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STAND UP PADDLING
It's just like surfing. Kind of. If you want the feeling of catching a wave without worrying too much about swallowing mouthfuls of Lake Erie water or coming into contact with whatever creatures lurk beneath its surface, stand up paddling may be more up your alley. Stand on something that closely resembles a surfboard and glide calmly through the water as you push off with a paddle: a sort of surfing and kayaking hybrid. You can start off with a 90-minute beginners' lesson for $30 at Huntington Beach, or head down to Edgewater Park every Thursday evening, catch the sunset and get a guided, one-hour paddle board rental for $20. There are even yoga classes on the boards, for you earthy souls. If you want more info, check out alohasupohio.com and head to the Cleveland section. (Cortni Dietz)
The classic outdoor activity of skateboarding lives on strong in Cleveland. There is a bounty of skate shops and parks to satiate your inner skater, whether you're longboarding to pass the time, grinding rails or working on your varial heel-flip. Westside Skates has all the gear and apparel you need to start carving pavement. Both Tri-Star Skateboards and Chenga will get you on a deck and rolling around their indoor skate park. If you feel like "thrashing your tits off," head over to the ramp at Now That's Class, or if you prefer outdoors there's always Lakewood Park that's perfect for skaters of all levels. Get your tricks down now so you're ready for the Cleveland Skate Park opening in the Flats next year; construction on this project resumes imminently. (Gonzalez)
If you've driven through Slavic Village at all during the past few years, you've probably noticed that wooden stadium-thing on Broadway. What is it? It's a Velodrome, constructed for outdoor Olympic-style competitive cycling, and it's really freaking cool, one of only a handful in the United States. Day passes to the track are $15 (bike rentals are an additional $10) and though it's scary at first, you'll pick it up in no time. Having opened in August 2012, the Velodrome is now amid a jam-packed summer season with weekly races on Friday nights, classes on the weekend, and ongoing instruction every day. Hell, the Ohio State Championships are going down at the Velodrome this weekend (June 20 and 21). Even if you're not up for trying competitive cycling, go check out some of their events. The non-profit Fast Track Cycling has been working tirelessly to promote and advocate bike safety awareness and fun. If you're into it, season passes are only $200. (Allard)
5033 Broadway Ave., 216-256-4285, clevelandvelodrome.org.
Kayaking the River
There are few better ways to enjoy the sights of Cleveland than traveling through its main waterway in a kayak. The mighty Cuyahoga winds through Northeast Ohio carrying gigantic ore ships and weekend travelers, but it also affords you, the novice outdoorsman, the chance to kayak alongside them. Whether you're looking for a quick two-mile jaunt or a five-mile marathon down the river (which is very much clean these days, thank you very much), there's an option for you. And this adventure isn't limited to downtown Cleveland; plenty of routes begin and end down south where the Cuyahoga runs its way through the suburbs and toward Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Check out River Cruiser Kayaking (rivercruiserkayaking.com), Great Lakes Watersports (glwatersports.com) or 41 Degrees North (kayak41north.com) for routes and rates.
Playing golf without actually golfing has become a serious trend in outdoor recreation of late. Maybe because golf seems like a stuffy, expensive preoccupation of older white guys? Who knows. Maybe you're into this whole golf thing, but footgolf, for instance, (mentioned above) strikes you as lame or inadequately challenging. Why not try Disc Golf, the original golf hybrid! With courses all over Northeast Ohio, and most of them free of charge, it's a fun outdoor activity for dates or buddies or (with no promises of success) children. You throw specialty discs — you'll have to buy them or locate a cousin who's weirdly into it already — at "holes:" metal posts with chandelier-esque chains attached. It's that simple, and it's less time-consuming than a full round of 18 holes. Find courses in Hudson, at the Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, at Tri-C's Parma campus (actually on campus), and the region's premiere course at Euclid's Sims Park. First-timers are welcome!