Pete’s Pick: Become a Beginner Again

standup paddleboard roanoke

Pete Eshelman stand-up paddleboarding at Carvins Cove

This is the time of year when we dust off our favorite gear and get ready for the next several months of playing outside. But why not shake things up a bit? I mean, we should still spend time with Mother Nature, but instead of the same ol, same ol, let’s adopt that beginner’s mindset and try our hand at a new outdoor activity.

Luckily for you, all the leg work of finding introductory workshops has been done! Here are two beginner-level workshops that are perfect for trying right now but can also enjoyed throughout the entire year: fly fishing and stand-up paddleboarding.

Fly Fishing 101 at Orvis | Downtown Roanoke Orvis | June 1

Ideal for both a moment of Zen or time with a loved one, fly fishing is a versatile sport that is easier than it looks and relatively inexpensive. Plus, when you live in an area with tons of creeks and rivers, you have several places to cast your line.  On June 1, head to Orvis in downtown Roanoke for their free Fly Fishing 101 clinic. All equipment and instruction are provided on-site, and all ages are welcome (heads up: participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult).  Register in advance here.

Learn to Stand-Up Paddleboard with PLAY Roanoke | Carvins Cove | May 23

After you’ve mastered the basics of fly fishing, turn your attention to another water sport: stand-up paddleboarding (or SUPing). PLAY Roanoke has a beginner class on May 23 that includes all the equipment plus super knowledgeable folks to give you all the instruction you need to master SUPing. This sport is incredibly fun and can be done on both flat and white water, opening paddling opportunities throughout the entire region. These spots typically fill up fast (that’s how fun this is), so register soon if you’re interested.

It’s easy to get caught up in our routines, and it’s natural to be drawn to what we know and what we’re good at, but I hope you take a moment to brave the unknown and give something new a try. You just might find a new favorite hobby. If not, now you know these things aren’t for you! Either way, it was time well spent adventuring. Virginia’s Blue Ridge is packed with ways to enjoy the outdoors—be brave; challenge yourself by being a beginner again.