Jul 27 2017

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

By: Greg Roques

These days, it is no surprise to see cult films be rebooted. What is less common is for a remake—which is most often a shallow shadow of the original—to achieve this timeless status. One movie that has ascended this summit is—shockingly—(Point Break 2015), and its followers are truly nothing short of a cult.

For those unfamiliar with the original (1990), it revolves around an undercover FBI agent (Keanu Reeves) infiltrating a gang of surfers who perform heists to fund their extreme lifestyle. The film is mostly carved in the pop-culture consciousness for its iconic bank robbers, who all wear masks of presidents to evade identification. (I‘m sure when the series is rebooted yet again the villains will all wear Trump masks.)

The remake's fan base is a bit more niche and certainly not comprised of your typical cinephiles (warning: it sucks). Rather, it has obsessed action sports enthusiasts across the globe with conquering the Ozaki 8, a fictional series of athletic ordeals that its plot revolves around. Since the film's release less than two years ago, dozens of websites have sprung up detailing efforts to attempt these trials, each of which pits participants against varying environmental challenges.

Being an adventure sports enthusiast, I can relate—I, too, fantasized about what it would be like to attempt these feats, albeit to a far less CGI’ed extent—while laboring through this cinematic misfire.

The list below is set in and around New Orleans and is loosely based on the Ozaki 8—think of it as Ozaki light for New Orleanians, who occasionally like to drink while staying active. This challenge is not meant to be “extreme” or to fuel an inward journey of self-discovery like those in the film. Rather, the goal is to inspire readers to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and try something new and exciting this summer without having to travel far.

Ordeal 1 – Emerging Force

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

While in the Deep South you won’t ride any grand rapids like those on screen, Blue Bayou Water Park in Baton Rouge offers plenty of opportunities to go with or against the flow. From the Hurricane Bay wave pool to a variety of high-rise water slides, the long-standing amusement park offers a day’s full of fun at a reasonable price less than an hour drive from the Crescent City. Looking for something a little less man-made? Louisiana River Adventures on the Northshore offers two- and four-hour tubing trips down the Bogue Chitto River for those longing for a natural getaway. Sure, it won’t up your extreme-sports street cred, but then again, you probably can’t drink beer all day while plunging down a waterfall, either. BlueBayou.com, LouisianaRiverAdventures.com

Ordeal 2 – Birth of Sky

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

This ordeal was met in the movie by base-jumping from the side of a cliff. While a Google search will disclose several unofficial base-jumping opportunities in New Orleans, these are all not only illegal but likely fatal if executed incorrectly. Instead, why not reach for the sky at Skydive Nawlins? Located in Slidell, you can complete a tandem jump with a seasoned instructor and experience freefall at over 125 miles per hour. If you’re looking for something a bit less edgy, perhaps visit Sector 6 Extreme Airsports in Harahan. The state’s largest trampoline park has more than 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines—in addition to slacklines, trapezes, and an American Ninja-style obstacle course—letting you catch all the air you’ll ever need.  SkydiveNawlins.com, Sector6.us, CCC10k.com

Ordeal 3 – Awakening Earth

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

Okay, I’m taking some additional liberties with this one. In the film, the protagonists free-fall out of an airplane into a hole in the ground before deploying their parachutes inside of the cave. Since this would constitute a successful suicide attempt for 99.99 percent of the population, this article is translating “awakening” to represent the transition from night to day. This doesn’t mean we’re going easy on you, though. To fulfill this ordeal, we’re throwing the Hotter than Hell, Dusk to Dawn Ultra-Marathon at you. Taking place from 8 p.m. on July 16 to 6 a.m. on July 17 in Mandeville, runners must complete a minimum 32 miles to receive a commemorative mug. If you don’t feel you’re quite ready for this yet, you can start training for next year’s race with New Orleans’s free-fitness movement November Project. Held twice on Wednesday mornings at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. in Champions Square, its boot camp-style workouts geared towards runners are the perfect way to get in shape and pay a visit to the Superdome before football season. November Project also offers 6 a.m. Friday morning classes on the Lakefront. Both groups can be found on Facebook.

