Paddle boards are seen at the University of Iowa Outdoor Rental Center on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Outdoor rental center introduces paddleboards


The University of Iowa Recreational Services is now offering a new way for the UI community to enjoy the outdoors.

By Emily Wangen

Recently, the UI Recreational Services added stand-up paddleboards to the list of equipment that can be rented.

Community members can check out paddleboards and other equipment at the The Outdoor Rental Center (ORC) located on the west side of campus near the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex and the UI Athletics Hall of Fame.

ORC student manager, Brian Froelich said the paddleboards were purchased earlier this year and have been used throughout the summer.

The paddleboards were used at the summer wildlife camps at the Lake Macbride Nature Recreation Area as well as during On Iowa events at the end of August, and were well-received by users, assistant director for outdoor recreational programs David Patton said.

Patton said these events were held to help support efforts in the Outdoor Nation On Campus Challenge, which began Monday. Students, staff, alumni, and supporters of 92 schools across the United States are competing in this month-long On Campus Challenge by logging their outdoor activity into an app to earn points for their school.

On Oct. 18, the challenge will end and the school with the most points wins. The UI has been participating in this challenge since its inception and is currently ranked near the bottom in its division for this year’s challenge. Patton highly encourages people to join this challenge and get outdoors.

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The ORC offers water, camping, bicycle, snow, and other miscellaneous equipment for members of the UI community to rent from one day up to one week. Patton said the ORC’s inventory is built around the running programs such as adventure trips and Lifetime Leisure Skills classes, but are available for rent when they are not in use. Patton noted that it is a good idea for anyone interested in renting from the ORC to call ahead to check an item’s availability before coming to the ORC.

“The rental center has any kind of outdoor gear that anyone might need, from a car camping trip to a backcountry week-long trip in the middle of nowhere with no cell service,” Froelich said.

Froelich said both students and community members use the rental center, and he believes one of the reasons that more students do not use the facility may be because of the building’s location. Those who do rent from the ORC say they like the convenience of being able to rent equipment to use instead of having to purchase their own, Froelich said.

While the paddleboards are not available for rental at this time, those interested in using them may sign up to participate in one of the many adventure trips offered by UI Recreational Services, or sign up for the event Paddleboard at Lake Macbride, held this Sunday.

Adventure trips allow participants to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding and more. Information and online registration for adventure trips are on the UI Recreational Services website.

“I think a lot of our students aren’t aware of all the different things we have going on,” David Conrads, associate director of Recreational Services said.

Conrads said with the stress of university life, it is important for students to go outdoors,

“It’s good for the soul,” Conrads said. “All the research shows the healing power of being out in the wild, and I think all of us who are involved in it have tasted that and just want to get other people out to enjoy it.”

Facebook: “I think a lot of our students aren’t aware of all the different things we have going on,” said David Conrads, Associate Director of Recreational Services. Recreation services offers opportunities for the UI community to experience the outdoors.

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