With one of the longest coastlines in the world and over 7,100 islands, Philippines has plenty of water. And where there’s water, there are water sports!
Whether you’re just looking for recreational activities to spend time with friends and family or looking for fresh ways to get fit, here are seven water sports you can try in Central Luzon.
Kayaking is an underrated water sport. So underrated that some people don’t even know that it’s a water sport! Kayaking is often mistaken as just a hobby or a fun way to explore a lake.
If you haven’t tried any water sports in your life, try kayaking first. In a lake. It’s the most beginner-friendly sport since you get to set your own pace which allows you to become more familiar with the water.
Once you get the hang of it, you can upgrade from a noob to a badass by hitting the rapids! Seasoned riders travel to different parts of the Philippines, such as Apayao and Cagayan de Oro, just to test their skills in two of the harshest rivers in the country
People trying to get their “laboracay body” can kayak to improve different muscle groups of their upper body. The sport targets your back, arms, shoulders, and more importantly, the ab muscles. Your cardio will also improve since paddling gives your heart and lungs a hell of a workout.
Kayaking can also be a fun activity for friends. A 2-person kayak or “tandem kayak” requires coordination with your buddy since you both have to be in the same rhythm. Usually, the person in front sets the pace and the person at the back copies the paddling speed of the person in front of him.
Want to get started? Make sure you wear appropriate clothes such as a rash guard and clothing that’s quick to dry. And since you’ll be under the sun most of the time, wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen is a must.
Availability shouldn’t be a problem since most beach resorts have a kayak or two. Renting a kayak typically costs between ₱200- ₱300 an hour.
While surfing has been around for years, its popularity seems to have caught a big wave recently based on all surf-related posts almost everyone sees on their Facebook feed.
People often flock to Baler or San Juan in La Union for their surfing fix. But if you’re just getting started, you should definitely check out Crystal Beach in Zambales. The province is just 2 to 3 hours away from Manila, making it perfect for people who are short on time.
Like other water sports, surfing improves your cardiovascular fitness since it requires a lot of paddling when you’re trying to catch a wave. Once you’re up standing on your board, strong legs, and a strong core will keep you up.
Surfing is something that can become addicting since it requires little investment. Unlike other water sports such as kayaking and jet skiing, all you need to surf is a board and a beach with surf-friendly waves.
Most don’t stay long on their boards on their first attempt. But once you’ve started to balance yourself well, you’ll start to enjoy the smooth ride of the wave. Next thing you know, you’re on your way to the beach the following weekend.
Surfing lessons range from ₱350 to ₱400 depending on your haggling skills. The fee includes the board itself so it’s a pretty good deal. Once you know the basics, you can try learning on your own and rent a board for about ₱200 an hour.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP is like a combination of surfing and kayaking. You stand on a slightly bigger board than a surfboard (stand up paddle board) and paddle to move around. The sport is mostly done in calm water conditions, usually lakes. But some beaches in the country like in Subic are calm enough to allow stand up paddleboarding.
People looking for a full-body workout while they’re on the beach should definitely try SUP. It can improve your core strength, cardio fitness, balance, and flexibility without putting too much stress on any of your joints, which makes it perfect for people of all ages!
And just like kayaking, it’s a very peaceful sport. You don’t need to move fast nor do you need huge waves to fully enjoy it.
At first, it may seem easy but don’t be deceived. I recommend kneeling on the board first and then try to balance yourself. Slowly stand up and try to be as nimble as a cat to avoid wobbling all over the place.
Also, instead of looking down at the board or water, look straight up while you’re standing on the board. Try to dip the whole fin of the paddle before you pull the paddle to your body to move forward. Looking down at the board or water will only distract you since you’ll see the board wobble.
The sport is fairly new so while there aren’t a lot of places that provide SUP equipment yet, there is a growing number of resorts starting to offer it. It’s time to head out there and be the first among your peers to master SUP! Who knows, you could be the Luke Landrigan of SUP!
Jet skiing has been the main water sport for most beach resorts in the country. It might look intimidating at first but it’s quite simple if you have the time and patience.
