Water sport is the new IN thing and the industry has enjoyed a titanic jump in popularity over the past few years (see what I did there?). In a study from 2015, 12.4 million people in the UK participated in a water sports activity – this number has surely increased since. It’s no surprise really; many babies swim before they can walk.
In recent years, scientists have made advancements into the study of water on human perception. They believe we have something called ‘blue mind’. According to prominent marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, this is a “Mildly meditative state characterised by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness” and it’s only produced when we’re sitting poolside (it’s the perfect reason to book a hot summer holiday). Another theory, supported by neuroscientist Michael Crawford, suggests we’re inbuilt to enjoy water because it was imperative to the survival of our ancestors. Bodies of water meant sustenance; they were literally life-saving. He concludes our evolutionary instincts cause us to continually seek out the refuge of rivers and oceans.
As well as our inherent inclination to swim, surf and splash, water sports activities are both fun and frightening; this enticing mix appeals to our wild sides! Activities such as white water rafting, jet-skiing and scuba-diving hit us with a super shot of adrenaline – we become invincible in the face of ferocious waves and unexplored underwater landscapes.
As it’s World Water Day, and in honour of our amphibious attributes, we’re bringing you our very best aquatic experiences.
If you’re looking for some marine family fun, visit one of our top UK aquaparks. Each venue boasts a host of bouncy obstacles and inflatable courses; jump on giant trampolines, soar down slides, tackle testing climbs and overcome daring drops! It’s basically a chance to channel your inner Ninja Warrior. Now that’s what freedom tastes like.
Powerboating is an extreme way to see some of the UK’s most iconic landmarks in record time – it beats getting lost around winding city streets. Our Thames Rockets experience shows off the capital from a unique perspective; bounce along the river while absorbing the phenomenal sights and enjoy interesting stories from the vessel’s knowledgeable skipper. It’s a curious mix of history and 007 drama.
Flyboarding and water jet biking are the water sports of superheroes. Invented by jet ski world champion Franky Zapata (what a name), the machines look like something out of a space age action film. Powerful jet streams propel participants high up in the air, allowing for awe-inspiring views of the beautiful surrounding areas. A full safety briefing is carried out by expert professionals beforehand, so there’s no need to be frightened of the futuristic equipment.
Surfing dates back to 1778, where the first account was given by Captain James Cook. On visiting Hawaii, he witnessed a man using a crude board to battle the waves and concluded “This man had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and so smoothly by the sea”. His sentiment is shared by many now, with surfing being regarded as the king of all water sports! It takes a huge amount of courage (after all, the highest wave ever recorded was 1738 feet – 500 feet taller than the Empire State Building) and plenty of practise to stay upright.
Our exciting Learn to Surf Day for Two teaches the basics of surfing etiquette. In the lesson, cover safety, paddling techniques, catching waves, board steering, standing up (the hard bit), wave selection and rights of way. Once finished, head to the ocean to conquer the elements!
There’s no better way to bond than on a raft hurtling towards terrifying twists, drops and eddies on a former Olympic canoeing course (don’t pretend there is). Conquer the phenomenal course, in groups of nine, on a custom-built raft; with plenty of breath-taking drops, sharp corners and all-encompassing waves, it’s not for the faint-hearted!
These are just a few of our favourite experiences but we have plenty more aquatic adrenaline adventures available to browse. As it’s the year to #LiveALittle, we encourage everybody to choose their favourite and jump right in! You never know, you could be the next Laird Hamilton or Herbert Nitsch.