Water Sports


PORTSMOUTH ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA – On a weekend last summer, while the rest of the beachgoing world descended upon overrun sand traps like Nags Head and Virginia Beach, I took a 4×4 and a shortboard and made for Portsmouth Island. There are a few selling points to this skinny, 18-mile-long…

Meet the heir to the throne of big-wave surfing

1. WILSON AVP REPLICA BALL You might not be able to spike like Misty May-Treanor, but you won’t be able to blame the ball. This soft, composite-leather volleyball is a facsimile of what the pros use. $15; wilson.com Women’s Beach Gear Essentials 2. LOLË…

In your dreams. (You couldn't keep up anyway.) But that doesn't mean you can't learn a few things about maximizing your summer fun from surf goddess Malia Jones.

Photo Gallery and Video

I'll be heading to London on business for a week in early September. Are there any outdoor adventures to be had while I'm there? I was thinking of rafting in Scotland, but is there anything closer? Alex N. Ann Arbor, MI

At least that's what veteran action photographer Tony Harrington told us. So when he assembled a team of world-class athletes and brought them to a secret spot in New Zealand where you can ski and surf in the same day, we agreed to send a writer. Too bad he never mentioned the midgies.

How to bring the world's freshwater woes into focus? Try 3-D. On one of the most ambitious Imax projects to date, 44 river warriors including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Wade Davis go sloshing down the Grand Canyon—and try not to drop the million-dollar cameras into the drink.

With Kelly Slater as his chief ambassador, SoCal surf legend Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz had a plan to teach the kids of Israel and Palestine how to get barreled—and bring peaceful vibes to the Middle East along the way. Of course that was before the Hamas supporters, the hashish, and the paparazzi got in the way.

You skipped breakfast because you overslept because you couldn’t fall asleep because you didn’t have enough time to exercise. Sound familiar? Then turn the page and let us—and Michael Phelps—show you how to recalibrate for your best year ever.

An Aussie filmmaker makes waves with a documentary about gang life Down Under

The next milestones of adventure aren't about reaching new heights. They're about changing the game.

As Katie Arnold found out in the September 2007 feature story, “The Alpha Geek,” world champion kayaker Eric Jackson and the rest of his clan can white water rodeo with the best of them. See more of photographer Jake Chessum’s shots of the fam in action here.

Bobby Martinez turned to the waves and stayed off the street

For more than 150 years, sophisticated anglers have lusted after bamboo fly rods—specifically, those made of Chinese Tonkin cane—but they’ve always faced the same drawback: The nodes between segments, like hinges, cause weak points. Now, Colorado rod builder Bernard Ramanauskas, 36, has developed a chemical treatment that stiffens the wood’s…

A journey from model surfer to model/surfer

San Francisco pitcher Barry Zito on surfing, traveling, and career-ending shark attacks

The revival of a Hawaiian tradition gives us even more reasons to love the ocean

How do three guys who get paid to surf the world, shoot movies, and design sweet gear still make you want to pick up their tab?

The world's greatest Communist supereconomy needs all the power it can get. The devil's choice: Keep burning dirty coal, or tap into Yunnan's crashing rivers for clean, cheap electricity. With dams rising up all around, PATRICK SYMMES joins a team of Chinese and American rafters as they outrun the concrete on a wild descent of the Yangtze.

Restrictions on personal watercraft threaten California's baddest wave

I’m rafting the Colorado River in April and need rain gear, but I don’t know what to buy. Any help would be appreciated. Troy Huntington Beach, California

Score with a bargain rain shell, an eco-friendly PFD, and more of the season's hottest new gear

With our guide to bareboating, it's easier than ever to rent and rule your own sailing ship

I need a racking system for snowboards and skis that will also work for surfboards and bikes. I’m open to a trailer hitch system for the bikes, because I’m not sure I can lift my bike onto the car. I have a 2002 BMW 530. What do you recommend? Ann Culver City, California

