Extreme adventures on Long Island
Here's a sampling of 10 adventures available right here on Long Island. Some are by land, some are by sea. All are fun.
Rush to earth, face first at speeds of up to 120 mph. Sure, there's a skydiving instructor strapped to your back, along with the ever-handy parachute. But that first step is a doozey from a plane 2 miles high. The experience lasts less than a minute - or an entire lifetime, depending on your view.
"If you have a sense of adventure, you can do this," says Brian Erler, president and manager of the Long Island Skydiving Center in East Moriches.
Wear comfortable, durable clothes and athletic shoes. Empty your pockets and leave the jewelry at home. A light meal is recommended beforehand, and bring a bottle of water.
Long Island Skydiving Center , 91 Montauk Hwy., East Moriches;631-235-9968, longislandskydiving.com. Tandem free jump: $219 weekends or $209 weekdays.
Run away with the circus without quitting your day job. Instructors at I Fly in Smithtown teach folks of all ages and abilities to "fly" on the trapeze and perform other aerial stunts. And for all those rookie mistakes, remember, there's a safety net below.
"If you have the desire to learn how to fly, we'll teach you step-by-step," says Anthony Rosamilia, who along with his brother Marco, opened I Fly last year.
Wear clothes that fit close to the body, such as stretch shorts or yoga pants. Socks make walking on the net more comfortable. Hair should be pulled back and jewelry removed. Bring water and pack a lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables in the outdoor park.
I Fly, 197 Brooksite Dr., Smithtown; 631-656-8893, iflyli.com. $40 for a 90-minute session, with 8-week classes available.
Why climb a 30-foot wall at Island Rock Gym? Because it's there.
The 9,600 square feet of climbable terrain at this indoor facility in Plainview offer tons of excitement - minus the risk of oxygen deprivation and frostbite. Beginners can take a lesson and start on some of the easier walls. Bring a friend (preferably someone who likes you) to act as the belayer - the spotter who stands on the ground to hold the climber's ropes.
"It's a sense of achievement," climbing a 30-foot wall, says Janis Wood, an employee at the gym. "It's great for your self esteem. You can do this; just go one rock at a time."
Island Rock Gym, 60 Skyline Dr., Plainview; 516-822-7625, islandrock.net. Lessons: $38.50 (includes a day pass, shoes and harness). Passes: adults $16, students $14. Rentals: shoes $4, harness $4.
It's "Capture the Flag," "Hide and Seek" and "Cops and Robbers" all rolled up into one. Players pack a special gun armed with 500 paintballs and run around a three-acre field trying to shoot their opponents and capture the team's flag.
There's a safety orientation beforehand, and referees keep players in line during the game.
"The bottom line, it's about fun," says Dean Del Prete, president and owner of Cousins Paintball, with two parks on Long Island -- in Coram and Hauppauge. "When that horn goes off, you're all excited; your heart's thumping and you gotta go off and get that other team's flag," he says. "It kind of hurts when you get hit, so you don't want to get hit," Del Prete adds.
Wear grungy clothes, or go Rambo in a camouflage jumpsuit rented at the field. A group of 10 or more can have a private field, or players can come alone and be grouped with players with similar abilities.
Cousins Paintball , David Overton Road, Coram, and 114 Parkway Drive South, Hauppauge; 800-352-4007, playpaintball.com. A six-hour session costs $50 per person and includes the gun, 500 paintballs, air canister, goggles and a mask. Call for rates for shorter sessions and private parties.
Brush up on your ollie, learn to grind -- or just show up to toss around lingo used by skateboarders here and everywhere. Beginners who take lessons first learn the proper way to fall down, says Lisa Aracri, who works at Inline1 Extreme Skatepark in Mt. Sinai. Advanced skateboarders do stunts on 10- and 12-foot ramps.
Lessons are geared to the age and ability of the person. "Even when a 5-year-old kid does the littlest jump, the place goes mental," says Tom Noonan, co-founder of Inline1.
Bring your skateboard or inline skates, along with a helmet and elbow, wrist and knee pads. A glossary of cool-but-confusing slang is optional.
Inline1 Extreme Skatepark , 269 Rt. 25A, Mt. Sinai; 631-474-2900, longislandskateboarding.com. Non-members pay $40 per person for the initial visit; $20 for subsequent visits. Lessons cost $30 a half-hour. No rentals other than helmets, which cost $5.
