Catch a classic surf flick in the lagoon at NLand Surf Park

Tanner Payan, left, and Randy Gilkerson, center, with the surf band, Tunnel Vision, catch a wave with NLand surf guide, Christine Adams, right, at NLand Surf Park in September 2017. (Rodolfo Gonzalez for Austin American-Statesman)

 

NLand Surf Park will screen the surf documentary “Step Into Liquid” at its lagoon this weekend.

The screening is part of this month’s Surfeza Sunday, which takes place the last Sunday of every month and includes live music and discounted surf sessions and beer.

RELATED: At NLand Surf Park, catch a perfect wave every time

DJ Manolo Black, Soulies and Audic Empire will perform this Sunday, and Cold Ones Popsicles will provide giveaways while supplies last. Additional limited-edition popsicles flavors will be available for purchase, and a dollar from every Blackberry Honey Lemonade popsicle sold will benefit the American Honeybee Protection Agency and its efforts to safely relocate bees. Proceeds from a raffle for a Firewire surfboard will benefit EarthxFilm.  NLand Brewing Company will serve Surfeza, a light, Mexican lager, for $3.

Tickets are $10 for the movie screening only or $40 for the screening, surfing and a dryland surf session. Purchase them in advance through EventBrite here.

The event begins at 11 a.m. Sunday; surfing starts at 5 p.m. for those surfing and watching the film.

NLand Surf Park is located at 4836 East Highway 71 in Del Valle.

Exercise, talk go together in free Marathon Kids program

Marathon Kids is offering a free Walk and Talk program this summer. Photo courtesy Marathon Kids

 

Anybody who’s spent time training for a marathon knows that a special bond develops between exercise buddies.

That’s the idea behind the free Walk and Talk summer program from Marathon Kids, the non-profit organization that works to improve the health and happiness of children through running and walking programs.

Parents who register online for the Walk and Talk program will get a link to 26 discussion topics ranging from health and education to knock-knock jokes and travel dreams – one for each mile of walking or running with their kids. They’ll also get a special mileage log to record their progress.

“Kids are sometimes more comfortable connecting when they’re engaged in activities with their parents, like coloring, or cooking or exercising,” Marathon Kids chief executive officer Cami Hawkins said in a press release. “There’s something about being together, side by side, that helps get the ball rolling on good conversation.”

Talking and exercise go hand in hand. Photo courtesy Marathon Kids

 

Research also shows that when kids engage in physical activity with their parents, they have a much better chance of developing lifelong healthy habits, Hawkins said.

After 26(.2) miles, the parent and child will have completed the equivalent of a full marathon – and they’ll know each other a little better in the process.

To register for the free program go to MarathonKids.org/WalkandTalk.

Paddleboarders to traverse 21 miles on Lake Austin for Dam that Cancer

Stand-up paddleboarders, in front left to right, Liz Kelley, Scott Herz and Rob Koenig float past the Pennybacker Bridge during the 5th annual Tyler’s Dam That Cancer event in 2014. The event raises money for The Flatwater Foundation, a nonprofit that provides access to mental health services for those affected by cancer. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cast an eye toward Lake Austin Monday and you might spot a flotilla of people aboard standup paddleboards.

Nearly 200 people will paddle 21 miles from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam during Tyler’s Dam that Cancer. The event raises money for the Flatwater Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides access to mental health services for those affected by cancer.

RELATED: Paddlers glide 21 miles for a cause

The public is invited to celebrate their finish with a party at the Lower Colorado River Authority offices, 3701 Lake Austin Boulevard. To attend, make a donation, either in advance at http://tylersdtc.com/ or at the door. The party will feature music from DJ Abe the Assassin, food from Texican Cafe, and beverages from Landshark, William Chris Vineyards, Live Soda and Chameleon Cold Brew.

Paddlers are expected to arrive at about 5:30 p.m. The party runs from 6-8 p.m.

Organizers hope to raise $700,000 at this year’s event. All proceeds will help support families in need.

