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Water Sports

Water Sports

 

India’s coastline, all of 7000 odd kms, has some very pretty beaches. A few are fairly famous- especially in 'beach bum' paradise, Goa- but there are also dozens of others in lesser known places, big and small. Many of them perfect for water sports. Some are good for swimming and some offer a wider spectrum of facilities, including snorkeling, surfing, kayaking and scuba diving.

States like Goa, Kerala and certain specific resorts, such as Kadmat or Bangaram in the Lakshadweep Islands, have developed infrastructure and these are the places you will find good equipment on hire, and institutions which conduct training courses. Good beaches in more obscure locations exist too, though they may not have too many facilities other than basic accommodation, eating places, and transport. In Rishikesh, one can also go kayaking in Himalayan Rivers.

On the whole, the western coast is more suitable for water sports than the eastern coast, as the waters of the Arabian Sea tend to be calmer than those of the Bay of Bengal.

So pack your swimwear, your snorkel and your suntan lotion- and head for the beach. Go snorkeling and discover the beauty of the underwater world.

 

Water Sports in India

Kayaking

A kayak is a narrow boat that is primarily designed to be driven manually by means of a double blade paddle and kayaking is all about using these kayaks to move across in lake/river or ocean. Kayaking is a wonderful way to experience sailing in water. Keeping in mind some easy safety measures and with a little skill anyone can enjoy this water sport.

Kayaking in India can be taken up as a recreational activity if undertaken on the still waters of a lake or can also be enjoyed as an adventure sport in the rushing waters of rivers or in oceans as well. Recreational kayaking is done in a specially designed kayak that is for a casual paddler which is easier to maneuvers when compared to the kayaks designed for high currents of a gushing river or ocean waters.

Kayaking in high ocean currents require tremendous skills and specialized boats to overcome the water pressure. The kayak used for ocean waters has a larger cockpit and has lesser capacity in terms of speed, weight, direction and feasibility. These are widely used as they are less expensive and can be handled easily in and out of water.

 

Destinations in India for Kayaking

The Ganga and its tributaries like the Kali Ganga, the Indus, the Zanskar, the Teesta and the Rangeet are some of the rivers for kayaking. Other than these you can find many other rivers in northern India like the Sutlej, the Chenab, the Chandrabhaga, the Beas and the Spiti river which are good for kayaking.

You can also take up kayaking in a lake/ocean or any other water body.

 

Best time to go Kayaking

The Himalayan Rivers are inaccessible during winters in India. Rivers like Zanskar are frozen and most of the others are too cold for one to indulge in any water sport. The monsoon months bring heavy rains to the lower reaches of the Himalayas, and melting snows in the mountains result in higher waters in all of the rivers, making it dangerous to negotiate the waters. Only on the Teesta river can one take up kayaking in the winter months, between October and April.

Therefore summers in India are best time to go kayaking. In August and September the water is more manageable and these months are best to go for kayaking, however skilled people can opt early summer months like June or July. Spring in India is also a good time to enjoy kayaking.

 

Tips

Considerable amount of skill and experience is required for higher seas and unpredictable weather

First time kayakers can quickly get the hang of the sport under proper guidance, in the calmer waters

Weather conditions, tides, currents and many other factors must be closely monitored to ensure safety. Therefore choose a reputable, experienced guide

Carefully choose your paddling destination as various kayaking areas have widely varied kayaking conditions. First timers may avoid areas those are subject to high winds and vast expanses of water

Consider taking proper training and gathering an in depth knowledge of equipments and rowing techniques before taking up this adventure sport.

 

Scuba Diving

Go scuba diving - it’s the best way to explore the beautiful azure underwater world in India. The vast coastline stretching thousands of kilometers in India dotted with island groups, finest beaches and fascinating marine life offers great scuba diving opportunities.

Dive in the waters of the Bay of Bengal at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands or in the Arabian Sea at Goa/Lakshadweep Islands and discover the picturesque coral reefs and amazing marine life.

Scuba stands for- Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus and the diver in scuba diving carries the breathing apparatus which gives him flexibility of movement plus lets the diver stay underwater and see underwater sights.

Try going scuba in the crystal clear waters of Indian coasts and shores that will leave you mesmerized. Check out the fascinating underwater marine life, varieties of colorful fish, rare coral reefs and mysterious remains of sunken ships set between the pristine Andaman and Nicobar islands that is the most ideal place for scuba diving in India.

