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Showing posts with label Tacoma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tacoma. Show all posts

Land Paddling With Onda Longa In Tacoma, WA

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Onda Motion is of the most versatile longboards that is great for cruising and carving as well as land-paddling and kite-skating.

Onda Motion 788581344965 Longa with Poly wheels black

Compared to most longboards out there, Onda boards are quite unique. They perform and handle much better than traditional longboards because of their smooth gliding wheels and tremendous maneuverability. Give it a kick and it glides forever !

Onda was designed from scratch to be the best all around cruising longboard in the world.

Every component was carefully designed and custom built as part of an integrated product, to allow you to cruise the pavement effortlessly, with minimum friction and enormous forward momentum. Onda delivers full-fledged glide performance and awesome carving that will have you feeling like you’re levitating above ground.

Want to learn more about land paddling with Onda board ? Read here ...

Exploring And Hiking In Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA

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As I wrote in my previous post, Tacoma’s waterfront, from Schuster pkwy to Ruston Way is considered to be Tacoma’s version of Seattle’s Alki Beach. This place is very popular among fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy jogging, biking, longboarding, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, parasailing, boating, or just want to go on a nice sunny motorcycle ride, Tacoma waterfront is the place to go all year round!

Autumn Paddleboarding At Owen Beach in Tacoma, WA

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Paddleboarding At Owen Beach in Tacoma, WAOwen Beach at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma is a great place year around. Hike along the scenic waterfront promenade to the Boathouse Marina, have a picnic, view ferry boats and fishing craft, or rent a kayak for a few hours of leisure paddling on the sound ( during summer months ).

It was 3 years ago at this very place I learned about stand up paddleboarding ( SUPing ).

Last sunny but cold Saturday , I returned for a short "get to know this place better " trip...

Diving With Sharks At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa

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It's been a while since I went diving. It's been even longer since I went diving with sharks at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, FL.

Diving with sharks is probably a must-do experience on every diver's Bucket List !

It affords a uniquely intimate interaction with one of the sea’s most beautiful, elusive and charismatic forms of wildlife. But it is also an experience fraught with potential danger.

Each year, increasing numbers of recreational divers seek out opportunities to swim in the company of sharks. For some divers, the encounter represents an exciting photo opportunity, for others, a rare chance to meet a totemic creature face-to-face. It is difficult to know what a shark makes of such encounters, but it’s probably safe to say that the animal imagines no deeply spiritual connection between itself and its human admirers. The famous Jacques Cousteau once said, "The only predictable thing about sharks is that they are unpredictable".

While there are ways to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, nowadays many aquariums around the country offer an amazing opportunity to take a dive with some of our planet's most amazing apex predators and gain a new appreciation for their important role in oceans around the world.

"Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa  provides a unique opportunity for certified and non-certified divers to come face-to-face with live sharks!

Parasailing In Tacoma, Wa

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parasailing 019 
Tacoma's waterfront, from Schuster Pkwy to Ruston Way is considered to be Tacoma's version of Seattle's Alki Beach. In my opinion, it is even more beautiful, less crowded and easily accessible with plenty of free parking. The 2- mile- long waterfront sidewalk is one of the city's most popular places for many outdoor activities.

Tacoma's waterfront is one of my favorite places for longboarding, running, biking, and diving. Recently, by chance, I discovered a new favorite adventure for myself - parasailing !

Tacoma Hosts A New Mountain Bike Park

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I said it years ago : Washington is becoming a new mountain biking mecca in US !

With Stevens Pass mountain bike park, Duthie Hill in Issaquah, and thousand of miles of well maintained trails around the state, Washington easily competes with such famous mountain bike places like Whistler, Utah, and Colorado.

And now a new mountain bike park in Tacoma has become a great addition of places to ride around the state. It's nice to finally have an area in the South Sound we can rally around.

Swan Creek Park is a 290 acre greenspace nestled on the boundary between East Tacoma and Pierce County with a salmon bearing stream, wooded canyon, upland forest, paved and natural trails, a new community garden, and new mountain bike trails.

The park is popular for bird watching, hiking, walking, picnicking and other recreational uses, and is also used for driver training by public safety and utility departments. And now it's the home of Tacoma's first trail system for mountain bikes!

Developed and operated in partnership with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, the newly completed Phase 1 includes an easy perimeter trail, advanced trails and a technical skill building zone. There is something there for everybody from little kids to full-grown rippers.

May be because it's a new park, and not many features have been built yet, I felt the park was more suitable for novice to intermediate riders like me. I especially liked "Hustle & Flow" - a 1.75 mi cross country loop that circumnavigates the ~50 acre Douglas Fir Forest. Designed to be similar to Bootcamp at Duthie Hill -- smooth and flowy with lots of rollers and banked turns, max sustained climbs and descents, optional features. Skill level: Green (entry) level and kid/family-friendly but fun to rip for all ages and skill levels. Some more difficult options.

