Water Sports FAQs

A Little Information


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Scheduling FAQ 


Our booking platform provides up to date availability for all locations and water sports.
Custom booking portals are also available for those that book and schedule lessons on behalf of clients.


Our preferred method for scheduling lessons is online. If you would like to speak with us directly or have questions about additional services, please call us at 508-680-3343 or email us at desk@nlwatersports.com.


Upon booking a lesson, you will receive an automated confirmation email that contains all details needed to be ready for the lesson. A Next Level Watersports team member will also reach out prior to the lesson to ensure there is no confusion.


We are dedicated to providing the best, tailored experience for all of our clients. If you need to rebook or have any special requests, please contact us at 508-680-3343 or email us at desk@nlwatersports.com.



Kiteboarding FAQ 


We are different. And each lesson gets our NLW Guarantee. We started Next Level Watersports out of a love for teaching kiteboarding and a realization that there is a shortage of top-notch coaching in the market. When you learn to kite, you shouldn’t be grouped with a crowd of students, you shouldn’t be left alone in the water, and you shouldn’t be getting slammed by waves. Rather, you should have a coach, in a boat, by your side at all times ensuring you are in control, feel comfortable, and who paces you appropriately while you learn in flat water. That is why people come from all over to be taught by NLW coaches us and our reviews tell the story.


Our students range from young kids to people in their 70s. It does not require significant strength, but we do require students to way at least 70 pounds. The advances in safety features over the last six years have transformed the sport, making it safe to teach and partake in. Kiteboarding is truly a sport that can last you a lifetime sport.


Kiteboarders come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Typically, our students run from 12-year-old kids to people in their 70s, but there are no age restrictions. We do require our students to weigh a minimum of 70 pounds to partake in the sport.


Waist deep, shallow water. It’s the key component to reducing the learning curve and practicing the sport in a safe environment. Why? Step one of learning to kiteboard involves learning to fly the kite, the controls, and developing muscle memory. The best place to do this is standing in that waist deep, shallow water. That way, if you fall or get dragged, you simply land in the water. Other schools will teach on the beach or in the sand, but we highly advise against this type of schooling.

We also believe high quality gear and veteran coaches are pertinent to the best conditions. You can find the quintessential ingredients to the best learning conditions can be found here.


This is inherently a tough question because the pace at which you learn depends on your background of skills. The process of learning to kiteboard involves:

  • Learning about equipment and safety
  • How to fly the kite and developing muscle memory
  • Adding in the board
  • Developing skills to become self-sufficient
  • Practicing & repeating
Clients that have wakeboarded before are likely to pick it up a little quicker. It’s like two sports in one: flying the kite and riding the board. When teaching it, we isolate each water activity and then combine them together. But don't forget, we can teach anyone! Board skills are not required and riding a board with a kite is actually a bit easier than behind a boat because the pull comes more vertical. [ can you guys clarify a bit?]

 


This will vary with skill level and prior experience. Our goal while teaching the sport is to provide top of the line instruction and help develop these necessary skills for our clients to become self sufficient. This can take anywhere from 3-5 lessons (but sometimes can be more and sometimes can be less). Some clients also continue to work with or staff for years after!


Please refer to our Kiteboarding on Nantucket guide for detailed information on this.


Please refer to our Kiteboarding in Stuart guide for detailed information on this.


We are available to teach seven days a week from May through October. Our lessons are booked in three-hour blocks throughout each day and are weather dependent.


You typically need at least 12mph to fly a kite and get riding!


Kiting does not require significant strength – it's a sport available to people of all shapes and sizes. You wear a harness and the power of the kite is transferred to your lower body. For people with bad backs, we have a special harness called ‘seat harnesses’ that transfers power lower towards the hips which can reduce strain on the lower back.


The International Kiteboarding Organization seeks to help schools and individual instructors create a program to teach kiteboarding and provide insurance while doing so. Next Level Watersports has gone a step above this and developed a robust business plan and instruction program which allows us to acquire a private insurance with higher levels of protection than the IKO. NLW has developed the best way to teach kiting in an incremental and safe manner, to train and foster the best staff, and to continue to evolve our proprietary platform that we proudly stand behind.