If you follow surfing, you know the season-ending Pipeline Masters is the biggest stop on the World Championship Tour. But you also know that Kelly Slater all but secured his eighth WCT title months ago. So why watch? Because the December 8-20 contest (follow online at triplecrownofsurfing.com),…

I'll be vacationing with my parents in Cabo San Lucas and I’d like to learn to surf. Where are the best beaches to learn and who offers lessons? Jeremy Detroit, Michigan

Want to own the War Bounty surfboard, a replica of the one seen in Apocalypse Now? It was built by the original board’s shaper, and is signed by the film’s Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen. The one-of-a-kind board will be auctioned on eBay in January. Check eBay’s homepage after January…

The doomed sea crossing of a French baron

Fall in Yakutat, Alaska, means camouflage, salmon, and the sweetest swells on the far north shore

Get schooled to captain your own vessel, then take it to the open seas

In search of a 21st-century odyssey, Rolf Potts braves seasickness, blissful languor, and a bevy of bikini-clad sirens on a sailing flotilla in the Greek isles

Fill your jib—and your tall glasses—at Antigua Sailing Week, the Caribbean's biggest regatta

MEXICO’S BAJA PENINSULA can be torture for surfers: 1,100 miles of waves but only spotty road access. So this past summer, pro surfer Jon Rose, 28, and friend Tyler Rootlieb, 32, welded racks to their motorcycles and logged 1,500 wandering miles along trails, roads, and empty desert between Tijuana and…

So say Matt Nuzzo and Trip Forman, the founders of Real Kiteboarding, who are channeling Jake Burton and trying to turn their breezy passion into the next action-sport phenomenon. MICHAEL BEHAR joins the believers on a rum-soaked Caribbean cruise and tries to find out: Is kiteboarding the new snowboarding?

Japan's got more going for it than bright lights and temples—namely, some of the best places in the world to ski, climb, kayak, bike, and surf. Bow down to the wild, wild East.

One dad's quest for an undiscovered surf spot turns up perfect waves, crazy wildlife, and just the right kid-friendly vibe on Costa Rica's wild Osa Peninsula

Diving after elusive sea life on the teeming reefs of Indonesia's Celebes Sea

In a (completely misguided) bid to make the 2008 Olympic team, ex-NCAA swimmer W. Hodding Carter is training like he did in college. And that means spring break. Only this time our party frogman is cruising the British Virgin Islands under his own power.

No need to put a toe in the water. It's ready, and you will be too with our guide to the season's best new equipment for ocean, river, and lake.

Here, read a conversation with writer Mark Anders and professional surfer Rob Machado continued from our August 2006 Letters section.

With a new ban on Caspian sturgeon eggs, caviar fans turn their eyes to the Rockies

Wind, waves, and siestas—just a few of the reasons to discover Tarifa, Spain

For over a decade, 26-year-old Bruce Irons has captivated the surfing world with his gravity-mocking aerials, smooth style, and convivial countenance. Many, including 2000 World Champion Sunny Garcia, have called him “the future of surfing.” But while big brother Andy was winning a trio of world titles, Bruce struggled to…

Divers do the damnedest things in pursuit of Northern California abalone—like poaching, drowning, and getting gobbled up by great white sharks

A Pipeline prodigy makes—and rides—some very big waves

The best beaches for practicing your moves offer gentle waves and a no-pressure atmosphere. Here, over 20 of the best beginner breaks in the country to get your feet wet.

It's every adventurer's dilemma: Nothing's more exciting than the next trip—but nothing's harder than leaving home

I'm on blood thinners which cause feet and hands to get very cold when I go fly fishing in winter. How can I keep the extremities warm? I have tried sock liners and two pairs of wool socks, to no avail. Sheldon Warren, Ohio

As adventure goes mainstream, a new crop of youth teams takes root. Can climbing moms be far behind?

Three Kiwis are readying to kayak almost 400 miles around the South Atlantic Ocean island made famous by Sir Ernest Shackleton's fated Endurance expedition

It seemed like a good idea: Two war correspondents escape reality into far Mongolia, stalking an otherworldly fish called a taimen. But in the process of cleansing their souls with icy water and Johnnie Walker Black, they realize it's possible to stray too far from home.

