Indulging in a weekend of water sports at the beach might be just the thing you need, after a year of pandemic-induced stress and anxiety.
2020 might’ve been an unparalleled dumpster-fire for us all, but a water-sport vacation at your favorite beach might be the perfect way to reacquaint yourself with nature and the great outdoors!
Moreover, a beach vacation full of thrilling water games will allow you to spend a few exciting, adventurous, and memorable days with your friends, family, and loved ones. After almost a year of forced confinement, this social bonding time might be just what you need to get over your pandemic blues and regain a sense of normalcy and wellbeing.
Unless you’re an experienced water-sport veteran, however, you might be wondering how, exactly, you should pack for such a vacation. What you throw into that suitcase will have a profound impact on the quality of your vacation. This is because the right water-sport equipment will help keep you safe and comfortable while you’re riding the waves at the beach.
How to Pack for Water Sports at the Beach?
The first thing you need to do, when packing for a water-sport vacation at the beach, is make a checklist of all the essential items you will need to take with you. This will keep you from forgetting anything important and help streamline the overall packing process.
Listed below are some of the water sport essentials that you should definitely throw into the suitcase before heading out to the shore.
1. Sun Protection
None of us can imagine going to the beach without an adequate supply of high-quality sunscreen. However, we all know that water sports can be quite addictive. You will probably be spending long hours windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking while on holiday.
The problem is that the cool winds and ocean waters might keep you from feeling the effects of the sun to the fullest. But with the sunlight reflecting off the water, those effects will be magnified, which means that you can still get sunburnt or even have a heatstroke, if you’re not careful.
This is why it is so important to pack durable sunglasses, hats, and waterproof sun cream for your water-sport vacation. And if you want to be environmentally conscious, you might even consider opting for a reef-safe sunscreen, which does not contain harmful chemicals like octinoxate and oxybenzone that cause coral bleaching and damage aquatic ecosystems.
Experienced water-sport enthusiasts recommend wearing a well-fitted, neoprene wetsuit when snorkeling, diving, or surfing, particularly if the weather is a bit chilly. High-quality wetsuits have insulating properties that will help keep you warm and comfortable, even after spending hours frolicking in the water.
This is important because water absorbs body heat several times faster than air. Hence, packing a wetsuit is an easy way of ensuring that you can stay in the water for as long as you want, without the fear of catching a cold. Depending on your destination, you can opt for a heavy, two-piece wetsuit, an ultra-thin tropical wetsuit, or a zippered surfer wetsuit.
3. Buoyancy Aid
A buoyancy aid, also known as a personal floatation device (PFD), is an essential safety item that you must carry when partaking in water sports. Buoyancy aids can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. There are different types of PFDs that you can choose for various sports like canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
A well-fitted buoyancy aid will keep you from drowning, if you happen to fall into the water while participating in any of the above-mentioned activities. When choosing a PFD, you should ensure that it has the proper amount of buoyancy for your weight category. You can test this by entering shallow waters, to check if the PFD keeps you properly buoyant.
4. Inflatable Board
Surfing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding are some of the most popular board-based water sports that you can try at the beach. In order to partake in these activities, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality inflatable board that is both durable and easy to store. Paddleboards.com has a blog about a guide in buying your paddleboard, you can check it out.
Inflatable boards are known to be more stable, portable, and offer better performance than the hard fiberglass ones. Depending on the sport, you might also have to purchase an adjustable paddle to go with your inflatable board. Ideally, you should choose a board made from durable, military-grade materials, which is not vulnerable to scratches, dents, and abrasions.
5. Waterproof Camera
A beach vacation is incomplete without a reliable, waterproof camera, which can be used to immortalize your precious underwater adventures! Scuba diving and snorkeling are some of the popular water sports for which a waterproof camera is a must.
But you should try to pack one regardless of which sport you plan to partake in, because the risk of dropping your camera into the water is ever-present at the beach, even if you never go underwater yourself. If you really want to go all in, you could even splurge on a digital camera that offers high-quality underwater sound for your scuba-diving videos.
6. Ankle Leash
If you’re planning to partake in board-based water sports such as stand-up paddleboarding or surfing, then you should definitely pack a flexible, strong, and comfortable ankle leash. These coiled leashes usually come with a neoprene-padded ankle attachment, a key pocket, and a quick-release cuff. Some leashes can also be attached to the calf or the waist.
An ankle leash will keep you tethered to your board even if you happen to lose your balance and fall into the water. This will prevent the board from floating too far away from you. Using the leash, you’ll be able to reach your inflatable board and climb onto it once again, without any major hassles.
Having Fun at the Beach
Some of the other things that you might want to bring to the beach include an umbrella, a pair of binoculars, a pack of facial cleansing wipes, a beach bag, and a bottle of bug spray. You can use the Internet to find a list of the best public beaches near you, as well as to know which ones are suitable for various types of water sports.