Accelerating is pretty important as it’s required with every turn that you take on a jet ski. However, I recommend taking it slowly to get a feel of its sensitivity. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to adapt to certain situations where you’ll need to either go fast or slow down.
One common mistake that most people do is they stay seated when they jet ski. While this is advisable for a more comfortable ride, there will be times when you’ll need to stand up while throttling. If you’re sitting down and you hit rocky water, you’ll be thrown off your seat and over the handlebar. By standing up, you’ll be able to absorb the impact and stay on the jet ski.
While speeding in the water is cool and fun, you should always remember to be aware of your surroundings. Try to see what’s ahead of you and make sure that there are no obstacles. No one wants to end up destroying a ₱270,000 water vessel and worse, getting badly injured.
If it’s your first time on a jet ski, I recommend taking it slow the entire time. If you’re not used to fast rides, the jet ski can be a bit extreme to some. If you’re riding in open water without any types of obstacles around aside from sharks and feet-snapping turtles in the sea, you should be fine.
A 20-minute ride will cost you between ₱2,500 to ₱4,500. While it may seem expensive, the money spent is worth it if you want to do something in the water that’ll get your adrenaline pumping.
Wakeboarding is one of the three water sports (SUP and Jet Skiing) that can be done in a closed area such as a lake or lagoon.
The sport is popular among Filipinos because…
There are only a couple of wakeboarding parks in the country. All of them use cables instead of boats to pull the rider through the water.
Since the sport requires a great sense of balance, you’ll probably wipe out on your first few tries. But once you get the hang of it, the thrill of wakeboarding kicks in as you fly around the lake.
Once you’re able to stay on the board, your confidence will increase and you’ll want to move on and attempt to jump off one of the ramps.
Less adventurous people can still try wakeboarding by kneeling on the board instead of standing up. I’d personally recommend kneeling first to get a feel of what it’s like to be on a wakeboard, to know how fast the cable pulls a rider, and to also know the current condition of the water in the lake.
Whichever position you choose on your first wakeboard ride, trying it will leave a huge smile on your face. The sport looks cool, fun, the ladies dig it, and it’s something that you can do in just a couple of hours. What’s not to love?
Parasailing may sound scary but it’s actually a very peaceful experience. Take-offs and landings are very slow and gentle, making it feel as if you’re floating in the air.
A lot of people get nervous because they think they have to hold on for their dear life, but it’s one of the safest water sports. All you need to do is sit and enjoy the ride. Unless the harness is made out of paper, you should be good.
In other countries, you can parasail at altitudes as high as 1,000 meters. But in the Philippines, it’s usually only about 350 meters.
The experience while you’re up there is quite relaxing. Some parasailing services even include attach a picnic basket while you’re up in the air.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sip of wine with your loved one while watching the sunset from 350 meters above the sea?
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales
Have you ever wondered how it would feel like to be Iron Man? For ₱4,500, you can be the superhero for 20 minutes minus being a billionaire playboy and owning an Audi R8.
Unlike other board sports, flyboarding does not rely on the board itself. Instead, a platform (or “flyboard deck” in flyboarding lingo) with bindings is attached to your feet. A hose is then connected to a jet ski, which supplies the water that comes out of the deck’s nozzles. This allows the rider to shoot up in the air over 30 feet (over 9 meters) above the water.
Controlling the flyboard would be impossible without the smaller nozzles that are connected to both of your arms. This helps you stabilize or move around just like Iron Man.
Before flyboarding, an orientation will be given which introduces the sport and the do’s and don’ts when you’re in the water.
Expect a lot of wipeouts on your first couple of tries as balancing yourself might take some time. The fundamentals of other water sports such as surfing and wakeboarding don’t apply to flyboarding. No wave is going to push you to the shore nor will a cable machine pull you to get around. You’ll need to rely on your own balancing skills to move around and hope that the operator keeps on throttling the jet ski to give you the thrust needed to stay above the water.
Flyboarding does share one thing with other water sports: you’ll get stoked once you try it!
Networx JetsportsWaterfront Rd., Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City