…by Ryan Diviney…
Let’s talk about the big yellow circle floating in the Montauk sky. No, not the sun, the other one that has the biggest smiley face I have ever seen — Montauk Parasail. Flying 1,000 feet above the water to give some thrill seekers a unique seagull’s eye view of “The End”. Since 2016, Captain Joe has been pulling this massive sail behind his speed boat to give passengers an experience they are unlikely to forget. As per federal regulations, the boat is a purpose built parasail vessel manufactured according to federal regulations built by Commercial Water Sports in Cape May NJ. It is the 31 foot Ocean Pro model, a Coast Guard inspected vessel that holds 12 passengers and 2 crew.
This summer Joe brought me and my family on-board to see what it was all about. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was a picturesque Montauk morning with not a cloud in the sky. We sailed out from Star Island Yacht club passing Liar’s Saloon and Gosman’s, and then out into the bay. We cruised up the coast and out to the Point for a beautiful view of the Lighthouse and Camp Hero’s infamous satellite. The visibility was so good that the captain was able to point out Connecticut, Gardiners Island, Fishers Island, Block Island, and windmills that are set just off of Block. (We think we also noticed our dad crack open his first beer over at Hither Hills before noon but we could be mistaken.)
The sail was unveiled and let out to start catching wind. Farmer Brittany, the first mate, paired us up to start putting on our harnesses and life vests. The first two were all prepped and ready to go, so they went to the back of the boat, had their harnesses clipped to the sail and on a count of 3 began their seamless ascent into the blue bird sky.
For many of us it was our first time parasailing and we had different ideas of what the experience would be like. But once we were up, it was unlike anything I could have imagined. It is almost therapeutic, floating high in the sky, with no sound besides the conversation with your partner. To be up there viewing a place that we have been exploring since we were kids, and now seeing it from a whole different angle was a ride of a lifetime. For those of you who are terrified of heights, like my cousin, this may be the way to get over that fear just as he did. The smooth sailing and incredibly capable hands of Joe immediately put all nerves at ease and allowed us all to enjoy the incredible views without an ounce of worry. To see Montauk from above the gulls is worth every second!
Depending on the group you go with, I am sure the experience on the boat could go a few different ways. But for us – with 10 family members – it was a bit of a Pop Karaoke dance party with some guest appearances from the Backstreet Boys and Missy Elliott. Joe and Brittany had some props that we creatively leveraged in a little photo shoot. Some highlights were the Viking helmet, the screeching rubber chicken and big plastic scissors to “cut them loose”. In the rare moments when things started to quiet down, Joe would be ready with a witty one-liner to get us all right back into it.
After being pulled for a while, Joe would slow down to create slack in the line, to let the sail slowly descend as if we were paratroopers. This is when things get interesting… He could either start picking up speed to send you back in the air, or wait just long enough to dunk you into the refreshing water. Being strapped in with a family member meant we were dunking, and that turned into a bit of a water battle to see who could get the other person more wet. While there may not have been a clear winner every time, I think we can all agree that our cousin HAN was the biggest loser of the bunch. Joe would then push the throttle, to send us soaring back into the sky for another rush before slowly reeling us back to the ship. For the record, the parasail ride is a completely DRY ride and you only get wet if you ask the Captain to be dipped.
After everyone had their chance to fly, they brought the sail back in and we made our way back to the dock with smiles on our faces that gave the giant smiley face sail a run for its money. We docked up, collected our things and hopped off the boat with a hand from Joe and his parting note, “Thanks for getting high with us”.
Montauk Parasail offers a special deal to show their support for the Military and Wounded Warriors Project. 10% off for any active military personnel, and wounded warriors get to ride for free! There is more information on this, including a confirmation code, on their website; https://montaukparasail.com/. In addition to trips throughout the day, an adult Sunset Happy Hour ride is offered as well. This final parasailing trip of the day, offers a beautiful sunset cruise around Montauk Harbor.
Parasailing is a family friendly fun activity- check out the website for early bird specials and trip options, Book online or call 631-377-1831 then head over to Star Island for an unbelievable adventure!