This is the place where clean fun means getting really dirty. Only members can ride dirt bikes at this 10-acre motocross park in Ronkonkoma. And it's BYOB - bring your own bike - because rentals aren't available. Ditto for protective gear.
More than 200 members have joined Club MX to unleash their inner speed demons, but owner Mike Rio ensures a safe environment for kids and adults alike. Lessons are $30 and hour - recommended for biker newbies.
Club MX, South 10th St., Ronkonkoma; 631-774-1381. Yearlong individual memberships cost $1,000, $1,500 for families.
Surfing = board.
Windsurfing = board with sail.
Kiteboarding = board pulled by a kite.
The surfboard is the common denominator in all three of these water sports, and all are taught by knowledgeable, laid-back and uncannily tan instructors at Windsurfing Hamptons on the South Fork.
Depending on the sport, lessons take place on the beach with a surfboard simulator, or in the water with an instructor on a board alongside. Wannabe kiteboarders wear helmets outfitted with speakers so instructors can give tips first-hand.
"Everything you do, we're right there close to you," says instructor Jimi Sobeck. "Some people need one lesson, then they'll go off by themselves. Others need 10 to 15 lessons before they become comfortable."
What's the draw? For starters, it's cool looking, Sobeck says. "Like any sport, it's a big accomplishment. And it's a great thing to do in the summertime," he adds.
Windsurfing Hamptons, 1688 County Rd. 39, Southampton; 631-283-9463, www.w-surf.com. Lessons range from $100 to $275 per session, depending on the sport and the instructor. Rates include gear such as a board, leash, wet suit, kite, bar and line.
"We're not a country club," says Mindy Pariser, an administrator at The Waterfront Center Sailing School in Oyster Bay. Kids and adults who come here can learn the ropes on a one- or two-person Sunfish as well as a 23-foot Sonar sailboat.
For the adventurers, Pariser recommends the agile Sunfish for the waters in West Harbor. "The Sunfish are a lot of fun - especially on hot days," she says. "You're going to get wet; you're going to go swimming. If you turn around quickly, you'll get dumped in the water."
In the summer, the school holds camps for kids from Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City - with many children who have never been on a sailboat before. Private lessons are a great option "because you can do it any day and the instructor works one-on-one" with students, Pariser says.
The Waterfront Center Sailing School, 1 West End Ave. Oyster Bay; 516-922-7245, thewaterfrontcenter.org. A three-hour lesson costs $175 per person, with $50 for each additional person. Rates include the boat and lifejacket.
Don't expect to toss back a Red Bull and shoot the whitewater rapids of Long Island. Because, well, there are no whitewater rapids on Long Island. But a challenging adventure awaits anyway, says Diana Dreeben, manager at Peconic Paddler in Riverhead.
She recommends renting a sea kayak for a 6- to 7-mile paddle from the Peconic River to Simmons Point in Jamesport. While most people rent the larger recreational kayaks, "the sea kayaks are sleeker and easier to use, but faster," Dreeben says. Those who don't have the physical stamina to go to Simmons Point and back can take shorter routes and stop on the beach for lunch along the way.
Very little instruction is required, and life jackets are provided with boat rentals. Just pack a water bottle, sunscreen and a lunch, Dreeben advises.
Peconic Paddler, 89 Peconic Ave., Riverhead; 631-369-9500 or 631-727-9895, peconicpaddler.com. Recreational kayaks rent for $35; sea kayaks cost $48. Call for rates on canoes and other options.
Add a little vroom-vroom to your water sports with a jet ski for one or two. Uihlein's Marina in Montauk rents the personal water craft until October, says Jimmy Mirras, a captain at the marina.
Before you start your engine, you'll see a video on water safety and rules, then take a short quiz. Afterward, an instructor shows you how to operate the jet ski. "It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy," Mirras says.
Wear a swimsuit, sandals, flip-flops -- or keep your feet naked. Then enjoy the ride in Gardiner's Bay and Block Island Sound, where skiers can see Connecticut and Gardiners Island. "The water is perfect," Mirras says. "It's never more than a foot choppy."
Uihlein's Marina , 44 West Lake Dr. Extension, Montauk; 631-668-3799, Uihleinsmarina.com. A jet ski rents for $95 for a half hour or $160 for an hour. Price includes a life jacket.