Best Location in the World for Water Sports

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

The Caribbean is the best location in the world to partake in water sports; the water is warm, gentle breezes waft through the atmosphere, the turquoise star-spangled rippling …  (Jeez, sometimes Charlie waxes poetic). Seriously, take a look at all the watersports options out there. There’s snorkeling – now evolved into Snuba:  a deep snorkel where you breathe air through a tube from a tank at the surface. A couple of Snubas and you’ll probably be so enthralled with the undersea world that you’ll be ready for a SCUBA course, the adult way to explore Neptune’s magic.

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

Water skiing has mostly been relegated to the annals of the 60s. It was once thought of as the ultimate water sport but it has been superseded by Kiteboarding and Flyboarding. Kiteboarding is a thrilling sport to watch and a real rush for the kiteboarder. Charlie thought of taking it up but then remembered when he went snow skiing for the first time. After a few days of lessons, he got the hang of it and after a worrying ride up the mountain in the lift, he took off down the slope at an ever-increasing speed. But there was a problem – he’d never learned how to stop. Tearing down the slope at 40 mph Charlie decided to just fall over. He just missed a jagged rock and finally came to a slithering stop just feet away from a sheer drop… Pheeww!

The challenge of kite boarding could be the same. Charlie has watched many stalwarts whizzing around at amazing speeds, foiling (America’s Cup boats) and sometimes kiting right up to a bar, stabilizing the kite and remaining stationary while drinking a beer and then flying away – with another complimentary beer in hand. Charlie is in awe at this skill level but he has had kitemares: seeing himself doing a jump, having the wind catch the kite and … landing him an hour later some 20 miles away. 

Jet skis are some people’s choice of watersport fun. It takes little skill and can be a nuisance to liveaboard boaters, what with the noise and potential danger to swimmers. Like water skiing it’s one of those ’look-at-me’ activities where showing off is the primary intent and weaving through anchored boats serves this purpose. Some Caribbean destinations have restrictions on jet skis. But away from boats and beaches have at it – it’s a good way to impress your girlfriend riding behind you. 

One of the latest thrills is flyboarding (less than 10 years since its invention). A flyboard rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft. Water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots worn by the flyboarder, with jet nozzles underneath which provide thrust for the rider to fly up in the air and do tricks like backflips, loops, dives and more. Charlie is dying to try it and has bought brown underwear to go with his first attempt. 

Surfing will always be watersport #1. In the winter months Caribbean islands with exposed north shore beaches will often have super wave breaks for surfing. There are no fancy gadgets here, just a board, you and your skill.

Charter boat guests often want a fun time without serious challenges. Paragliding fits the bill here with fabulous panoramic views, as does donut riding (being dragged behind a fast inflatable in an inflated ring and hanging on for dear life as the driver of the boat tries to tip you out by making fast, tight turns. Screams of delight are proof that fun in the sun is happening. 

So, you can see the Caribbean is not just rum and reggae but a whole lot more. Grab the moment and get the adrenaline flowing.

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.