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 snorkelling, 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!
Kayaking is a sport that can be enjoyed swooshing down a fast running river or paddling in the ocean that hugs the vast coastline of India. Strap yourself up in your kayak, haul on your helmet and protective gear and get set to have the time of your life as you skillfully negotiate the gushing waters.
Scuba diving in the swirling oceans along the coastline whether it is the Arabian Sea or Bay of Bengal gives you a perspective of another kind. Explore coral reefs, marvel at the colourful marine life and underwater world and go where not many choose to go - discover another wonderful world under the water!
Its fun and its easy and no, you do not have to dive to the bottom of the ocean to view the most amazing marine life! Go snorkelling with the fish and marvel at the incredible variety of marine life. It’s a whole new world under the water - so get ready to view the most exotic coral reefs and fish in all colours of the rainbow in amazingly crystal clear waters!
Surfing is an exhilarating sport and it is not as easy as it looks! Get your high by riding the waves, feel the spray on your face as you skim the waters and conquer the breakers. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a surfboard and head into the waves to have the most invigorating time of your life. We promise once you start you will get hooked!
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 its 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.
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.