Underwater sports include scuba diving, snorkeling, underwater hockey, underwater target shooting, and spearfishing. Scuba diving and snorkeling are non-competitive, while octopush and underwater target shooting involve competition. Spearfishing techniques vary, and some consider it environmentally friendly.
There are different types of underwater sports, from scuba diving and snorkeling to underwater hockey and underwater target shooting. Most diving sports are not well known and many do not have major leagues or organized competitions. While many sports include the word “underwater” in their title, they may not take place completely underwater. Some underwater sports are actually practiced on the surface of the water. This does not mean, however, that all surface sports are included in the diving category.
Scuba diving is generally considered one of the most popular underwater sports, even though it is usually not competitive. Divers might consider themselves scientists, photographers or enthusiasts rather than athletes. Divers can swim deep under the ocean for long periods of time because they carry their own air supply with them. Their air tanks are called underwater breathing apparatus, which forms the acronym SCUBA.
Similar to scuba diving, snorkeling is also one of the non-competitive underwater sports. Its purpose is for underwater observation from surface level. Snorkelers cannot go deep, even if their faces are completely immersed in the water. Snorkeling usually takes place over a coral reef or ship wreck. These swimmers will typically wear a diving mask that covers both their eyes and nose and hold a snorkel in their mouth; the top of the snorkel stays above the water and allows for airflow.
Not all diving sports are non-competitive. Octopush, or underwater hockey, is an international sport in which two teams compete to see who can score the most goals with an underwater hockey puck. This game is played at the bottom of a swimming pool and each team member wears fins, a diving mask and a snorkel. Gloves, mouthguards and ear muffs may also be used for safety reasons. The color of the gloves will indicate which team a player belongs to.
Those who participate in underwater target shooting can compete in a variety of events, such as biathlons, relays, and marksmanship. The shooters will use an underwater crossbow and wear a diving mask, snorkel and fins. A weight belt can help keep them still while shooting underwater. This sport usually takes place at the bottom of a swimming pool.
Spearfishing is one of the oldest types of underwater sports and techniques can vary between participants. Some spearfishers attach snorkels, others carry scuba gear, and some use nothing more than quick trips back to the surface to get another breath of air. The methods of skewering fish also vary. Spearguns and slings are some of the commonly used tools. Some consider spearfishing to be the most environmentally friendly way to catch fish, as it uses no bait and requires minimal equipment.