Pricing varies by lesson type, duration, and season. Please find our most current pricing here.


We will have your equipment for you, but suggest bringing:

  • Water
  • Snack (i.e. Granola Bar, Apple)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Appropriate waterwear for the day if you have it (i.e. sunshirt, wetsuit, wetsuit top) If you don't have it, no worries! Please tell your instructor when they reach out prior to your lesson that you’d like to borrow one
  • Bag or backpack to keep your valuables in

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to being comfortable while in the water. The difference between kiting and a sport like diving or surfing is, with kiting, you go back and forth from being completely in the water to having time out of the water, riding above it. When out of the water, the wind may hit you and chill you down. With diving and surfing, you spend most of the time in the water. If you are taking a lesson, we suggest that you wear a thicker suit. It's always better to be warm when you are learning something new. The second you get cold, it can hinder your focus and physical ability, decreasing your progress. So when in doubt, go thicker! Check out the table below for our suggestions on the time of the year and what wetsuit you should wear for kiting based on our locations.


There is an array of neoprene material available designed to keep you warm while getting in a session. There are neoprene tops, shorty stuits, and full suits.

  • Neoprene Top - Typically 2mm thick
  • Shorty Suit - Typically 2mm thick
  • Full Suit - These come in many different thicknesses. The first number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the chest areas, while the second number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the legs and arms. So a 4/3 signifies that the suit has 4mm thick neoprene in the chest and 3mm thick neoprene in that arms and legs. Typical suits are 3/2, 4/3 and 5/4.
  • Neoprene Jacket - If you are getting into the sport, we also suggest getting a neoprene jacket. This is without a doubt one of the most used pieces of neoprene by our staff. It can be worn while rigging, as an extra layer while riding, and is the perfect tool to warm you back up at the end of a long day or session on the water!

Below are our recommendations for what suit to wear in our locations based on the time of year. Remember, it is always easier to flush a suit and cool off than it is to get warm, and we highly suggest erring on the side of warmth to get the most out of your lesson. If you don't have a wetsuit, just let us know and our staff will bring you one to use during your lesson.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

  • May - 4/3 Full Suit
  • June - 3/2 Full Suit
  • July - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • August - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • September - 3/2 Full Suit
  • October - 4/3 Full Suit

Stuart, Florida

  • November - 3/2 Full Suit
  • December - 3/2 Full Suit
  • January - 3/2 Full Suit
  • February - 3/2 Full suit
  • March - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • April - Shorty or Wetsuit top

Kiteboarding is technically defined by riding a board that is called a twin tip. This means the board can be ridden in both directions, and the tip and the tail are exactly the same. Both ends are symmetrical. This is the type of board that most people learn on.

Kitesurfing is when you ride a directional board. A directional board can only be rode in one direction. This makes it necessary to tack or gybe the board to transition and ride the other way.


What's the wing?

  • The wing thing is a new sport evolving very quickly. There are two components: the wing and a hydrofoil. The wing generates power to pull the rider on a hydrofoil board. It is shaped like a spade and has similar DNA to a kite with inflatable struts, with Daron material in between, to provide stability. The big difference is that no lines are used with the wing set up. You simply hold on to the wing via hand loops, and steer it in a similar manner to a windsurfer. The wing is similar to a kite in how it can generate power and pull you through the water. Combine this with a hydrofoil and you can be speeding across the top of the water effortlessly.

What intrigues the NLW team about the wing the most?

  • We love the ability to ride a foil out into the wave, ditch power from the wing, and then use the power of the wave to ride in. Unlike when you are using a kite, you don't have to worry about lines slacking or the kite falling out of the sky. You can let the wing float behind you as you ride down the wave and then pull out, power back up, and ride upwind to catch the next swell!

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Wakeboarding & Tubing FAQ


We get a lot of questions about wake excursions: How do they work? Can young kids wakeboard or tube? Do parents have to be on board? The following are some answers to those questions and more.

