Photo by John Henley
Paddleboard at Robious Landing Park 3800 James River Road, Midlothian More than 50 years old, stand-up paddleboarding caught a wave and arrived on the East Coast. Bryan Smith of Black Dog Paddle explains that the production of fiberglass boards increased access. Smith's wife, Camille, instructs yoga while on a paddleboard. "You really are present, when you're doing a flow of poses on a paddleboard," she says. The boards are anchored and practitioners wear floatation devices fitted like fanny packs. "It's freeing," Camille says. "There aren't any mirrors. Nobody's watching how you look doing your Downward Dog or Warrior II." At East Coast Board Sports, which also offers lessons at Robious Landing, owner Sutton Knight is focused on the ministry of "Aloha" and sharing the stoke. The longtime surfer also is in his third season of professional SUP racing. For stand-up paddleboarding classes, contact blackdogpadle.com , eastcoastboardsports.com or riversideoutfitters.net . SUP is available also at Pocahontas State Park, at Dutch Gap Conservation Area and on Brown's Island. Riverside also conducts guided tours from the Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek.
Living History at Henricus Historical Park 251 Henricus Park Road, Chesterfield "I'm a man of three centuries," says John Pagano, Henricus historical interpretation supervisor. He came to the recreated 17th-century settlement in 2007 following a stint as an educator and ship interpreter at Jamestown during its 400th anniversary. Henricus and adjacent Dutch Gap cover a tapestry of historical experience, from the community's 1611 founding to Revolutionary and Civil War events. Pagano explains that European visitors are intrigued by Henricus, because there aren't that many 17th-century sites that exhibit this rough, transitional time, and "it shows them the life of some of their ancestors who chose to come here." The park's biggest event is Publick Days, which feature more than 100 interpreters and a visit by the Godspeed from Jamestown Sept. 21 and 22. Living history also occurs at Meadow Farm Museum in Henrico, Maymont in Richmond and Point of Rocks in Chesterfield. Disc Golf at Bryan Park 4308 Hermitage Road, Richmond Glen Todd, then a member of the Friends of Bryan Park, helped to install the first nine holes of the disk course in 2007. Despite city perplexment as to its nature, the now 18-hole course is well reviewed and constantly used. Todd explains, "The best part is the big open fields and elevated tee shots and two over the water that players really enjoy. Every hole has an alternate tee pad; if you don't want to throw over the water, you can throw from the other side." Enthusiastic players cut grass, hack weeds and provide basic course maintenance. "But we still get the city coming in and mowing over the tee pads," Todd says. "We need concrete pads. Most other places have those." Disc golf also available at Fighting Creek Park in Powhatan, Dorey Park in Henrico, Goyne Park in Chesterfield and Gillies Creek Park in Richmond. Horseback Riding at Washington Lacy Park 13400 Woodside Lane, Hanover The 216-acre park off Route 54 on Woodside Lane opened in December 2008 as Hanover County's first equestrian-friendly park with multi-use trails and a parking lot to accommodate horse trailers. The Friends of Hanover Trails partnered with the county to construct the paths. More than 20,000 people, not all of whom are necessarily on horseback, annually visit the park, which is open year-round. "Anyone can come walk, jog or utilize the trails," says the county's parks director Greg Sager. "They should just be aware that a big horse might be coming up behind them." And, too, something a horse ahead may have left behind. Equestrian activities are also found in Pole Green Park in Hanover, Dorey Park in Henrico and Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield.