As summer approaches, water sports are coming back into fashion especially since Covid-19 restrictions are withdrawn and nothing can beat the heat like splashing around in water while pumped up with adrenaline.
With winter paving way for Spring and eventually the Summer, water sports are staging a comeback around the world and increasingly, Indian tourists are getting attracted to water sports, especially the ones involving a rush of the adrenaline alongside splashing around in water to keep the heat at bay.
India Outbound curates a list of some of the best destinations for water sports from around the world for tourists to experience on their next visit.
Shark-cage diving in South Africa
Sharks are one of the magnificent predators in the sea, dominating the oceans across the world. For travellers seeking an adrenaline rush, this sport is bound to give all the thrill, exhilaration and elevated heart rates that adventure-seekers demand. The sport is done underwater inside a metal cage that provides a safe environment for the divers to observe and photograph sharks with minimal risk. The metal cage is used most commonly when diving with Great White sharks. In some places, shark baiting is used to attract sharks around the cages, where the water is baited with chunks of fish or other food material to attract the predators.
“A large number of South Africa’s over 3000 adventure activities are water-based, especially given that the destination is blessed with a coastline stretching over 2850 km! With water sports like white-water rafting, windsurfing, scuba-diving and marine adventures like shark-cage diving, croc-cage diving and seal snorkelling, South Africa is the perfect place for those seeking aquaadventures,” Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism, tells India Outbound.
South Africa is indeed one of the best shark hotpots in the world offering opportunities to tourists to observe the ferocious sharks in their natural environment. South Africa has many places where foreigners can enjoy the sport. But two of the best options are Gansbaai and Mossel Bay. Gansbaai is a 2-hour-drive from Cape Town, South Africa’s capital. Mossel Bay is a harbour town on the Garden Route in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The town is laden with beautiful beaches offering the best views and a wide array of activities for tourists to choose from. The best time for shark cage diving is either from April to August/September and September to March.
“Great White Shark spotting is one of the biggest draws to South Africa. Any trip to the Rainbow Nation is incomplete without attempting the hair-raising shark-cage dive. In fact, Indians were among the top three nationalities to undertake shark-cage diving in South Africa. Gansbaai in the Western Cape is often credited as a hub Adventure 40 India Outbound | March-April 2022 Abhishek Bhuniya for shark-cage diving, with multiple shark cage-diving outfits operating through the town. Enthusiasts can also explore options at Simon’s Town, Mossel Bay, Dyer Island, Seal Island, and Port Elizabeth, among other places,” adds Nkani.
South Africa, apart from its water sports, has a lot to offer to visitors. Animal lovers can experience beautiful safaris, letting them get close to the big five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino — in the heart of Kruger National Park. Apart from the big mammals, tourists can also witness the beauty of smaller creatures. South Africa is also home to endemic and near-endemic bird species such as the orange-breasted sunbird. The country also has a lot to offer to tourists who love to experience a vibrant culture and delectable food. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are few of the iconic cities in the country and are well equipped with bars, restaurants and hotels to host night dwellers and party-lovers.
Kayaking in Antarctica
For those who can literally travel to the end of the world for adventure, Antarctica it is and that too kayaking in the seventh continent. The most exciting part about Kayaking in this part of the world is that the waterways around the Antarctica are very secluded. This provides the perfect conditions for sea kayaking. The glassy surface of the sea, clear waters, wildlife swimming under and the view of icebergs from up close, all these provide a unique experience to the tourists. The sheer white and the serenity away from the bustling crowds of the cities provides a certain level of calm. The best time for kayaking in the continent is during the Antarctica summers or winter in the northern hemisphere.
Apart from kayaking the continent has a lot to offer to the tourists. Antarctica is also known for the fauna it has to offer. Penguins, the beautiful flightless birds are found here in abundance, apart from that, the Ross Sea, the Southernmost Sea on the earth is filled with magnificent views and whales. For tourists who like to camp in the wild away from civilisation, Antarctica offers the perfect place for them.
These activities are the reason that the continent, despite being one of the most secluded places on earth, hosted 74,401 tourists between October 2019 and April 2020, according to data from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, the international agency responsible for conducting tours in the continent.
Swimming with Dolphins in Australia
Swimming itself is quite refreshing but adding dolphins to your pool raises the bar of fun to another high. Dolphinariums all across the world offer tourists to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. People can swim with friendly creatures and interact with them. They can also offer pats, rub, kisses and handshakes to the creatures. But, Australia is one of the few places in the world which offer tourists the opportunity to experience the swim in the open oceans.
In Australia, Port Stephens is one of the top locations to experience swimming with dolphins. Most swim-with-dolphins involve floating in the waters and waiting India Outbound | March-April 2022 41 for the dolphins to arrive. However, here the swimmers are pulled slowly alongside the dolphins. The swimmers are attached to harnesses and clipped to a tow rope between the twin bows of a catamaran. As the dolphins move, playfully in the water, the swimmers also interact with them. The tourists can experience the swim from October 1 to April 30, starting from 7 am till 11 am.
Australia is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean and is blessed with dense fauna. The country is also known as the land of kangaroos. It also offers stunning sceneries and a plethora of marine and fun activities. Millions of tourists every year visit the country to enjoy unimaginable vistas, surf in the ocean and revel on untouched islands.
Australia enjoys the reputation of being among the few countries in the world to be surrounded by water, and water-based sports and activities feature heavily in the Australian way of life. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It remains at the top of travellers’ bucket lists and can often be a key motivator for travellers who want to explore the depths of the Coral Sea through guided dives and snorkelling excursions,” Nishant Kashikar, country manager- India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, tells India Outbound.
