From 3,500 feet, you can barely even see the wild horses roaming Chincoteague Island. But when you’re hang gliding alongside an instructor from Virginia Hang Gliding, it doesn’t seem to matter much. What you can see from these towering heights are awe-inspiring views of waves crashing in from both the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay while you feel the adrenaline rush of soaring through the air. Clients help maneuver the glider over Virginia’s scenic beaches, far above the other visitors and the hundreds of bottles containing notes about boring islands. The whole time, they rest safe in the knowledge that they’re in the capable hands of one of the experienced pros who ride along.
Ever since he was a child, Ocean City native Tyler Barnes cruised the waters around his nautical town on his parents' boat. His nautical knowledge culminated in a three-year stint as a mate for a parasail company. As he fell in love with the craft, he realized he wanted to start his own adventure company. By blending his skills in watery sports with training as a marketing major, he founded Paradise Watersports. Ten years later, his company now owns a fleet of four 12-passenger parasailing boats and 30 Sea-Doo jet skis, which they buy new each year to ensure high-quality performance.
Tyler leads a team of U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains and crew, who also all hold certifications in CPR and first aid and boast a thorough knowledge of the area as well as a near-compulsive need for year-round water-bound activity. They put this knowledge to use teaching boater-safety courses on the bay and guiding jet-ski rentals and beach-hugging parasailing tours. On tours, they pilot U.S. Coast Guard–inspected boats custom-built to accommodate parasailing gear and equipped with hydraulic winches and towlines to enable slow takeoffs, steady ascents, and undisturbed conversations with seagulls. Visitors can also purchase professional photo packages and waterproof Canon cameras, forever capturing in time bay-bound adventures.
Highland Aerosports' instructors introduce students to the joys of unpowered flight though hang gliding. Most often, they perform tandem flights, strapping themselves into a two-person glider right alongside beginners and helping them control the craft. Such a task requires plenty of confidence, but the teachers have a lot of experience on their sides. Co-owner Sunny Venesky has personally taught more than 13,000 hang-gliding lessons, earning the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association's Hang Gliding Instructor of the Year award in 2003. Adam Elchin, the other half of the ownership team, boasts numbers almost as impressive, having taught 8,000 hang-gliding lessons and earned commendation from the USHPA for service to the sport.
Over thousands of flights, the duo has learned that students master the skills at their own pace and height. They're very accommodating about both issues. In addition to introductory flights at 2,000 feet, 2,500 feet, 3,000 feet, and 1 mile, they offer ongoing lessons at more subtle increments, such as 2,499 feet or "just out of reach of that giant."
Take a trip around the world as you experience the beauties of a new culture at East Coast Parasail in Cape May.
Combining self-defense techniques with high-intensity cardio, these kickboxing classes offer the ultimate full-body workout.
Parking is plentiful, so patrons can feel free to bring their vehicles.