Water Sports to Try This Summer
Jun 13, 2013 01:33AM
● By Erin Frisch
The weather is warm and school’s almost out! That means it’s time for some fun in the sun with your family and friends. What better way to make your summer exciting than by sampling a couple of new activities? Water sports are a great way to get in shape and stay cool on scorching summer days. Here are a few you might like to try.
This sport is great for beginners and can challenge experienced kayakers as well. It’s also a fantastic upper-body workout. New Hampshire boasts many beautiful lakes, and you will find sporting and other shops that offer kayak rentals at reasonable rates. For anyone just starting out, the relatively calm water of a smaller lake is a good choice. There are one- and two-person kayaks available, so if you’re with a child who’s too young to paddle, you can kayak with him and provide the paddle power. For those looking for a little more adventure, head for any of the beaches on New Hampshire’s beautiful coast and rent an ocean kayak. These are a bit wider to keep you steady as your ride through waves and somewhat rougher water. Experienced kayakers with a yen for adventure can take a lesson in white-water kayaking. Heading down the rapids may be the adrenaline rush you’re looking for! But beware—this is a bit more dangerous, since you are strapped into your kayak, making it more difficult to get to safety if you flip over.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (aka SUP)
SUP has been a popular sport in Hawaii for many years, and now it’s gaining popularity nearly everywhere. It can be done on any body of water—oceans, lakes, and rivers. SUP provides an amazing full-body workout and is a great option for those looking for a cross-training workout for the summertime. It’s also a wonderful way to view sea, river, and lake creatures from a whole new perspective. If you’ve never tried SUP before, it’s best to start on the calm water of a smaller lake in a no-wake zone or on a lake where motors aren’t allowed. If you’re having trouble standing up at first, ask a friend to hold the board steady while you kneel on it, then slowly stand. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to paddleboarding on flat water and built up your skills, try a river, then maybe the ocean for a more challenging ride.
It may seem to you like New Hampshire is an unusual place to snorkel—no coral reefs, no Caribbean waters, not many colorful fish. However, Lake Winnipesaukee’s 72 square miles are home to many shipwrecks. You will need a boat to access the snorkeling sites (launch from Wolfeboro), but once you get out there, you won’t be disappointed. The main snorkeling site is a steamboat wreck. The Belknap sank off the north side of Steamboat Island in 1841 in about 15 feet of water, making its remains easy for snorkelers to view. On the east side of Ship Island, you can view the Laker wrecks—three shipwrecks in 10 to 40 feet of water. If you have your own gear, dive in! If not, you can rent gear, get maps, and learn about safety precautions from Dive Winnipesaukee.
If you fancy yourself a thrill seeker or are just looking for a little more excitement, jump in the car and head up to Maine, where you can find white-water rafting for every skill level. The Kennebec River at the “The Forks” starts you off with class II to class IV rapids (class V are the toughest) for about five miles and ends with a relaxing six-mile float down to the take-out point where you can swim and play in the river. The Dead River, also in The Forks, has more continuous white water than any river in the East. This river offers Class III, IV, and V rapids from drop-in to take-out. The Penobscot River is further north near Mt. Katahdin and gets your adrenaline going with Class IV and V rapids with steep drops followed by pools on the lower river where you can surf your boat. There are a number of rafting companies who offer white-water rafting on all three of these rivers, but in some cases you must be over 15 years old. You’ll be provided with experienced rafting guides, lunch on the river, and sites to stay or camp at the night before or after your trip down the river.
So get out there and try something new!