COASTEERING IN ITALY: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
If swimming and snorkeling gives you the feeling of being like a fish, well, when you coasteering you feel more like a crab!
Coasteering is the evolution of sea canyoning! It includes swimming, diving, climbing and is enormous fun, but is also the best way to discover the coast and its natural marvels. Get to know up close the teeming life on the coast and explore it so closely that you will seem like part of it.
The birth of Italian coasteering
In 2018 we brought Coasteering in Liguria, to Portofino. I had discovered the existence of this sport in Wales, during a Kayak training course. In the UK it’s a widespread activity, but in the Med barely exists. We therefore decided to invite one of the most highly qualified trainers in the world, Mark Kelly of 4 Elements Adventure (from Cornwall, UK) to Liguria. Mark guided us along an intensive course at the end of which we obtained our “Coasteering Guide” qualification.
I couldn’t believe my own eyes when, travelling along a stretch of coast that I had already visited thousands of times before by kayak, I discovered a series of grottoes, natural pools and forms of marine life that I had never seen before!
It was love at first dive and now I cannot do without coasteering all year long!
What is Coasteering?
Coasteering is an outdoor sports discipline that you perform in the sea, on rocky shores. It’s a sort of trekking over marine rocks that allows you to explore the zone between the tides in the best possible way. It consists in performing “crossings” along the coast, by walking, diving, swimming, climbing horizontally, playing in the riptide, exploring recesses and grottoes. It does not envisage using ropes and harnesses because you are always in close contact with the water, without ever reaching any great height
How can I try out this sport?
The difference between coasteering and “walking on the rocks” really is abyssal. A gradual and graduated progression allows us to practice this activity safely. It is fundamental that we have detailed, meticulous knowledge of the territory and of all of its escape routes. Other elements that are fundamental when practicing this sport are having the right gear and clothing as well as a good knowledge of the environmental aspects (so that we don’t interfere with the precious cliff side biocenosis). Here below we will try and answer the most common questions that people ask. If you have any others, just get in touch – we would be very happy to assist you!
Is Coasteering dangerous?
Yes and no.
Like all Outdoor sports, there are risks, which can of course be mitigated. And here the training that you receive plays a fundamental role. There are particular techniques to learn that will allow us to move around these apparently unwelcoming environments in complete safety. Knowing every metre that we decide to cover is essential – how and where to dive in, walk and climb, the position of the escape routes, the meteorological aspects, how to intervene in particular situations. A solid training regarding all these aspects allows us to significantly reduce any risks and makes this activity comparable to other more common Outdoor sports practiced in Italy.
Substantially: being accompanied by an expert guide is fundamental, particularly at the beginning.
Furthermore it is very important in terms of safety to wear suitable clothing. A wetsuit, canyoning shoes, a helmet and a life jacket are the basics that guarantee our protection when we are moving around on the rocks.
Who can do Coasteering?
The fundamental requisites are:
- Being able to swim and having a good relationship with water
- Being in good physical and psychological shape
- Being used to doing Outdoor activities (eg: trekking)
When can I do Coasteering?
All year round! In the Ligurian Sea, the water temperature never goes below 13 °C and air temperature is rarely below 10°C. One feels quite divine in these conditions, with a 5mm wetsuit on.
Some advice: it is a good idea to use a full length wetsuit (ideally of 1 / 1.5 mm) even in summer. As well as guaranteeing further protection, remember that after a while in the water it can get chilly!
Author: Luca, sea & outdoor lover// professional kayaker// Marine Biologist // Outdoor Portofino Chairman