The most popular sports in the world are played on the ground.

Soccer, basketball, football, tennis, table tennis… you get the point. You won’t find any sport on the top 20 lists on any site claiming a water sport to be high on the list.

Hell, there are only two sports that consistently make the lists that even use water for anything more than hydration: ice hockey and skiing.

And these sports pale in comparison to sports like soccer and football. (Of course, soccer largely dominates the globe, and hardly anything can compare).

But this doesn’t mean there aren’t great underwater sports to play.

Whether you have a pool, you know a friend who has a pool, or frequently visit the ocean, lake, or sea, knowing the right underwater sport once you get in the water can be the difference between a good time and a boring experience.

If you’re planning on going to the beach or pool with your friends, planning ahead with the right game can save the day if no one else does.

Below are the five of the most fun underwater sports that everyone should try.

1. Water Polo

It is essential to include water polo to any list detailing the best underwater sports to play.

This is because, of them all, water polo is the most popular and the one with the longest history dating back to the late 1800s.

The first unofficial games were played on the riverbanks of Scotland using pig stomach for a ball.

But don’t worry… if pig intestines are not your thing, the game eventually replaced them with a rubber one.

What hasn’t changed, though, is the importance on physical durability. One man can swim up to two miles during one game, even.

So, what is water polo?

The basic rules are simple. Get the ball into the other team’s goal and win the game by stacking up points.

Sounds easy enough… only it’s not.

To get the ball in the goal, you must first get past the many aggressive defenders that have plenty of leeway in stopping you. Seven, including the goaltender, to be exact.

But that’s in a traditional game.

If you’re just playing with your friends and/or family, the players can range.

But even if its 10 on 10 (as I remember high school games often to be), water polo is an awesome underwater sport to play.

Just remember these few rules while you’re playing:

  • To start the game, the ball is released in the middle of the pool and players swim from each end
  • Players must tread water for the entire game without touching the bottom
  • Outfielders (non-goalies) can only hold the ball with one hand, which means…
  • Goalies can hold the ball with two

2. Aquathlon

Aquathlon is an underwater sport that is played almost entirely underwater… wrestling with another person.

Participants are thrown into deep pools with only a mask, flippers, and a ribbon that they must remove from the other player and bring to the surface.

Oh yeah, they are also equipped with their most valuable tool for success… their bodies.

That’s because, being wrestling and a one on one competition, aquathlon is an underwater sport that requires physical endurance.

The competition starts underwater and, depending on how long it takes for a player to remove a ribbon, the wrestling can reach the surface of the pool as well. The first player to break the surface with the other’s ribbon wins the match.

But beware, this sport is for those who feel comfortable holding their breath.

Players are in the water with no breathing equipment and competing against others who are allowed to stop them from reaching the surface of the water if they have their ribbon.

So, have fun, but be safe!

3. Underwater Photography

I realize that this option requires having a camera, but if you’re a frequent tourist to oceans or seas, or happen to live near one, there are plenty of businesses that provide this for you.

And underwater photography is one of those underwater sports that is not only fun but will impress anyone on your social media with amazing photos of underwater scenery.

You don’t even need scuba gear.

Grab a camera, skin the surface of the water, and look out for cool fish to capture.

Of course, you could get scuba gear as well and explore… well, bigger areas.

From a sea of fish, to sharks and alligators, to turtles, there are an endless amount of sea creatures to find, take a snapshot of, and share with the world.

And, yes, people will want to see them.

Here are a few pointers to remember when taking that dive into underwater photography:

Try to get within 3 feet

Close shots are always more vivid and show more detail.

It’s the detail that makes photos come to life, which is even more crucial for underwater photos because it allows viewers to get a glimpse of an animal or object that they rarely see up close.

Take sharks, for example.

People brave enough to get close and snap a jaw shot of these underwater predators are in a class of their own and provide unique pictures that no one else can get.

Remember to have Flash on (in most cases)

To get that perfect underwater photograph, you’ll most likely need an extra light source.

That’s because underwater is actually fairly dark.

Unless your object is far away and won’t be affected by your camera’s flash, be sure to always have it on.

Zoom out for maximum focus

Yes, folks, zooming in does affect focus. (Unless you are sporting a very nice camera).

And for underwater photographs, focus is essential for getting that amazing looking picture.

For more beginner tips for underwater photography, visit this website.

Next time you have the chance, jump into the sea and learn what it’s like snapping photos of the many underwater creatures.

4. Underwater Target Shooting 

If you like swimming, and you like spear-shooting, imagine doing both at the same time.

That’s right, underwater shooting is a thing and a growing underwater sport.

Commonly set up in pools, the necessary items to get started include:

  • A basic snorkel and snorkeling mask
  • A pair of gloves and flippers
  • Weight belt to weigh you down
  • A speargun and silhouette
  • A target

And you may be thinking… if I’m only shooting, why do I need flippers?

Great question, and that’s because one of the three events during competitions involves swimming in between shots.

The three events are: Precision, where players fire 10 shots in two rounds of five minutes and try to score as accurately as possible – Biathlon, where five shots occur but the shooters are required to swim back to the starting point, and accuracy is less important – and Relay, where two or three shooters compete from each team to fire 9 shots as accurately as possible.

Clearly, this underwater sport requires a full team for a proper game, but you can also take it upon yourself to practice target shooting on your own!

This option is sort of like #3, but it does not require photographs to be taken…

Although, we’d all appreciate if you did.

Cavern and cave diving are underwater sports like no other and have the advantage of exploring the world’s rarest and hardest to reach locations.

In full scuba gear, dodging boulders and rocks in sometimes extremely dark areas, these are the two most dangerous forms of diving, not to mention underwater sports in general.

And this is why it’s our last option.

Cavern and cave diving require a certain level of expertise and may not be suitable for everyone… yet.

Because any sport where the air is limited, visibility is hampered, and physical fitness is required is one that needs to be prepared for.

But if cave diving is your goal… WORK FOR IT!

Start diving, practice underwater swimming, learn how to use scuba gear, and reach out to local professionals!

5. Cavern (and Cave) Diving

This option is sort of like #3, but it does not require photographs to be taken…

Although, we’d all appreciate if you did.

Cavern and cave diving are underwater sports like no other and have the advantage of exploring the world’s rarest and hardest to reach locations.

In full scuba gear, dodging boulders and rocks in sometimes extremely dark areas, these are the two most dangerous forms of diving, not to mention underwater sports in general.

And this is why it’s our last option.

Cavern and cave diving require a certain level of expertise and may not be suitable for everyone… yet.

Because any sport where the air is limited, visibility is hampered, and physical fitness is required is one that needs to be prepared for.

But if cave diving is your goal… WORK FOR IT!

Start diving, practice underwater swimming, learn how to use scuba gear, and reach out to local professionals!

There are Plenty of Underwater Sports to Try

If underwater sports are your hobby, or you want them to be, then there’s no sense in waiting.

You can start playing underwater sports at any time – call your local pool or go down to the beach, bring people to play with or find people at swimming locations.

Once you find out where and with who you’ll be playing, learn how to play.

Ground sports are often self-explanatory for people who have played basic sports growing up.

Whether it’s soccer or hockey, baseball or basketball, similar rules can be noticed in them all.

Underwater sports can be very different.

Even with water polo, where the idea is to score in a net like many ground sports, only being able to control the ball with one hand would be rather hard for a basketball player shooting hoops.

So, go out and have fun!

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