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Cool Gear: Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle

Guest review by Patrick Boas

Stand Up Paddleboarding, paddleboarind, SUPing, or whatever you want to call it is one of the all-time fastest growing paddlesports in the world, and for good reason. It’s a new way to experience water, your raised elevation gives you a different perspective, it’s a great workout, and it’s fun. I’ve had the opportunity to try out several different kinds of paddleboards - from inflatables to rigid - but I’ve always used the same paddle so I was excited to test the Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle.

Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle

The idea of standing up while paddling has been around for thousands of years, but modern stand up paddling (SUP) has its roots in Hawaii.  In the 1940’s surfers would take paddles with them and stand on their boards to get a better view of incoming waves. Over time the sport has evolved, technological advancements have allowed boards to evolve, and of course what naturally followed was the evolution of the paddle.Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle blade photo

For testing purposes, I used the Freedom paddle as part of a Learn to SUP (next one is Sept. 10) and SUP yoga (next one is Sept. 11) programs Play Roanoke puts on, as well as a few test paddles at Smith Mountain Lake.

Here’s why you’ll want your next paddle to be the Aqua-Bound Freedom SUP Paddle:

  • It’s light.  The carbon shaft and large reinforced fiberglass blade weigh in at only 28 ounces. Its lightweight nature means less muscle exertion on your part…so you can go farther without getting tired.  And the large blade makes every stroke count…you get more purchase.
  • It’s stiff. The shaft doesn’t flex…and that’s a good thing. It means you’re more efficient with each stroke.
  • It’s a four-piece paddle.  This means it breaks down into smaller pieces which makes it small and compact, and easy to throw in your trunk.

Try it yourself at the Roanoke GO Outside Festival.  The Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle, along with several stand-up paddleboards will be available for use in the demo pool October 17-19.

Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle Roanoke Outside

Patrick Boas is the outdoor education coordinator for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. He is an avid paddler, biker, climber, and all around good guy.

DISCLOSURE: Roanoke Outside received a complimentary Aqua-Bound paddle for this review. The opinions stated above are our own and Roanoke Outside was not compensated for the review.

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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 8/28-31

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, August 28

Friday, August 29

Saturday, August 30

Sunday, August 31

Monday, September 1

Tuesday, September 2

Wednesday, September 3

Thursday, September 4

For even more events visit the Roanoke Outside calendar

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Pete's Pick: $5 Can Go a Long Way

Your Roanoke region is reinventing itself for the 21st century as one of the greatest outdoor towns in the United States.  Have we arrived?  Nah, we’re just getting started.

Roanoke Outside is a charitable organization working to make your region the capital for world-class outdoor fun.  We started RoanokeOutside.com, Get Outside Weekend Update, Blue Ridge Marathon, and GO Fest.  Plus, we’ve been the advocate for the many changes that are making this place more awesome than ever.

With your help we'll continue to push for a future where Roanoke is the greatest place for outdoor recreation. And thanks to the incredible support from local outfitters and guides your $5 will not only help make the outdoors greater, but it could win you some of the $2800 in outdoor gear, trips, and races we're raffling off as part of the Radical Reels Film Festival & Get Outside Expo (Sept. 10).

Buy a $5 raffle ticket and you could win one of three prize packs: Raceaholic, Bike Enthusiast, or the Outdoor Adventurer.

You can buy your raffle tickets online, or in person at the Radical Reels Film Festival & Get Outside Expo. Winners will be announced at this event, but you don’t need to be present to win.

Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!

 

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These Films Put the Radical in Radical Reels

The Radical Reels Tour & Get Outside Expo is coming to Roanoke on September 10, 2014, and promises to bring the biggest and best action sports films to the big screen. 

But what does that actually mean? 

It means you are going to see the steepest skiing, the wildest water, the biggest stunts, and the hugest tricks caught on film. But it also means you are going to get a look behind the scenes of your favorite action sports; what it takes to become a professional mountain athlete, and even what it takes to film a professional athlete doing their thing. 

Below is the teaser for one of the films to be presented at the film fest and is a great example of extreme action mixed in with utterly human elements like career paths, life decisions, and social interaction. 

The beauty of the film fest, and many of the Banff films in general, is they often give the viewer a perspective of the people behind the goggles, helmet, or latest epic trick. Sure, there is always going to be great action, but getting a glimpse of the everyday lives, psyches, and attitudes of the best mountain athletes in the game is usually just as entertaining and more insightful. 

Having the veil pulled off gives deeper meaning to the amazing exploits of these adventure seekers, and gives the audience a greater understanding of not only why they do it, but also why we do it. 

Find out more about the Radical Reels Film Fest and Go Outside Expo >>>

Enter to win ~$2,800 worth of gear during the Expo >>>

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Register Early for New On the Trails Duathlon

On the Trails DuathlonThe beauty of living the outdoors lifestyle, and living it in the Roanoke Region in particular, is that there is something for everyone. Hundreds of miles of trails provide endless routes for hiking, mountain biking, and running. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect spot for a road ride for cyclists. The Upper James River is the perfect place for paddling, tubing, and fishing. 

