches or resorts. You can search for “flyboarding” and “fly board” on Viator to see if your next beach vacation spot offers it. If it does, don’t pass up the chance to try it.

10. Jet Skiing

Couple on a jetski, with woman pointing in the distance

If you’re a car enthusiast, imagine taking that feeling to the water. Jet skiing offers the same thrill of speed and control, but with the added freedom of open water and the refreshing sensation of wind and spray on your face.

Finding places to go jet skiing is easy, especially near coasts, lakes, or tourist destinations with water access. Many beaches and recreational areas offer rentals, so you can have a great time without the commitment of owning your own jet ski.

Many rental companies offer quick and easy tutorials to get you comfortable with the controls, so you can be confidently navigating waves in no time. Jet skis are a fun way to find secret coves, but if you’re looking for more than just a relaxing ride, you can do cool moves and tricks that make the experience even more challenging and fun.


Water sports are great exercise, and there are a few you can try regardless of your age or experience. So, if you’re thinking of a getaway at the shore, why not add a few of these activities to your travel plans?

37 Beach Packing List Essentials

Share this story with others

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

You may also like...

We often link to affiliate products and services that we believe will benefit our readers. As TravelPayouts and Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. Details here.

2 thoughts on “10 Epic Water Sports for Your Next Beach Vacation”

  1. Kayaking is the way to go for those who want to have a low impact activity. If you are not up for the physically demanding activities – renting a kayak is still fun! Thanks for sharing this!


Leave a Comment

As We Saw It