Water sports are generally seen as a luxury pursuit reserved for coastal holidays, but water sports centres have begun to pop up all over the UK -everywhere from Belfast to Dundee. Despite their perilous nature, they have continued to grow in popularity across the globe. If you are looking to get yourself into some hot water that doesn’t involve installing a new shower pump, we have the low-down on some of the most enthralling yet undeniably dangerous water sports out there.
The UK is actually the home of cave diving. The Cave Diving Group was established in 1935 to explore the underwater chambers of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, and today, it is one of the world’s most dangerous sports. Fatalities for cave diving hover around the 1 in few hundred mark every year. Comparatively, for recreational diving, the figure is closer to 1 in 15,000 every year – a stark difference. In spite of this, cave diving is a surreal experience, allowing you to explore previously unexplored chambers and caverns. Cave divers have been known to describe the experience as the closest thing to being in space – high praise indeed.
Jet skiing is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of water sports. Because of this, people often assume it is completely safe. That is far from the case – fatal accidents number in the hundreds every year. Travelling at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour stood up on a jet ski with the wind whizzing through your hair is nevertheless an invigorating way to explore huge expanses of water. The experience can however be tailored to your needs and desires – you can take a tour of a chain of islands sitting on the back of a jet ski with a veteran tour guide at the helm if you’d prefer.
At odds with the stereotypical cool of surfers, surfing can be a massively perilous pursuit. Riptides sweeping surfers out from the coast is an all too frequent occurrence – riptides claim the lives of 21 Australians every year. Not only do surfers have to watch out for the water itself, they also have to be wary of the marine life that lurks beneath. Everything from jellyfish to sharks can be deadly.
White Water Rafting
Navigating the twists and turns of rapids with family or friends is an exhilarating rollercoaster ride that will bring you closer together. Collisions with rocks will invariably send members of the crew flying over the edge of the raft into surging water – making them reliant on you to hurl them back to safety. Hurtling down a fast moving body of water lying on your back can also be part of the white water rafting experience so don’t say I didn’t warn you. It is safe to say that white water rafting isn’t for the faint of heart but it is undoubtedly an adrenaline fuelled experience like no other.
Feeling encouraged or deterred to try water sports? Probably a bit of both, right? Which sport is first on your list?