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5 thrilling watersport activities


Learn to Fly

Part Jet Ski, part jet pack  pure adrenaline rush. This next-gen watersport launched onto the scene last spring when inventor Raymond Li debuted his JetLev R200, a personal flight system that can propel the rider up to 30 feet in the air. How does it work? A 260-horsepower engine on the 10.5-foot companion craft pumps water up a 33-foot hose at 1,000 gallons per minute, generating more than 420 pounds of thrust. When the water reaches the jet pack, it's directed through two nozzles that the rider controls to climb, hover, turn and dive at up to 30 miles per hour. A single tank of gas can last up to five hours and 80 miles. The $99,500 price tag might cause sticker shock for some, but not to worry, that's what rentals are for!


  • SundanceWatersports in Duck Key, Fla. (305-743-0145, Dock at Hawks Cay Resort (305-743-9000,
  • Kitty Hawk Kites in Kitty Hawk, N.C. (877-359-8447, Dock at Pirates Cove Marina (800-367-4728,
  • JetLev Southwest in Newport Beach, Calif. (888-553-6471, Dock at Balboa Yacht Club (949-412-2276,

Ride on the Wild Side

For all the angst boaters have about personal watercraft (PWC), there are some things these mighty-mites can do that other vessels can't, like access shallow water and get up close and personal with otherwise out-of-reach areas. Which is why PWC tours offer a great way to explore new places and see the sites from a different perspective. Each tour and tour operator differs, from Spartan to downright gentlemanly, but almost all of them include experienced guides, ramp/permit fees and, for overnight trips, meals and accommodations. (You typically pay for PWC rental, gas and incidentals). Destinations can be exotic, exciting and even unexpected. Plus, riding a PWC is a refreshing way to remain cool on a hot day.


  • Barefoot Billy's Jet SkiTours in Key West, Fla. (305-900-3088,
    Dock at Conch Harbor Marina (305-294-2933,
    Key West Bight Marina (305-809-3984,
  • Jetty Jumpers in Brooklyn,N.Y. (917-734-9919,
    Dock at Chelsea Piers (212-336-7873,
  • Jet Ski Tours Hawaii, Kahana Bay, Hawaii (888 492-0283,
    Dock at Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor (808-637-6090)

Breeze Through Life

Like paddle boarding, windsurfing has a distinctively Polynesian heritage, but it has since caught fire in places as diverse as Hood River, Ore., and Cabarete, Dominican Republic (two of the world's very best windsurfing locations). In this sport, riders strap their feet to a surfboard and skim across the water letting the breeze blow them and steering with a rotating sail. Even more sensational is the newer sport of kiteboarding, in which riders use a smaller board and a parachute-like kite that's hooked to a harness around the waist.With the right wind, kiters can move at amazing speeds and launch themselves 30 feet or more into the sky. Both sports require initial instruction, which is offered at surf shops and resorts worldwide.


  • Calema Windsurfing & Watersports in Merritt Island, Fla. (321-453-3223,
    Dock at Cape Marina (321-783-8410,
  • Hood River Waterplay in Hood River, Ore. (800-963-7873,
    Closest marina River Place Marina (503-241-8283,
  • Cabarete, Dominican Republic ( or cabaretekite
    Dock at Ocean World (809-970-3373,

Take a Stand

It started out as a way for surfing instructors to gain a better vantage point while managing a large group of students. But today, standup paddle boarding (SUP) has become one of the fastest growing outdoors sports in North America. And why not? It's a great form of exercise, it's silent and serene, and standing up lessens the glare of sunlight on the water, allowing the paddler to see more of what lies below the surface. Now that's 360-degree visibility. There's no shortage of paddle board types touring, sailing, fishing, inflatable and experienced enthusiasts can carve ocean waves with the best of them, bringing the sport full circle to its surfing origins.


  • Bluewater Safaris in St. Thomas, USVI (340-774-9436,
    Dock at Crown Bay Marina (340-774-2255,
  • Acadia SUP in Bar Harbor, Maine (207-610-2970,
    Dock at Bar Harbor Regency Hotel and Marina (207-266-5857,
  • Paddle Diva in East Hampton, N.Y. (631-329-2999,
    Dock at Halsey's Marina (631-324-3366,

Slip Slide Away

Probably the oldest and still one of the most popular of all watersports, tubing involves tethering an inner tube or other inflatable water toy to the back of a boat and then hitting the throttle.The experience can be easy and laid back, or madcap and bumpy, all depending on how the captain chooses to drive.Today's towables come in all shapes and sizes”simple donuts,multi-person rafts, elaborate rocket designs”each one created with a single goal in mind: wet and wild fun.Top brands include SportsStuff, Airhead, Aquaglide, Connelly, HOSports, Liquid Force and Rave.Tubing is the perfect entry-level watersport because it's non-intimidating, inexpensive, appropriate for all ages”and falling off is half the fun!


  • Bohemia River on the Chesapeake Bay, Md.  
    Dock at Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbour (410-885-2706, or Hack's Point Marina(410-275-9151,
  • Lake Grapevine,Texas.
    Dock at Silver Lake Marina (817-481-1918,
  • Lake Macatawa, Mich.
    Dock at Anchorage Marina and Yacht Club (616-399-1802,

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