Aquatic Specialties guides marine dreamers to aquatic adroitness during this three- to four-hour beginner's scuba lesson. Aquatic Specialties boasts a highly experienced staff of dive instructors and an official status as an SSI (Scuba Schools International) instructor-training facility. Marinate your marine-hungry brain during a classroom instruction before wetting your flipper tips during a swim in Aquatic Specialties' heated, year-round pool. With this lesson, aspiring deep-sea divers can learn how to set up gear properly, how to ascend and descend, and how to calmly diffuse confrontations with pushy panhandling conches.
Surrounding Kennebunkport Marina is a town awash in centuries of nautical history; the community also boasts a spot on AOL Travel's list of the 10 Best Beach Towns in America. The marina contributes to its pristine environs with new docks, an outdoor fireplace, and a riverside courtyard where guests can lounge on adirondack chairs. From the docks, which have hookups for water and 30- and 50-amp service, boaters can captain their vessels down the Kennebunk River or travel one-quarter mile to open ocean waters. Year-round storage keeps ships protected during winter or transatlantic spitball wars, and spring engine commissions by certified technicians prep boats for the sailing season.
Those without their own watercraft can join the Kennebunkport Boat Club, which grants members of any skill level access to a quartet of boats that range from 15 to 26 feet. Additionally, the store offers powerboat, canoe, and kayak rentals, and reservations of the Captain's Cottage make lodgers feel more nautical than tying their shoelaces in bowline knots.
Thanks to improper equipment and a lack of professional training, Nanci Grenier Boutet endured four years of splashes and bruises before she could reliably stand up on her surfboard. Nanci founded Aquaholics to save others from a similarly waterlogged fate, and it was not long before she began to make waves in Maine’s dedicated surfing community. Nestled in a space that once housed a church, her surf shop has earned local renown for its selection of quality wetsuits and beach gear available to rent or buy.
When Nanci and her staff aren’t outfitting wave riders with professional equipment, they take to the ocean themselves during year-round surf and paddleboard lessons. CPR-certified instructors coach boarders of all skill levels in private surf sessions or group classes capped at three students per instructor. Large parties can opt for abbreviated surf lessons with a less-structured approach that lends itself to mild mayhem. Alternatively, standup paddleboard lessons impart various techniques for mounting boards and steering clear of siren rap battles during guided tours of Maine’s waterways.
When they hear the churning Atlantic surf lapping at the edge of the store, located directly across the beach in Rye, just outside the metro area, the trained staffers at Summer Sessions don't just hear the ocean—they hear the call to adventure. To that end, they equip customers with wave-taming equipment ranging from surf- and skimboards to standup paddleboards. They purchase new boards from Rusty, Riviera, and Costa Rican Customs and wetsuits from Rip Curl and O'Neill each season, ensuring that customers can learn using their own gear. In addition to housing a coffee shop and convenience store, Summer Sessions also maintains a stable of rental boards and, on special demo nights, lets visitors test out its stock of boards to find a fit from varied lengths and styles.
The team members' commitment doesn't end with gear. They also help new beach-goers ride their first waves, guiding students of all skill levels into the water to teach basic surfing or paddling mechanics. Coaches also lead camps for children and adults and always maintain a ratio of one teacher to every five students to allow proper individual instruction.
A perennial fixture on Golf Range Magazine's list of America's Top 50 Driving Ranges, Sagamore Golf Center combines practice resources for serious golfers with fun attractions designed to hook novice players on the game. At the driving range, guests can send balls flying across 320 yards of open fairway. Even after nightfall, the range stays well-lit thanks to tower lights and ground-up bunker lights that help players trace their balls’ flight paths.
Sagamore is also home to two chipping and putting areas and a par-3 practice hole frequented by LPGA teaching professional and Legends Tour Player Laura Shanahan Rowe. Laura in fact uses the practice center to conduct lessons for players of all ages and abilities. For a more relaxed experience, test your short game on Sagamore Golf Center's 18-hole mini-golf course. Waterfalls, rock formations, and treacherous quicksand pits surround the evergreen circuit, which stays open late in the summer.
With the opening of its first store in 1989, Eastern Boarder established a foothold in the then nascent extreme-sports category and has since ridden the explosion in popularity of skating, snowboarding, and BMX. Today, at each of its five stores, devotees of these now mainstream sports can find gear, accessories, and apparel by manufacturers such as Burton, Volcom, The North Face, 32, and Airblaster. In recognition of its staying power, Snowboarder magazine named Eastern Boarder the Coolest Shop in the Country in spite of several sabotage attempts on its thermostat. The shop also sponsors a pro snowboarding team that?s been acclaimed by the likes of ESPN Action Sports.