Surfing at Rockaway Beach

surfgenblog

I had never been surfing before, but I am a member of a meetup group that has scheduled outings during the summer for people of all skill levels to hang out and work on their surfing skills.  In this particular group, those who have been surfing awhile generously offer to help the beginners get started with some basic instructions.  As you can guess, it is extremely difficult to surf so just getting the basics down is a challenge.  But I must admit it is a fun challenge, as I discovered this past Saturday! 

Depending on where you live, it is only takes a short drive or a subway ride on the A train to get to the Rockaways where there are at least 2 designated surfing beaches (between 67-69 Streets and between 87-92 Streets).  This past weekend, my group went to the less populated 67th Street area.  When we arrived it felt like it was our own private beach!  There was plenty of space to lie out on the sand and no real crowding when in the water.  The waves were pretty great this particular day too so we were very lucky!  I have not yet been to the 92nd street surfing area other than to rent a board at Boarders Surf Shop, but I would guess it is very similar.  You can check out the surfing conditions before you go at: http://www.surfline.com/surf-report/rockaway-beach-90th-northeast_4270/

As a kid, I would spend most of my beach time in the water and I used to love boogie boarding.  In the more recent years though, I have usually just waded near the shore and tried not to get too covered in salt water.  For this visit to the beach, I had signed up to try surfing so avoiding the water was not an option.  As I was led into the water lugging my rental surf board, it was an abrupt reminder of how powerful the ocean is as the waves crashed against me.  There is nothing more humbling then getting knocked over and tossed about by a strong wave.  After listening to some basic pointers, it was then time to see what I could do on my own.  As the day went on, I kept trying to catch waves and work on developing my surfing skills.  It was the most invigorating feeling when I was able to stay on the board during those times when I didn’t wipe out.    I wasn’t able to officially stand up on the board this time but I did have some successful attempts at the more beginner level surfing positions.  Later in the afternoon, the waves got a little too rough for me so I finally ended my surfing efforts.

As this was my first time to try surfing, I was not sure how it would go.  Now I can say that I am a definite surfing fan and eager to go again.  Luckily, I am already signed up for an official lesson next weekend during a day trip to the Jersey Shore.  This weekend’s informal meetup was an amazing time with a fun group of people.  I look forward to seeing how it goes with ZogSports on their surfing day trip next Sunday.

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White Water Rafting Adventure

Looking for an adventurous day trip? How about going White Water Rafting! I signed up to go through a joint Outdoor Bound and MMA day trip and there were about 40 of us departing from NYC. Our NY group also met up with 20 people from Philadelphia at the location so we had a pretty good number of people.

The bus ride out took about 2 hours and we went to an area in the Poconos for our day of river rafting. The rapids were said to be a class 3 and it was during a weekend dam release so there would be enough water for our trip down the river.

Once we went through basic instruction on land and were split into 6 people per raft it was time to head to the water. This ended up being a short nature hike through the woods to the place where we got our rafts. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated to carry our raft through a rocky creek path to get to our departure point. It was a relief to finally get it into the water!

This is where is got quite interesting. Since most of us didn’t know anyone else on the raft, we had to get ourselves working together as a team quickly. This proved to be a bit of a challenge in the beginning for our rafting team but we finally started to get the hang of things. Even with the dam release there were lots of rocks that got in the way of a perfect trip down the river. We got stuck many times but got better and better at maneuvering our way out of the rough spots. Some of us even fell off the boat at times – myself included! – but as a team we were able to work together to get everyone back on the boat where they belonged. We also had some great guides following along to help us through all the water challenges.

Half way down we all pulled over to take a break and eat lunch. Our muscles were sore and it was nice to relax for a bit. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the water. The good news was that the break was all we needed to really get our act together. The second part of the journey was much better than the first and we had gotten so much better at working as a team and overcoming obstacles as they came along. When we got to the end it felt like quite an accomplishment!

So, if you too would like to head out on a white water adventure, there are many ways to get out there and do it! Outdoor Bound and MMA offer great day trip options. There are also meetup groups that go on white water rafting trips so you can also sign up through them. Most of these options will meet in a central location in the city so anyone in the Tri-state area can partake in the fun! Even one of my local bars has group outings including white water rafting days so just research around your area. I am sure you will find a way to get out and enjoy the water yourself. It is definitely worth it and lots of fun!

How About Dinner and A Movie With Some New Friends?

I am always interested in checking out the latest movies being released and discovered a new enjoyable way to do it. On Meetup.com there are so many different social groups doing exciting things in the NYC area. I had joined the Dinners, Movies, and More Meetup Group (which says singles preferred but all are welcome) and thought that the Dark Knight would be the perfect flick to go see with a fun group of new people.

Since there were so many people interested, this meetup event met at a bar for some drinks before the movie instead of the usual movie then dinner plan. We went to Bar 13 (35 East 13th Street and a block from the theater), which in the evenings is super crowded, but ended up being the perfect spot to go before our Saturday 7:40pm showing at the Regal Union Square 14 theater. There was a 2 for 1 drink special for beer and mixed drinks and a nice roof deck area for us to meet and mingle at.

After a couple of drinks, it was time to head over to get in line for the Dark Knight. Our group organizer had planned out the timing perfectly and we had all gotten to know eachother a bit at Bar 13 so we were ready for the movie. Since we were in line at the right time, we were able to get a group of seats in the same area together.

Needless to say, the movie was intense and fantastic! We all had so much to talk about afterwards that we decided to find a place to eat and converse about it some more. Since it was across the street and it was someone’s birthday at midnight, we decided to head over to Max Brenner for some delectable desserts. I was amazed that they were able to accommodate our group so quickly, as we had 16 people interested in hanging out after the film. I had never been there before but every single item looked so delicious that you wanted to try everything. So we enjoyed our varied and delicious treats for a while before it was time to call it a night and go our separate ways.

Overall, the night was a great success. I got to meet many new people and even make some friends. What a fantastic way to enjoy fabulous drinks, an amazing film, and delicious food all in one night! I would definitely recommend that others give this group a try. I know I plan to go again for another fine evening in the future.
To join this or any other meetups go to http://www.meetup.com/
Check out more details about Max Brenner at http://www.maxbrenner.com/.

Indulge Your Artistic Side


If you are in the mood for an enjoyable day in Central Park with other people who love to sketch/draw/paint or whatever, then the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup group is perfect for you. I went this Saturday and had such a great time. It doesn’t matter what your talent level is. Everyone is open and friendly and you will be inspired by all the talented people around you. It has been a while since I did any sketching, so this was an encouraging first start. I will definitely plan to attend the next meetup date I can make it to.

To join this or any other meetups go to http://www.meetup.com/

Another Way You Can Explore Your Neighborhood

Want to dine out in your neighborhood and try new places? Check and see if there is a Dining Meetup for your area or think about starting your own. Since I live in Astoria, I am a member of the Dine Out Astoria Meetup Group. Each month the organizers schedule a date for people to get together and enjoy a new restaurant. For the Astoria group we usually take a poll on what location to try next. And there are so many fantastic choices you can’t really go wrong. Then at the meal, you get to know some new neighbors and try some local delicacies. Our June dinner meetup was a lot of fun – we started at 7:30pm and ended up hanging out till 11pm. So try something different and get to know more about where you should be eating by sampling a new place with some new faces.

To join this or any other meetups go to http://www.meetup.com/