Cabarrus

County park revives the sport of log-rolling

Joseph Runyon, 11, tries to stay on the Key Log during a slow roll as part of the log rolling demonstration by Jaoshua Coffman, left, and Alex Beck, right, at Camp TN Spencer Park on June 15.
Joseph Runyon, 11, tries to stay on the Key Log during a slow roll as part of the log rolling demonstration by Jaoshua Coffman, left, and Alex Beck, right, at Camp TN Spencer Park on June 15. Marty Price

Alex Beck, 29, park program supervisor at Camp T.N. Spencer Park, a county park in Concord, wants to bring the sport of log-rolling to Cabarrus County.

He and program manager Joshua Coffman, 33, are looking for people ages 8 and older, who want to learn how to use the Key Log in the pool for a different way to cool off and exercise.

The Key Log is made from the same material as kayaks and canoes. It floats, spins and reacts just like a traditional cedar wood log, but without the sap and bark, which are rough on the feet. For beginners, there are yellow rings with fins on them that fit around the logand slow the speed of the roll.

Eleven feet long, the Key Log only weighs 65 pounds when empty. But when you fill it with water, it is about the same weight as a cedar log – 400-600 pounds – so it reacts like the real thing.

“With three rings on the log it is pretty slow. When you take off one ring it speeds up, when you take off two it gets even faster and if you have all three rings off, you're a real logger,” Coffman said.

He admits the staff is learning along the way, too.

“A few of us can stay up, but nobody is ready for a two-on-a-log battle yet,” he said.

Originally, the park offered classes on log-rolling but no one signed up.

“We felt it was because it is so new to the area,” Coffman said.

That is why the park’s staff held its first demonstration on June 15. Almost as soon as the Key Log was in the water, children gathered around, curious as to what it was.

A group of about eight children took turns standing on the log as Beck and Coffman held it, to practice balancing, before they would slowly let the log roll. For some of the children, just mounting and standing was enough to send them in the water.

After a few attempts, all the children could all stand on the log. Then the log started to roll and laughter erupted with feet scrambling and arms flailing as the ‘loggers’ fought to stay upright.

Noah Hammac, 8, and his brother Josh, 9, both said they thought it was fun trying.

“It looked easy, but it was hard because you had to keep your balance. I leaned forward and backwards as I tried but I still fell off,” Noah said.

“It was easy keeping your balance until they started to let the log move,” Josh added. He said he would do it again “because it was challenging.”

Coffman said the park’s staffplans to have more demonstrations in the coming weeks.

“It's fun for the whole family. We are hoping to gain enough interest to form classes and have competitions by the end of the summer,” he said.

Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at martyprice53@gmail.com

Learn more:

Camp T.N. Spencer Park, a Cabarrus County Park, is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. March through November and is located at 3155 Foxford Road, Concord.

The log-rolling demonstrations at Camp TN Spencer will be as time permits, with no regular schedule. Program manager Joshua Coffman said the park will post announcements for the demonstrations on the Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cabarruscountyactivelivingandparks.

For more information on Camp TN Spencer, go towww.cabarruscounty.us/government/departments/active-living-parks/camp-spencer/Pages/default.aspx or call 704-795-4492

For a calendar and links for other classes and events offered by Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks, as well as the Cabarrus County Libraries, go to www.cabarruscounty.us/Events/Pages/default.aspx.

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