Rentals and lessons: Hampton Watersports, 1686 N. Highway (Rt. 27), Southampton, 631-283-WIND,
rents equipment and gives lessons. (If you know of other rental
places on the Island, let me know and I will list them here.)
Map to Moriches Bay
sites. Red squares mark places to try.
Map to Peconic Bay
sites (south side).
(These maps courtesy courtesy of the US Census Bureau.)
Go east on Montauk Highway about 3/4 mile
from downtown Center Moriches. Turn south on Belleview Ave. and drive to
the end. Best winds are from S to W; particularly the SW flows that come
just before a cold front arrives. Parking is free all year and the rigging
area is a nice mowed lawn. At low tide you should wade out past the sand
bar about 100 yards off shore before starting. In the summer there can be
considerable boat traffic in the channel about a half a mile out. Across
the bay there are some nice flats behind Fire Island. Pay attention to the
currents if you go near the inlet, which is a couple of miles SE. Weed fins
are a necessity in the summer and early fall. This place is also called
Webbie's; can anyone tell me the history of the name?
Hart's Cove, East Moriches Coast Guard Station
From Montauk Highway, go south
on Atlantic Ave. from the only light in East Moriches. After about 3/4 mile
turn left on Moriches Island Road. When it ends at the water the launching
area is on your right. You enter off of the access road to the Coast
Guard Station. Best winds are from NE to SSE. The SE flow can be outstanding
here during a storm.
Here is a
picture of the launch area,
and one of the
rigging area. While I have seen up to perhaps a dozen sailers here
at one time, other times it is
On a SW wind and an outgoing tide, try sailing in
the channel between the point and East Bird Island. This may involve
a short walk out to the point, but you'll have
outstanding conditions all to yourself.
Parking is free here all year. The
state has just installed a new parking lot which should help relieve
deterioration of the rigging area due to the 92-93 storms and people
driving on the grass. The shore here retreated about 20 feet during those
This is also a popular spot for jetskis, it being a reasonably short
run to the inlet and the ocean.
From South Country Road take Shore Road south to
the end. Free parking all year. Best winds are S to W. Can be
rather shallow at low tide. Lots of boat traffic in the channel in
the summer. This is directly across from the new inlet which opened
in 92-93 and since sealed. Watch for the next new inlet to form a bit
further west, behind Swan Island about halfway between this site and
the Coast Guard Station.
Cold Spring Road, Southhampton Going east on Sunrise continue
past where limited access ends to Shrubland Road and turn north.
After about 1/2 mile turn left on Cold Spring Road to the end. Park
on the east side of the road at least 150 feet from the water. Good
on any kind of north wind. Excellent on a NW just after a cold front
goes through. The Peconic Bay is fairly wide here so there can be a
lot of big chop. It is often described as a "mogul field." Some good
nearby spots are by Sebonac Inlet and at the ends of East or West
Landing Roads on either side of Squires Pond.
West Meadow Beach, Stony Brook
From Lawrence T. Hoff:
Nichols Road North to rt 25a. Left at light, right at next light onto
quaker path. Follow the signs to WMB. Great in a N/NW (when the south
shore is sheltered by the island). Free parking. Paved lot. No weeds.
Sound-sized waves break ~100 yds. from the beach. Sound sized = bigger
than Peconic or Great South Bay, smaller than Atlantic.
From Gwyn P. Williams:
the most popular places on LI to sail is West Meadow beach - into
the Sound. There are usually 20 or more boards there each
afternoon when there is wind. I suppose the most popular spot is
near Sand City near Northport, but I have never been there. Also
there is a good place in the Bay in Shirley. Good sailing,
I've never sailed there myself, but have gotten lots of
raves about the place.
From D.J. Molny:
Napeague Bay is a good-size body of water on the south fork, between
the towns of Napeague and Montauk. It is almost a lake, connected to
Great Peconic bay [Gardiners Bay] by a small strait at its northern end.
The good sailing is all in the northern half of the bay. The south end of
the bay is shallow, somewhat weedy, and has some small boats moored there.
Boat traffic is virtually non-existent.
The best winds are from the south or southwest off the ocean. The local
geography seems to cause a venturi, cranking a 15-knot breeze up to 25 or so.
Southerly breezes are cross-onshore, and southerlies are cross-shore or
cross-offshore. Westerly winds are offshore from the launch site, but fairly
sailable. Northwesterlies are cross-offshore on port tack.
The bottom is sandy. The bay is heated by the sun, and hence quite salty.
