Anyone would agree that the coastline from Montauk Highway to the Hamptons is perfect topography for some of the best surfing in the world, especially the closer you get to Montauk. As the official summer season begins, we decided to check in with Southampton native Shane Dyckman, the founding owner of the renowned Hamptons Flying Point Surf School for a bit of surf inspiration.
Dyckman founded Flying Point Surf School in 2001 to bring quality surf instruction to the East End. Although surf instruction is year-round at Flying Point, the height of its demand occurs during the summer season between Memorial and Labor Days. The school offers private and group lessons for adults and kids, and has perhaps the best summer surf camp for kids.
I enrolled my seven-year-old in the surf camp last summer and got a first-hand experience on how Flying Point camps are run. A typical day starts with parents getting an early-morning call directing them to whichever beach has the best surf – all are within 15 minutes of each other and are between Southampton and Wainscott. Camp starts at 9 AM and begins with stretching and yoga on the beach. There are about 10-25 kids per session with 3-4 kids per instructor, who’s a twenty-something guy or girl with a totally cool surfer lifestyle. After an orientation of water safety and basics, the kids head into the water. Since Shane has designed the program to be optimum safety-first, the instructors position themselves in two lines: one where the waves curl and one where the waves break so there are always instructors in front, behind, and within site and reach of the kids.
While my son was gearing up to be a pro, I decided to take a few private lessons (not to be left behind by the young lad). The instructor was one of the best surfers I’d seen – straight out of dailysurfvideos.com. Similar to the kids camp, we started our session on the beach with some balancing and positioning exercises on the board, then reviewed basic motions — extremely helpful as I was a beginner. After 20 minutes on the beach, we hit the water, where the instructor and I practiced catching waves. With each topple, I got a few pointers on what went wrong and how to improve, and eventually got the hang of it after some repetition (nearly ready for my own surf video). Flying Point takes a philosophical approach to balance, surfing, and life – a sort of modern Hamptons take on Zen and the art of surf maintenance from the seminal book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Flying Point has managed to become the premiere surf school in the Hamptons thanks to its focus on turning the sport into a vocation. Outside of kids surfing and fishing camps, it offers 90-minute private surf lessons, as well as stand up paddleboard and yoga on the beach. Lessons are $150 and beach locations vary — many are at Road G off Meadow Lane in Southampton or at Ocean Road beach in Bridgehampton, but instructors can come to other beaches depending on your location for private instruction. – Evanly Schindler
Photo: Flying Point
Aside from staying steady on the board, one thing you’ll take away from surfing is that it’s just as much a lifestyle as it is a sport (or vocation). Dyckman is a longtime believer in surfing-as-a-lifestyle, and with this in mind, he opened Sagtown, a popular coffee shop with locations in Sag Harbor and Montauk that double as surfer hangouts and La Colombe-brewing java joints.
Photo: Sagtown Coffee
A must-do on the list of surfing in the Hamptons includes a trip to Ditch Plains in Montauk, the go-to spot for expert surfers. On the far eastern-tip of the Hamptons, the beach has a long break and occasionally wild currents that make it no place for a novice, but a prime spot to soak up the surf culture of the End.
Photo: Sagtown Coffee
Watch a video of Flying Point Surf School here:
Flying Point Surf School
Sag Harbor, NY (516) 885-6607
Sagtown Coffee 78 Main St, Sag Harbor 696
Montauk Highway, Montauk