If you’ve ever wanted to sail above the waves tied to the back of a motorboat, bounce down the rapids in a tube or experience the thrill of hanging 10, now’s your chance.

There are still a few weeks of precious Maine summer left, so it’s time to try that water sport you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to doing.

If you haven’t been paying attention, there are more water sports than ever from which to choose — surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, even parasailing. And there are plenty of places in Maine where you can try these sports out for the first time.

To get you off the couch and into the water, we’ve compiled a list of places around southern Maine where you can take a lesson, see a demonstration or otherwise check out the water sport of your choice.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other places out there teaching and offering water sports, so this list should be considered a way to dip your toe in the water – pun intended.

Paddleboard training at Kettle Cove.


WHAT IT IS: A fairly new sport that’s been gaining a big following during the past two years, it is what is sounds like: While standing on a specially designed board (it’s a lot wider and more stable than a surfboard), the rider paddles in a cove, a lake or wherever he or she wants to go.

WHERE TO GO: Soposup, 382 Cottage Road, South Portland (317-0425; soposup.com). Lesson times by arrangement until Sept. 14. The shop is open most weekdays and Saturdays year-round. Hours vary. Recommended for ages 8 and older, with ability to swim.

COST: $25 for group lessons (up to six people); $75 for individual lessons; free demos on Fridays. Check the website for times and locations of lessons and demonstrations.

WHAT TO BRING: A wetsuit and booties to keep warm.

WHY TRY IT: It’s a great test of balance and a cool way to get around. And because you’re standing, you’re able to see a lot more than from a canoe or kayak.

Courtesy Bullfrog Adventures

Tubing on the Kennebec River


WHAT IT IS: A two-hour tubing trip that starts at a village on the Kennebec River and travels eight miles down the river. It’s perfect for beginners, as the area is very scenic with a good current and the occasional Class 1, i.e. easy, rapids.

WHERE TO GO: Bullfrog Adventures, 745 U.S. Route 201, Caratunk (672-9298; bullfrogadventures.com). Trips offered seven days a week — two trips a day at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; reservations recommended. Trips run through first weekend in September. Must be at least 5 years old.

COST: $40 per person; $20 for children under age 12. Cost includes use of a river tube, a life jacket, lunch on the river and a shuttle back to your vehicle.

WHAT TO BRING: A bathing suit and sunscreen.

WHY TRY IT: With minimal effort, you can sit back, smile and relax as you lazily wind your way down the Kennebec River.

Courtesy OOB Parasail

Parasailing over the ocean near Saco


WHAT IT IS: You are towed behind a motorboat and ascend in a harness attached to a parasail that lifts you high in the sky over the ocean.

WHERE TO GO: OOB Parasail, Camp Ellis Pier, 5 Bay Ave., Saco (855-359-2759; oobparasail.com). Rides are available seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. through Labor Day.

COST: Prices start at $75 per ride. No age restrictions.

WHAT TO BRING: A bathing suit, sunscreen and a sense of adventure.

WHY TRY IT: Because you can literally leave your troubles on the ground as you breeze through the sky with the birds, the sun and the clouds. 

Paddlers  canoe through Scarborough Marsh at sunset


WHAT IT IS: Canoeing is the oldest water sport of all. In our times of newfangled, high-flying adventure, we sometimes forget how satisfying a leisurely paddle can be.

WHERE TO GO: Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, Pine Point Road, Scarborough. (883-5100; maineaudubon.org/our-locations/scarborough-marsh). Rentals available 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Labor Day. The center will provide a map and a nature guide. At least one person in the group must be 18 or older, and children must be at least 4. No dogs.

COST: $16 per hour for non-members; $23 for 1 1/2 hours; $30 for two hours; $1 less on Sundays.

WHAT TO BRING: Comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting wet, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray and binoculars.

WHY TRY IT: To enjoy the ecosystem of the marsh and meander the Dunstan River.

A kayaker at Higgins Beach in Scarborough


WHAT IT IS: A kayak is a small narrow boat that sits low on the water. The paddler sits on the bottom of the boat, as opposed to a chair as in a canoe. It’s propelled with a double-ended paddle, and some boats are designed for two paddlers.

WHERE TO GO: Seaspray Kayaking, 320 State Road, New Meadows River, West Bath (443-3646; seaspraykayaking.com). Rentals available after 10 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends. A guide or instructor will be available, and customers can choose among a variety of boats, including recreational kayaks, two-person kayaks, ocean-going kayaks and others.

COST: $25 for the first hour; $50 daily or $225 weekly for two-person kayaks; $15, $25 and $125 for recreational kayaks. Instruction and private classes available at additional cost. All ages.

WHAT TO BRING: Light clothes — preferably shorts or a bathing suit — water shoes, sunscreen and bug spray. Wetsuits are available for rent, along with fishing poles and other accessories.

WHY TRY IT: Kayaking is generally fun and easy, and the sport puts the paddler close to the water. Kayaks also have greater maneuverability than canoes, and are great for viewing wildlife and getting up close to rocks and ledges.

A surfer off Kennebunk Beach


WHAT IT IS: Everyone’s seen surfing — it’s part of the popular culture. But basically you paddle out on a long, thin board, try to catch an incoming wave, and attempt to stand up for the brief thrill of riding the wave to shore.

WHERE TO GO: Aquaholics, 166 Port Road, Kennebunk (967-8650; aquaholicsurf.com). Lessons daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round. The shop is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. No age requirements.

COST: $100 for individual lessons; group rates available.

WHAT TO BRING: A swimsuit, snacks, drinks and sunscreen. Wetsuits are provided.

WHY TRY IT: It’s cool, daddio. From the guitar music of Dick Dale to the surfing championships we see on ESPN, surfing looks like a blast. Plus, spending the day at the beach listening to the crashing surf is not so bad.


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