It's shallow enough that you can stand in most places, especially if the
There is very little chop in the bay. On a really cranking day, you might
see 6-12 inches... just enough to launch if you try hard. It's a good place
for speed runs, jibing practice, and waterstarting.
I forget the street names, but there are only a few streets to worry about.
Take Montauk highway east out of Napeague. When you see the Art Barge ahead
on your left, turn left. (The Art Barge is a big ugly double-deck stationary
thing.) If your pass the Lobster Roll restaurant (their sign says "Lunch" in
big letters), you've gone too far. If you're on the right road, you'll cross
some railroad tracks within 100 yards and will drive along a marshy area full
of reeds and cattails. You will be able to see the south end of Napeague Bay
on your right as you drive.
Take that road to the end (~1 mile), and turn right at the stop sign. Go
about 1/2 mile, and take the second right. This road is about 1/2 mile
long, and will dead end at the beach.
You have three choices for parking:
I usually opt for #3, and bring a bicycle to shorten the commute :-(.
- - Buy an East Hampton permit (very expensive for non-residents!)
- - Just park and hope the police don't come around (they do!)
- - Dump your gear at the beach and park at the beginning of the road.
From William P. Jaursch:
Napeague Harbor is a great spot. Basically the best winds come from the
north and on those hot afternoon from the south. The best part is this
small bay is waist-deep for may be one-half mile. There is no or little
boat traffic, making this area all windsurfers! I have sailed there and
I can imagine its potential.
From Gwyn P. Williams:
I can certainly attest
to the fact that Napeague is the best that LI has to offer by far.
We reckin that one day there is worth 5 anywhere else! However, while
it is good for learning, there are no waves.
From Daniel Seltzer:
Napeague's natural best is when the Southwesterlies kick in (usually
mid-to-late afternoon in the summertime). Then you can sail till dark,
and if there's a system coming up it'll sometimes blow all the next
day. After a few hours, chop can build to well over a foot or two if
the wind is over 20-25. I am not the only one who has jumped high
enough to feel it on the inside.
But the best of Napeague is the side that fewer people know about or
go to: the outside. On a Northwester (or the rarer Northeasters) you
can work your way upwind from the regular launchsites on the West side
of the bay, until you get to the cut at the very top. This is one of
the two ways that the tide flows in and out of the Bay. Depending on
the tide, sailing in or out can be very very tricky, but it's narrow
and you can usually just grab for a shore and pull your rig along. On
the outside, the water is wide open out to the shores of Connecticut
(not even visible, usually) and the swells fetch up around Gardiner's
island. They get big, with 10 foot troughs common in a blow. Even in
5.0 weather there's good stuff ranging up to five feet or more
providing ramp space aplenty. And there's never more than four or five
other fiends to share the miles with.
The most important thing to know about a Northwesterly there is that
you have to get up as soon as you hear it and sail immediately,
because they blow out early in the day usually. This is a heavy
Mistral crowd, with Energy, Edge and Explosion the favored boards of
the last few seasons.
There have also been some big Southeast days (very rare) when the
hearties have launched off of Amagansett main beach for open-ocean
riding. But new restrictions (even for the well-stickered) make that
tough now. Ditch Plains, in Montauk, has a good break but is a long
haul and is sheltered from the wind except on certain rare occasions
that I can't speak on authoritatively.
Also far out on the island is the parking lot for Gosman's restaurant
at the Wharf in Montauk. On a NW or NE blow, the surf is great, the
launch is great, and there's a jetty the keeps an inside smooth for
easy jibes and launches.
From Robert Pflieger:
During the summer at Neapeague Harbor it can be dead for days. During
one of these dead periods, I found good planing (and water starting)
winds at the south end of the harbor for about 2 hours. Another wind
surfer couldn't believe there had been any wind all week (he had
stopped at Neapeague once in the morning and once in the afternoon to
check the winds).
From William P. Jaursch:
Heckscher Park is excellent in the summer with those thermals that come in
from the ocean from the Fire Island Inlet (near the bridge). This
usually occurs in the afternoon with the winds from the SW. You have to
look for the lot with the windsurfers.
From Robert Pflieger:
Beginners note: At Heckscher on light wind days, the summer thermals
generally kick in around 2 PM and die near 6 PM. For those who sail
in these light winds, note that there can be a 1 to 2 Knot tide here.