America's multiplatinum surf troubadour rides his dreams like a North Shore break. His secret? If you love what you do, life and work can both be a rip.

The growing mob at surfing's premier big wave has tow-in veterans fearing for their lives

I see a variety of different kayak clothing on the market (i.e., drytops versus wetsuits). I have always been confused about the different weather conditions and types of kayaking in which each type of clothing would be appropriate. Can you help? Philip Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier. What happened after Shaw promised to go back is nearly unbelievable—unless you believe in ghosts.

If you’re the grandson of legendary aquaman Jacques Cousteau, swimming with sharks is almost blasé. But becoming one—now that’s honoring your pedigree. This past winter, Fabien Cousteau, 37, climbed inside Troy, a 14.5-foot submarine/shark decoy, to film the great whites around Guadalupe Island, off Mexico’s Pacific coast. Created by Hollywood-stuntman-cum-inventor…

Thanks to one of the worst droughts in a century, the Southwest’s most thrilling boating of late has been a motorized trip to Cathedral in the Desert, the reemerging sandstone amphitheater in Utah’s man-made Lake Powell. Well, times change, and so does the weather. Suddenly, the big news…

Go in search of the epicenter of summer soul and you’ll eventually wind up at Hanalei Bay, in Kauai, Hawaii. Among this tight-knit community of surfers, the days revolve around the sun, the wind, and one of the most revered waves on the planet. “Hanalei Bay is a spiritual place,”…

I'm heading out on an extended canoe trip and I'm not really looking forward to jumping into freezing cold water to wash. Can you recommend a good solar shower? Space and weight are a major issue. Tim New Jersey

Trophy trought and salmon are only part of the catch at these luxe western lodges.

If you decide to drop out and start surfing full-time, there's no place like Mexico's Pacific coast. When Peter Heller heads south and signs on with a tough-as-nails board guru, he discovers a wave-riding scene of world-class barrels, hard-grooving kids, and guardian angels.

FOR TODAY’S SURFERS, knowing where the planet’s best waves are hitting is as easy as tapping the Web for weather and buoy data. The challenge is getting there before the swell subsides. Enter surfwear mega-labels Billabong and Quiksilver, which are sponsoring the ultimate rapid-transit system for their pros: 1950s-era Grumman…

How best to describe Jack Johnson? Surfer? Filmmaker? Multi-platinum rock star? How about the luckiest friggin’ guy on the planet? Raised on Oahu’s fabled North Shore, Johnson, 29, began competing in pro surfing events in 1992, at age 17. He quit to study filmmaking at UC Santa Barbara, and his…

My buddies and I are planning a return trip this summer to some rather large wilderness lakes in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains. Fortunately, these lakes have no trails around them, which keeps visitors to a minimum, but makes backpacking near impossible. We think we have the perfect solution: packable rafts. We've found two four-pound versions from Sevylor and Alpacka Raft, but wonder about quality on one and price on the other. We will be hauling these over 3,500 vertical feet (in just the first day), with off-trail travel, scrambling, and paddling into the mix. Add to that the fact we aren't diminutive representatives of the human race plus pack weight and we push or exceed the weight limits on many one-person boats. I hope I have presented you a worthy challenge, Sir Gearalot. Mack Johnston, Iowa

The Trips of 2006

It's a 21st-century refinement of the Robinson Crusoe fantasy: Your own private island—but with none of the inconvenience and discomfort of being a castaway. From the coral reefs, talcum sand, and swaying palms of the Seychelles to nine other crowd-free island retreats, we've got the ultimate unplugged paradise for you.

Nine more dreamy private isles to call your own

Wipe out trying to bodysurf the Newport Wedge and you'll burst an eardrum, yank out a shoulder, or snap a few ribs. Daniel Duane tackles the mean blue beast and meets the elite riders who court her lash.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's plane wreckage answers a 60-year-old riddle. Or does it?