Underwater sports refer to the practice of underwater diving techniques such as breath-hold, snorkelling or scuba in either a natural or artificial aquatic environment. They include aquathlon (underwater wrestling), finswimming, freediving, spearfishing, sport diving, underwater football, hockey or ice hockey and orienteering.
Noncompetitive recreational diving is also popular and involves swimming with a diver’s mask and snorkel held in your mouth. Divers can observe marine life in shallow waters above reefs or ship wrecks, providing an informative way to learn about the underwater environment without feeling as competitive as scuba.
Scuba Diving has been around for over sixty years and is governed by CMAS, the World Confederation of Underwater Activities. Most competitions take place during summer months, though many divers compete all year round.
Synchronised diving is a competition in which divers perform their dives with precise timing and rhythm. In these events, seven or nine judges are present: two to mark each diver’s execution, another marking their rival’s, and three or five to judge overall synchronisation. Judges sit at either end of the pool and award the highest score to whoever comes closest to them during their dive.
Judging in scuba diving is subjective and tailored to each diver’s personal style. Judges take into account factors like air bubbles in the water, splash created during the dive, speed of completion, distance covered on the dive, and depth. Diving difficulty (DD) also plays a part; lower values indicate more challenging dives.
Snorkeling is a non-competitive diving sport similar to scuba diving but without the tanks. It requires no training beyond using a diver’s mask and snorkel, making it an ideal way for children and beginners alike to explore the sea environment.
Competitive diving utilizes a range of scuba diving equipment, such as fins, breathing masks and tanks. These can range from simple cylinders with regulators up to high-end automatic systems that operate underwater.
The Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques, or CMAS, oversees all international competitions for these disciplines and conducts technical and scientific research and development for the sport. As a non-profit organisation that operates strictly under civilian laws, CMAS strives to advance knowledge and promote water and underwater sports through all appropriate means.
Underwater target shooting is an exciting form of competitive underwater target shooting that utilizes an underwater crossbow. It consists of both team and individual events, with shooters wearing a mask, snorkel and swim fins for protection while performing their shots. They may also choose to wear a weighted belt for added stability during each shot.
Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in underwater sports such as underwater rugby and ice hockey. Underwater rugby, which originated in Germany during the 1960s, blends technique with power to create a game suitable for both young and old athletes alike.