Flying Point Beach is an icon, a symbol of surfing and down-to-earth coolness in the midst of the Hamptons. Two fun, popular businesses, Flying Point Surf School and the Flying Point Surf Shops, have used the name, drawing people from all over the East End. I talked to the owners of these sibling companies to find out what they are all about.
Flying Point Surf School started out 10 years ago with a group of friends surfing the waves of the East End. Shane Dyckman started giving surfing lessons to his friends and family. “After doing it for quite a few families, the next thing I knew I had a week booked of lessons and I said, I gotta start charging for this!” he exclaimed. His business has grown tremendously ever since, evolving into a surf camp that runs Monday through Friday with both half and full-day programs for kids ages 5-17. Dyckman and his team of surf instructors, which includes many surf camp alumni, also do private lessons. The staff are fully certified and trained, and there are as many of them as there are students. The surf school is equipped with all of the latest and greatest equipment—all the kids need is sunblock, a towel and a smile! [expnad
In addition to surfing, they also teach kids about ocean swim and rescue. “With the surf school, it’s not just about surfing and riding waves,” said Dyckman. “It’s about teaching kids how to be safe in the ocean.” He cited an incident in which an 8-year-old student saved his mother from a riptide: kids will be safe in the water for life, “guaranteed.” Moreover, kids love the camp, and they return year after year and bring other family members with them. Now is the time to sign up for the camp, said Dyckman, because it is hurricane season so the waves will be great for surfing.
A new addition to the surf school this summer is the Flying Point Fish Camp, a unique and fun way for all ages to learn about fishing. Dyckman and his crew offer a three-hour class available seven days a week, during which campers participate in a range of activities such as crabbing, clamming and fly-fishing. So far, they have caught something every trip on their two fully equipped fishing boats. Kids also learn how to set traps in the bay and then retrieve them the next day to use what they caught as bait. “So they actually become little baymen!” said Dyckman. The fish camp is a great way for kids and adults alike to learn more about the sport and pursue their passion for it.
Flying Point Surf Shops are another staple of the East End, the first one having been started by Mark Zucchero in 1996 on Main Street in Southampton. He named the stores after Flying Point because it was his favorite beach as a kid. Mark and his wife Shannon have grown the business into seven stores: Surf & Sport, the Surf Boutique (the only women’s surf boutique in America), and “Groms” (kids) in Southampton; Premium Surf in Bridgehampton; On the Harbor and the Sunglass Studio in Sag Harbor; and a Surf Outlet in Water Mill. Such a expansion is due to the fact that, as Shannon noted, “The surf culture has become so cool…People want to be a part of the whole surf culture.”
Flying Point offers a variety of surfboards, skateboards, beach supplies, sunglasses, beachwear and more. Mark and Shannon are the buyers for all of their men’s and women’s apparel, respectively, and their wares reflect a beach-chic vibe that is accessible to everyone. Mark describes it as a “gut feeling I have” for selecting his stock, and they only choose high-quality items. They also sell eco-friendly pieces, as well as socially conscious brands like TOMS Shoes. Customers can even rent paddleboards, the newest water sport that has become hugely popular, from the stores. Of course, they always have beach toys and other essentials in stock. “We can cover any customer,” said Mark.
However, the Flying Point businesses comprise more than just the surf camps and stores. The groups are like family, and treat their customers as such. “It’s a very community-driven, tight-knit group of people,” remarked a surf camp instructor who goes by the nickname Sunshine. They are a fun, supportive community, and as Dyckman put it, “It’s an amazing way to spend the summer.”
Flying Point Surf School, 220 Hampton Rd., Southampton. 516-885-6607, www.flyingpointsurfschool.com.
Flying Point Surf & Sport, www.flyingpointsurf.com for locations and hours. Open daily.