Fitness studios often work hard to cultivate a relaxing setting. They might install floor-to-ceiling windows, play soothing music, or enforce a strict policy against flash mobs. But Urban Kai ramps up the relaxation to the next level. Their fitness classes take place on the Hillsborough River, where yoga groups stretch and bend atop stand-up paddleboards. The aquatic setting surrounds exercisers in waterfront architecture and open skies, which take on brilliant hues at sunrise and sunset. Dolphins, turtles, cats, and other marine life make occasional appearances as well.
Urban Kai was founded by Michael Conlee and his wife, Aimee. Mr. Conlee originally started paddle boarding as a hobby, but he quickly realized that his new pastime had toned his physique. Mr. Conlee started Urban Kai, and—along with his fellow instructors—he now teaches several on-water fitness classes. Urban Kai's yoga-on-water class, for example, helps participants build strength and flexibility, while warrior-zen workouts combine paddleboard exercises with on-land workouts. Mr. Conlee and his team also take groups on long-distance paddleboard tours.
eBoat Tampa began with a pregnancy craving: mom-to-be Anndrea Dohring wanted to glide along downtown Tampa’s Hillsborough River aboard a quiet, fume-free boat. A month after their baby was born, her husband, Josh, realized she—and other Tampa citizens—could realize her dream aboard electric boats. Together, he and Anndrea founded eBoats Tampa, an electric boat-rental company whose fleet of almost silent, eco-friendly boats can shelter up to ten people. Renters glide through the city at up to 7 mph on BYOB jaunts or custom guided tours, which often showcase waterfront sights, or search for the ice cubes that keep the river cold.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.
Pebble Beach occupies a rarefied space in golf lore; its mere mention conjures thoughts of verdant fairways set against the impossibly blue backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, a golfer's paradise befitting of only the game’s greats. Though Tampa Indoor Golf does not send clients to the rugged California coastline, its golf simulators bring the course’s seaside vistas to life in an indoor setting where the temperature is always 72 degrees, it never rains, and the only way to lose a golf ball is to confuse it will a glorified jelly bean. The simulators feature precise swing-tracking and shot-projection technology, ensuring that golfers enjoy realistic ball flight whether they are playing one of more than 75 famous courses or practicing in the driving-range module. In addition, the indoor center serves as the venue for private and group lessons for players of all abilities, conducted by Tampa Indoor’s staff of golf aces. Golfers can also enlist in golf-simulator leagues in which they partner up with a fellow player, compete for league prizes in weekly matches, and argue over who wears the argyle vest in the relationship.
Ray Baldorossi, Jr. helped to create Softgolf by accident. As a child, he sent a miniature basketball soaring in his backyard with the help of a golf club. His father, an aerospace design engineer, took note of its trajectory and set about inventing a soft ball with holes that, as described by Tom Jackson of The Tampa Tribune, "plays remarkably like its more familiar cousin." After running the first Softgolf in southern New Jersey until the late 1980s, the family retired the business—until Baldorossi, Jr. re-established it in Tampa, this time with a twist. Instead of illuminating the course with a blend of traditional lights and the winks of fireflies, he lights the Softgolf balls from within thanks to phosphorescent materials. He also dots flags, holes, and tee boxes with solar-powered batteries and LED lights. The result: a whimsical, family-friendly game that whisks the orbs up to a distance of 70 yards along a sprawling fairway—the same number of yards owned by most 18th century robber barons.
At Shapes Total Fitness for Women, the instructors strive to make working out as easy and fun as possible. That's why—in addition to providing access to free weights and cardio machines—they host more than 67 group training sessions per week, with options ranging from yoga to indoor cycling. That way, clients can get in shape using whatever means work best for them. Some of the eclectic classes have zero impact on joints, too—specifically the ones in the on-site pool. These include 45-minute water cardio classes and versatile aqua aerobics sessions, which are ideal for athletes with arthritis and other special needs. The most completely flexible workouts at the gym, however, are the personal training sessions. The one-on-one workouts are designed purely around the client's goals, whether she wants to lose weight or grow strong enough to carry her favorite dumbbell home with her.
Strapping on a vest, picking up a phaser, and entering the vast Laserstrike arena, players skulk through fog as pulsating music mercifully disguises their footsteps. Within the facility's 3,800 square feet, they strategize, squint, and sweat, darting between obstacles and deciding in a flash whether to seek cover or dip into enemy territory. Phasers boast different firing styles—including, sneakily enough, the ability to change color when on an undercover mission. There are also different game styles, perfect for different team sizes and for those who prefer to play catch with the vests and phasers. After the final shot is fired, players step out to examine the computerized leader boards and enjoy a full bar and food menu. After a moment of calm, they may opt to visit Laserstrike's attached ice rink—or, feeling brave, they might dive right back into another laser battle.