Riding waves since the age of five, wakeboarder and coach Dave Briscoe might feel more at home on the water than on land. His eerily natural control of the board and uncanny ability to reel off ollies, wake jumps, and surface spins landed him a roll in the movie "H20 Extreme" and propelled him into countless pro tour finals, a European Championship win, and induction into the New Hampshire Sports Hall of Fame.
Though his resume bespeaks wild skills, as a teacher, Dave excels at patience. He loves spreading the word of wakeboarding to novices as well as discussing advanced techniques with seasoned vets.
Between them, Keith St. Onge and David Small hold all three current World Barefoot Water Ski records. Beyond their championship-caliber skills, they cement their positions as true ambassadors of the sport by training the next generation of barefooters at World Barefoot Center. Under the guidance of Keith and David’s personal coach, Gary "Swampy" Bouchard, the center’s instructors walk students through proper stances and basic techniques on dry land before taking small groups for trips skimming across Lake Conine and Lake Rochelle. The expert staff can easily recognize and correct weaknesses in form and recommend waterfront restaurants with loose requirements.
The licensed skydive veterans of Skydive Tampa Bay have accompanied customers soaring from the bellies of airplanes since 1978. These plummetologists have earned national and international championship titles and multiple world records, and now start beginners on a path to their own air-bound accolades with introductory tandem jumps. Lessons begin with on-ground instruction before instructors securely attach students to their torsos like thrill-seeking mother kangaroos and freefall for two miles. After students learn the basics through tandem dives, instructors put them through the Accelerated Freefall Program, which includes classroom time, ground training, solo jumps, and post-dive critiques of freefall techniques and maneuvers.
With free wine tastings all day Monday through Saturday and beer tastings on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, Tapping The Vine lubricates taste buds with its extensive collection of lesser-known libations and globally imported specialty wines and craft beers. Browse aisles brimming with fermentation favors and malted liquid gold while the friendly staff offers helpful suggestions to determine if customers' palates might prefer the tarty taste of a Wallace Brooks pinot gris ($16) or the bittersweet chocolatey Charles Smith Velvet Devil merlot ($16), among other white, red, and dessert wines. Barley buffs can analyze the feel of various brews, such as the flavorful Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ($6.99) and organic Scarecrow golden pale ale ($4.69). Like the mouths of famous rappers, Tapping The Vine wouldn't be complete without an assortment of accessories, including professional-grade bottle openers ($9) and champagne stoppers ($5).
Nestled on the shores of the eponymous southern Florida lake, Lake Okeechobee Resort is an ideal base camp for outdoor recreation. Popular pursuits here include bass fishing, boating, and hiking or bicycling along a segment of the 1,400-mile Florida Trail that wends around the lake’s perimeter. You can set off into the lake from the resort’s 100-slip marina. From its location on the southeastern side of the lake, the resort has a spot to watch sunsets over the water.
For those camping, Lake Okeechobee Resort has especially long lots for oversized RVs or sleeping bags designed for giraffes. An onsite restaurant, public bathrooms, and pool take the edge off of roughing it while staying at the campground or in the cabins.