The list goes on for sure. But what if you love mountain biking AND trail running, but also crave a little competition once in a while? Well, there is something for you, too: the Roanoke Parks and Rec On the Trails Duathlon at Carvins Cove on Sept. 28.

This new event will feature the most popular trails and views of the Carvins Cove trail system, including both technical singletrack and fireroads. The race begins with a 2.5-mile run on Waters Edge Trail, then a 12-mile bike loop on Happy Valley, Schoolhouse, Enchanted Forest, and Arrowhead Trails, then finishes with another 2.5-mile trial run. 

This event is a great way to jump into the multi-sport racing scene and also scope out the Carvins Cove trail system. 

Be sure to sign up by Saturday, August 30, to get the early registration discount on your entry. 

Find out more and register >>>

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Volunteer for National Bike Project

Want to be part of a nationwide effort to effectively measure the positive benefits of bicycling and walking within a community? 

OF COURSE YOU DO!

The City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization are once again participating in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project for 2014. They are looking for volunteers to conduct manual counts of bicyclists and pedestrians throughout Roanoke. The counts will be conducted on Thursday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 13 at TBA locations. 

The City of Roanoke has participated in the survey since 2012, which is co-sponsored by Alta Planning and Design and the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council. As you can tell from the organizations named, this survey provides a baseline and model of bike and foot traffic for use by city planners and local governments.

By volunteering, you will be advancing the cause of active commuting and living a healthy, active lifestyle - something the Roanoke Region and Roanoke Outside is all about - while also helping collect data that will influence future bike and pedestrian infrastructure. 

Find more information and learn how to volunteer >>>

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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 8/21-24

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, August 21

Friday, August 22

Saturday, August 23

Sunday, August 24

Monday, August 25

Tuesday, August 26

Wednesday, August 27

Thursday, August 28

For even more events visit the Roanoke Outside calendar

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Pete's Pick: BRP Naturefest

Blue Ridge Parkway NaturefestThe Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is a great resource for all kinds of outdoor activity, providing easy access to world-class cycling, mountain biking, and hiking. Not to mention awesome views during even the most casual drives. But one of the coolest parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway is often overlooked: the diverse plant and animal life that exists in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway is home to more than 1,600 species of plants, 260 species of birds, 93 species of fish, 74 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 66 species of mammals. That's a lot of flora and fauna in one place, and an event this weekend aims to expose kids and adults alike to many of them.

The Peaks of Otter Lodge will host Naturefest this Saturday, August 23. This free, all-day, family-friendly festival will feature presentations from experts ranging from tree identification and black bear education to astronomy and a butterfly walk. Kids will also be able to participate in the Junior Ranger Program and explore the trails of the parkway. 

This fun, educational event is a great way to introduce your child to the natural world and encourage them to be aware of their surroundings. Many of the workshops will cover the future of plant and animal life in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so this is also an opportunity to instill the affect humans can have on the environment. 

If you can't make it to the event, consider making a donation of time or money to Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the main fundraising and volunteer organization of the BRP. 

Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!

 

 

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$5 for Chance to Win $2500 in Gear

Roanoke Outside Raffle TicketsWe live in a pretty awesome place, and Roanoke Outside is trying to make it better. Things like the Radical Reels Film Festival, GO Outside Festival, and the Blue Ridge Marathon are just the tip of the iceberg on what we hope to accomplish. Instead of just asking you to donate some money to help us, we decided to offer you a raffle for some great outdoor prize packs. 

Thanks to the incredible support from local outfitters and guides we are raffling off ~$2,500 in gear, trips, and race entries. Buy your raffle tickets now - winners announced at the Radical Reels Film Festival & Get Outside Expo (Sept. 10).

Three prize packs will be raffled off during intermission. The Raceaholic Prize Pack includes gear and race entries for the runners; the Bike Enthusiast Prize Pack includes gear and event passes; and the Outdoor Adventurer Prize Pack includes camping gear, free memberships, and guide adventures. 

Learn about each of prize packs and purchase your raffle tickets!

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Putting the Green in Greenways

Roanoke Outside was created by the Roanoke Regional Partnership to showcase the region as one of the best outdoor communities in the U.S. The aim was to leverage the region's natural assets to attract investment and talent to the area.

Taken at face value, this may seem like an odd move for a regional economic development organization, but dig a little deeper and it makes perfect sense. Access to the outdoors plays into the larger "Quality of Life" aspect of a community that companies are increasingly focused on when considering where to re-locate or start their businesses. Outdoor infrastructure like the greenways system, world-class trail systems, the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, and blueways make the region an attractive place for both corporations and people.

The cultivation of a healthy, active community committed to the outdoors goes a long way toward attracting companies, people, and jobs to the region. The Roanoke Times recently published an editorial outlining this economic development strategy, giving it high marks in the article titled, Our View: Greenway$ and Blueway$. And, no, those are not typos. 

Read more about how the outdoors is shaping the future of the Roanoke Region >>>

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