On International Day of Yoga, do a downward dog with 3,000 people

The public is invited to attend a free community yoga session Saturday on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol.

Expect to see a lot of downward dogs in downtown Austin this Saturday.

More than 3,000 people will gather on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol at 5:45 p.m. for 90 minutes of yoga, meditation, music and dance on the fourth International Day of Yoga. This year’s theme is “Yoga for Warriors,” and military veterans are encouraged to attend.

The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. All ages and backgrounds are welcome.

The Art of Living Austin, a non-profit organization that offers workshops in breathing techniques, yoga and mediation, is organizing the event in collaboration with local yoga studios. FITT Finder, a mobile app that serves as a guide for fitness and wellness, is sponsoring it.

Dress for the heat, and bring your own yoga mat and water.

For more information email iyd@artoflivingaustin.org or go here.

(Nominate your favorite yoga studio in our inaugural Best of the Best Awards.)

Want to hang 10? You’ll have to wait – both Central Texas surf parks are closed for repairs

Surfer Jett Schilling, with Team Lost Surfboards by Mayhem, rides a wave during an exhibition held at NLand Surf Park on Sunday, Sept. 03 2017, in Del Valle, Texas. (Rodolfo Gonzalez for Austin American-Statesman)

 

If you’d waxed up your surfboard in anticipation of catching some waves at one of two Central Texas surf parks this week, you’re out of luck.

Both NLand Surf Park, just east of Austin, and the new BSR Surf Resort, which opened May 12 northeast of Waco, are closed for maintenance issues.

BSR Surf Resort opened May 12 but closed May 30 due to problems related to the liner in the surfing pool. According to the resort’s website, it will reopen to the public on July 1.

RELATED: New BSR Surf Resort near Waco temporarily closes for maintenance

The Waco surf park park uses an air-powered system to mimic ocean waves whose strength and timing can be adjusted. Waves roll out in sets of three, with each wave spaced about 5 seconds apart and a new trio every 45 seconds.

Here in Austin, NLand Surf Park is also temporarily closed.

“Our next Low Tide was initially planned for​ mid-July​ but a particular area of our lagoon needed maintenance sooner than we had originally scheduled,” a press release said. “The work is under way, with a June 21st completion target. Blue Prairie restaurant and NLand Brewing Company will remain open with normal operating hours as we perform maintenance on the lagoon. For updates, please visit our website.”

The park, which opened in October 2016, closed not long after it opened to repair leaks in the liner of the surfing lagoon. It reopened in May 2017.

RELATED: NLand Surf Park reopens after months of repairs

Suffice it to say you won’t be catching any waves at either of the Texas surf parks. If you still want to hang 10, you’ll have to head to the Texas coast, where I just camped a few weeks ago with some surfers at Mansfield Cut.

They got lucky – the surf was relatively good and they spent two days playing in the waves. Or do what I’m doing – heading to Costa Rica to participate in a women’s only surf camp with Surf With Amigas. Look for a story soon.

Logjams, man-sized gar and hallucinations: Texas Water Safari kicks off Saturday

Team Dirty Dogs lowers their five-person canoe over Cummings Dam on the San Marcos River on Sunday. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Once they negotiate the boat-bashing chaos of the start in San Marcos, they’ll face the first rapids.

Then will come a twisting stretch of river, a mud-slickened portage or two, a dam, more rapids, more portages, more dams, more twists and turns, and an onslaught of discomforts that starts with aching muscles and sunburn and works its way, like a building tsunami, into a horror show of indigestion, stinking boats and exhaustion.

In all, paddlers who start the Texas Water Safari have signed on for about 260 miles of nothing less than misery.

Veteran paddler West Hansen scouts a stretch of the Guadalupe River near Tivoli. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

I’m going to be writing about the Texas Water Safari this year, so I’ve been spending as much time as I can with the local paddling community.

