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Extreme water sports

An undated photo of Justin Hagay Friedman taking

An undated photo of Justin Hagay Friedman taking a windsurfing lesson in Amagansett. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Not sure what stand-up paddle boarding is? Want to know if kiteboarding is right for you? If you're curious about these and other unusual water sports, there are a number of places where you can give them a try for a few hours - no commitment or pricey equipment purchase required.


What it is: You're attached by a harness to a large kite on a bar, with a board on your feet. The kite catches the wind and pulls you and the board along on the surface of the water.

Difficulty: Hard

Where to learn: Because the sport combines kite-flying and board-riding, it's more difficult than, say, surfing or windsurfing, says John Pereira of Best Kiteboarding Center New York. At this Amityville-based school, students start with a two-hour class on land to learn to control the pull of the kite in the wind, as well as general safety ($175). From there, a three-hour class puts students into the water with a large, inflatable kite ($350), followed by another three-hour class with the kite and the board ($350). Experience with sports such as wakeboarding and skateboarding help build a foundation, Pereira says (334 S. Bayview Ave., 631-691-0793,

Also try: Lessons cost $200-$400 for two to four hours through Bunger's Surf Shop in Babylon, which usually sets up the private classes at Napeague Beach in East Hampton (631-661-1526,


What it is: Riding pockets of air across the water using a big surfboard with an attached sail.

Difficulty: Moderate

Where to learn: Riders balance on a surfboard and hold on to a pole that's connected to a sail, which ultimately controls where and how fast the vessel cruises along. The better your balance and experience with other board sports - such as surfing - the faster you'll pick it up, says Eric Skilbred of Windsurfing Hamptons (1688 County Rd. 39, Southampton). You can try it during two-hour private classes on Peconic Bay in Southampton that are offered Friday-Sunday ($185, 631-283-9463, Students are in the water the entire time and usually can successfully do some windsurfing by the end of one session, Skilbred says.


What it is: Think about those Hawaiian movies that show someone standing on a surfboard, paddling with a long oar.

Difficulty: Easy-moderate

Where to learn: Surfers have an advantage when it comes to paddle boarding, says Windsurfing Hamptons staffer Sam Miller - though they'll still need a few hours of practice to get good at it. One-hour lessons cost $100 and include use of a paddle, lifejacket and board. If you're new to the sport, expect to spend six to 10 hours getting up to speed.

More water sports: SAILING

What it is: The classic nonmotorized sport requires operators to navigate a much larger vessel on the water. It's a pastime that can be shared with others along for the ride.

Difficulty: Moderate-hard

Where to learn: At the Dinghy Shop in Amityville, two wannabe sailors can pair up for a four-hour lesson for $250; individual lessons are $150 for two hours (334 S. Bayview Ave., 631-264-0005,

Also try: The Waterfront Center Sailing School in Oyster Bay has many varieties of learn-to-sail courses - from a basic two-day introduction to sailing ($400) to a more extensive half- or full-day program geared toward entire families who want to learn (from $50 a person, 516-922-7245,

Greenport-based Sail Long Island offers private lessons on various-size crafts - including one for women only ($195 for two half-day lessons, 917-912-6342,


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