Who can come out? - Our wakeboarding activities are truly perfect for all ages and experience levels. We have a range of lifejackets on board that fit passengers of all sizes, from small kids to larger adults. Kids as young as 8 can learn to wakeboard, and your 7- and 6-year-olds can ride the tube with an older sibling or parent and build their comfort in the water.

Do I need to be there? - As long as the kids are old enough, no chaperone or parental presence is necessary. You can drop your kids off with us, take the morning or afternoon for yourself, and pick them up at the end of the lesson. We consider ourselves the most fun babysitters on Nantucket out there!

Does everyone have to ride? Do we have to wakeboard? - Not at all. We frequently have groups and families come out where some observe from the boat while others charge through the water. (We will try our best to tempt you to try though!) Our goal is to make our clients happy doing what they want to do. If you want to skip wakeboarding entirely and go tubing for three hours, we’ll have the tube pumped up when you arrive! Simply let us know what activities your group is looking to do and we will make it happen.

What if I have a larger group? - We can fit up to six passengers on our boat at once under USCG guidelines. When we have larger groups, we simply split the group leaving half the group on the beach and then swap out half way through the outing to let the second half get a turn. Depending on scheduling, we also have the option to extend to give people more time on the board.

What if my kids have never wakeboarded? - Our specialty is teaching people how to get up for the first time and confidently say they know how to wakeboard for the rest of their lives. While an outing with us is sure to be fun, it provides lifelong skills and confidence.

What kind of boats do you operate? - We run 18 foot Boston Whalers that are perfect for learning and riding behind. At this time, we do not have a wake boat with a tower that throws a 3 foot wake. If you are an advanced wakeboarder, we recommend hydrofoil lessons as it is a skill you transfer to when you ride behind larger boats.


We consider a wake excursion with NLW to be a great and memorable way for your family to get out on the water and see a different side of your vacation spot. The waters in which we operate are our home, and we'd love to give you a VIP guided tour. Plus, unlike a sailing or boat tours, ew'll be sure to wear out any of those active kids of yours, making sure they sleep like a rock after!


  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Strapless Surfboard
  • Hydrofoil
  • Water Ski

If your group is larger than six, we have found the best way to ensure everyone has the best experience is to split the group up. We can run shuttle trips to bring everyone to a beach and then take turns rotating riders and people on the boat. If you have a large group and prefer not to split time, we also have two other boats that could be booked in tandem as well!


Yes! Your excursion is completely custom. Once on the boat, please notify your coach what you would like to do and if any preferences of where to go. Based on the current conditions, our staff will work with you to come up with a safe plan to make sure everyone has an epic time on the water!


  • Water
  • Snack (i.e. granola bar, apple)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Appropriate Waterwear for the Day (i.e. sunshirt, wetsuit, wetsuit top) If you don't have one, no worries. Please tell your instructor when they reach out prior to your lesson that you’d like to borrow one
  • A bag or backpack for valuables

     



eFoil FAQ


The amazing thing about the eFoil is that it provides a safe, easy means of learning to hydrofoil. It’s something you and your family will never forget!


Learning to eFoil is very safe. During a lesson, we require all participants to wear a lifejacket and helmet, take a safety briefing at the start of each lesson, and always will have an instructor in a boat by your side. You'll learn how to fall properly into the water as needed, to let go of the throttle, and simply swim back to the board, climb on, and keep going! Conquering the eFoil is also the safest way to learn how to fly in a hydrofoil.

Is the board stable? - The eFoil's weight makes for a stable board and ride. It helps to slow down the responsiveness of a traditional kite, and wake foils make it much easier to develop muscle memory and a feeling for the sport.

What is Low Aspect Wing - Using a big wing allows the board to travel at very slow speeds. This means you can attain flight at a speed that is comfortable and mitigates big crashes.

Controller - A big component of learning to eFoil is getting comfortable with the controller and developing the muscle memory to maintain a steady speed. Once you can set ‘cruise control’ on the controller, the board becomes an even stabler platform. For most people, having the ability to control the speed via the bluetooth controller makes the rider more comfortable, providing a greater sense of control as they are able to make adjustments according to how they feel on the fly.


