Learn to Paddle Board!

Yes, you can learn to paddle board right here in NYC!  The New York Kayak Company is located on Pier 40 (West Houston and West Street) and this is their first summer of Stand Up Paddle Boarding instruction and tours.  I have really enjoyed learning to surf so I had to give this other popular sport a try.

I signed up for Intro to Paddle Boarding through Urban Escapes.  We had a 2 hour lesson followed by a pizza dinner on the end of the pier.  The ratio was 2 people for each paddle board, which meant lots of opportunities to get out and work on improving your skills.  NY Kayak and Co. also offers Intro to Paddle Boarding classes for $25 on Wednesdays.  More people are in those classes so the ratio is usually closer to 3 or 4 people sharing time for each board.  For an introduction to the sport though, it is definitely a great deal to get yourself out on the water.  Because paddle boarding is such a workout, it is better to take breaks when you are starting out and you will not mind handing the board to someone else in between tries. 

The scenery was beautiful and the sun was in the process of setting during our lesson.  Getting on the board from the dock was the easiest part.  Then once you row yourself far enough away from the dock, the goal is to stand up in a fluid motion so that you can then continue to balance and row yourself along.  As a beginner, it was an amazing experience.  There were more waves than I expected due to passing boats on the Hudson, thus balance was quite a challenge.  I could feel every muscle working to maintain my stance.  It is better to keep your board moving through the water to prevent yourself from falling.  Between trying to stay standing up, steering and rowing over waves I was very focused on my efforts.  With more practice, I am sure I would be a bit more relaxed than I was this first time.

Once you are more comfortable and experienced with stand up paddle boarding, NY Kayak and Co. has paddle boarding trips where you can venture out further than Pier 40.  It was mentioned that going out towards the Statue of Liberty would be one of the tours they offer.  I am not at the skill level for that yet but perhaps with more practice I will be.

Urban Escapes will be offering another intro course in September (for those interested click here).  You can view the current schedule of Stand Up Paddle Boarding offerings from NY Kayak and Co. by clicking here.

Learn to Surf!

One of the best ways to cool off in the hot summer months is to go to the beach.  As I discovered with my first attempts last summer,  it is even better if I can grab a surf board and get in the water to catch some waves.  I had a really successful surf lesson on Long Beach, Long Island this past Saturday and wanted to share the company info with those who might be interested.

Skudin Surf, Inc. has local surfing lessons at Long Beach and the Rockaways. The instructors were really helpful and I improved a lot during my 90 minute session. Here is a link to their website where you can sign yourself up for surf lessons and camps www.skudinsurf.com .  Even if you have never surfed before, they will help you get up on the board in no time!  I look forward to putting the skills I learned to good use on future surfing outings.

Join the Circus!

Ever think about running away from city life to join the circus? Well, NYC has its very own circus school to learn how to do just that! This Saturday, a friend and I took an Intro to Circus Arts class at the New York Circus Arts Academy. The academy is located in Long Island City and is just  a short walk from the 7 train Vernon-Jackson subway stop.

Since this was an intro class, we were able to try our hand at a variety of circus arts.  For two hours we were exposed to gymnastics, the trampoline, acrobalance, juggling, the trapeze and ribbons. The exercises were challenging but they were also a lot of fun!  Our teacher was very understanding of our varied levels of experience. With his encouragement and teaching, he really helped us achieve success while we attempted to work on the skills such as hanging upside down from the ribbons (as pictured above).

The Intro to Circus Arts class is the perfect way to find out what area you would like to study further.  The New York Circus Arts Academy provides more in-depth courses on everything we tried during our intro class, as well as, offering some fitness courses.  I can definitely say that my muscles are feeling it after those 2 hours, so I can only imagine the benefits of continuous work on these skills.  Once you try it, you will most likely be hooked!

UPDATE (on 8/31/10): I was just informed that the New York Circus Arts Academy has closed. However, in the same location you will find Circus Warehouse which looks like it offers similar classes and training.  You can read about Circus Warehouse on their website at http://circuswarehouse.com/.