THE EXPERT: Richard Jepsen, lead instructor at OCSC Sailing School: “Sailing has the social construct of a picnic with friends.”
WHY DO IT: Because it combines the exhilaration of conquering the sea with the sights and sounds of a relaxing day at the beach. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Don’t be intimidated by all the moving parts and jargon. You’ll likely be surprised how much you can master after a day with a good teacher.
ROOKIE MISTAKE: Overthinking the steering of the boat, moving the tiller (the lever used to control steering) in the opposite direction of where you should.
HOW YOU KNOW YOU'RE ADDICTED: You start scheduling business meetings at the sailing club and sneaking out of the office just because there’s a nice breeze.
GEAR: Kaenon’s polarized wraparound Arlo sunglasses were created by a former Olympic sailing coach. $199 at Patagonia, 770 North Point St., 415-771-2050, patagonia.com
OCSC Sailing School offers $40 introductory courses every Saturday all year long. 1 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley Marina, 510-843-4200, ocscsailing.com
THE EXPERT: Klaus Schluter, head instructor at Oxygen Paragliding: “Remember the feeling of riding that first big rope swing over the lake when you were a kid? Paragliding recaptures that thrill.”
WHY DO IT: If only so you can stop saying, “In my next life, I’d be an eagle.” Plus, you’re going to see views up there that you’d never experience on land.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: You can stay high in the air for hours on end. Remember the goal of the sport is to go up, not down.
ROOKIE MISTAKE: Getting in your seat too early and then banging your moneymaker on the ground. Legs stay down until your glider is up!
HOW YOU KNOW YOU'RE ADDICTED: When you’re texting your boss, “Won’t be in today ... I’m at 8,000 feet.”
GEAR: The Marmot Original DriClime windshirt is windproof and lightweight. $90 at REI, 840 Brannan St., 415-934-1938, rei.com
Oxygen Paragliding offers $250 introductory courses every weekend at various locations in the Bay Area. 415-425-7391, oxygenparagliding.com
THE EXPERT: Rebecca Geffert, owner of Boardsports School & Shop: “Windsurfing gives me the feeling of flying across the water and dancing with the wind.”
WHY DO IT: We live in one of the windiest cities in the world, so why not take advantage? Windsurfing is ridiculously fun, and you can cruise in light winds, race in high winds or learn freestyle tricks.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Beginners are usually surprised at how easy windsurfing can be. Oh, and that a wet suit really does keep you toasty warm.
ROOKIE MISTAKE: Staring at the gear instead of the destination. It’s like staring at the steering wheel while driving a car. You could run people over doing that.
HOW YOU KNOW YOUR ADDICTED: Your friends don’t recognize you out of your wetsuit.
GEAR: Extreme sports fans agree: Kinesys’ performance spray-on sunscreen is a must for a day on the ocean. $16/4-ounce bottle at Lombardi Sports, 1600 Jackson St., 415-771-0600, kinesys.com
Boardsports offers windsurfing, kiteboarding and paddle boarding lessons from March through October at various locations in the Bay Area. 415-385-1224, boardsportsschool.com