Kids ages 10 and up can eFoil. There is no minimum weight and children tend to figure out the board quickly as they can stand on it easily. The upper weight limit for the eFoil is 300 lbs. If you have a younger child who wishes to try eFoiling, we do ask that the parent is there in person for the lesson.


Learning to eFoil generally takes anywhere from one to two hours. The eFoil is about six feet long and has a lot of area on which to stand. When you get the board planing on the surface of the water it becomes extremely stable, making it easy to adjust your stance. These qualities allow riders to be able to stand confidently and feel what its like to fly in a controlled manner to achieve sustained flight.


The answer to this question depends on two variables: rider weight and wing size. For lighter riders, the battery tends to last a bit longer. For an adult averaging 180 lbs, the eFoil will last roughly 1.5 hours on a large low aspect wing. If there is battery charge remaining at the end of your session, you may push into the third hour for an additional charge.


Incremental Lesson Plan - We have developed a step-by-step lesson program that we coach you through until you attain flight! Our goal is to help you build a strong base and confidence, as well as minimize crashing.

If you are a brand new eFoiler, we'll start by teaching you how to control the throttle and have you ride around on the board on your stomach. When you're comfortable riding around on your stomach, you'll move to your knees and ride around like that. Once confident on your stomach, we'll get you to your feet with your hands still on the board for stability (what we call the “Gargoyle Pose”). Then you'll move to taking your hands off the board, standing tall while riding with the board still in the water. The next stage is to when you break the board free and begin getting short flights. Finally, we teach you how to fly in a sustained and relaxed manner, as well as to execute turns on the board.


This is one of the most common questions we get. Don't worry! The controller floats! There is also a strap on it that keeps it in your hand in the case of a fall.


The eFoil is designed to be watertight and all electronics on the board are waterproof so that they can be submerged and still fully function. We’ve put the boards to the test and have found them to be extremely durable.


Unfortunately, we do not rent our eFoils, but we do offer supervised riding and lessons. The experienced Next Level staff will coach you throughout, giving you tips and tricks to allow for the fastest progression out there. Let us deal with the set up, break down and transport - you show up and have fun! In a lesson we will teach you how to: set up and break down the board, safety protocol, incremental process to attain flight, controller technique, board balance and learn the proper way to fall.


The LIFT eFoil is an yet amazing, addition to any water sport lover. However, given the price tag, it is a purchase that should be done thoughtfully. We are a vendor for LIFT and would love to help you navigate the process of buying and owning your own. Rather than simply receiving a board in the mail and being out on your own, we can help you pick the appropriate board size, show you how to put it together with tips and tricks we've learned, and troubleshoot that error code that pops up mid-session. If you are considering a purchase, send us an email and check out this BLOG!


The best time to efoil is when the water is completely flat. This is typically earlier in the morning. Luckily, due to the conditions in our lesson center locations, there is almost always a spot we can find that will be sheltered from the wind, offering flat water!


All eFoil riders will be provided with a helmet and lifejacket. It can also be helpful to wear a wetsuit, as it acts at a layer of protection to the skin. A boat will be by your side the entire lesson for active coaching and offer a platform to take a break and relax.


The eFoil can travel and speeds up to 30mph.


It’s best to have over 5 feet of water.


We'll have your equipment, but you may want to bring:

  • Water
  • Snack (i.e. granola bar, apple)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Appropriate waterwear for the day if you have it. (i.e. sunshirt, wetsuit, wetsuit top.) If you don't have one, no worries. Just inform your instructor when they reach out prior to your lesson that you’d like to borrow one.
  • A bag or backpack to keep your valuables in.

It takes about 2 hours to fully charge to eFoil battery.



Hydrofoiling 101


Flight Component - A hydrofoil is simply another name for a wing. In our context, a hydrofoil is a board that you stand on with a wing (or foil) underneath it. Similar to a plane taking off, as the board travels faster and faster through the water and water flows faster and faster over the foil, it increasingly generates lift. When the foil has produced enough lift to offset the weight of the rider and the board, you break free of the water and begin to fly!

