What it is: Standing atop a log floating in shallow water, running in place — logrollers call it “pitter patter” — to make it roll while trying to stay on. You can graduate to competitions and “sparring,” trying to make your opponent fall in the water.
What’s new: Synthetic logs introduced a few years ago have made logrolling accessible. Traditional cedar logs used for rolling weigh 400 to 500 pounds. Hollow man-made logs weigh 65 pounds and strap to the top of your car. You fill a log with water at the beach and empty it when you leave. “Training wheels,” yellow paddles that attach to the log and slow its rotation, also make learning easier.
Whom it’s for: We joined a group through the Minneapolis Log Rolling Club on a warm, clear Wednesday evening. When we got to East Cedar Lake Beach (aka Hidden Beach), I was somewhat intimidated by the super-fit people gathered in knee-deep water, some spinning expertly. I’m middle-aged, battling the bulge and can “run” about half a mile. But I tried it, and despite staying upright only in five- to 10-second bursts (watch the video on the Variety Facebook page), I loved it. Some people — including my two teenage children — get the hang of it right away. Within 10 attempts, they were sparring.
The addiction factor: Even though I fell a lot, I kept getting back up — except when I was winded, which happened after about three minutes. My kids, too, couldn’t stop once they got rolling. “Just once more” turned into two hours that went by in a flash.
Tips for success: Start moving your feet as soon as you hop on the log. Don’t try to stand to get your balance; it doesn’t happen. Don’t look down; instead, watch the opposite end of the log. Engage your core. Put one arm forward, one back, like you’re surfing, to help find balance. Be mindful; everything has to work together.
Don’t: Get overly concerned if you don’t get catch on right away. Everyone learns at a different pace. Many in the club have taken classes through Minneapolis Parks and Rec or elsewhere. It’s OK to be a beginner.
What to wear: A bathing suit or jogging clothes, socks and shoes or at least shoes. (Your feet get sore without them.)
What’s next: Kids at more than 300 camps across the country are learning logrolling, and aficionados hope it will become an Olympic sport soon. Expect its popularity to boom.
How to participate: Minneapolis Parks and Rec offers adult and youth classes ($30-$45; minneapolisparks.org). You can join MLRC (minneapolis logrollingclub.com) for free and pay based on when you want to roll ($55 for twice a month this summer); they sometimes have drop-in rates. Try it for free on July 12 from 6-8 p.m. at East Cedar Lake Beach, weather permitting.