By: Amy Schlinger
There’s no better way to enjoy the warm summer weather than getting outside and being active. And while your weekly trail hike or basketball pickup game may be a blast, why not change up the routine and test your hand at something new? Adventure sports are a great way to get your blood flowing while allowing you to experience a natural rush. Yes, they may be challenging, but the feeling of accomplishment they provide is well worth the effort. Try one or all of the sports below, and we promise you and your body will reap the rewards.

Reach New Heights
Leave acrophobia behind and rock climb! This sport challenges individuals to climb rocky surfaces, whether it be a granite wall, a sandstone tower or a summit. Some ideal climbing locations include Yosemite Valley in California (where you can park 10 minutes from a wall that takes days to reach top) and the North Cascades National Park in Washington, which contain some of the largest glaciers in the contiguous United States. “Beginners should start on easy scrambles that are not so steep, but have lots of steps,” said Tino Villa, an international mountain guide for Mountain Madness, with first ascents to his name in the Cascades, Alaska and Himalaya. “More advanced climbs would be steeper, vertical to overhang, offering less options for footholds and handholds.” Required equipment includes rock shoes, chalk and a chalk bag. Rope, helmets, carabineers, a belay device and anchor material may also be required. “Climbing is both a physical and mental challenge,” said Villa. “You’ll feel it in your forearms but also in muscles you never knew existed as you test your physical limits, accessing places humans were not meant to go.”

Ride It Out
Paddling and popping up in perfect time to catch a wave isn’t as easy as it seems. “Even the greatest athletes, NFL and major league players, can find surfing frustrating,” said Lisa Andersen, four-time world champion surfer and Roxy athlete. “It requires a lot of cardio and can be very tiring.” Depending on your skill level, the type of board used will vary. Most begin learning on a long board (for better balance) in areas with smaller waves, such as Waikiki in Hawaii. Shorter boards are generally reserved for the more advanced riders who want greater mobility and to do tricks. These surfers may look to explore beaches in San Clemente, California or the north shore of Hawaii. No matter your expertise, surfing requires balance and therefore provides a serious core workout. Your arms and shoulders will also be worked every time you paddle out, which can quickly become exhausting. “The feeling you get once you catch a wave though, or see someone else catch a wave and smile ear to ear, it’s amazing,” said Andersen. “Like nothing else in the world.”

A Downhill Spiral
Mountain biking is for the ultimate adrenaline junkie. Whether or not you’re actually on a mountain, this sport will have you pedaling off road trails; possibly even doing loops in the backcountry. Many resorts like Vail, Whistler and some in Canada convert their ski trails into biking trails in the summer. In these places, the rating system for difficulty is the same as skiing or snowboarding: green representing a beginner course, blue an intermediate and black a more advanced one. “The sport is physically demanding,” said Matt Slaven, Bell athlete and professional Enduro rider. “Be prepared to wipe out, especially when you first try it.” It’s necessary to have a bike and helmet specified for this type of riding, a good pair of gloves, protective eyewear, bike shorts with a chamois pad, a hydration pack, some food and a spare inner tube, pump and bike tool. “Even though your legs and core will be doing most of the exercise, your arms will be working to grip and steer the handlebars,” said Slaven. “Your whole body takes a beating and you’ll definitely feel it the next day.”

Get Hard Core
Work your center by stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)! “SUP is the fastest growing water sport in the world that can be enjoyed by men and women of all ages,” said Noelle Kozak, Oakley Ambassador and founder of both Surftech SUP Academy and SUPCore Academy in California. Using every ounce of your core to balance a board on an unstable surface such as the ocean, a lake or pool, SUP can burn up to 800 calories an hour if you’re working hard. You can also practice some yoga moves on your board to really get a good workout. And not much gear is needed – a bathing suit (or clothing you don’t mind getting wet), a board and a paddle that when you extend your arm straight above your head in the air, the paddle reaches at least up to your wrist. “Most beginners would start in flat water on a larger, more stable board and generally with a group,” said Kozak, who is also a PEAR Sports Pro. “As you advance, you’d move to a race board, which provides less stability and a faster glide with each stroke taken.”

Take a Seat1371761176-_MG_4745full_cut
While balance may not be your main concern when kayaking, paddling will change that. This arm intensive workout may be easier for those with a strong back and shoulders, but doable for anyone “Your core is actually your power plant,” said Brad Ludden, professional extreme and expedition kayaker and founder and CEO of First Descents, an organization that provides free outdoor adventure therapy to your adults with cancer. While sea areas in California are good for kayaking, the southeast United States is ideal for paddling year round because of the lack of cold winters in that region. Equipment for this sport includes a kayak, a white water specific paddle, a kayaking helmet, coast-guard approved life jacket, spray shirt that covers the boat to keep water out, water or tennis shoes and either a swim suit or dry suit depending on the climate. Food and water are recommended, too. “While kayaking is a perfect way to get out on the water and feel alive, what you don’t know can hurt you,” said Ludden. “Always go out with a group so you don’t end up in over your head.” MS&F

*Photo by James Patrick Photography

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