Drag Component - When any boat, kayak, or board travels through the water, there is surface tension between the water and the vessel that is generating the drag. (The amount of drag generated is called your "drag coefficient" and varies based on hull shape/size.) This drag limits your speed and increases as you go faster through the water. When you introduce the foil and begin flying above the water, this surface tension goes away and your drag coefficient goes virtually to zero. With zero drag, your speed and maneuverability increase, and it takes considerably less force to make you go. This is why hydrofoils are so efficient and fun to ride.


The best analogy for riding a hydrofoil is to imagine you are on a “balance board” along two axes: forward and aft and laterally side to side. Like being on a balance board, if you put too much weight on one foot along an axis, you will fall in that direction. When you ride a hydrofoil the key is keeping your weight centered on the board providing continuous input to keep you balanced on both axes. If you put load on the back foot, you'll rise out of the water/rise higher into the air. If you put load on the front foot, it will cause you to come down lower to the water/put the board back on the water. If you put too much load on the back foot, it causes the foil to clear the water and you wipe out. If you put too much load on the front foot, it causes you to bury the nose of the board into the water and you wipe out. As you go faster and faster, the board becomes more and more stable and you can fly along sustained with minor inputs.


A hydrofoil is made up of four components: board, mast, fuselage, and wings (or foil). The wings attach to the fuselage, the fuselage attaches to the bottom of the mast, the mast attaches to the bottom of the board, and then you stand on the board.

Board - The board is the platform you stand on while riding. Boards can range in size from extremely small and light with no flotation (volume) to full on paddle boards with lots of flotation that are extremely stable and allow you to stand. The shape, size, and weight of the board has a big effect on how a hydrofoil performs.

Mast - The mast is a hydrodynamically (think aerodynamic, but for water) shaped foil that runs vertically and attaches to the bottom of the board and the fuselage of the foil wing. The height of the mast determines how much “ride height” you have above the water with different heights being optimal for different sports.

Fuselage - The fuselage is a tube that the front and back foil wings and the mast all attach to. It should have a hydrodynamic shape and is what ties the whole setup together. A longer fuselage will provide more stability but also more drag.

Foils (or Wings) - Hydrofoil wings on a board have a front and back wing. The front wing is what generates the lift on a foil and the rear wing is used for trim to provide stability.


Aspect ratio on a hydrofoil determines how the foil performs in the water. While it sounds complex it is actually quite simple. Find out more details on the breakdown here.


Purchasing a hydrofoil comes down to a few key questions: aspect ratio, mast height, material type, board type, and new vs used.

Should I buy a high aspect or low aspect foil? - Like anything in life, there are tradeoffs and the right foil for you depends on where you are in your learning and what you want to do with the sport. If you go with a purely low aspect surf foil, it can generate too much lift for kiting and be clunky and slow. If you go with a purely high aspect race foil, it can exacerbate your learning curve and will probably be obsolete for racing by the time you’re ready to race. We recommend compromising by purchasing a foil somewhere in the middle, closer to low aspect. Most of all - we recommend purchasing a modular foil that allows you to swap wings to suit your progression and riding.

Should I buy a carbon or aluminum foil? - Carbon foils are stiffer, more performance oriented.

Looking for more information? Check out our guide to buying a hydrofoil.



Nantucket FAQ


We teach our lessons in the flat, protected waters on the eastern end of Nantucket Harbor off Coatue. When you book a lesson with us, our preferred pick-up/drop-off spot is Pocomo Point which has public parking and is easy to access. Upon signing up for a lesson, you will receive all necessary details and can expect a smiling instructor in our boat waiting for you at Pocomo ready to go!




We do not have an office on the island, as we are out on the water every day. However, we are always available by phone and email if you have any questions or wish to get in touch with us.


We do not keep inventory on island, and we rent kite gear in limited circumstances. That being said, we are a vendor for the major brands and sell gear via drop ship for our clients. If you wish to purchase or rent gear, we are happy to help figure out what will work best for you - just give us a call or shoot us an email.


We operate seasonally on Nantucket from May 15 through October 31. During the winter, we coach in our in Florida location as well as while traveling with clients on customized, offsite excursions.

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