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Students participate in free Outdoor Pursuits activities

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Outdoor Pursuits hosted slacklining and kayaking in CSU-Pueblo’s Recreation Center Jan. 29. The activities, which are included in tuition costs, are free for students to attend.

Outdoor Pursuit staff provides a safe environment to learn basic slacklining and kayaking skills in a positive environment among students. Participants do not need any prior experience to attend.

Slacklining at the CSU-Pueblo Recreation Center pool with Outdoor Pursuits. Photo by Jessica Warren
Slacklining at the CSU-Pueblo Recreation Center pool with Outdoor Pursuits.
Photo by Jessica Warren

Slacklining is a sport that includes a two-inch webbing that similar to tightrope walking, but more dynamic.

The sport’s dynamic features allow the webbing to sway and bounce while holding a person’s flexibility and weight as they walk across.

“It is a lot harder than it looks. But it is really fun,” said first-time slackliner and CSU-Pueblo freshman Deanna Sanchez.

Slacklining is available to all students on the last Thursday of every month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kayaking is a unique sport that attracts regulars and newcomers alike to be instructed by Outdoor Pursuits staff members.

Upon arrival, the staff welcomes newcomers to make them feel comfortable. They teach them rules and safety requirements, including the “wet exit,” in which newcomers are instructed to flip over their boats, pull the boat skirt and swim to the top. This task is necessary for emergencies.

Students can then kayak at their own leisure when they feel comfortable enough to paddle. When everyone gets more comfortable with the basics, they can participate in a game of water polo, where they throw a ball into the nets of opposing teams.

“Outdoor Pursuits is really good at making newcomers feel comfortable,” said CSU-Pueblo sophomore and lifeguard Gretel Stockton. “It is really intimidating to start kayaking, but when you do it, it is really fun. Just give it a try.”

Opportunities for students to expand their new learned skills further include learning how to do somersaults under water with their kayak, and go kayaking in a river with staff members.

“Once they learn the skills here, we will take them out to the river. Like any sport, you have to put time and dedication into it,” said Outdoor Pursuits water supervisor Connor Goodwin.

New participants in the program said they enjoyed the event and plan on coming back.

Students and community members kayak in the Recreation Center pool. Photo by Daniel Potter.
Students and community members kayak in the Recreation Center pool. Photo by Daniel Potter.

Community members can also take advantage of the Outdoor Pursuits kayaking programs Thursday nights.

“We like to kayak,” said two-year community members Don and Jamie Wycoff. “There is a pool available to us for free, while other public pools cost a lot. It costs us only $6 to kayak. It’s a good opportunity to meet people and go out kayaking to the river with.”

They also said they see at least twenty students, more women than men, participate in kayaking every Thursday night. It is not offered on the last Thursday of every month, which is when slacklining is held.

Kayaking and slacklining are just a small part of a much wider Outdoor Pursuits program. They also offer rock climbing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and various hiking, skiing and snowboarding trips.

Outdoor Pursuits also offers Free Friday programs, which are accessible to all students.

“We want to get students introduced to free, fun and different recreational activities without the stress of having (to pay),” Goodwin said. “There’s so much potential for any student who becomes involved.”

Sanchez previously attended a trip with Outdoor Pursuits.

“I love snowboarding. I’ve always been outdoorsy, so this is my thing,” she said.

Outdoor Pursuits said the organization hopes to get wind-surfers soon to add to their programs.