Family Fun - Getting wet on the Costa del Sol
The Mediterranean Sea. It’s right there on your doorstep. You might have views of it from your sunshine home. You might live within walking distance of it. You might even venture into it from time to time. But there is no escaping it (not that you would want to). Wherever you turn on the Costa del Sol the deep blue waters of the Med are never far from the eye. It is a calming constant on the Coast, every second gently kissing the miles of sandy shoreline so popular with holidaymakers and locals alike. It’s a wonder to step into – particularly on those sweltering summer days – and nothing beats a nice dip in the sea to cool off. Its waters are the playground for seasoned swimmers, cavorting couples, frolicking children and all manner of smoothly bobbing pleasure boats.
Its waters are also where the more daredevilish like to don wetsuits and head on out into the surf to challenge ourselves and the waves to a spot of sporting fun. As if we as a race don’t torment the poor fish enough, we’ve made the sea into our own aquatic sports arena with a wide variety of watersports to make the sea a noisy and tumultuous home for the put-upon creatures that live in its waters. Some sports are loud and fast, others more calming and serene, and watersports can be a great way of making the most of a day at the beach.
Jet-skiing: The daddy of all watersports and the one that garnered the worst reputation in the past thanks to inconsiderate skiers zooming too quickly and closely to fishermen and bathers. However, here on the Costa del Sol, designated and clearly marked nautical zones are situated away from the normal nearer-to-shore activity, so jet-skiers can enjoy skimming across the water to their heart's content without disturbing swimmers or sunbathers. A high-octane and thrilling way to spend a few hours.
Kite-surfing: This one requires a windy day and a good deal of upper-body strength. For the uninitiated, the surfer straps onto a special shortened surfboard and is attached to a large windsail by a harness. Using pulleys in each hand to control the direction of the kite, the surfer can whizz across the surface of the water, occasionally executing spectacular flips and somersaults. This activity is massively popular in the windy little seaside town of Tarifa (around a 90-minute drive from Marbella) and makes for a colourful aerial display when the waters are full of surfers and their high-flying kites.
Kayaking: Rent a kayak for a few hours and spend a leisurely morning exploring the coastline from the water. An incredibly peaceful way to enjoy the sea.
Scuba-diving: Okay, so we know that the waters of the Mediterranean aren’t as perfectly crystal clear as those of the Caribbean, but there are still plenty of great diving areas along the coast. Swim with a wide variety of fish in places such as the abandoned cable tower at Bounty Beach in Marbella or at the old sunken galleon in the waters off San Pedro. The perfect way to spend a day on the Costa del Sol, but a little pre-dive training and safety instruction is necessary.
Paddle-surfing: A relative newcomer to the watersports field, paddle-surfing is a sublime way to end a hectic day at the beach. The ideal time to try this ‘more-difficult-than-it-looks’ balancing act is around sunset, when the waters are calmer and there are fewer swimmers about. Swim out to sea with your surfboard and paddle, negotiate the tricky task standing up on the forever wobbling board, then use your paddle to smoothly propel yourself across the shimmering surface of the Med.
Para-sailing: Providing the most spectacular views of the Costa del Sol from the sea outside of an airplane or helicopter, para-sailing is ideal for those with a head for heights. Let the speedboat take you on a tour while you simply drift through the air with your new-found seagull friends.
And there’s much more on offer, ideal for families enjoying a day at the beach. Banana boats, pedalos, pedalos with slides, dinghies, canoes, rafts, boogie boards… all can be rented at countless stations along the beaches of the Costa del Sol. Some beaches even offer floating waterparks during the summer, with slides and trampolines providing hours of exciting entertainment for the kids. Watersports can make a hot day at the beach that little bit more entertaining and a heck of a lot cooler. So put down the John Grisham and give it a go.