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Make Waves with Water Sports

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A sailboarder hits Rehoboth Bay. Photo by Ron DubickMake a Splash

Delaware is a coastal state, with endless beaches on the ocean, Delaware Bay and the inland bays. Why not enjoy its waterways as nature intended? By board or by boat, it’s easy to get out on the water, whether you’re a beginner or an old salt.

STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING

No endless hours of training are needed to learn this sport. Imagine paddling a canoe from a standing position. Just grab your board and paddle, then go. Delmarva Board Sport Adventures (delmarvaboardsportadventures.com) has shops in Rehoboth and Fenwick Island. Go Launch on the ocean wherever surfing is allowed or on municipal beaches when the lifeguards are off duty. For mellower flatwater, launch on Rehoboth Bay at the Tower Road parking lot just south of Dewey Beach. (paddlesecondchance.com).

KITESURFING

Big wave surfing-sailboarding legend Brett Lickle, a Delaware native who lives in Hawaii, describes it as sailboarding with a helicopter. Wearing a bowed wing that looks like a sport parachute that links to a harness on your waist you sail while connected to a short board that skims the water. You will need a lesson. East of Maui in Dewey Beach (eastofmaui.com) offers instruction, from sessions with simulators to a three-hour progression lesson. Go The bayside lot of Tower Road, just south of Dewey Beach in Delaware Seashore State Park, is an East Coast mecca for boarders. Consistent thermals on Rehoboth Bay make for long reaches and choppy waters that are great for learning tricks. For ocean kiting, launch at any unguarded beach in the state parks. Delmarva Board Sport Adventures offers sailboard lessons and rentals. (delmarvaboardsportadventures.com)

SURFING

Yes, Delaware does get surfable waves. Beach replenishment has changed the breaks, but if you take the time to learn the tides and winds, you can always find a place to go. If you’re a beginner, stay out of the way, or find a secluded place to practice. Or hook up with an instructor. Rehoboth Beach Boarding School (boardingschoolrb.com) offers group, beginner and advanced lessons in Rehoboth and Bethany Beach. Go Legal surfing can be found all day long at the northside of Indian River Inlet. Beginners should surf far north of the main peak. Optimal conditions: chest-high waves and bigger, low to incoming tide, and a west wind, which combs breaking waves into consistent peelers—though the jetty will protect strong swells from southerly winds.

SAILING

Sailing is typically an activity that’s passed down from one generation to the next. If, by chance, the sailing gene happened to skip your parents’ generation—no worries. There are options here. (Truth? It’s always better to have a friend who owns a boat. Less headaches.) Go New Castle Sailing Club always welcomes newcomers. It offers robust learn-to-sail programs with weekend classrooms and on-the-water instruction through the summer. Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association, with a sailing school for juniors and adults, is your one-stop-shop for learning the craft in Sussex County.

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