Illustration by TL
AryMiniature golf and Hondas in the hills When
we rode the horse we got some thrills Every now and then we hear our
song We’ve been having fun all summer long. —Beach Boys, a
Hawthorne-formed band (“All Summer Long,” 1964)

Warning: Don’t try any of the following unless you’ve got good
medical insurance
.

Despite what product-peddling pests on late-night Tae Bo infomercials
tell you, a healthy workout doesn’t have to take place in a pricey gym
with a drill sergeant charging, “And 1 . . . and 2 . . . and 3!” Make
the entire outdoors your own personal fitness center and play some
sports to keep your body fit and trim in this flesh-exposing summer
heat. A little tennis, shooting hoops or a few laps in the backyard pool
are all right if you wanna play it safe. But if you’d like to tackle
something a little more offbeat and ballsy — something that may require
a prayer for good luck — try a sport that includes the word “ultimate”
or “extreme” and see how far the mind and body are tested.


Street Luge

Extreme trampoline wrestling, extreme
bungee jumping, extreme Whiffle Ball, even the computerized extreme
pinball. It’s as if sports outlaws with too many whacks to their heads
are coming together every day to pioneer some game that’s harder,
higher, faster and trickier than the traditional catch-and-run kind of
activity. However, most are relatively the same as an existing version,
with a few added twists, such as boarding not only on snow but also on
water, on sand dunes and at 7,000 feet in midair.

Others evolve
out of two or more sports. Street or road luge is about as crazy and
high-velocity as any sport can get. No need to wait until the Winter
Olympics to watch racing machines go downhill as fast as 80 mph. Street
luge, a combo of ice luge and skateboarding, is an underground practice
done mostly by seasoned adrenaline junkies and racing professionals who
zoom down hills at breakneck speed on extended wheeled boards with heads
just a few inches above the asphalt. Pushed by gravity and using nothing
but their body weight, lugers wear a leather body suit, a helmet, and
treadless sneakers that act as manual brakes. Bob Pereyra is
probably the lone Southern California luge eccentric who’s brave enough
to help any curious mortal take a crack, or crack his neck, at the sport
for 75 bucks a lesson (18734 Kenya St., Northridge; 818-368-6826). You
can also check out www.streetluge.com to learn more about luging.


Skateboarding


Skateboarding itself can be traced back to surfing, when kids at
the beach in the ’50s tried to re-create the feeling of riding a wave on
a piece of wood that was originally a scooter, minus the push bar. No
more a fad or even a rebel sport, skateboarding has become an eyeful of
sky-reaching tricks, drops and flips where a sprained ankle here and a
fractured wrist there are like badges of honor. Thankfully, there is a
plethora of skate parks that caters to more than just the teen punk
crowd from the Valley, and they’ll keep you from getting fined in those
snooty cities that prohibit skating on public and private property.
Prices at these parks vary according to session times. Vans Skate
Park
(20 City Blvd., Orange; 714-769-3800) is a 46,000-square-foot
wonderland open seven days a week ($7–$9 for members, $11–$14 for
nonmembers). Skate Street (1990-B Knoll Drive, Ventura;
888-85-SKATE) goes as low as $8 for members and $12 for nonmembers. And
for 26 bucks on the weekend, beginners can learn at Skate Lab
(4226 Valley Fair St., Simi Valley; 805-578-0040). For an even
better deal, $10 will get kids a two-hour lesson on Saturdays at the
ramp near Boards and More’s shop (660 W. Seventh St., San Pedro;
310-833-4124).â

Ultimate Frisbee

If you’re more
comfortable being part of a team or like the feeling of camara-derie,
tossing a Frisbee is fast becoming the “ultimate” sport. But this ain’t
your grandfather’s Frisbee. Resembling soccer and basketball, although a
bit more polite, ultimate Frisbee is a new incarnation that’s as much
about protocol and being sportsmanlike as having good stamina and
endurance. Played on a 70-yard field, the game requires seven players on
two teams to throw the disk — slightly heavier than the Frisbee brand —
across the opponent’s goal. There’s a lot of sprinting and blocking, but
running with the disk and heavy contact are ruled out. If you’d like to
stumble upon the game, The Los Angeles Organization of Ultimate
Teams
(310-712-DISK) posts on its Web site (www.laout.org) pickup
games held at local parks and fields where you can just drop by and join
in.

Mountain Biking and

Rock Climbing

For
a lot of nature-loving, outgoing purists, the real adventure in a sport
is the journey to pristine, undiscovered places where soaking up the
scenery and surroundings is more satisfying than losing a few pounds.
There’s an exhilaration of being totally lost in a dizzying, majestic
landscape of nothing but trees, rocks, waterfalls and cacti, free from
the fancy computerized machines that merely give one the feeling of
being active. Mountain biking and rock climbing can be quite meditative,
as well as a healthy course in learning to use rocks and the dirt road
beneath your feet as your only cross-trainer. We may not have the
glacier-draped splendor of the Rockies, but there are plenty of city
parks and canyons with hilltops and bouldering areas to test your
climbing skills. Stoney Point (Topanga Canyon Boulevard), Rock
Pool
(along Las Virgenes Road, a.k.a. Malibu Canyon), Purple
Stones
(Topanga Canyon) and Mount Rubidoux
(Riverside) are some locals. You can call the Los Angeles
County Department of Parks and Recreation
(213-738-2961)
or Angeles National Forest (626-796-5541) for more
information. Adventure 16 (11161 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A.,
310-473-4574; 5425 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana, 818-345-4266) not only
provides outdoor clothing and equipment, but organizes trips with
in-shop classes. Indoor rock-climbing gyms, for busy agoraphobes, are
also perfect training grounds for those not yet ready to hit the real
thing. Both The Rock Gym (600 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach;
562-983-5500) and Rockreation (11866 La Grange Ave., W.L.A.;
310-207-7199) offer a one-day pass for just $15.

Mount Wilson
Trail
(Sierra Madre), Cheseboro Canyon Trail (Santa Monica
Mountains), Caballero Canyon (Tarzana) and Arroyo Seco
Trail
(Pasadena) are a few campgrounds and canyons with plenty of
trails and roads for biking. For bike maps call the Los Angeles
County Department of Public Works
(626-458-3901). And
partnering up with other biking enthusiasts in clubs such as South
Bay Mountain Biking Club
(310-214-5264 or www.usinter.net/SBMBC), Pavement Enz
(818-361-4347), LAFORCE (L.A. Female Off Road Cycling
Enthusiasts, 310-545-3554) and L.A. Wheelmen Bicycle Club
(310-556-7967) is also a great way to share in the excitement of
a fair-weather sport.