List of surface water sports

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Windsurfing is a typical surface water sport

The following is a list of surface water sports; these are sports which are performed atop a body of water.

Towed water sports[edit]


Discing (also known as "saucering" in New England) consists of standing on a circular wooden disc and being towed behind the boat in a manner akin to water skiing. The disc (or "saucer") is gripped by the feet and supports the rider by means of spreading his/her weight evenly across the water. It requires good balance, and is difficult to perform at extremely high speeds. Saucer tricks include spinning, jumping, and sharing a disk with one or more partners. Disks vary from 12 inches to 5 feet in diameter. One form of Discing/saucering is for the boat to do circles at fast speed with the discer trying to hold on as long as possible and seeing how far he or she can shoot off upon releasing the rope.


A skurfer

Skurfing is a surface water sport in which the participant is towed on a surfboard, behind a boat, with a ski rope. Skurfing is highly popular in the state of W.A in Australia and in many other places in the world. Skurfing is not a professional sport and has no competitions; it is a freestyle sport with highly individualistic style and form. It may be considered the precursor to wakeboarding.

Towed hydrofoiling[edit]

The hydrofoiler is towed by a powered boat; mechanically the person rides a water kite or paravane hydrofoil. Wake energy is used for some jumping. A wakeboard is used to enter the hydrofoiling. This is a hybrid surface sport as it uses the surface of the water and the under-surface and air.


Two tubers

Tubing, also known as biscuiting, is where a large circular rubber tube is towed behind a boat at fast speeds. The general aim is to hold on as long as possible without falling off due to the boat's sharp turns; more experienced biscuiters also try to jump the boat's wake and become airborne.


Wakeboarding is a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of a body of water. It was developed from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques. The rider is usually towed behind a motorboat; typically at speeds of 18–24 miles per hour depending on the water conditions, board size, rider's weight, and rider's comfort speed. But wakeboarding can also be performed with a variety of media including closed-course cables, winches, PWCs, and ATVs.

Water skiing[edit]

Water skiing

Water skiing is a sport/game and recreational activity and is popular in many countries around the world where appropriate conditions exist - an expanse of water unaffected by wave motion. Rivers, lakes, and sheltered bays are all popular for water skiing.

Standard water skis were originally made of wood but now are usually constructed out of fibreglass-based composites. They are of similar length to downhill snow skis but are somewhat wider. Instead of a rigid binding, they have rubber molded binding, in which the skier's feet are placed. Skiers are pulled along by a rope with a handle fitted at one end and attached to a powerboat at the other.

Board sports[edit]


A bodyboarder

A bodyboard is an instrument of wave riding consisting of a small roughly rectangular piece of foam, shaped to a hydrodynamic form. The bodyboard is ridden predominantly lying down, (or 'prone'). It can also be ridden in a half-standing stance (known as 'dropknee') or can even be ridden standing up.

A kitesurfer

Kite surfing[edit]

Kite surfing, also known as kitesurfing and kiteboarding, and sometimes as flysurfing, involves using a power kite to pull a small surfboard, or wakeboard (on water), a wheeled board on land, or a snowkiting.

A surfer in Oahu, Hawaii


Paddleboarding is an activity in which a person paddles a long streamlined surfboard with their hands. This is done while laying or kneeling on the board. Padleboards are raced throughout the world.


A surfer performing a late drop at a Mavericks (location)in 2010.

Surfing is a recreational activity in which individuals paddle into a wave on a surfboard, jump to their feet, and are propelled across the water by the force of the wave. Surfing's appeal probably derives from an unusual confluence of elements: adrenaline, skill, and high paced maneuvering are set against a naturally unpredictable backdrop—an organic environment that is, by turns, graceful and serene, violent and formidable.



Skimboarding is a boardsport which involves riding a skimboard either on an outgoing wave, or in shallow water, where instead of going for waves the rider may attempt to ride a rail or do "tech" tricks.


Windsurfing is a sport involving travel over water on a small 2-4.7 metre board powered by wind acting on a single sail. The sail is connected to the board by a flexible joint. The sport is a hybrid between sailing and surfing. The sail board might be considered the most minimalistic version of the modern sailboat, with the major exception that steering is accomplished by the rider tilting the mast and sail or, when planing, carving the board, rather than with a rudder.


Hydrofoil sailing[edit]

This recent development in the high-speed sailing arena has evolved most in the International Moth class of racing dinghy. These boats have a "T" shaped rudder and centreboard that generates sufficient lift to clear the hull from the water. When this happens wetted surface area drops radically and the boats accelerate up to 1.2 to 1.5 times the speed of the prevailing wind. These boats are very light (all up weight is less than 40 kg) and very fast, They hydrofoil in as little as 8 knots (15 km/h) of breeze ("sit on the deck breeze" for most dinghy classes). The top recorded speed is about 50 km/hour, and speeds of 40 km/hour are common in the class.


Bodysurfing in La Jolla, California

Bodysurfing is the art and sport of riding a wave without the assistance of any buoyant device such as a surfboard or bodyboard. Bodysurfers typically equip themselves only with a pair of specialized swimfins that stay on during turbulent conditions and optimize propulsion.

Sea scooters[edit]

This uses a water propeller or sea scooter together with a snorkel kit. The scooters travel at a speed of around 6 to 7 kilometres per hour (3.7 to 4.3 mph), which allows the user to explore more in less time both underwater and along the surface.

See also[edit]