The pulsing waves of the Atlantic Ocean rock boards, lulling riders into a state of reverie as salt-tinged air tousles their hair. Long Island natives and former lifeguards Johana and Billy fell in love with this sun-soaked state of meditation and now share it with others through tours, lessons, and rentals at Fire Island Kite & SUP. With origins in ancient Hawaii, standup paddleboarding offers a laid-back alternative to walking on water. Visitors skim over shallows teeming with fish, keeping eyes peeled for wildlife while slipping past towns such as Robbins Rest and Fair Harbor.
Kiteboarding, on the other hand, has its roots solidly in modern times and sates the cravings of adrenaline junkies. The sport blends the speed of windsurfing, the sweeping turns of snowboarding, and the gentle spray of being on Shamu's debate team. Under the eye of a certified instructor, gusts of wind fill sails and propel kiteboarders across the waters near East Island.
The instructors at Long Island Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Co. give visitors a lesson in Hawaiian athletic history, introducing them to one of the islands' oldest sports during standup-paddleboarding lessons. Guiding students of all fitness levels onto oversize surfboards that span 32–34 inches in width for enhanced stability, instructors unveil the thrill of gliding across the open water and low-fiving your own reflection.
Standup paddleboarding also imparts further health benefits to its enthusiasts, creating a steady, full-body workout that conditions the core and develops coordination. Beyond paddleboarding, the company's class offerings range from kayaking to windsurfing, beckoning beginner-level sportsmen to venture into the water. Long Island Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Co.'s team also leads tours, including sunset outings and eco tours.
Under the tutelage of Shihan Allie Alberigo, students of all ages learn the arts of ninjutsu and classical jujitsu, revamped for contemporary warriors. With four decades of martial-arts training under his belt, Allie Alberigo teaches his students about hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons; he has also expanded classes to include disciplines such as judo, yoga, and kickboxing. The Little Warrior program builds punching ability in children as young as 3, and the Third Eye Insight program includes martial arts, yoga, and meditation classes for students who are blind or visually impaired. During these classes, sighted students can also spar and learn while wearing blindfolds. The facility includes two training floors and an archery range, which gives students ample room to flex without destroying nearby equipment.
Though Shaolin Self Defense Center teaches students how to punch, kick, and defend against opponents, the lesson its instructors find most important is to maintain self-esteem, discipline, and respect. Drawing upon a rich tradition that spans more than 1,500 years, instructors introduce students to Shaolin kung fu's signature blend of targeted strikes and debilitating grapples. However, classes are about more than just physical form. Instructors also encourage emotional and mental balance, leaving students with a quiet confidence that lasts long after lessons conclude.
Victory Martial Arts' MMA style blends six self-defense methods into one potent cocktail. Its constituent elements range from kenpo, which focuses on high-speed striking, to muay thai kickboxing, often dubbed "the art of eight limbs" because of its scrappy use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, and feet. There are swirls of Western boxing and wrestling-style floor grappling, too. To complement MMA sessions, the studio hosts single-style classes on kenpo and Brazilian jujitsu—and a sequence designed especially for kids and teens.
Contrary to popular belief, few martial-arts schools actually celebrate the holidays by high-kicking ornaments into the hard-to-reach top branches of local Christmas trees. On Long Island, however, these elements all come together for Karate For the Holidays, a once-a-year package deal that includes two months of martial arts classes at any of more than a dozen participating locations. Designed for gifting, the package also includes a free uniform made to work with class exercises.