Water Sports on the East End Are What it’s All About

There’s no question that swimming is an awesome workout. A peaceful way to start the day. But the Hamptons’ waters are made for so much more. Check out these great area water sports, catering to both thrill seekers and the casual athlete.

1. Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking

Stand up paddleboarding and kayaking offer a unique way to experience the East End, as you weave in and out of estuaries and hidden bays.

The essential appeal of paddleboarding is that anyone can do it. Adventure seekers can try their hand at the East End’s break; those just looking for a decent core workout and an excuse to be outside can check out Long Island’s beauty by exploring the various area waterways. The sport offers paddlers an almost-bird’s-eye view of nature, as it gives the experience of walking on water.

Flying Point Surf and Sport in Southampton, which recently opened a new location on Main Street, confirms that stand up paddleboarding will again be the sport of the summer. Rental boards flew off the shelves in 2012, and they’re gearing up for an even higher demand this year. Paddleboard and kayak rentals, tours and lessons can also be booked at Peconic Paddler in Riverhead (631-727-9895, peconicpaddler.com), Paddle Diva in East Hampton (631- 329-2999, paddlediva.com) and Adventure Paddleboards in Hampton Bays (631-377-0162, adventurepaddleboards.com).

Once you’ve rented a board or kayak at any of our area surf shops, check out these launch locations (be sure to check area parking regulations before you go):

•Accabonac Harbor at Landing Lane, Springs

•Sagg Pond at Bridge Lane off Sagg Main Road, Sagaponack

•Three Mile Harbor at the end of Hands Creek Landing, East Hampton

•Georgica Pond at the rest stop on Route 27, East Hampton

•Fort Pond Bay, Montauk

•Mecox Bay, Water Mill

•Long Beach, Sag Harbor

•Peconic River, Riverhead

For paddlers who have graduated beyond casual outings, the Hamptons SUP Race Series offers an opportunity to gauge your skills. With five races held throughout the East End, in either in bays or in the ocean, the series supports various charities and each offers both an elite and recreational class. The first event will be held in Northwest Harbor on May 18, with proceeds benefitting the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad. Visit mainbeach.com for additional details and to register.

2. Kiteboarding

Those who ventured to the Arctic tundra that was the Hamptons in the offseason may have been alarmed to see figures seemingly spastically hopping the crests of waves deep beyond the breakers. Nope, they were just kiteboarders, relatively new to the East End water scene, their kites hidden by the grey clouds that descend upon our island around November.

But come summer, these colorful kites will be a fixture above bays and ocean, as adventure-seekers harness the power of the wind to glide across the water’s surface. Boarders strap their feet to a board and hold on to a kite harness to control the motion of the kite. It is not recommended that people kiteboard without proper instruction, as the variable conditions of the wind can treat inexperienced boarders like rag dolls.

Look for kiteboarding at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, as it was recently announced that the sport would replaces windsurfing in the international games. Who knows what results your summer of practice could yield…

Check out Hampton Watersports in Southampton (631-283-9463, hamptonwatersports.com) and Skywalk Kiteboarding in East Hampton (631-324-4450, skywalkkiteboarding.com) for kiteboarding rentals and lessons.

3. Surfing                                                   

Beach erosion in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy left East Enders wondering what surf conditions would be like this summer. The news we have to report is good: most beaches are back to normal, with sandbars pretty far out into the ocean. With the ever-changing tides and currents, there’s no telling where to find a good break on a given day, so your best bet is to go see for yourself or ask around. While no surfer will give away their secret spots, a few time-tested surf-friendly locations are:

•Sagg Main, Sagaponak

•Flying Point, Southampton

•Shinnecock Inlet aka “The Bowl,” Hampton Bays

•Jetty Four, Westhampton Beach

And, of course, it’s no secret that Ditch Plains in Montauk will always reign supreme as the undisputed surfing capital of Long Island—or, most say, the East Coast. You should beware its choppy conditions, rocky bottom and wild currents, but this is the East End surfing mecca for the experienced wave riders.

4. Wakeboarding and Water Skiing

Though very commonly found on large lakes throughout the nation, wakeboarders and water skiers are only recently starting to populate Long Island in larger numbers. Now, an adventure-seekers jaunt through the East End’s waterways isn’t complete without being towed behind a boat at speeds faster than a car on Montauk Highway. Water skiing and wakeboarding offer just that. Riders glide across the water’s surface, using the boat’s wake as a battleground for tricks or increased difficulty.

Check out Peconic Water Sports, located in Greenport Harbor, (peconicwatersports.com, 609-937-980) or Global Boarding in Sag Harbor (globalboarding.com, 631-537-8601) for additional info and lessons.

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