During the course of what’s been billed as “The World’s Toughest Canoe Race,” solo paddlers and teams of up to six will face logjams and mosquitoes, poison ivy, clouds of nose, eye and lip-coating mayflies, mosquitoes, a snake or two, actual alligators and, even more horrifying, human-sized alligator gar. It draws macho guys, bad-ass women, couples, families, friends and the just plain curious.

They’ll paddle through all of it, for hours on end, many not even pausing to sleep. The hallucinations will come, and so, too, will the disgruntled digestive systems and inflamed skin and mud-smeared bodies. In the end, though, they’ll earn a coveted finisher’s patch which, one can only presume, makes it all worth while.

Pam LeBlanc had her sandals sucked off her feet during a training portage. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

I got hooked on paddling last year. I paddle slow. I like to camp along the way, look at nature and soak up the silence. But for the past few weeks I’ve been rubbing shoulders with a whole new breed of paddlers.

These people buy bulk containers of Spiz liquid food mix, they hold entire conversations about jug foam, they tell horror stories about sleep deprivation-induced hallucinations and fish that jump into their canoes with such force they break ribs.

A few weeks ago, I spent the day at Palmetto State Park, where many of them had gathered for three days of training. My husband and I enjoyed a leisurely three-hour run in our 17-foot Alumacraft canoe while they humped it twice that far in the same amount of time. I could barely keep our boat going straight. I ran us into the bank a few times.

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Then, last weekend I took a field trip down to Cuero, where I scouted a huge log jam with a couple of veteran racers. My shoes got sucked off my feet in the mud. I (temporarily) lost a paddle during a portage. I saw half a dozen small alligators. I screamed and nearly fell out of my boat – four times – when a gar with teeth like needles and nearly as big as me (I’m not exaggerating) surfaced near my bow.

This weekend I hopped into seat four of a five-person race canoe, filling a seat on one of the Dirty Dog’s training runs. We scouted their first few portages on the upper stretches of the San Marcos River. I slipped and bashed my shin while wading around in the river. We saw a snake. I tried to paddle in synch with people who knew what they were doing. I struggled (unsuccessfully) to keep up when they shifted into high gear, practicing going fast and furious. I kept slamming my paddle against the side of the boat.

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I’ve spent hours chatting with people who have done this race before, asking them why they do it (it’s a challenge, it’s a way to bond, it’s peaceful, for the adventure) and how they push on when they want to quit (because everybody does), how they stay awake and what happens when nature calls (they pee in a bottle or jump in the river to do their business).

The race kicks off at Spring Lake in San Marcos at 9 a.m. Saturday. The leaders will likely cross the finish line in Seadrift sometime very late Sunday or early Monday. They’ll be blistered and sunburned, delirious and dehydrated, exhausted and thrilled.

Look for my story in mid-July.

West Hansen carries his one-man canoe out of the river after a Sunday training run that finished near Tivoli. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

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Celebrate Global Running Day at this free social run on June 6

Celebrate Global Running Day with a free community run that starts and finishes at the Austin American-Statesman (File photo/American-Statesman)

 

Lace up your running shoes, people.

To celebrate Global Running Day on June 6, the Statesman Capitol 10K, Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon staffs are organizing a free social run and walk through Austin.

Choose from a 3-mile or 6-mile route, both of which start and finish at the west parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman, 305 South Congress Avenue.

Participants get maps, bottled water, nutrition bars, raffle tickets and high fives.

Meet at 6 p.m. and plan to depart by 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

RSVP here.

Registration for 2019 Austin Marathon opens Friday

Registration for the 2019 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon opens Friday. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

It might feel like you just finished this year’s marathon, but registration for the 2019 race opens Friday.

RELATED: Want to ace the Austin Marathon’s new course? Heed these tips

The 28th Annual Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K presented by Under Armour is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2019.

Early pricing is in effect. Registration is $100 for the marathon, $80 for the half and $35 for the 5K. Prices increase July 18 and again in September, October, December and January. If you sign up at the expo on race weekend next February, you’ll fork over $160 to enter the marathon, $140 for the half and $60 for the 5K.

