In 10 knots of wind – a velocity so low it makes windsurfing impossible – a kiteboarder can cruise at nearly 20 miles per hour and jump up to 50 feet in the air. Just four years old, this “xtreme” equivalent of wakeboarding without a boat has already generated enough buzz to spark a territorial war on the hallowed windsurfing ground at Napeague Harbor, Amagansett. Join the ranks at Main Beach Surf and Sport (328 Montauk Highway, Wainscott; 631-537-2716), where experts give by-appointment lessons ($220 for 3 hours) on how to avoid getting dragged out to sea.
Longboards may look like they rode in on the same wave as Capri pants and the Beetle, but their renaissance on New York shores has been over a decade in the making. These days at Ditch Plains – Montauk’s most popular and consistent break – you’ll find teenage girls hanging ten next to middle-aged men who haven’t touched land in 30 years. New York Pipe Dreams (1623 York Avenue, near 86th Street; 212-535-7473) has plenty of gear, but if you want to look good using it, go to Woody’s Surf Shop in Shirley, Brookhaven (44 East Surrey Circle; 631-281-0008), where $80 is all you need to get five hours of training and a long, hard lesson on how to show the ocean some respect – so you can get some back.
3 Scuba Dive
Ditch the manufactured pyrotechnics (and sentiments) of Pearl Harbor and go underwater to see some real World War II disasters. Village Divers (224 East 10th Street; 212-780-0879) will hook you up with scuba equipment, courses, and a list of boats that cruise out to Wreck Valley, a stretch of some 1,000 shipwrecks between Long Island and South Jersey. The only drawback: You can’t watch Josh Hartnett’s pretty face down there.
In Huntington, the kids are ditching their waterskis to pursue the new vision of nowness emanating from the Wakeboard Camp of Long Island (2 Skunk Hollow Road; 631-547-wake). For $100 per hour or $500 per day (six hours), you and up to four of your friends can rent boards and ride in brand-new wakeboarding boats, manned by the camp’s instructors (nationally sponsored pro wakeboarders). A few weeks on the water and you’ll be buying your own equipment (try the Board Shop, 276 Main Street, Huntington; 631-424-7873), ripping backflips off the wake, and laughing at those Frankie Avalon wannabes who couldn’t leave the sixties behind.
Colby and Tina may have painted logs and called it surviving, but we bet they wouldn’t have lasted two minutes kayaking in New York Harbor. Intrigued by the challenge? Start with a Paddle Basics course ($150 for up to four hours) and practice tours from the Manhattan Kayak Company (212-924-1788) out of Pier 63 and Chelsea Piers. Next, try battling jet skis and unpredictable currents in water temperatures that don’t rise above pretty damn cold until August or September. Fight your way to open waters, though, and you’ll taste Zen calm.
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