Jan 11 2013
With Ko Samui’s beautiful beaches and generally calm waters, trying out some sort of water activity is a must. Aside from snorkelling, diving and boating, Ko Samui offers opportunities to try plenty of other water sports, including kayaking, kite-surfing, stand-up paddling, windsurfing, surfing (a little!) and jetski-ing. Here’s a round up of how and where to check them out.
Kayaks are available to rent on most beaches for about 200 baht per hour. This is great upper body exercise and an interesting way to see the shoreline. Single and double kayaks are available, and most will provide life jackets. Blue Stars Kayaking offers trips to the Angthong National Marine Park. Explore unusual rock formations, hidden caves and inlets. See marine and bird life without disturbing it, and see where pirates used to hide their loot.
As Samui generally doesn’t have strong winds, kitesurfing is more popular than windsurfing, as less wind is required. Kitesurfers can usually be seen at the point in front of the W Retreat, where Mae Nam meets Bophut, as well as along Mae Nam beach, Nathon, and Hua Thanon in the south east, depending on the prevailing winds.
Sa-ad Panyawan is a minor celebrity on Samui, and one of Thailand’s most celebrated windsurfers. He took part in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, was a long time member of the Thai national team, has been Asian Windsurfing Champion and is a five times gold medal winner at the South East Asian Games. Sa-ad offers windsurfing and sailing lessons on Samui.
Although, generally speaking, Samui has calm waters and is far from the top of Southeast Asia’s surfing locations, during October to December three- to four-foot beach surf breaks can be found. The most popular surf spot is at Chaweng beach, where surfboards and bodyboards can be found for rent along the beach in surf season. As there are no dedicated surfing areas, be aware of bathers as well as jet skiers who will be enjoying the rare waves too. Be warned that there can be a strong rip current, too. A little-known reef break lies outside Kamalaya resort in Laem Set in the south, which can produce long and fast waves on the right day. Surfing on Samui is a case of watching the weather, particularly wind guru for Samui which shows more than just weather, but also size, direction and period of the waves.
SUP or stand-up paddling is probably a better option, as unlike surfing no waves are required. The sport involves standing atop an oversized surfboard and paddling as if on a gondola. It’s an easy skill to learn for beginners, as the large boards are stable, and with little wave action, it’s hard to capsize. Those who have gained a little experience can move on to a smaller and faster board. Some boards can be converted to windsurfers, with a clip-in sail, making them very versatile.
Naish SUP, located at the top end of Chaweng beach in front of OP Bungalows, offers boards for rent and for sale, as well as lessons. Paddle out to Ko Matlang, a small island a few hundred metres offshore. A reef a little further out creates a small wave for those who have mastered the flat, shallow water. Naish also offers SUP yoga classes too, which are worth a try — contact them to find out the latest schedule. This is great for the core, as the stomach muscles are constantly in use to balance the board, while performing yoga poses.
Jet skis are available to rent on Chaweng, Lamai, Choeng Mon and Bophut beaches. Rates vary but average 700 to 1,000 baht for half an hour. Be sure to check your jet ski well for scratches and dents before signing the form, just as one would do before hiring a car. Look out for swimmers and only speed up once clear of the swimming area to avoid accidents. Samui Jet Ski Adventures offers full and half-day tours around the island if you prefer a more organised form of the sport.
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