By Emily J. Weitz
After fifteen years providing East Enders with every excuse to go out and play in this beautiful world, Flying Point Surf Shop has decided to serve the smaller community: the ones who stand four feet tall.
Flying Point Kids, which opened on Main Street in Southampton last weekend and is already drawing tweens with hats askew, is aimed solely at the whims of kids looking to hit the pavement or get out on the water.
“Our kids’ business has become a large part of our business in general,” says Shannon, co-owner of Flying Point. “And our kids’ section was small in both stores. We outgrew our space.”
Her husband Mark adds that “kids’ products have expanded to every facet from Reefs to Crocs.”
He remembers a time when there were just a handful of types of Crocs available for kids, “but now there are 150 styles and colors just for kids.”
In addition to the apparel that goes along with the lifestyle of a young skater or a little surfer, there are the essentials, and Flying Point has always been about equipping customers with the right gear. But as the surfboards get shorter and the rash guards tinier, it becomes clear the market is being overtaken by the next generation.
“We’ve got infant stuff like tiny swim trunks, mini infant gloves by Da Kine, and infant sneakers.” The store is stocked with skateboards and surfboards designed for the younger consumer.
Of course, the next question becomes, “Okay, now my kid looks awesome, like she could ride the next great wave off Ditch Plains, but I know she has no clue what she’s doing and I’m not about to send her out there, even if she is wearing the coolest, snuggest wetsuit this side of Oahu.” Flying Point has thought of it. Along with a few other surf schools out here, Flying Point has established itself as a summer camp dedicated to teaching.
Flying Point Surf and Skate Camps run throughout the summer, and kids are invited to come and learn for a day, a week, or a month.
“There’s so much demand that we even offer a mini weekend camp now… There’s no required amount of time. You could even just come for an hour,” says Mark. The camp is a great way to safely get kids into skating and surfing. Given the fact that both of these activities have their elements of danger, it’s vital for kids to learn with a trained professional like Shane Dyckman, who runs the surf school and has been in the business for 15 years.
Mark believes that learning to surf helps “keep kids out of trouble. They learn about water safety, tides, and going with the current. [After learning at camp] they’ll be situated to handle trouble.” And perhaps there’s more to learning to “go with the current” than just on the literal level. By learning how to navigate the shifting tides, kids learn adaptability and how to act under pressure. These are tools that will serve them all their lives.
The camp and the big ticket items like surfboards and skateboards will benefit from having a store devoted entirely to kids, Mark believes.
“It’ll help that they have their own place,” he says. “Kids might come in here for the rings, jewelry and silly bands,” he says. But they might leave with a whole new outlook on life. Surf’s up.
Flying Point Surf’s new kids-only location is at 69 Main Street in Southampton. Their other stores, one on Main Street in Sag Harbor and the other on Main Street in Southampton, will still provide limited merchandise for kids.