Madison was recently named Fittest City in America by Fitbit, and also happens to be home to five area lakes. Looking for a way to refresh your fitness routine? Why not experience the lakes at the same time and try out one of these five water sports that are becoming a big deal in Madison.


SUP isn’t just another slang word—it’s a sport that’s gaining momentum around the world and Madison is no exception! SUP, short for Stand Up Paddleboarding, is an offshoot of surfing, but unlike traditional surfing where the rider is waiting for a wave, SUP riders maintain an upright balance stance on the board and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. If you haven’t tried traditional SUP, a great place to start is taking a lesson or exploring on your own with a rental on the Madison lakes.  If you are looking to challenge your SUP skills, try SUP yoga or even SUP polo, a new evolution of SUP which adds a little competition to the craft.



Wakeboarding is now an “old school” sport. But wakesurfing is the newest craze happening behind power boats. In wakesurfing, a rider trails just behind the boat riding the wake without being pulled by a rope. Not up for trying it out? You can always keep an eye out on Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, where you can watch other wakesurfers testing out their skills.



Kites aren’t just for windy days and parks anymore! A windy day doesn’t scare a kiteboarder off the water—it only encourages them to take advantage of the wind and catch a major wake. Kiteboarding is a surface water sport that combines aspects of wakeboarding, snowboarding, paragliding and windsurfing into one extreme sport. Lessons are essential for a beginning kiteboarder, and if you’re interested in giving it a try, you are in luck: they are offered right here on the Madison lakes.


What is that propelling in the air? This is a typical question that many people ask as they look out over one of the Madison lakes and see a person flying through the air using water-propped boots. Flyboarding allows those who crave adventure to fly up to 49 feet into the air and dive head down into the water as deep as 8 feet. Not only is this a spectacle to see, but also something that you can try, too! Lessons are available for those who want to learn to fly.


Mad-City Ski Team

If you are looking for a less active way to enjoy the water, grab a seat on the shore of Lake Monona and enjoy a dynamic show performed by the award-winning Mad-City Ski Team. Ski shows are free and take place every Sunday night, just steps away from the Capitol Square and the Monona Terrace®.