Wet and Wild: The Water Sports Guide to Marbella

Surfing at the Sunset

Marbella has plenty to offer in terms of water activities: water skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and even flying…

Article by Giles Brown.

Lying in a shady hammock is all well and good, but even the most ardent beach bum sometimes looks languidly over the Mediterranean, puts down his piña colada and thinks to himself “Well, there must be something that I can do involving that large expanse of water than just gazing at it?”.

I foolishly accepted an invitation to go on the Flyfish, which I subsequently deduced was the invention of a deranged aquatic sadist as it flew me off into the Med at high speed. If I had wanted a high-pressure saltwater enema, I would have booked myself a session at a Thalassic spa, thank you. Book your Flyfish experience here.

Flyfish experience
The infamous Flyfish experience is definitely not for the faint-hearted!

Rather than be dragged behind a speedboat, far better to stand at the bar watching the action. If anybody asks you why you are not wind surfing, kite surfing or jet skiing with the rest of them, just explain that you would love to, but you are competing in the nationals next week and your coach doesn’t want you to get injured.

However, if adrenaline is something you’re after, there is a softer and more elegant way of getting some with the brand new La Tabla Voladora, literally a “flying board”. Without depending on the wind or the waves, the experience offers you the possibility to fly above water on a board equipped with a zero-emissions electric propeller. You will be guided by an instructor and, as they claim, learn to fly above water faster than any other water or sliding sport! Head to Puente Romano beach to have a go – starting from July 1st, 2022.

Foil surf
Ever dreamt of flying?

Something readily available at most beaches of Marbella and the coast are paddleboards. You can rent one by the hour and get a chance to see the coast from the water – changing one’s point of view plus a quiet moment at sea equals a very zen experience.

If you really want to get into the water, then the best place to kite surf or windsurf is, of course Tarifa. There you will find a huge variety of surf schools eager to guide you onto the water, as well as a huge variety of surf instructors eager to guide your bikini-clad girlfriend into the back of their VW camper. I put this down to basic evolution. After all, millions of years ago, we crawled from the oceans to enthusiastically procreate, and surfers still stick to that rule.

Tarifa and kites on the beach
Tarifa is a mecca for all things wind-related: surf, kite, epic sunsets and more

There is another “Brown on the Beach” rule that I should also mention. Avoid the beaches east of Bolonia. Now, I don’t hold anything against naturists – no, let me rephrase that – I haven’t got anything against it and at certain times and places nudity is acceptable (streakers at rugby internationals, test matches and any female in the crowd when Brazil are playing, for example). But if you are over the age of 30 and have the basic level of fitness as myself, then it’s just not pretty, and while it’s every teenage boy’s dream to end up on a nudist beach, the harsh reality of life is that you’re more lightly to be surrounded by German grandmothers than the supporting cast of Baywatch.

Cable Ski Marbella with the spectacular La Concha mountain in the background
Cable Ski Marbella with the spectacular La Concha mountain in the background

Perhaps a better option is to head to Cable Ski in Marbella. Considered one of the best water and wakeboard centres in Europe, the cable-ski system helps you practice and train yourself to water ski in an easier, simpler, and more economical way than being dragged behind a speed boat. The lake, situated just a 10-minute walk from the centre of San Pedro, also has jumps and ramps for you to practice your tricks, while there is a large chill out area with sunbeds and a bar/restaurant for those who just want to kick back and watch the action.

If water parks are more your thing, then AquaMijas – although in reality it is in Fuengirola – is worth checking out. There are enough slides, pools and ‘river rides’ to keep everyone happy, although I would recommend securely tying your beachwear and keeping your legs crossed before tackling the ‘Kamikaze’ slide. Away from the water, AquaMijas has a sunbed area for you to work on your tan, as well as a picnic space.

Waterpark slide
Slides, pools, queues, unexpected adrenalin rushes… all things aquapark can be a fun activity…

Not to miss is the experience of kayaking through the cliffs of Nerja and Maro. Choose one of the many companies offering kayak tours and you’ll be able to discover the most unusual places that are not accessible by other means. The kayak outings in Nerja combine sport, sea and adventure in a way suitable for anything from an active first date to a great family outing.

If fishing is something you regularly do or – better – never done before, you can now do it in style just off the coast of Marbella. Luna Pesca, based in Puerto Banús, offer a full spectrum of experiences that last from two to eight hours: reef fishing, trolling fishing and bottom fishing that is ideal as a family outing. Most trips include visits to an area of dolphin spotting – just to make sure you aren’t just catching fish but also admiring it.

Girl holding large fish catch
The adventure you were waiting for…