If you own a boat, you probably want to venture into some fun water sports so you can enjoy your boat in a whole new way than sailing and hanging out. Many water sports involve a rider that’s towed behind a motorized boat with a tow rope and a board or tube. The goal of these fun sports is for the rider to cruise in the waters behind the boat. So, if you’re looking to go fast and get wet, there’s no shortage of fun you can try with a boat!
Most sports you can enjoy with a boat share the same equipment – they all need a rope. The type of activity that you can do depends on several factors, such as your age, your health, your motor skills, and your ability to heal. These factors jive with the hierarchy of watersports, which begins with tubing then advancing to more extreme sports. Here are some types of water-based adventure sports you can enjoy if you have a boat:
Tubing is a great watersport to start with, and it’s the perfect sport to get your kids introduced to towed sports. Tubing behind a boat requires a specially-designed, towable tube, which is usually made of an inflatable PVC tube wrapped with a durable nylon covering that allows the tube to glide over the water easily. The tow rope directly connects to the tube, so riders don’t need to hold a handle. They can launch over the boat wake or glide along leisurely.
Kids as young as three to four can ride in tubes, but wearing PFDs, of course. Make sure kids are under adult supervision, and they must be in the back there with them. There are even tubes with two, three, or four riders so parents can ride with their little ones. There are also towable banana tubes that even six people can ride together.
Kneeboarding is an entry-level activity to boating sports. The rider gets positioned on the knees in a molded pad secured to the top of the board. The rider grips a handle connected to the boat with a rope, and it can cruise along the water. Kneeboarding needs more skill than tubing because the rider needs to do a deep-water start while holding the handle in the rope. Then, the rider has to strap in once he or she is up on the plane. It’s fun, but it can be hard on the ligaments and tendons in the knees, making it suitable only for the youth and young adults who have supple knees and good back muscles.
This sport has been enhanced greatly by modern watersports boats, which create sloped, nice wake great for big-air maneuvers. It’s better to stretch your back muscles and get active before trying this out because back muscles you may not have felt before will likely to be sore the next day.
Wakeboarding is a more advanced water sport – it requires a specialized board where you need to wear boots or wakeboard bindings. The rider begins in the water with the feet in the boots, and they must rise up as the boat accelerates to turn the board into a cruising position. Once you get the hang of it, you can criss-cross the wake and learn different jumps, tricks, and grabs.
The deep-water start in wakeboarding is usually the biggest hurdle for those who want to try out the sport. You just need to put the board in front of you, then stay crouched. Pop on the plane and fins under the board, and turn it as you rise on the plane. This sport takes a few minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. The number of tricks you can learn will boggle your mind.
4. Wake surfing
Derived from wakeboarding, wake surfing is a popular sport that needs a small surfboard and a big wake. The rider starts behind the boat holding a tow rope, and then they surf the wake until they can let go of the rope and let the wake freely on the board. Boats suitable for wake surfing are often equipped with built-in water-ballast tanks and large tabs on the transom to create big wakes and big hollows for the surfer artificially.
Deep-water starts in wake surfing takes more skill than wakeboarding since the board has no bindings. But most wake surfers started wakeboarding, so wake surfing becomes pretty easy for them.
The first towed sport that has become an industry unto itself is waterskiing, which spawned off the sports like wakeboarding, wake surfing, and even tubing and kneeboarding. It all started behind a boat with a man that had two ski boards strapped to his feet. As with any water sport, the hardest part of waterskiing is the deep-water start. The important thing is to let the boat do the work. Trying to stand so quickly will make things difficult than it needs to be. Stay in a crouched position until you’re up on the ski, then straighten your legs.
With kids, it’s best to start with skis tied together with a nylon rope. This will keep their legs together, so they won’t end up doing a split as soon as they got on the plane. Even adults that are first learning to ski will feel like they’re being split from the groin up, as waterskiing on two skis will work muscle groups in your back and legs that don’t normally get stressed.
6. Slalom skiing
As soon as you learn how to ski on two skis, you probably want to try skiing on one slalom ski next. It’s way more fun, even if it takes great skill. Carving back and forth across the wake of the boat is demanding to the body, and it’s considered one of the more extreme sports. Most people who start slalom skiing begin by doing a deep-water start on two skis, then dropping one.
If you got a powerful enough boat, you want to do deep-water starts on one ski. It can be tough to keep the ski straight, and the line taught and not pulled over to one side or the other when starting. A ski rope with a deep V will help with deep-water starts.
7. Barefoot skiing
If you’re a hardcore watersports player, you might want to try barefoot skiing. Skiing without skis underfoot introduces a whole new dynamic to watersports. It’s best not to try to learn to ski barefoot by yourself since the boat speeds are higher and the face plants are more severe. If you want to try this sport, it’s best to attend a class first and get a pro instructor rather than try to perfect your mistakes.
Barefoot skiing requires the skier to travel at higher speeds than conventional water skiing. The needed speed needed to keep the skier upright varies by their weight.