Sporting Life and Athletes in Aruba
Athletes and sporty locals and visitors love Aruba for its diverse recreational activities. From activities that harness the island’s blustery trade winds like bodyboarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing to sports that are uniquely Aruban like SEABOB and JETLEV, there is something for everyone to get a great workout.
Aruba’s top athletes share their favorite places to get your sweat on (bonus: you can work on your tan too!).
Beach Tennis: Grab a friend and try beach tennis, a fairly new sport that combines tennis and volleyball. Head to MooMba Beach, a bustling beach bar and restaurant and you are likely to meet Aruba’s top beach tennis player Aksel Samardzic playing on one of four beach sand courts. Samardzic, who is ranked 13 in the world, teaches private lessons and also offers tips for folks who just want to paddle around.
Bodyboarding: Aruba’s trademark trade winds and warm water make it an ideal locale for bodyboarding, an exhilarating water sport in which surfers ride waves on bodyboards. Bodyboarders flock to Aruba’s rugged north coast to catch wedge waves in between coral coves that are a bit protected from the wind, making them perfect for doing tricks. Bodyboarding national champion Jeremy Loefstok recommends using a 4x4 to access Aruba's most visited bodyboarding beaches: Andicuri, Dos Playa, Druif Reef, and Shark Bay. Loefstok recommends beginners start at Arashi Beach, which is kid-friendly and has gentler waves, and intermediate bodyboarders try Andicuri Beach, which is a learning playground for local bodyboarders and the most popular spot for bodyboarding. Expert bodyboarders seeking a challenge should go to Dos Playa, which boasts the most powerful beachbreak on the island
JETLEV: Walk on water and soar through the air on JETLEV, a water propelled jetpack that propels riders up to 30 feet in the air. Red Sail Sports takes thrill-seekers on 25-minute flights over scenic Palm Beach. A flight attendant and an instructor help each JETLEV pilot maneuver the custom designed 225 horsepower engine that pumps up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, creating 420 pounds of trust, resulting in a ride you won’t soon forget.
Judo: It might be surprising to consider trying your hand at judo while visiting Aruba, but this modern martial art is gaining in popularity. Two-time Olympian Jayme Mata, who competed in judo at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, recommends dropping in to a dojo like Tanki Leendert Judo Center for a rigorous workout. First-timers and seasoned judokas can join daily training sessions and make new friends too.
Kitesurfing: Aruba’s prime location in the middle of the trade wind belt means the Caribbean island gets an average of 350 days of wind each year, far more than other kitesurfing hotspots around the world. The constant winds make it easy and fun for kitesurfers to fly through the air. First-timers can enroll in classes at Hadicurari Beach (also known as Fisherman’s Huts). Students begin with smaller kites and work their ways up to more powerful larger kites.
SCUBA Diving & Night SCUBA Diving: Aruba has more than 20 coral reef and wreck dive spots, with dive sites ranging from 20 to 100 feet, making it the wreck diving capital of the world. Aruba offers a duo of World War II-era shipwrecks submerged just yards offshore: the “ghost ship” Antilla Wreck, the largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean, and the tanker SS Pedernales, which was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat en route to a refinery in Aruba. Several dive operators on the Island offer a variety of dive packages as well as resort and PADI courses. Diving after dark is also popular. Divers get a glimpse of nocturnal marine animals that come out to feed and frolic. During the full moon in September and October, night divers can witness coral spawning, when corals and sponges release colorful clouds of eggs and sperm, which create a spectacle that resembles a shaken snow globe.
SEABOB: Glide through the water like a dolphin by riding a SEABOB, a high-tech underwater scooter that goes up to 15 kilometers per hour. Power snorkelers can go on fast-paced underwater adventures with SEABOB Aruba, which offers tours with up to six people to the kaleidoscope-colored coral reefs of Boca Cantina, Malmok Beach, and Arashi.
SNUBA: Rather than take lengthy SCUBA classes before plunging into Aruba’s underwater world, those who want to dive right in can try SNUBA, a fusion of snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Unlike snorkeling, SNUBA participants can go underwater after a 15-minute briefing. Participants can dive up to 20 feet thanks to the aid of an external air supply that floats on the water’s surface. De Palm Tours offers hour-long guided SNUBA tours on De Palm Island and Palm Pleasure.
Wakeboarding: Catch Aruba’s seasoned wakeboarders performing acrobatic maneuvers. Aruba Wakeboard School offers lessons for beginners through advanced riders who wish to perfect tricks like surface 360s, tantrums, whirlybirds, and batwings.
Windsurfing: Aruba’s wind, water, and weather conditions make it one of the top destinations for windsurfers to jump and loop above the strong currents. The semi-circular, reef-protected Boca Grandi on the eastern side of Aruba’s southern tip wraps along the bay, harnessing steady trade wind and surf conditions that are perfect for advanced windsurfing. First-timers can take lessons at Hadicurari Beach where the annual Aruba Hi-Winds, the largest windsurfing event in the Caribbean, is held.