Taking Water Sports to a New Level
Water sports are one of the most exciting ways to spend time in the water. They challenge our balance, strength and stamina while also being a fun way to pass the time. Not to let things settle there, here are some pioneers who have taken certain water sports to another level to create new sports.
45-year old American Garrett McNamara has been at the forefront of pushing surfing to extreme levels. He was the man who surfed the world’s biggest wave in 2011 and in 2007 he also found a new way to get surfing thrills: glacier surfing. The daredevil spoke to CNN about his experience. “I was up to my neck in water, looking up at this 90-meter tall glacier, waiting for the ice to break off and hoping that it’ll fall straight into the water – because if it falls flat you’ll be squashed.” Luckily for the surfer the ice did fall straight and he rode the wave. The sport is not for the lighthearted or those with little patience. McNamara had to wait for a week, in the freezing water, at the glacier waiting for it to fall.
Underwater rugby was invented in Germany in 1961 and has developed a cult following. The rules are very similar to rugby, it is a full contact sport and the goal is to get the ball to the opposite end of the swimming pool. One big difference from regular rugby is that the ball may be passed in any direction as long as it does not leave the water. CMAS inform that the ball is filled with salt water and that “the idea is to keep possession of the ball and outwit your opponents by using skill, speed, manoeuvrability and breath hold.” The game is a truly 3D sport where players can use the width and depth of the pool to their advantage. The game takes place below the waterline and any use of the ball above the water is a foul.
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and seems an unlikely choice to adapt for the water. However the Piper Kayak Centre in Rose Bay, New South Wales has come up with a paddleboard version. Lance O’Conner explained the sport to Live Here Double Bay: “you can kick it [the ball], hit it with your paddle, anything that works. If it comes on board you can hold it between your legs, just get it in the goal.” Soccer is a popular sport that has been adapted several times to allow more people to play. Another example was in the UK with Walking Soccer. The sport was designed to allow people with injuries and the older generation to play a gentler version of the game. It was endorsed by soccer professionals such as Harry Kane who Champions League insights website Betfair believes to be the perfect person to promote the sport due to him being England’s No.9 and one of the Premier League’s deadliest strikers. Just like SUP Soccer, Walking Soccer is a fun alternative to the original game that has a whole host of benefits, focusing on different demographics to encourage participation.
As you can see there is a lot more to water sports than getting on a board and catching a wave. There is always something new to be done on the water (although we don’t recommend finding the nearest glacier to surf).