Dive into the deep green and blue waters of Arabian Sea in Goa and be a part of unmatched rich, vivid and amazing marine life plus beautiful coral beds.

 

Destinations in India for Scuba Diving

Andaman and Nicobar islands, Lakshadweep islands, Goa and Karnataka are the perfect destinations for scuba diving in India.

Andaman/Nicobar Islands: Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Carbyn's Cove Tourism Complex, Havelock.

Lakshadweep Islands: Bangaram, Kadmat

There are a number of stunning spots for scuba diving in Goa. Visit Grand Island off the Mormugao Harbour and enjoy some good diving sites as under.

Suzy’s Wreck - Depth: 2-13 meters; Visibility: 4-12 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional rush with negligible current

Sail Rock - Depth: 8-24 meters; Visibility: 6-15 meters; Conditions: Gentle to strong current

Davy Jones Locker - Depth: 11-18 meters; Visibility: 6-15 meters; Conditions: Moderate current

Umma Gumma Reef - Depth: 6-12 meters; Visibility: 6-12 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional and moderate current

Lobster Avenue - Depth: 2-10 meters; Visibility: 6-12 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional rush with negligible current

Shelter Cove - Depth: 2-10 meters; Visibility: 6-12 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional current

The Jetty - Depth: 2-10 meters; Visibility: 6-12 meters; Conditions: Calm with no current

You can also visit Karnataka to enjoy scuba diving at Netrani Island & Bhatkal Wreck. Known sites in Karnataka are:

Grand Central Station - Depth: 6-25 meters; Visibility: 15-20 meters; Conditions: Calm

Jenny’s Aquarium - Depth: 6-15 meters; Visibility: 15-25 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional currents

Dini’s Delight and the Abyss - Depth: 8-35 meters; Visibility: 15-25 meters; Conditions: Calm, occasional current

The Nursery - Depth: 6-10 meters; Visibility: 15-20 meters; Conditions: Calm

 

Best time to go Scuba Diving

Any time of the year is good to go for scuba diving in India depending on the region. India has a variety of climatic conditions in various regions therefore leaving out the monsoon months the oceans off the Indian coastline is good to go scuba diving at any time of the year, however the best time for scuba diving in Goa is from November to April.

 

Tips

Physical fitness comes first for scuba diving

Proper training is imperative where scuba diving. The lessons given by instructors are to be kept in mind and it also gives the diver a chance to learn tasks like neutral buoyancy, underwater flexibility of movement, use of gear and familiarization with safety measures to be taken underwater

Beware of animal stings. Avoid touching underwater animals without your guide’s permission. Touching or playing roughly with the marine life might make them irritated and bear in mind that the really poisonous animals are most of the time very little

Follow the instructions given by you trainer plus try and avoid unnecessarily touching the rocks around because species like rock fish etc look like rocks that might seriously hurt you very fast

While diving you should keep in mind that to remove a coral or damage it is a legal offence in the Marine Park and anyways you should avoid disturbing the natural underwater habitat

Practice diving over sand away from coral before snorkeling. Basically you have to learn controlled floating in order to float away from coral and reef animals in order to avoid damaging or hurting them

Do not try to grab or ride swimming animals in water and avoid obstructing their path. 

 

Snorkeling

If you don’t want to enter the deep realms of the underwater world yet wish to enjoy the colourful coral reefs and beautiful marine life then try snorkeling. India’s stretched coast line is blessed with amazingly beautiful groups of islands and beaches that allow you to get a peek in stunning marine life in the crystal clear waters.

Snorkeling is a sport in which you equip yourself with a diving mast, snorkel (a tube) and swim fins while swimming in the sea. This equipment allows the snorkeler to see the underwater marine life and coral reefs without diving in deep waters and needs relatively less effort than scuba-diving. Snorkeling is basically a less strenuous activity than scuba diving.

The clear blue, green and turquoise waters of Indian coast line present a striking view of the most amazing coral sea beds while snorkeling. Snorkel off the beaches or try the mesmerizing islands of Lakshadweep and Andamans/Nicobar, these islands are paradise for snorkeling in India with absolutely clear waters and a stunning range of marine life.

 

Destinations in India for Snorkelling

Lakshadweep Islands: Bangaram, Kadmat

Visit Lakshadweep as it is known as one of the most scenic snorkeling destinations in India. With an extensive coastline, coral islands and an amazing variety of marine life you will have the best snorkeling experience here.