In marginal conditions, this small current significantly affects your
ability to plane depending on whether your going with or against the
tide. When the wind is against the tide (on or off shore winds only)
it may be difficult to return to your starting point. Don't fight it
until your exhausted, remember it's relatively easy to sail to the
shore and walk back. Don't laugh, I once spent 2 hours happily
planning in one direction and not making one inch progress back to the
parking lot and not understanding why. After realizing I could just
sail to shore and walk back, I then put on a warmer wet suit (I was
freezing) and sailed back to guide a friends wife to shore who was
getting tired and quite nervous.
One of my favorite Heckscher scenes: resting on the beach exhausted
at dusk, watching the whitecaps and storm clouds and a few diehard
sailors still playing with the wind.
From David Schwarz
It is important to note that when sailing at Heckscher State Park you
are sailing in the Great South Bay whiches raises a key issue: Weeds.
For hassle-free sailing, use a weed fin if you have one.
Crab Meadow Beach in Northport
From Gary Zieve:
This Beach, on Long Island Sound, is excellent for N or NE wind.
The beach is only open to windsurfers off season, after Labor Day and
before Memorial Day. Take Sunken Meadow Parkway north to Route 25A
west. Go west 4 miles to Waterside Ave in Northport. This street has
a stoplight at the bottom of a hill. Go north 2 miles to the beach.
Smith Point Park (South End of the William Floyd Parkway)
From Robert Pflieger:
I sail here for northerly winds when I don't want to sail at
This is one of the Suffolk county parks which is open to the public
for a fee($7 non-resident $5 for residents). A non resident can get
resident privilges for $20 for two years (Suffolk County green key)
which includes camping priveliges at their many campgrounds. At Smith
Point, there is a small but good launching area just past the entrance
to the parking lot, grassy with some tall reeds to block the wind.
Accross the channel is a Suffolk county boat lanching area which looks
promising for southerly winds. The sailing channel is a long narrow
(<1/2 mile) connection between the Great South Bay and Moriches Bay.
The boat traffic is confined to the center channel and poses no
problem for windsurfers. It can be very shallow within 50 feet of
shore which make it a good spot for beginners. You may not find
anyone else windsurfing, but many small boats anchor in the center of
the channel to fish so you are not completely alone. I love the
flat water for speed runs.
Posted by larryw9999 at aol.com to rec.windsurfing:
Between Hechsher State park and New Jersey is a place in Brooklyn where
people have been sailing for more than ten years. Plumb Beach is an ugly
parking lot on the Belt Pkwy, just east of Exit 9 Knapp St., that offers
pretty good sailing when the wind is coming from any direction but from
the north. People question the water quality but I have yet to hear of
anyone getting sick. When the wind is coming from the north, the Plumb
Beach sailors travel across the Marine Park bridge and head west to breezy
point. Northlies are usually spotty.
Some other spots I have not tried myself include Gillette
Ave. Bayport, New Suffolk, the ocean near Ponquogue, and
Meschutt Park except in summer. In the Peconic Bay near Squires
Pond the end of East Landing Road and West Landing Road can
be quite good on a northeast. There is a popular spot in
Shirley which is OK on NW winds, but I prefer Cold Spring.
Other sources for Wind information on Long Island Beaches
From Robert Pflieger:
The winds at the various L.I. beaches are very finicky, and L.I. is
large enough to have very different conditions at the same time. The
winds can be kicking at the south shore and be dead on the north shore
or east end. The best winds can be early in the morning, in the
afternoon or towards dusk depending upon the type and timing of weather
systems moving through, the effect of thermals, etc. In less than an
hour, the winds can shift direction by 180 degrees. We need all the
help we can get to find the winds we want.
For wind predictions for the Long Island beaches, I've found the
accu-weather L.I. beach forecast on Prodigy to be the best. The US
weather bureau is much less helpful as the wind predictions are for the
general region and don't take into account thermals etc.
For current wind conditions, the Wind Line ($) is very helpful
(800-777-9463) as they have remote wind measuring equipment at Heckscher
and at Napeague Harbor. They can also provide a faxed plot of the
winds over the last 24 hours.
For those who don't want to pay the monthly and per call fees of the
Wind Line, there are other options. On the net, the winds at the
various L.I. airports are given on the surface summary(Albany). The
internet address is as follows:
The best places for ice surfing or boating on Long Island are
Lake Ronkokoma and Bellport Bay. A popular launch site is at
the south end of Lake Ronkonkoma. For Bellport bay, try the south
end of Station Road. The snobby parking regulations are usually
ignored in the winter.
mike at latticeguy.net
Silver Sienna, Electric Rock.