Last week I spent two days at the NY Kite Center in Amityville, Long Island, taking my first stab at Kiteboarding, the hot new-ish board sport out on the water. I had been wanting to give it try it for a while, seeing the sport evolving and gaining in popularity. As it turns out, one of the premiere kiteboarding locations in the tri-state area and the largest schools in the Northeast, is located just an hour train ride away from Penn Station in New York City.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, it’s not parasailing, where you are pulled behind a boat while hanging from a parachute; nor is it paragliding, where you are attached to a large hanglider which you fly. I mention those because when I told people what I was doing, those were the sports they referenced. Kiteboarding is sailing a very large kite while riding what is basically a wakeboard, and using the power of the wind to pull you across the water. It’s an adrenaline sport for those who like to catch air, chill for those who just want to ride, and addictive for anyone who has gotten the hang of it!
Getting the hang of it, however, does takes some time. There is first learning to fly and control a small trainer kite on land, then moving on to the regular sized kite. The next step is flying the kite while standing in the water. After two days of 3 hour sessions, I got as far as “bodydragging”, where you let the kite pull you across the water in figure 8 formations. Except for the awful name, I have to say that was pretty fun in itself. Next step is the board, which I am ready and eager to put on.
SCENES FROM THE GREAT SOUTH BAY: KITES ON THE MARSHY ISLANDS; SUNSET KITING; THE LANDSCAPE BELOW FROM THE KITECAM; KITEBOARDS; A VERY COOL LOCAL RIDER!
The NY Kite Center is ideally situated on the Great South Bay in Amityville, NY. Miles of flat shallow water surrounded by marsh islands create smooth sailing conditions, kiteable from any wind direction… perfect for learning. The school, now in its sixth season, is run by its founder, John Pereira, who has seen a rapid growth in the sport over the last few years, particularly among ages 40-60. To go from being a beginner, to expert enough to ride out and return to where you launched, without a jetski rescue down the bay or long walk back up the beach, requires money and time. This probably explains its popularity among the older set. Good to know I have an alternative to golf in my older age!
So with everyone bemoaning summer’s impending end, it could be time to pick up this new sport. The school operates into November, wind conditions are ideal in the fall, and the water is beautiful. The Caribbean also boasts some of the best kiteboarding locations in the world. So for those island bound over the holidays, or looking to keep that summer vibe going, go fly a kite!