“Australia welcomed 9.5 million international visitors in year ending December 2019. In the time preceding the pandemic, India was registered as the fastest growing market for Tourism Australia for three consecutive years, from 2017 to 2019. We also recorded double-digit growth in arrivals and spending for six consecutive years, between 2014 and 2019. And for the year ended December 2019, Indian visitors spent a total of USD 1.8 billion on their Australian trips. Furthermore, we were also able to achieve approximately 400,000 visitor arrivals during the calendar year 2019 and thus, we believe India will be in the league of 1 million visitor arrivals market over the next decade,” adds Kashikar.
Apart from water sports, Australia is also looking to capture other niches for tourism. In the post-Covid era, social distancing and seclusion from crowds will play a big role. “The best benefit Australia offers travellers is that it has something for everyone be it families travelling together, couples, a group of friends given the wide diversity of experiences it offers. In the post-Covid world, travellers are likely to seek out experiences in the open wilderness and nature and experiences that provide provisions for social distancing and seclusion will also gain prominence, for which Australia provides ample choices. We are also looking at promoting experiences that prioritize sustainability and local and indigenous cultures and communities,” says Kashikar.
Flyboarding in Spain
Flyboarding is one of the extreme water sports. In the sport, the players use a flyboard, which acts as a personal watercraft fitted with a water jetpack or hoverboard. The rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to watercraft. Water is forced under immense pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles providing the thrust to lift the rider in the air or dive headlong through water.
Spain is one of the best locations in the world to experience the sport. Costa Blanca, a 200 km-long Mediterranean coastline, and especially the town of Déniais one of the top locations to enjoy the sport. It can be learnt within a few minutes. Tourists can rent flyboards and enjoy floating above water with their friends and enjoy the day. Costa Blanca is also a popular holiday among tourists from the UK. The city of Dénia also offers courses, museums and galleries. Travellers who like art also flock to the city as it has a unique collection of Spanish art. The best time to do the sport is during the months of June to September and October to May.
Apart from being one of the hotspots for water sports, Spain is a central hub for those seeking museums and tranquil historic spots. People who love to eat, Madrid, the capital of Spain is littered with restaurants serving different cuisines. Tourists who love nightlife can also enjoy the bars and clubs which are open till dawn.
The city also offers live music with DJs and local bands performing their sets. Very few countries offer solo experiences, however, solo tourists can go on hikes and camp under the stars with picturesque views. Travellers can also enjoy a quaint bird watching experience, as the country, thanks to its geographical location, is the preferred destination for hundreds of species of birds to migrate between Europe and Africa.
Cliff jumping in New Zealand
As the name suggests, cliff diving involves the execution of various types of dives from natural features such as cliffs or other high rocky precipices that overlook a large water body. The sport is done without any safety equipment and is also known as tombstoning. Divers, however, have to be extremely careful while performing their jump.
Divers are taught to extend their arms with palms of their hands with water, the hands enter the water first, and as the diver is moving at a high speed. If a diver jumps from 10 m, the diver strikes the water at a speed of over 50 km/h and with a dive of 30 m, the diver strikes the water at a speed of 87 km/h. These speeds contribute to large forces generated when the diver enters the water, and hence diver’s entry must be as seamless as possible.
There are numerous spots in the country which contain high ground overlooking a waterbody. Little Thailand, a 10-minute drive from Queenstown is a 15-m high jumping spot into Lake Wakatipu. Bulli Point, marking the northern end of Motutere Bay. Divers will jump into Lake Taupō. There are three ledges to leap from up to 7 m, making it a good spot for beginners. Back Beach offers a 5-6 m jump for newbies. The Cove located in Auckland is a small bay breaching the cliffs at the northern end of Red Beach, Whangaparaoa, and is also one of the most renowned high tide jump spots. Tourists can also use a rope to swing set up from an overhanging Pohutukawa, which can also be jumped out of. The best season to enjoy the
sport is during the summer season in the months of December, January and February.
New Zealand has a lot to offer to tourists. The country is blessed with picturesque landscapes from fiery volcanoes, gushing glaciers to pristine lakes, craggy mountain ranges and sun-kissed beaches. Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound in South Island is a breathtaking paradise that allows the tourists to hike and walk amid the serene beauty of cascading glaciers, virgin forests and edgy mountain peaks. The country also offers other sports activities such as kayaking, sailing, yachting and fishing.
Parasailing in Abu Dhabi
Parasailing also known as Parascending or Parakiting is one of the most popular water sports in the world. In parasailing, several people are suspended to a parachute with a harness and a series of ropes while being towed by a boat. The speed of the boat is kept high to make the parachute rise and along with it the participants. The control of the parachute depends on the momentum of the boat and air currents but not on the participants. Parasailing also allows participants to allow the riders to go up to 182-365m.
Abu Dhabi is one of the central hubs of tourism for water sports and leisure. Its tranquil, azure blue seas, lined by tall skyscrapers and some of the most unique modern architectural wonders makes it an idyllic spot for a bird’s eye view that the visitors can enjoy with the Winch Direct Parasailing, which allows you to safely take off and land from onboard a boat. The sports can be enjoyed throughout the entire year.
Abu Dhabi is also home to Yas Island, one of the central tourist attractions in the UAE. The Island is home to Ferrari World, Water World and Warner Bros World. The island is also scattered with various beaches and other sports activities for the tourists to enjoy. Apart from that, tourists who want to enjoy ethnic culture and cuisine can enjoy the many restaurants and bars all across the country. The traditional architecture of mosques, palaces and forts are testament to Abu Dhabi’s culture and heritage. Travellers can also go on desert safaris and enjoy the local fauna. Tourists can also camp under the stars in Jebel Hafit Park and enjoy the vastness and beauty of the night sky.