Since the park is relatively new, the skill building features only include : skinny practice zone, drop zone and pump track on the north side of the park.

But if all goes well at Swan Creek, Metro Parks and Evergreen hope they can soon start building more trails in the forest.

In my opinion, Washington is one of the best places to be a mountain biker in the continental United States ! From freshwater lakes to towering peaks and green valleys, Washington's landscape is as exciting as it is diverse.

 Below, check out Mountain Bike! Washington (America by Mountain Bike) the guidebook that will introduce you to the thrill of exploring Washington's wilderness while you experience its most unforgettable rides.

Kite Landboarding At Chambers Bay, Tacoma

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Though I've been  kiteboarding for a couple years now, I haven't had a chance to try landboarding ( or flyboarding ) - flying a kite with a mountain board.

At first, as a beginner, I was talked out of learning/practicing kiteboarding on the grass due to the possibility of injury.
Also, there are not many spots around Seattle area to practice landboarding. The best places to try lanboarding are Ocean Shores and Long Beach, both have consistent winds, and miles of packed smooth sand.

Recently, I was invited to Chambers Bay in  Tacoma to give landboarding a try.

I couldn't  believe  Tacoma had something that beautiful ! Once the site of a quarry and cement plant, Chambers Bay has been artfully restored to create a pleasant park and Scottish links style golf course. The park also offers  beautiful  views of  the  Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound and nearby islands.

Though already a popular beach among kitesurfers, only a few people come here to fly their kites on a mountain board.

Unlike what I was told before, landboarding was easier, safer, and thus, more enjoyable to learn comparing to kiteboarding/kitesurfing in the water.


2014 Polar Bear Plunge At Point Defiance In Tacoma

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How do you celebrate New Year day ? Do you have any traditions/rituals to mark the beginning of a new year ?

Every January 1st, thousands of people around the world ring in the new year with a polar bear plunge, to shake off their hangover, and cleanse the body to enter the new year rejuvenated and energized .

The dips, thought to have originated in northern Europe, are now a global phenomenon, with countless thousands taking the plunge each year, typically in large groups. The biggest is in the Netherlands, where more than 30,000 people join in the “neiujhaarsduik” (New Year’s Dive). Dating back to 1960 in the town of Zandvoort, it has spread nationwide, with a record 37,000 participants in 2013.

In South Queensferry, Scotland, more than a thousand people gather annually for the Loony Dook. Participants dress up for the occasion and parade through the town acting like “loonies” before the impending “dook.” According to local media reports, and the BBC, most participants are still inebriated from New Year’s Eve celebrations and/or have lost a bet.

Here in the U.S., local Polar Bear Clubs organize annual events from Bar Harbor, Maine to Washington State.

While many organizations and groups use Polar Bear Plunge as a fund raising event, more people jump into icy cold waters to celebrate New Year in a fun and memorable way.

Polar Bear Plunges have grown in popularity in Washington state. This (2014) year, hundreds of people from Seattle to Tacoma participated in this invigorating event.

XHyperActive crew decided to join them by jumping into the new year with gusto !
It's also a good way to flush out any negativity and start fresh. What better way to begin the new year than by feeling completely alive....and in a little pain.

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Diving Titlow Beach, Tacoma Wa

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Titlow Beach is located along Puget Sound near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. On a nice sunny day the park offers an amazing view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The scenery is breathtaking ! Puget Sound has many excellent beginner dive training sites, and Titlow Beach ranks as one of the best.

It was my first time "diving" at Titlow Beach.

From what I heard, the main attraction here is a chance to meet face to face with the infamous Giant Pacific Octopus. Some lucky divers report sighting specimens with an arm span of more than 10 feet/3 meters. That translates into a whopping 100 pounds/45 kg or more! During the day, these naturally shy creatures can be found sleeping in narrow crevices under rocky ledges. At night, they venture out from their lairs to hunt.

Another attraction is the spectacular piling breakwater that has been over grown by plumose anemones and a host of other sea life. This breakwater has been nicknamed the Cathedral by divers in the area. Though shallow (30-40ft), the view is beautiful and there is a large variety of fish and invertebrates at this site.

If you want to learn about different species of life under the sea, this is a great place to go and learn. Here quillback rockfish, lingcod, greenling fish abound, along with wolf eels, sea stars and nudibranchs.

Due to current potential this site is more suitable for advanced divers. Some divers enjoy this dive in the current as a chance to drift dive but be advised, it can really move here and caution should be taken when planning the dive.

