If you are still struggling to start your 2020 fitness journey (because you hate going to the gym and would rather be in the water), then check out our list of 10 unique water sports to try! Not only are these sports a little quirky, but they will also have you in the water building your strength, cardio and/or breathing skills – making these the perfect sports for us divers!
1. Aqua Skipper
If skimming along the water’s surface is your thing, then jump on an aqua skipper. An aqua skipper is a type of human-powered hydrofoil and is similar to how you would use a pogo stick (by bouncing up and down). The difference is, the bouncing action causes the aqua skipper to propel forward and skim across the water. What’s great about the aqua skipper is, it is low impact exercise, is environmentally friendly, and can even be used to ride small waves! This is one water sport that is certainly different and will turn heads!
2. Aquathlon a.k.a Underwater Wrestling
If you like wrestling on the land and are looking for an extra challenge (where you also have to hold your breath) then aquathlon is the sport for you! An aquathlon match is played in a pool between 2-6m deep in a 5x5m square. There are two participants in a match who are both geared up in masks, fins and wear two ankle ribbons. To start you must swim through your corresponding hoop, then wrestle underwater in an attempt to be the first to surface with your opponent’s ankle ribbon. This is an incredibly quick sport with only three 30 second rounds, and the best players can even play in the aquathlon world cup!
3. Aqua Zumba
If you haven’t heard about Zumba, it’s a worldwide land-based exercise craze, with easy to follow dance steps, set to catchy Latin music. Aqua Zumba is exactly as it sounds, the same as Zumba, but in the water! The real difference is that Aqua Zumba is slower than normal Zumba to allow for water resistance. The benefit of this over normal Zumba is 1: you don’t get too hot (because you can cool off in the water) and 2: it is low resistance, making this a great sport for anyone who may suffer pain/injuries but still loves to dance!
Have you ever watched a dolphin glide through the water and wished that you were that quick and graceful? Well, you can learn to be as speedy through the water with a sport called finswimming! As the name suggests, finswimming involves using one or more fins to get from one end of an Olympic sized pool to the other, and the aim is to do this as quickly as possible.
There are four different types of finswimming:
- Apnea – Participants use a monofin (like a mermaid tail) to swim the entire length of a 50m Olympic swimming pool underwater on a single breath (with no breathing apparatus).
- Surface – Events range from 50m-1500m and participants use a monofin and a snorkel to swim on the surface.
- Bi-fins – Events range from 50-1500m and participants use two fins (like the ones used during diving) and a snorkel to swim on the surface.
- Immersion – Events are either 100m, 400m or 800m. Scuba divers will love this type of finswimming, as participants use a monofin and breathe underwater using a handheld air tank!
And in case you thought this something people did just for fun, it is a serious sport where the best can compete in world championship racing.
5. Floatfit yoga
There are so many different types of yoga from acro yoga to hot yoga and aerial yoga, and now there is even yoga on the water! If you thought normal yoga was a workout, then wait until you try this. You need to expend extra energy trying to balance and not fall off your board into the water. Not only is yoga on the water fun, but the water lapping against your board during your final rest pose (Savasana), will have you so relaxed you will drift off to sleep!
6. Hydro cycle
Do you enjoy spin classes at the gym, but find that you get too hot and sweaty? Then hydro cycle is the perfect addition to your exercise routine. As the name suggests, you cycle on a bike that has been submerged in a pool, with just your upper body and head exposed. Being in the water means this is a good low impact exercise, but it doesn’t mean that hydro cycle is easy! In fact, it is an extra challenge due to water resistance!
If you would rather get out of the pool, and see the sights along the lake or river while doing some exercise, then the nauticycle is for you! It is literally a bike that sits on top of the water and has a hull at the bottom with a rudder, so you can float and steer. Nauticycle is easier and more effective at covering large distances than a kayak, canoe or paddleboard, as all the work is done with your legs. It is really stable and easy to manoeuvre, and when you feel like it, you can jump overboard for a swim!
8. Sub Jumpa
If you had fun using a pogo stick when you were a kid, then the Sub Jumpa is for you – it’s the world’s first underwater pogo stick. It’s perfect for jumping up and down with your head above or under the water, doing tricks and flips and bouncing off the side of the pool. It’s a lot more challenging than on land and it’s a great way to practise your balance!
9. Underwater hockey/underwater ice hockey
When regular hockey is not extreme enough, then head below the surface and play underwater hockey. There are two teams of 10 players each, with 6 playing at any one time. Players are geared up with a mask, snorkel, fins and like regular hockey have sticks to push the puck along the bottom of the pool’s surface with the aim to get the puck into the opponent’s goal. With 2 halves lasting 10 to 15 mins, this game needs great teamwork and skill.
And for those who still don’t think this is extreme enough, there is underwater ice hockey (also known as sub-aqua ice hockey). It is exactly how it sounds, it’s played in chilly water (usually a frozen pond, lake or pool), and unlike underwater hockey which uses the bottom of the pool, this game is played upside down and the puck is pushed along the underside of the frozen surface. To play this sport, you need to be accustomed to being in extremely cold water and be able to hold your breath, all while trying to play hockey. This sport is very risky, as you can easily get disoriented during the game and not know where to surface, not to mention you are also at risk of getting hypothermia and frostbite. Games are played one on one (teams of 2) and you surface every 30-60 seconds for air over a 10 min period. Don’t attempt to play this, without suitable backup. As a safety precaution, each game requires 4 divers with air tanks to sit below the surface in case a player needs air.
10. Underwater Rugby
Underwater Rugby is played in a pool that is between 3.5 – 5m deep, 12-22m long, and 8-12m wide. There are two teams and the aim is to score as many points as possible by passing a negatively buoyant ball into the opponent’s goal (similar to a basketball hoop) which is located on the bottom of the pool. Players are geared up with fins, mask and snorkel and teams are made up of 6 a side with two 15 minute halves and tackling is only allowed from the person in possession of the ball. This is a sport that calls for great teamwork, speed and agility and the best players can compete in underwater rugby world championships.
Hopefully, this article has given you some motivation to get out there and fulfil your fitness goals, while enjoying your favourite place – the water. If you are looking for some more inspiration about what to do on or under the water, then check out our list of 10 Unique Water Activities to add to Your Bucket List!
About the Author
Amanda and her husband Dean have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a divemaster. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.
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