8 Extreme Water Sports to Try on your Holidays

Retirement is the time for adventures

Summertime is perfect for trying out new and exhilarating water sports in lakes, oceans, rivers, bays, and lagoons. Before you get all excited about these aquatic adventures, read the water sports regulations to know what is expected of you and to make sure you won’t be breaking any rules. In this article, you’ll find a list of thrilling and daring water sport games that will give you the ride of a lifetime.

You’ll need a dose of extra courage for some of them but we promise it will be worth it. Keep reading to learn more and to help decide which of these incredible activities you want to include on your next holiday.

1. Boat racing

Boat racing is a sport where boaters with slick racing sails race against each other, in time trials as well as first-past-the-post style competitions. This is a thrilling water sport that any boating enthusiast should try, and you don’t need any experience to give it a go. There are lots of watersports clubs around the world offering taster sessions and racing days where you can join experienced crew and have the adventure of a lifetime out on the ocean wave.

Boat racing

Maybe you’re approaching retirement and looking for something new and exciting to get your teeth stuck into, and a way of keeping active. Maybe boat racing is the answer. When you invest in a boat, you can spend your time cruising on the water or racing. Pottering around the shoreline and out on lakes can be a lot of fun, but eventually you may want to do your sailing with more of a purpose. Racing is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding water sport out there, and if you’re into boats you should give it a whirl. You never know, it might become your latest hobby.

2. Windsurfing

This is a sport that involves sailing and surfing, and it requires you to control the wind while balancing yourself on water. The size of a sail depends on the windsurfing area and the windsurfer’s skills. It’s quite tricky to master, but once you’ve cracked it, hours of endless fun on the waves await.


Windsurfing is one of the most popular water sports you can do on a beach holiday, with lots of local rental companies offering lessons or board hire so you can see your holiday destination from a different angle. Pick somewhere warm and sunny like Tenerife in the Canary Islands, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water at first. Then get ready to enjoy the adrenaline buzz as you’ve sussed out the whole balancing thing. You’ll be flying across the ocean like a bullet.

3. Parasailing

Parasailing is when you are pulled behind a motorboat to sail through water, being held aloft by wearing a parachute. You’ll have no control over the parachute, which is all part of the fun. Often, two or three people can parasail together, boosting your confidence and enabling you to share the experience with your friends or family. You don’t need any prior experience for this sport, all you need to do is sit back and relax!


Some companies launch you from the beach, whilst others motor out to sea first before letting you loose from the back of the boat. Either way is thrilling, and the views you’ll see of the surrounding scenery from up above will be out of the this world.

4. Wakeboarding

You really do need your balance for this one! Wakeboarding is an unusual water sport that combines surfing, snowboarding, and water-skiing. While standing on a wakeboard, the rider is towed behind a motorboat that generates wakes of various sizes depending on the boat speed, board length, water conditions, and rider’s height.


It’s a fun thing to do if you are holidaying near a lake, if the speed restrictions allow, and sometimes at the seaside too. It’s another activity that you might need a few attempts at to understand how it all works, but when you’re finally standing tall, powering through the water, you’ll understand that there’s no better feeling than this. It’ll give you great bragging rights too when you get back home!

5. Scuba diving

Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving, where the diver visits the depths of a body of  water to explore and observe marine life. They breathe from an independent underwater breathing apparatus. Scuba is among the most dangerous sports to engage in. The risks a scuba diver can experience include high blood pressure, a build-up of helium and nitrogen in the body, and possible danger from marine wildlife. So, before engaging in any form of diving, familiarize yourself with the diving regulations to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself, and your companions safe.

Sea turtles are often seen on dives

However, the pleasure gained from swimming below the ocean surface in the magical marine kingdom far outweigh the dangers. If it’s your first time scuba diving, there are lots of beginner sessions at holiday resorts around the world. Often you’ll start with pool classes to learn the techniques, before having your very first open water dive. Experienced and qualified divers will find plenty of excursions to keep excitement levels high, including wreck dives and drift dives.

6. White water rafting

This is an outdoor recreational activity where you use an inflatable raft to navigate a body of water. When water rafting, you need to have concentration, quick reaction times, and an understanding of the landscape. Your aim is to stay afloat, which can be challenging. It’s a fun way to explore the local landscapes, and you’ll see the terrain from a new perspective not afforded to those on the ground.

White water rafting

There are lots of places that offer white water rafting excursions, ranging from hour-long sessions to multi-day adventures down valleys and canyons. Don’t worry if you haven’t done it before, as your experienced guide, who will be steering at the back, will shout instructions so you know where and when to paddle. There are different levels of river to choose from, including gentle floats down scenic rivers and high-paced adrenaline rides down grade V rapids.

7. Kayaking

This involves moving across the water using a kayak (a narrow watercraft paddled using a double-bladed paddle). You can merge this sport with ecotourism, diving, and fishing to make it more exciting. Kayaking is quite easy to pick up, once you’ve mastered how your paddle works! It’s a great way to explore hidden bays and dramatic coastal landforms up close, something you often can’t do from the land.

White cliffs and a sea cave with yellow and red kayaks near the entrance

Exploring sea caves by kayak

Many coastal and river destinations around the world offer kayaking excursions, from tranquil paddles in the English Lake District to longer expeditions around the coastline of New Zealand. If you’ve never done it before, pick a shorter excursion to begin with, then advance to longer trips as your confidence increases.

8. Cliff jumping

This sport requires you to jump off rocks and cliffs into a water body. Cliff diving in unfamiliar regions can be hazardous so you should only ever attempt this with a qualified instructor who knows the waters and where the dangers are. It’s always advisable to traverse beneath the water before undertaking the sport to avoid rocks and other objects that may be fatal.

Cliff jumping

You’ll often see local children jumping off sea cliffs in the destination you’re visiting, but before following them in do check the conditions first. In a safe and controlled environment this can be a really fun way to explore the coastal waters, and get that heart pumping like never before.

Did you know that extreme sports can often help you overcome your fears? Try out some of these water sports and have fun while at it. Which will be first on your list?

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