10 Weird Watersports You’ve Never Heard Of
With sunny days just around the corner, many of us are packing our bags and planning our trips for the summer season. We’re stocking up on sunscreen and snorkeling gear, beach towels and bug spray. We’re looking forward to summer sports, splashing in the water and lounging on the sand. But for some, it’s also the perfect time to try new things and explore new hobbies. Here are 10 unusual watersports to get your adrenaline pumping.
Dragon Boat Racing
Every June, a worldwide celebration takes place honoring the life of Qu Yan, an ancient court minister who was banished for his advocation of government reform. Dragon boat racing — an activity that initially began as a commemoration of Qu Yan — has turned into a worldwide sport with yearly championships and competitions. The largest one outside of Asia takes place in Toronto, Canada.
A combination of scuba diving and snorkeling, Snuba divers will dive up to 20 feet below the surface without the use of an air tank. How, you ask? Their mask is connected to a hose that pumps oxygen from a nearby boat, eliminating the need for heavy equipment.
Also nicknamed “Octopush,” this unusual spin on ice hockey takes a highly-capable athlete. A weighted puck is used along the pool bottom, while teams of six players routinely alternate between coming up for air and trying to score a goal at 6 to 8 feet deep.
Inspired by James Bond in Thunderball, Raymond Li invented the jetpack in 2012. It currently runs at $100,000 to purchase, although it’s fairly easy to find a rental place for much cheaper. The jetpack is connected to a 30-foot tube that pumps pressurized water from a boat, allowing you to literally fly into the air. Talk about an expensive hobby.
This risky sport is exactly what it sounds like. Professional surfers Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala spent three weeks in the frigid waters of Alaska waiting for Child’s Glacier to break. When it did, they surfed the massive waves created by the crash. McNamara said it was the closest he had ever come to death.
If you’re unfamiliar with sailing terminology, the spinnaker is the lightweight sail that attaches to the top of the mast. It pulls the boat forward and is used in downwind racing. Some adventurists have taken to using this sail as a parachute, attaching themselves to the bottom of the sail and being lifted into the air up to 30 feet as the boat sails.
If you’re interested in rugby but not the injuries that come with it, underwater rugby creates a 3D-like space that allows for more dynamism and fewer injuries. First invented in Köln, Germany in 1961, players wear fins, masks and protective headgear as they try to score a weighted ball into basket-like goals on either end of the pool bottom.
Who says horses aren’t water animals? First invented in 2005 by two professional skim boarders, horse surfing consists of a person riding a horse through shallow water while another person tows behind them on a skim board or kite board. In the numerous horse surfing competitions that take place, surfers pull tricks similar to those done on a wakeboard.
Yep, you read that right. In 2015, Australian stunt rider Robbie Maddison was the first person to ride a dirt bike on water. The mechanics of a typical motorcycle obviously made this very difficult, so it’s far from a widespread, public sport. But after pairing up with a friend and modifying the bike to glide across the water, he eventually got it to work. He rode more than half a mile on a lake in Boise, Idaho.
This unique ocean sport is perfect for freedivers looking for a little extra thrill. The Subwing system is comprised of two “wings” that attach at the center and swivel freely. Attached with a tow rope to a boat, a diver can hold onto these wings and travel underwater at a faster speed than just with fins. The swiveling system allows him or her to maneuver easily and change depth — up to 10 meters — with no problem.
As technology continues to advance, we expect to see even more strange and unusual sports like these ones. What weird watersports have you witnessed? Share with us in the comments below!
Credit: Photo on Pixabay
- Watersports Staff