It’s a gray Wednesday, but the water calls. The ocean is not quite warm enough to be called comfortable, and a trip to the ocean the previous day turned into a solo game of chicken between the whitewater and me.
Turning due North, I peered toward Peconic Bay. Shallower. Possibly warmer? But less exciting than the ocean, for sure. Flat water is perfect for younger kids; for long-distance swimmers; for people just in the mood to float. But can someone who enjoys slicing through waves really be content in the bay?
For all of our water-loving ways, East Enders don’t seem to have a great affinity for motorized water sports. Activities like wakeboarding, water skiing, wake surfing and tubing—where you’re towed behind a watercraft at speeds greater than a car on Montauk Highway—don’t seem to be big fixtures out here.
I went waterskiing and tubing at a friend’s lake house years ago and enjoyed myself, but the fun didn’t seem to translate to something I would actively pursue while back home. The need for equipment is a limiting factor, and, until recently, there didn’t seem to be much of an opportunity to pursue water sports unless you knew someone who owns a boat.
Fast forward to the aforementioned gray Wednesday—I had triangulated the Twin Forks to arrive at Port of Egypt Marina in Southold, where Peconic Water Sports operates a charter boat, kite boarding and jet ski business. After a quick “hi” to owner Joe Flotteron—I met him last year at Peconic Water Sports media day—and an introduction to the rest of the crew, we were off to Shelter Island to pick up the day’s four giddy charges—three boys and a girl who had signed up for the company’s kids’ camp.
Having a few weeks of kids’ camp behind them, the four middle-schoolers took a turn carving through the boat’s wake. Up in seconds, they each took a fairly long warm-up run before heeding the urgings of the instructors and trying a number of jumps and tricks.
Flotteron is the captain and a professional wakeboard coach, instructing kids on the basics and allowing them to try new activities as they wish. The top-of-the-line boats have space to carry all equipment, meaning that you can try any sport at any time. Peconic Water Sports’ charter service includes the boat with all the fixin’s, plus a captain, making it incredibly easy to try your hand at water sports without bothering a friend to use his or her boat…
Slightly intimidated by the kids’ skills, I left the youngsters and their antics behind to hop on a jet ski with Peconic Water Sports, and the affiliated Peconic Jet Ski, co-owner Matt Flotteron. The jet skis are new to the company this year, and they rent them out by the hour for tours. Those who want to speed across the bays have the option of a 70-minute Orient Point Tour, exploring the waters around Bug Light; a 90-minute Shelter Island excursion; or a custom tour. We skirted around the bays, topping out at thrilling speeds. I felt like a rock skipping across the water, barely touching the surface as I raced past the previously foreign landscape, not used to seeing the East End from the water.
Then it was time to try my hand at wakeboarding. Though not as skilled as the campers, I was at least able to stand up with ease. Getting up requires a certain amount of trust in yourself, as you have to let the pull of the boat do most of the work. Actively concentrating on standing will result in falling. The most difficult for me was angling my body. Proper form calls for your body to be perpendicular to the boat, requiring a twist.
The morning was soon over, and I circled back to the South Fork via the Shelter Island ferries in an attempt to recreate the on-the-water, wind-in-my-hair feeling. No such luck.
I’ll have to head back for another go-round soon.
For more information, visit peconicwatersports.com, peconicjetski.com or call 609-937-9801.