Where I grew up, the closest I got to water sports was a small sailing club on a small lake nearby with no wind to accelerate the boats. You may feel like I did when I came to Rostock: Obliged to grab the opportunity to try out surfing, sailing, SUP, diving, …
If so, time to get a little overview.
… or SUP (as it is often abbreviated) is a sport I discovered when I came here. You basically stand on a surfboard and use a long paddle in a similar way as when canoeing. It is more of a relaxing activity: You can communicate with friends who do the same thing or take a nice look at the landscape surrounding you.
The other upside is, that you hardly need any experience or a course to start off. ‘Supremsurf’ offers one, but the ‘Ostseepiraten’ recommend just stepping onto the board and being on your way.
This activity is probably fastest and least expensive to realize (€10 / hour). It is most common to SUP on rivers or the Warnow but it isn’t much harder to do on the ocean and there are comnpanies where you can borrow the equipment all over the place.
I must admit I don’t dig SUP so much since I don’t generally being forced into a standing position for a longer period; therefore my alternative would be …
Admittedly, except for canoe polo, you don’t see people canoeing on the Warnow very often; it really is more fun doing it on rivers or small lakes such as those found in the ‘Mecklenburger Seenplatte’ (which isn’t very far either). In general, there are two types of canoeing; with a kayak or a canadian canoe; the former being more sporty often, whereas the second is generally used for water tours.
Obviously you can borrow a boat (there aren’t quite as many places you can do that near the ocean) or use one of these fancy collapsible boats which were popular in the GDR.
Borrowing a boat is about as expensive as Stand Up Paddling and depending on the vessel you need even less experience. Also canoeing is quite a good preperation for SUP and there is the possibilty to go canoeing in the mountains, which is far mor adventurous and dangerous.
Canoeing for me is very valuable for relaxing trips along rivers and lakes and I also enjoy doing it for a couple of days at a time. The greatest danger though is that of a sunburn and you probably won’t break a sweat.
Sailing is probably bost the most lavish activity on this list and the most expensive. You need a bit of time to be able to steer the boat, and before you get on the wate,r you need to prepare a bit – I don’t think anybody would recommend trying it as a novice without guidance.
If you don’t want to buy a boat (which is expensive and ridiculous on a visit), don’t want to make a license (expensive again) and aren’t studying in Rostock, you will probably have to join a club (often a bit expensive too) to get access to a boat (if the club lends boats to members who aren’t children.
I got lucky and learned it when I was a kid while I got to know people here who took me on sailing trips but I don’t do it very often any more.
Windsurfing is somewhat similar to sailing but easier and cheaper to do. Having tried it out recently, I immediately fell in love since you’re more in contact with wind and water. In the course of a few days, you can take a course (ca. 180€) and get a license that enables you to borrow the necessary equipment all over the world.
I deem this course also necessary to be able to be safe on the water as well as manage to navigate the board.
Though I have written least about this I think this will probably be the sport I’m going to be into most and which I will stay at for the rest of my days.
Let’s get back to the more tranquil sports available on the ocean. For diving, you obviously need to take a course as well, and there is a wealth of different certificates available that enable you to do a wealth of different kinds of diving. I decided to begin with the ‘Open Water Diver’ (280€) which enables you to borrow equipment and go diving up to a depth of 18 m with a minimum of one other diver. For me, this included 4 theoretical lessons (which scared me to death due to the large number of dangers you are taught about), 4 practice lessons in a swimming pool, and 4 practice lessons in the ocean. I also had to take an exam.
There is the possibility to do a smaller course, but then you’re only allowed to go diving when accompanied by a diving instructor (which is quite expensive again). I’m not sure I will continue diving for the rest of my life, but still I think it was worth investing that substantial amount of money as the experience of floating under water is quite astonishing and very different from above the surface and I’m glad I did it.
I’m aware there are a ton of other water sports you might want to try (such as surfing, or freediving) but I can only adequately describe what I’ve tried out, so try for yourselves and tell me what I’ve yet to experience.