Mike Cannon fell in love young, and he fell in love hard. He was only 6 years old when he first stepped on board a fishing boat. For the next three years, his seasick father dutifully took him fishing every weekend, until one day, Mike told his dad that he didn’t need to come along. So it was at age 9 that Mike began his career as a bucket cleaner. At age 13, he became a deck hand for Capt. Mike Abbaticchio aboard the Capt. Mike, which he purchased for his own 16 years later. Today, he still commands the Capt. Mike, setting off into Jamaica Bay and the New York Bight with fishers of all experience levels for full- or half-day charters. Mike provides rods, bait, and tackle and doles out advice for catching winter flounders or avoiding direct eye contact with enraged striped bass.
With more than 100 years of history behind it, the St. John's University athletics department has earned the respect of rival programs in a number of sports. The past century has seen the St. John's men's basketball team rack up the seventh-most victories in the NCAA, sending 60 players to the pros in the process. As a testament to its success, the basketball team now plays most of its home games at Madison Square Garden, world-famous for its bewildering lack of plantlife. The school has also had success in baseball and soccer, making six College World Series appearances and taking home the NCAA Division I men’s soccer championship in 1996.
Staffed by tennis professionals, Alley Pond Tennis Center is home to one of the largest indoor tennis bubbles in North America and spaciously houses 11 hard courts, along with several located outdoors. Mini-camps are excellent both for the tennis tenderfoot who wants to master the game's basics or the evil supervillain who wants to infiltrate the meddling League of Mutant Tennis Teens. In classes ranging from five to eight players, students will be provided with rental racquets and balls and within two hours will have subdued the strokes, savored the scoring, and charmed the miserly nets of the game.
Nationally ranked lifeguard and co-founder Cliff Skudin has conquered the massive swells of Outer Reefs Hawaii and Nelscott Reef during professional competitions. His business partner and brother, Will, is a four-time contender in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Their aquatic family history does not stop there, however. Among the ranks at Skudin Surf are three other amphibious Skudins—including a synchronized swimmer, a trained EMT, and a windsurfing dolphin—as well as a handful of instructors, lifeguards, and pro surfers who have been embraced by the family. Skudin Surf has been featured in a number of publications, including the New York Times.
Surfing, it seems, is much more than a mere sport to the Skudins. It’s also a free-spirited form of therapy. Brothers Cliff and Will launched the non-profit Surf For All to bring the sport to kids with autism, cerebral palsy, and visual impairment, among other disabilities. They also partner with Wounded Warriors to provide lessons to military members, and provided assistance with rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.