Eliminating the East End’s No Wake Zone

Riding with Peconic Water Sports
Riding with Peconic Water Sports. Photo: Kelly Laffey

After almost 25 years of calling the East End home, I still roll my eyes when I hear the area referred to as “the country.” But if that’s what the people want, then I’ve long believed that Brad Paisley said it best: “All you really need this time of year is a pair of shades, an ice cold beer, a place to sit and somewhere near the water.” And a no wake zone.

At least, that was until I went on an adventure with Peconic Water Sports, a new company operating out of Greenport Harbor that offers excursions and lessons in wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing and any other sport that can be accomplished by being towed behind a boat.

Turns out, I do not need a place to sit near the water.

I need a place to board.

Despite rarely being more than a few hundred feet from the water, the East End is oddly devoid of opportunities to engage in sports that involve a boat’s wake. This new outfit offers water sport lessons by the hour, fishing charters, charter cruises and a weekly and daily kids’ camp. Founded in 2011, the team of instructors is captained by professional wakeboard coach Joey Flotteron. The boat carries all of the equipment, so trips can be accessed by pickup from across the North and South Forks and on Shelter Island.

I tried wakeboarding and wake surfing with Peconic Water Sports a few weeks ago with optimistically low hopes. As the temps soared into the 80s, I was expecting to enjoy a day on the water, but I was not harboring any false hope that I would be able to wakeboard. My point of reference: It took me an entire weekend to stand up on water skis when I first tried a few years ago, and I once broke my arm snowboarding. The main reason why I took up running a decade ago is that it doesn’t involve any sort of equipment.

But the water skiing debacle probably occurred because I had a friend “teach” me. This is where having a professional and experienced wakeboard coach comes into play. Flotteron methodically went through the steps of wakeboarding, first giving a highlight reel of his skills on the board, then going through a play-by-play of how to stand up and what to expect when you’re on the water.

The result: I stood up on my first try, something totally unexpected. I had forgotten how fun it is to glide across the water at what feels like top speeds. It helped that the bay was glassy. The best part may have been that I wasn’t especially sore the next day, a testament that I was actually wakeboarding correctly. I attempted, mildly successfully, to weave in and out of the wake. But that’s a challenge to be conquered next time.

After a few goes at wakeboarding, I took the opportunity to wake surf, a relatively new phenomenon made even more incredible by the surf gate on Peconic Water Sports’ Malibu boat. Surf gate allows Flotteron to fill or empty water tanks on the boat to make it lean in one direction and create a perfect chest-high wave that could go on forever. You stand up the same way you would with a wakeboard, but your feet aren’t strapped in and, if you’re balanced enough, you eventually let go on the rope. How many people can say that they’ve surfed on the Peconic?

Peconic Water Sports gives riders the opportunity to learn on a top-of-the-line Malibu boats, which are specifically designed for towing water sport enthusiasts. The company has the boats replaced yearly, and they’re sponsored by top water sports companies Liquid Force, Connelly and Pro Line, so boarders are always learning with the best gear on the market.

A Wake Forest alum, I’m normally offended by “No Wake Zones.” But now I have another reason to want to avoid being inside those signs.

Visit peconicwatersports.com or call 609-937-9801 to book your next water adventure.

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