Water sport is now a rage all over the world. All countries plan different strategies to develop this sport by enhancing the sports facilities to attract more water-sports enthusiasts. As far as this sport is concerned, Oman is a paradise and is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of water sports. Hence, special focus is being accorded to develop and upgrade facilities for it. A key element of the strategy set out by the Ministry of Tourism calls for a major diversification of the tourism product. This strategy has helped Oman to successfully host the Asian Beach Games of 2010.
Water sport is one of the popular sports in Oman with more than 3000 kms of coastline and clean unpolluted waters; there are several fascinating aqua sports which are popular in Oman.
Diving: Oman has an amazing world of colour in its waters. There is a wealth of scenery, wildlife, and thrill beckoning the more intrepid underwater explorer. Yes, diving is a major activity in Oman. The relative remoteness of pockets of the rocky coasts and secluded fjords has helped to preserve their natural beauty and wildlife. These areas offer greater access with nature and exciting opportunities for exploratory diving. And the balmy water and mellow currents make Oman a favourite diving destination. Its breathtaking underworld features rock falls, scenic walls and reefs. So to explore the crystal waters and be with the amazing corals, visit Bandar Jissa, Bandar Al Khyran, Damaniyat Islands, Fahal Island, and Al Sawadi. All these places serve as a natural magnet for snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts alike. Night dives are popular and divers are often astounded by the amount of phosphorescence found in Oman’s nighttime waters. The phosphorescence is green/blue and emitted by microscopic plankton as a result of a chemical reaction issuing from vigorous movement.
Sailing: This sport is the latest rage in Oman thanks to recent successes of Omani sailors and teams in premier sailing events around the world. There are regular regattas held in the waters of Oman. The Marina Bandar Al Rowdha or Capital Area Yacht Club draw up plans for sailing. Sailing initiative, Oman Sail along with the Ministry of Tourism, aims to tap the maritime tradition by developing and training a core crew of Omani sailors who will then represent the Sultanate at sailing events in Europe and Oman. The aim is that Oman Sail will help to attract tourism and promote the Sultanate as a world-class sailing destination.
Parasailing: It is an adventure sport that blends the exhilaration of flying, parachuting and sailing into a single experience. Parasailing is yet to take off on a big scale here. The dhow sailing is also adventurous and the dhow sailing races are without a doubt the most spectacular and gracious events on the water sporting calendar.
Surfing: How does it feel to ride on the white waves and feel the high of surfing in the aquamarine waters of Oman? Great! Beaches in Oman are ideally suited to enjoy surfing. One of the best places to surf in Oman is Masirah Island, reached only by ferry from the village of Shanna on the mainland. Masirah with surf of four to six feet is also an ideal area for windsurfing, particularly during the Khareef (monsoon season – June to September), when warm, strong winds sweep across from the southern region of Dhofar.
Kite Surfing: This water sport has been around for a while but has started to grow quickly in the last few years. The sport uses the wind as the propelling force. Oman is among the best places in the region to kite surf – the summer season, from May to September, is ideal. The wind is consistent and on an average, 20 knots plus every day from Ras al Hadd south makes for perfect conditions for kite surfing. Masirah is popular with both kiters and windsurfers while the town of Aseela, 16 kms from Al Ashkarah, is very popular for kite surfing.
Kayaking: This is a relatively recent introduction into Oman and is currently limited to the Capital Area. Explore the fjords and coastal waters of Muscat as you gently glide in 1 or 2-seater kayaks. Kayaking on the warm waters of Oman makes for an adventurous experience. One can kayak among the fjords of Bandar Al Khyran. Musandam is another striking location that springs up in the mind when kayaking is mentioned.
Game Fishing: It is being promoted in right earnest in Oman considering the element of excitement involved in the sport. Angling is expected to find enthusiasts and those looking for new ways of adventure. Omani waters abound in a great variety of fish like Tuna, Swordfish, Queenfish, Cobia, Sailfish, Barracuda and Black Marlin.
Other water sports: Jet ski, canoeing, etc. are slowly finding a place on the domain of water sports. In the coming years, Oman is set to become an ideal destination for water sports!