Andaman/Nicobar Islands: Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Corbyn's Cove Tourism Complex, Havelock. Go to the Andaman Islands to enjoy the underwater marine life and view the rarest varieties of corals.

Goa: You may also snorkel Grand Island in Goa.

Karnataka: Netrani Island

Maharashtra: Explore the underwater world of the Arabian Sea at Konkan and visit the beach in Tarkarli to enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters.

 

Best time to go Snorkelling

Major snorkeling operators in India are Barracuda diving, Lacadives Dive India, Casino Resort at Bangaram Island and Planet Scuba India.

 

Tips

Things to keep in mind while taking up snorkeling are:

Make sure your equipment is of good quality and that you are familiar with it

Be aware of waves, currents and potential hazards such as rocks

Be well hydrated when you enter the water, and use sunscreen

Avoid touching marine life or obstructing their path. Also avoid touching or disturbing coral reefs

Try not to stir up sediment in water

Learn, practice and develop controlled floating ability, so as to float away from coral and reef animals

If you get tired while snorkeling, try to use rest stations or if your legs become tired or if you develop a cramp while snorkeling try flipping over onto your back. This will let you tread water easily while remaining afloat on the surface of the water.

 

Surfing

Ride the waves-go surfing in India. With an enormous stretched coastline exposed to parts of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, India has many spots just right for surfing. Surfing is a sport which basically lets the surfer ride his surfboard on the crest of the sea waves that carry him towards the shore. There are very many surfing spots you could find on the southern tip of India. So gear up and get ready to ride the waves and have the most unforgettable experience.

 

Destinations in India for Surfing

You can go surfing in India at following destinations:

Karnataka: Gokarna, Mangalore (Panambur Beach), Udupi (Kodi Bengre), Mulki

Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Mamallapuram on the east coast

Orissa: Puri, Konark (Marine Drive beach, Balighai Beach

Kerala: Thiruvananthapuram (Varkala)

North Goa

Pondicherry

 

Best time to go Surfing

The best time to go surfing in India is considered to be in the months of September, October and November. The surf at this time can be approximately 8 feet. Few months can make your surf a little blown out with the tropical hurricanes and cyclones which are common between April to June and end-September to December. However it is possible to get perfect surfing conditions during these months particularly early in the morning.

October is basically good for beginners. March till June and August till November is also a good time to go surfing on the West coast of India.

 

Tips

Things to keep in mind while taking up snorkeling are:

Surfboards are designed to float on the water no matter what. They have a natural center of gravity. There is a point on the surf board that balances your body weight. In order to maintain your body weight on the surf board stand with your chin aligned to that particular spot

One should always wear a leash or leg rope tied to their surfboard

Never keep your board between yourself and the coming waves. This will cause collision

If the surf board's nose digs into the water it is called ‘pearling’ and when this happens you must move the location of your chin back in order to avoid falling and maintaining the balance

Don’t put too much weight towards the back of the board as you will lose balance

Wear the safety nose guard for safety measures

Wear a vest, rash guard or a tee shirt to avoid a rash you may get from the waves or surfboard

When you fall off your board remember to grip the back of your head with your hands and keep your wrists over your ears with your elbows together. Stay under water for a moment. This will prevent any facial injury.

 

When to go

All of India’s coastal areas- whether on the mainland or in the islands- lie in the tropical zone. Summers are hot and humid, and monsoons can be depressingly grey; the best time to go snorkelling, therefore, is in the winter. November to April is when the weather’s at its best. It’s warm enough to swim without having to invest in a wet suit, yet cool enough for comfort. Various regions in India have varied climatic conditions therefore it’s better to check the weather forecast before planning to take up a specific water sport.

 

What to bring

Swimwear, suntan lotion, towels- obviously. Equipment such as scuba diving gear, snorkels, surfboards and other such gear can be hired at major resorts such as Bangaram, Kadmat, the Andaman Water Sports Complex, and a number of beaches in Goa and elsewhere. Smaller and less touristy places will invariably not offer equipment for hire, so you would be well advised to bring your own.

 

Precautions

When you go for any type of water sports, be sure there is a life guard at hand, medical facilities and all the other essentials, as it’s wise to take some precautions. Although swimming by itself doesn't require too much skill, other sports will need specific training and a certain degree of physical fitness. Scuba diving, for instance, needs certified training, with rescue training and emergency care being an essential part of the course.

And when you eventually get into the water, keep your eyes open for lurking dangers- octopus, sharks and the like.


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