New BSR Surf Resort near Waco temporarily closes for maintenance

Morgan Faulkner rides a wave at the new BSR Surf Resort near Waco. The park opens to the public on Saturday. Photo courtesy Rob Henson

Don’t strap that longboard to your car’s roof just yet, surfers.

BSR Surf Resort, the new land-locked surfing facility that opened as part of Barefoot Ski Ranch Cable Park northeast of Waco on May 12, has temporarily closed because of problems with the liner in the surf lagoon.

Park officials sent an email to season pass holders Wednesday afternoon, cancelling surf sessions this week and notifying customers that the facility would be closed “for approximately two weeks due to liner maintenance.”

RELATED: Huge new surf park near Waco opens to public

The Waco surf park park uses an air-powered system to mimic ocean waves whose strength and timing can be adjusted. Waves roll out in sets of three, with each wave spaced about 5 seconds apart and a new trio every 45 seconds.

“From all of us here at BSR, we sincerely apologize for any miscommunications and inconveniences,” said the email, from Courtney Magnusson, manager of the pro shop at the surf resort. “The outpouring of interest in our new facility has been positively overwhelming and we are restructuring and strengthening the areas needed to make sure we can best serve you.”

RELATED: At NLand Surf Park, catch a perfect wave every time

The email also said that the surf park’s online booking system is not yet up and running. “It is currently still in beta and with the closure of our surf, we are going to utilize the downtime to perfect the online booking,” the email said, adding that the park’s social media platforms will announce when the system is operational.

Other areas of Barefoot Ski Ranch Cable Park, 5347 Old Mexia Road in Axtell, remain open. water park and wakeboard areas remain open.

Don’t want to drive that far anyway? Head to NLand Surf Park east of Austin, where you can ride a man-made wave or drink beer brewed on site.

 

Do alligators, hallucinations and sleep deprivation sound fun? Try the Texas Water Safari

Paddlers training for the Texas Water Safari put in their boats at Palmetto State Park on May 27, 2018. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

 

I’ve never been a fan of sleep deprivation, so I’ve always grimaced at the thought of the Texas Water Safari, the notoriously grueling, 260-mile paddle race from Aquarena Springs in San Marcos to the town of Seadrift on the Texas coast.

That, along with the inevitable snake-infested logjams, alligators, clown hallucinations, and water-logged skin that “turns to tissue paper,” always sounded pretty horrible.

But I can feel my mind bending, just a tad.

This year I’m taking the easy first step of observing and writing about the event, which starts June 9. I headed to Palmetto State Park over Memorial Day weekend to meet some of the paddlers who gathered there to get in some training hours.

Paddlers haul their Alumacraft canoe to the San Marcos River at Palmetto State Park. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

I knew I couldn’t keep up with them, so I brought along my husband and our Alumacraft canoe, and hitched a shuttle up to Zedler Mill, about 16 river miles above the park, to log an easy paddle myself while they sped down the river toward Gonzales. That would give me a taste of a beginner-friendly stretch of the course, plus time afterward to pick some of the racers’ brains.

It took me about three-and-a-half leisurely hours to make my run, including stops for a picnic and swimming. About 4 miles downstream of the Interstate 10 bridge, we encountered an obstacle dubbed “Son of Ottine,” a rocky drop in the river. We pulled off on the left side (avoiding a canoe-eating channel we’d been warned about) and lugged our boat partway down the little cascade, then pushed back into the flow. We eyeballed blue herons, dipped our paddles in water next to gar and drifted through a few clouds of dragonflies along the way, too.

Pam LeBlanc strikes a hammy pose before putting in her canoe at Zedler Mill. Chris LeBlanc for American-Statesman

And, yes. The thought of one day racing the Texas Water Safari, which started in 1963 and is billed as the “World’s Toughest Boat Race,” seems a little less crazy with every dip of the paddle.

If I can only get over that sleep deprivation part …