The East End is paradise for humans-who-double-as-fish. A simple swim—or float—sometimes does the trick, providing the ultimate in relaxation. Water workouts can be anything but relaxing, offering adrenaline pumping fun for the Hamptons adventure seeker. Check out these East End summer water activities:
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and Kayaking
Stand up paddleboarding and kayaking offer a unique perspective on the East End’s natural beauty.
Both paddleboarding and kayaking can be done in the ocean or on still water. The essential appeal of the sports is that anyone can do them. Adventurers can try their hand at the East End’s break; those just looking for a decent workout and an excuse to be outside can check out Long Island’s beauty by exploring the various area waterways. Stand up paddleboarding offers an almost bird’s-eye view of nature, as it mimics the experience of walking on water.
Lessons will help with technique. Or, if you already know what you’re doing, rent a board or kayak at any of our area surf shops, including: Flying Point Surf and Sport in Southampton (flyingpointsurf.com, 631-287-0075). 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), Treasure Cove Resort Marina in Riverhead (631-727-8386, treasurecoveresortmarina.com) and Adventure Paddleboards in Hampton Bays (631-377-0162, adventurepaddleboards.com).
Board or kayak secured, head to these launch locations (but be sure to check area parking regulations before you go):
•Accabonac Harbor at Landing Lane, Springs
•Cedar Beach County Park, Southold
•Cedar Point County Park, East Hampton
•Fort Pond Bay, Montauk
•Georgica Pond at the rest stop on Route 27, East Hampton
•Indian Island County Park, Riverhead
•Mecox Bay, Water Mill
•Meschutt Beach County Park, Hampton Bays
•Montauk County Park (formerly Theodore Roosevelt County Park), Montauk
•Northwest Harbor County Park, East Hampton
•Long Beach, Sag Harbor
•Orient Beach State Park, Orient
•Peconic River Canoe Launch, Riverhead
•Sagg Pond at Bridge Lane off Sagg Main Road, Sagaponack
•Three Mile Harbor at the end of Hands Creek Landing, East Hampton
For paddlers who have graduated beyond casual outings, the Hamptons SUP Race Series offers an opportunity to gauge your skills. With four races held throughout the East End, either in bays or in the ocean, the series supports various charities and each offers both an elite and recreational class. The first event was held in Sag Harbor on May 10, with proceeds benefitting the Peconic Bay Estuary and the local Baykeeper alliance. Next up is the Paddle Race for Humanity at Beach Lane in Wainscott on June 21. Racers will travel downwind in the six-mile surf zone course, which ends in Amagansett. Visit mainbeach.com for additional details, other race dates and to register.
The East End’s break comes as a surprise to some. Casual beachgoers should note that the Atlantic front can be stronger than in other family-friendly areas. And surfers will either lament or revel in height of the waves. 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:
•Flying Point, Southampton
•Jetty Four, Westhampton Beach
•Sagg Main, Sagaponack
•Shinnecock Inlet aka “The Bowl,” Hampton Bays
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 of its choppy conditions, rocky bottom and wild currents, but this is the East End surfing mecca for the experienced wave riders.
Kiteboarding, Jet Skiing, Wakeboarding and Water Skiing
Why does a Long Island summer evoke very strong memories of the ocean, but not of our calmer bays? The water may be still, but there’s no shortage of high-adrenaline activities to try.
Wakeboarding and water skiing—where you’re towed behind a boat at speeds faster than a car on Montauk Highway—are two popular ways to spend a warm day. Riders glide across the water’s surface, using the boat’s wake as a battleground for tricks of increased difficulty.
Thrill-seekers have also long turned to kiteboarding as their sport of choice, harnessing the power of the wind to race across the water’s surface. Adventurers strap their feet to a board and hold onto a kite harness to control the motion of the kite, and thus themselves. Peconic Water Sports, based out of Port of Egypt in Southold, now offers kiteboarding lessons. “Anyone can do it, from little kids to guys in their 70s,” says Joey Flotteron, owner of Peconic Water Sports. Flotteron spent the winter in the Dominican Republic, a popular kiteboarding destination, perfecting his kiteboarding instruction techniques. Now in their second season on the East End, Peconic Water Sports also offers wakeboarding and waterskiing instruction and excursions. New for 2014, they’ve added jet ski rentals to their repertoire. Pickups for their various services are offered throughout the North and South Forks, and on Shelter Island. “The East End is an interesting spot in that it’s quicker to travel by boat than by car,” Flotteron says.
Check out Hampton Watersports in Southampton (hamptonwatersports.com, 631-283-9463, hamptonwatersports.com) and Skywalk Kiteboarding in East Hampton (631-324-4450, skywalkkiteboarding.com) for kiteboarding rentals and lessons.
For boat and jet ski rentals, also check out Montauk’s Uihlein’s Marina (uihleinsmarina.com, 631-668-3799)