Ordeal 4 – Life of Water

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

Surfing may not be an option in New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of chances to hop on a board. NOLA Paddleboards offers a variety of stand-up paddleboarding activities on Bayou St. John all throughout the summer months. Looking to beat the heat by staying indoors? Try one of the many surf-inspired group fitness classes at City Surf Fitness New Orleans on Magazine Street. And if you are up for a day trip, Cajun X Cables in Lafayette is Louisiana’s first and only full-sized cable wakeboarding park. NOLAPaddleboards.com, CitySurfFitness.com/New-Orleans, CajunXCables.com

Ordeal 5 – Life of Wind

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

As with skydiving into a cave in the ground, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that many readers aren’t yet ready for wingsuit flying, Point Break’s answer to Ordeal 5. Instead, why not harness some air on an alligator swamp tour through Lafitte with Airboat Adventures, just 30 minutes from the French Quarter? And for those seeking a bit more adrenaline, why not try a kiteboarding lesson? Gulfport Boardsports in Biloxi has all your equipment needs covered, and their website offers instructor recommendations for those looking to take an introductory class. Category 5 Kiteboarding’s website and Facebook page also connect enthusiasts throughout New Orleans (mostly meeting along Lake Pontchartrain) and the Mississippi Gulf Coast who are looking to meet up on weekends.  Airboatadventures.com, Klossas.org, Gulfportboardsports.com, Cat5Kiteboarding.com

Ordeal 6 – Life of Ice

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

Sorry, but New Orleans’s July weather (not to mention flat geography) won’t allow you to snowboard like our cinematic counterparts. However, if you’re up for a weekend trip to our capital, Leo’s Iceland and Hockey Complex in Baton Rouge offers an Olympic-sized ice skating rink including skating lessons and adult and youth hockey leagues. Looking for something less athletic but still extreme? Head on over to Creole Creamery on Prytania for their Tchoupitoulas Challenge: eight servings of ice cream covered in eight toppings. Complete it in less than one hour and your name will be immortalized on their walls. Sk8leos.com, CreoleCreamery.com/tchoupitoulas

Ordeal 7 – Master of Six Lives

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

Point Break 2.0 reached its climax with a bouldering ascent up a Venezuelan mountain. For those unfamiliar with bouldering, it is a form of rock climbing performed without the use of a harness or ropes, greatly adding to its challenge and danger. New Orleans Boulder Lounge on Tchoupitoulas is far less picturesque (and far less dangerous) but may one day prepare you for the real thing by simulating this climbing style indoors. If you’re looking for a little friendly competition to motivate your fitness, join their bouldering team. Climbnobl.com

Ordeal 8 – Act of Ultimate Trust

Adventure Time!: 8 Ways to Discover Adventure In and Near New Orleans This Summer

The picture’s penultimate act (the film revisits Life of Water for its closing scene) involves the hero and villain jumping from the summit of Ordeal 7’s mountain into a raging river below, entrusting Mother Nature to deliver them to safety. It is at this time that I would like to advise you on behalf of Where Y’at and all magazines everywhere to never try this. This is not “fake news” or “alternative facts,” I am dead serious (pun intended)—you will die! Instead, why not rest soundly in nature’s caring arms during a scenic camping trip? Less than two hours from New Orleans in Pond, Mississippi, is the Clark Creek Natural Area, an expansive hiking park that is home to roughly 50 waterfalls ranging in height from 10 to 30 feet. While camping is not allowed in the preserve, the nearby Tunica Hills Campground offers BBQ pits, picnic tables, and showers. Those looking for an added physical challenge on the water may wish to visit Black Creek Canoe Rental in Brooklyn, Mississippi, just an hour and a half outside New Orleans. Visitors can sign up for one of six single- to multi-day-length trips, traveling downriver through Desoto National Park and camping along its banks at night. Tunicahillscampground.com, blackcreekcanoe.com

Plan on trying any of these adventures this summer? Tag us in your pictures @WhereYatNOLA or #WhereYatNOLA and let us know what you think.

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