Are you in search of a new summer challenge, or planning an action-packed outdoor holiday? Try out a new watersport, and you may end up hooked for life! Here in Scotland, we’ve got plenty of different options to choose from, spanning the gentle to the extreme to the ever so slighty unusual…
This is a thrilling sport combining skill, windpower, strength and a love for speed. Everyone can learn, whether you’d simply like to fly the kite or if you’d rather attempt some advanced wave jumping. Scotland’s coasts are a mecca for the sport, in particular, the Isle of Tiree. You can learn the basics at Troon in Ayrshire with Kitesurf Scotland.
With some of the best waves in Europe and huge swells from the North Sea and Atlantic, Scotland is blessed with some truly epic surf. Catch waves off the northern coast of Thurso, or learn to pop-up at Belhaven Bay in East Lothian, a safe place to polish your wave-riding skills.
No waves? No problem! If you haven’t already, this summer is the perfect time to wake up to wakeboarding. An activity which involves blasting along the water’s surface behind a speed boat, the wake from the boat is where this exhilarating sport gets its name. Head to Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar or Dundee to try out cable wakeboarding which involves being pulled across the water by an overhead cable, rather than a boat.
4. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
One of the trendiest paddle sports of the moment (even Kim Kardashian West is a fan), this ingenious sport originates from the beaches of Hawaii and is also known as ‘Beach Boy Surfing’. Explore the lengths and breadths of our calm lochs or coasts and take in the views as you go. You can learn to paddle in lots of places in Scotland, including Loch Ken in Dumfries & Galloway with Galloway Activity Centre, or hire a board from Paddle Surf Scotland and go exploring.
Do you know your port from your starboard? If not, learning to sail in Scotland is an idyllic summer activity, with sailing schools offering Royal Yachting Association (RYA) courses across the country. Give it a go at Elie Watersports in Fife or Loch Morlich Watersports in Aviemore.
Since the 1960’s, the stylish combination of surfing and sailing has made windsurfing one of the most popular watersports in the world. Here in Scotland, we play host some of the top freestyle professionals at the Tiree Wave Classic, where the beach becomes a blur of colourful butterfly-like sails. Develop your skills at Loch Insh Watersports, where you can practice with a steady wind.
If you enjoy scrambling, cliff jumping or leaping into waterfalls, chances are you will relish the chance to do some canyoning. Soar over rocky edges into flowing springs and rivers, and feel the invigorating force of the water as you are transported downstream. You can give it a try at Vertical Descents in Fort William.
8. River tubing
One of the many new watersports to make a splash in Scotland is river tubing, an activity guaranteed to give you and your friends a good giggle. Sit inside your river bug, an armchair-like one man raft, and recline down waterfalls and let the rapids take you on an adventure downstream! Try this, and many other exciting watersports, at Nae Limits in Pitlochry, Perthshire.
9. Paddle sports
Discover your paddling prowess with a spot of canoeing or kayaking. There are many watersports to try which involve a boat and a paddle – cascade down waterfalls at high speeds inside a kayak, or simply take in the sights at your own pace inside an open canoe. For kayakers, take in the beautiful beaches and blue waters of Arisaig with Sea Kayak Arisaig. Or why not experience a canoe safari on the iconic waters of Loch Lomond with Hidden Adventures?
10. Swim with basking sharks
It’s one of the ultimate bucket-list experiences, and you can do it in Scotland! Take a guided boat tour from Oban with marine biologists from Basking Shark Scotland. You might come face-to-face with incredible basking sharks in the wild, as these gentle giants explore the waters of the Inner Hebrides. Swim alongside them with a snorkel, or watch from the boat. The basking sharks start to arrive from April onwards and peak season is July – September.
Have you tried a weird or wacky watersport recently? Let us know in the comments below or share your pictures with us on social media. Don’t forget to check out our watersports pages for more information.
Don’t forget, this year is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2021 – the perfect time to try something new!