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Washington Adventures: Getting my PADI scuba diving certificate.

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I've been dieing to try scuba diving for the past two years. You know this feeling- procrastination : too expensive, no time, where do I start, is it safe?
Finally, this summer , I had a great opportunity.

Underwater Sports, Washington's premiere scuba diving center, with eight stores conveniently located around beautiful Puget Sound, had its annual Divers Fair- the largest scuba sale in the country! They offered not only the lowest prices on equipment from top manufacturers, but also, the lowest prices for scuba classes ! You can do all "the shopping around" you want, but I can guarantee you, you won't find it anywhere cheaper ( I almost got myself in a bad "deal" offered by somebody on Craigslist).

So, how do you "get into scuba diving" ?

Before you book your next tropical vacation and start exploring the coral reefs of Bahamas, you will need to get your scuba diving certification such as PADI, NAUI or SSI to prove your qualifications when booking a dive trip, hiring scuba equipment or filling diving cylinders.

Underwater Sports has classes starting all the time at each of their eight locations, with time convenient for everybody: day, evenings ,weekends.

You will need to have your own personal snorkeling equipment ( fins, mask,snorkel,booties and gloves) and purchase academic materials ( which you will need to read prior to the beginning of the classes). On the first weekend, you'll cover the academic and pool portions of the course. And the second Saturday and Sunday are dedicated to your Open Water dives in Puget Sound.
Underwater Sports provides all the necessary equipment for your pool sessions and open dives: wet suit, BCD with octopus, weight belt, cylinder and ,of course, the most knowledgeable, helpful, supportive, patient instructors!

I would say that getting started in diving is not quite like going hiking ( it takes a bit more knowledge in areas like safety, equipment, the environment ), at the same time, it's not quite rocket science.With the right amount of support, knowledge and skills, you will feel like Jacques Cousteau ( well, may be not quite like Cousteau ) in no time !

Though, the Pacific Northwest has always been famous for its hikes and snow fun, the divers all over the world know that it is also the best place in the world to cold dive. The Puget Sound offers sea life that you won’t see as easily anywhere else in the world.

SUPing/Paddleboarding at Owen Beach At Point Defiance In Tacoma.

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On Wensday 22, Backpackers Supply hosted its third Standup Paddleboard ( SUP ) Social, at Owen Beach in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. What is SUP ?

According to Wiki:

Stand up paddle surfing (SUP), or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he'e nalu, is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. It can be traced back to the early days of Polynesia. The sport is an ancient form of surfing, and began as a way for surfing instructors to manage their large groups of learner surfers, as standing on the board gave them a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what was going on around them - such as incoming swell. In the early 1960s, the Beach Boys of Waikiki would SUP to stay in shape when there were no big waves. SUP'ing is popular at warm coastal climates and resorts, and is gaining in popularity as celebrities are sampling the sport, and cross-over athletes are training with SUP. SUPs have been spotted around the globe, anywhere where there is easy access to safe waters, as well as in the surfing lineups of the world.

May be the Pacific NW is not Hawaii and our climate is far away from "warm coastal", but SUP is making its way in our state. More and more folks began SUP surfing because of its own merits: since you have a paddle and aren't reliant on waves, you can paddle surf in lakes, rivers and on relatively flat water such as Puget Sound; you can travel great distances; it's relatively easy to learn, it's a great workout and it's a LOT OF FUN.

Learning how to SUP is as easy as 1-2-3 :
1- start on your knees, use your paddle on both ends
2- lean forward on the board
3- pop up and paddle

This Wednesday, there were about a dozen people giving SUP a try : men, women and even kids ! SUP is truly a family sport.

If learning SUP is relatively easy, getting into this water sport is not that cheap. In general, stand-up paddle surfboards cost between $1,000 and $1,700 + specially designed SUP paddles that go for $ 200 -300.

If you are not ready to make a commitment, the best way to sample this outdoor adventure is to rent a SUP board and see for yourself if it's something you could call a passion.

Like I've mentioned before, SUP is gaining popularity in our state and nowadays there are quite a few shops that have SUP for rent.

"Wave Hounds" in Seattle rents out epoxy SUP at $ 40 per day.

At "Perfect Waves " in Kirkland, you can rent SUP and get a quick 1 hour introduction lesson ( one hour should be all you need to get started and feeling comfortable on the water on your own) for just $ 30 ( great deal !: board + lesson). Also, if you decide to purchase a SUP board, they will give you your lesson fee ( $30) credit towards the purchase of a board, if the purchase is within the same month.

Here is a short video featuring the owner of "Perfect Waves" in action.