Not every watersport is created equally. Some are easy for the newbie cottagers, while others should be reserved for the rugged hardcore types. Here we’ve ranked 10 water sports, from easiest to hardest. No judgment if you can only do up to number six.
Lounging on a floatie
You’re right, this isn’t exactly a sport, per se. But for people who never took swimming lessons and only make it up to a friend’s cottage once every couple years, floating on a blow-up mattress can take some serious athletic finesse. Especially if the waters are rocky—we’re looking at you, jet skiers!
Again, this one tethers the fine line between “sport” and “activity.” Yet it involves high speeds and gripping onto a rubber tube for dear life, so we think it counts. Wild types up the ante by trying to jump from tube to tube whilst being pulled into the boat’s undertow. Last one holding on wins!
The most classic cottage sport. Swimming can mean a relaxing breast stroke to the floating dock or a race to the island some 800 meters away. While it may be tempting to join your friends as they swim to the nearby secret cliff, take into your account skill level and plan accordingly. If you’re worried you might run out of steam halfway there, wear a lifejacket.
Ah, the pedal boat. What it lacks in speed it makes up for in smoothness and ease. This leisure craft is family-friendly. Everyone from your seven-year-old niece to your 90-year-old grandma will be able to take this bad boy out for a spin on the lake.
There’s nothing quite like canoeing on a quiet afternoon. With a canoe, it’s easy to explore hard-to-reach places of the lake, like those shallow marshy areas or the narrow channels between islands. Bring along a pal and you’ve got yourself a fun day of adventure.
In the canoe, you can rely on your partner to do the bulk of the paddling or the steering. With the kayak, you’re on your own. Some people thrive off this—they’re the ones zooming across the lake at the crack of dawn—while others are stuck paddling in circles 50 meters from the dock. Because of this, we rank kayaking at 6 out of 10. Unlike canoeing, you can also gain some pretty good speed in kayak as well.
Put on a layer of sunscreen and grab your khaki bucket hat—it’s time to go fishing. While anyone can go fishing, only the truly talented will catch anything worthwhile. Fishing might seem as simple as casting out a line and waiting for largemouth bass to coming rolling in, but it takes more skill than that. At the end of the day, it’s the true angler who will bring home dinner.
Over the past few years, this sport has been taking over Canadian lakes. Not only is it a fantastic workout; it’s also very relaxing once you figure out how to do it. (And don’t let those graceful swan-like paddleboarders at the lake fool you—this is a lot harder than it looks.) Once you’ve got it mastered it’s a pretty good way to travel from dock to dock too. We’ve even spotted one bro paddleboarding alone the shoreline with a stocked cooler.
Water skiing / Wakeboarding
We didn’t want to get involved in the age-old debate of “What’s harder: water skiing or wake boarding?” so we decided to combine them together as one. Water skiing might be easier at first, but once you get into tricks like dropping a ski and going ski-less, well, it becomes very challenging. But wakeboarding also offers plenty opportunities for tricks too. Let’s just call it a tie.
The ultimate sport at the cottage is wake surfing. With this relatively new sport, wake surfers ride the waves behind a boat, but they’re not attached to the board by bindings and they’re not even being towed. Once you’ve mastered wake surfing, you’ve pretty much done it all. (Except, of course, if you want to try out water jet packing.)