Running Adventures: Oceanfront Boardwalkin’

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King Neptune stands guard over Virginia Beach's favorite running spot, the boardwalk..

Oceanfront Boardwalkin’

 

 

If you’ve lived in Virginia Beach for more than 5 minutes, you either are a runner or you love someone who is a runner.

When I moved to Virginia Beach in 2003 to attend graduate school at ODU, I found myself living at the Oceanfront, broke, and in desperate need of a way to release all the stress that graduate school has to offer.  Before moving here, I dabbled in running, but it was more of an occasional activity than a way of life for me.  That is until I moved close to the Disneyland of running, i.e., the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  There is something about the Boardwalk that just makes you want to run.  First, it’s “I’ll run to one end and back”.  Then it’s “Let me run to the other end and back so I can check out what’s going on down there too”.  Before you know it, you’re running the whole Boardwalk, all 5 glorious miles of it.  “Why is the Boardwalk such a cool place to run?” you ask, “It’s so crowded and touristy”.   Yes, you are correct, but that’s one of the reasons it’s so appealing.  Name one place that you can check out the surf, spot dolphin swimming along the shoreline, hear live music, and  people watch (mostly people wearing outfits that should probably be illegal) all in less than a few blocks?  The public restrooms and water fountains every few blocks are just icing on the cake.

The Boardwalk is home to many, many races, all of which benefit one great charity or another.  If you have not run a race on the boardwalk, I would strongly suggest you do.

There’s always a fun afterparty somewhere that you won’t want to miss.

I have personally run more races on the Boardwalk than I can count, and have had some of my best and worst running memories made there.   Friendships are formed through running on this strip of concrete, if you let them.

There is an energy to the Boardwalk that I have yet to find anywhere else in Virginia Beach.   Yes, often it is full of out-of-owners (especially when you hit it in the summertime), but seeing their wide-eyed excitement at being away from their real lives and letting lose for a few days, almost makes you feel as though you are on vacation yourself.  Times like these, you realize how lucky you are to live close to the ocean and enjoy it anytime you want.  I try never to take this fact for granted, and feel ever so grateful to live by the sea.

…when you hit the Boardwalk early in the morning, there is a peacefulness in the air that is contagious…

Other times, when you hit the Boardwalk early in the morning, there is a peacefulness in the air that is contagious.  The quietness of the morning allows you to able to hear the roar of the surf and watch the early-bird surfers out trying to catch the best waves of the day.  It feels like you’ve got the whole place to yourself.  As you run, stop to take a look out to the ocean and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic.  You are guaranteed a beautiful show.

Next time you’re bored and want something to do, I suggest lacing up and heading down there.  When you run, make sure to touch the railing at each end of the Boardwalk.  It’s a legend throughout the running community here that this is good luck, so don’t jinx yourself.  Also, look for me, because I will hopefully be there too.

Words by Karen Lindauer, Photos by Karen Lindauer and Carla Serex


Upcoming Events at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

March 18-20, 2016 Shamrock Marathon (Marathon, Half-Marathon, 8k, 1 mile)

May 29, 2016 Steel Pier Classic 5k

September 3-4, 2016 Rock’n Roll 1/2 Marathon (1/2 Marathon, 5k, 1 mile)

October 29, 2016 Wicked 10k (10k, 1 mile)

December 17, 2016 Surf-n-Santa (5 mile)

Opening Day on Back Bay!

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Words & photos by John Streit.

With Snowmageddon in our rear view mirror, the days getting longer and the flora turning greener; you’d be hard-pressed to find a Virginia Beach local who isn’t welcoming the transition into springtime. While we have a few weeks to go before mild temperatures become the daily standard, it’s clear that the season has turned.

Our first request of the year for our famous Back Bay eco kayak tour proved to be a further sign of the coming of spring. Appropriately enough, the tour was centered around the concept of visiting popular summertime destinations during the shoulder seasons. We were stoked to host travel journalist Zach Patton of Endless Vacation Magazine and his husband Clay on a classic, radiant early spring afternoon through our Back Bay waterway.

While the surrounding forest and brackish marsh still largely showed the drab hues of winter; budding plants and trees signaled that warmer days are upon us. As we paddled through the golden afternoon light, we were treated to some awe-inspiring sights of the waterway — some common and some rare. Nesting osprey were busy gathering the materials for their summer homes and huge vultures glided overhead across a chilly sea breeze. Red-wing blackbirds perched on the reeds and brown finches sang their songs. A surprise guest revealed itself as we reached the mouth of Back Bay in the form of a perching peacock on a dead tree in Sandbridge Marsh to the east of our waterway. While no muskrats, river otters or minks showed for the tour, plenty of fish and turtle activity show that the waters are coming back to life.

We’re excited to be featured in the fall issue of Endless Vacation Magazine as Zach reviews the offseason attractions Virginia Beach as to offer! Until then, enjoy these photos of our paddle through our gorgeous slice of Back Bay.

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Sunset Kayaking in Back Bay

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By John Streit. Photos by Larry Peak

There is arguably no better place to take in a sunset than kayaking Sandbridge and Back Bay! Covering more than a quarter of Virginia Beach’s total area, Back Bay is the perfect reflecting pool to amplify most sunsets into some breathtaking moments. These recent images of the Stokes family captured by Larry Peak demonstrates the light show Mother Nature continually runs in the sky and on the water in Back Bay. To have your own experience sunset kayaking in Back Bay, call Surf & Adventure Co. at (800) 695-4212 or visit http://oceanrentalsltd.com/product/sunset-tour/ to book your guided tour today!

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Billabong Surf Camps 2014: Week 6

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Photos & words by John Streit.

It’s not the size of the surf camp that makes it great. It’s the stoke of the students and instructors that make the difference!

That was the case for Billabong Surf Camps Week 6. Sure, we didn’t break any attendance records, but we were just as stoked as ever to teach our crew of campers the ways of the water. We were even treated to an awe-inspiring display of power from a pod of dolphins hunting a school of fish very close to shore, just outside the breakers!

Enjoy these photos of our Billabong Surf Camps Week 6 surfers ripping it up and taking in a cloudy-but-beautiful morning at Little Island Park earlier this week.

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Billabong Surf Camps 2014: Week 5

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Video produced & edited by Elliot McCallister. Words by John Streit.

We had to dodge some raindrops to make it happen, but Surf & Adventure Billabong Surf Camps provided endless stoke to our Week 5 rippers! Clean conditions were on tap again to provide ideal canvases for “shreducation” at Little Island Park on the south end of Sandbridge Beach.

We’re back at it again this week for another lineup of co-ed camp and girls-only Chica Camp.  Sign up for Billabong Surf Camps by clicking here or give us a ring at (757) 721-6210!

Billabong Surf Camps 2014: Week 4

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Video by John Streit.

Another classic week of Billabong Surf Camps at Sandbridge’s Little Island Park is in the books! The gang was as lively and stoked as any we’ve had, and the energy was contagious from the campers to the instructors, not to any bystanders who happened to see the fun from the beach. While stuff offshore winds made for some chilly upwelling waters, the breeze had an amazing grooming affect on the rolling 1- to 2-foot surf — perfect for learning and mastering how to surf.

We’re at it again this Thursday and Friday for our first all-girls Billabong Chica Camp of the summer, followed by Week 5 of our three-day, co-ed Billabong Surf Camps that starts on Monday at 8 a.m. at Little Island. Sign up for the fun by clicking here or give us a ring at (757) 721-6210!