As they speed by, the drivers racing across American Indoor Karting's track resemble professional racecar drivers. The souped-up European go-karts allow speedsters as young as 8 to swerve through turns at nearly 1.5 lateral G's. The milieu is carefully cultivated to create the feeling of actual competitive auto racing. Helmets and safety briefing sessions are mandatory before racers take to the winding, professionally designed track. After each race, competitors scrutinize comprehensive race reports of their lap times and other statistics. Two breeds of go-kart reside on the premises and are maintained by a full-time mechanic. While younger kids drive less ferocious Junior Karts, adults qualify to operate Super Karts. The Super Kart is loaded up with a 9 hp Honda engine and travels 40 m.p.h. To race a Super Kart, drivers must prove they can handle the powerful hot rod by putting up a qualifying lap time and convincing the vehicle to eat a carrot directly from their hands.
At El Rincon Tropical, the sweet aroma of simmering plantains drifts through a lively dining room. Back in the kitchen, chefs marinate meats and seafood in garlic butter and nestle them beside mofongo balls—mashed and fried mounds of plantains or cassava. The restaurant's lauded Cuban sandwich earned it a mention in The Virginian-Pilot's Best of the Best 2012 as one of the best Cubano sandwiches in Hampton Roads. In addition to the cuisine, El Rincon Tropical pays homage to Puerto Rico with a colorful wall mural of Fort "El Morro" and tropical plants. Like the weather forecasts conch shells whisper in islanders’ ears, the eatery’s Latin music recalls tropical locales, and on Friday and Saturday evenings, the dining room transforms into a dance hall.
Under the managerial eye of owner and professional marathon runner Tom Purcell, Town Center Fitness’s crew of certified personal trainers welcomes guests into an encouraging environment. On any given day, the gym’s workout spaces buzz with bodies spinning, running, and lindy-hopping atop meticulously maintained Precor cardio equipment or sculpting showroom-floor muscles as they curl Hampton free weights. Within the spacious, wood-floored studio, the energetic instructors guide students through classes from across the aerobic spectrum, from gentle yoga to high-intensity cardio sculpt. The gym’s complimentary towel service and onsite locker facilities ensure comfortable cooldown sessions, and the staff acquaints new members with the equipment during orientations.
Virginia Beach Rock Gym is anchored by a 32-foot wall, where auto belay, top rope, and lead climbing sections help guests tackle realistically textured slabs, inverts, roofs, bulges, cracks, corners, and arêtes. Two 12-foot tall freestanding boulders are available for climbers wanting to develop strength and practice technique while staying low to the ground. In addition to supervising the climbing areas, VBRG’s friendly, knowledgeable, and professional staff members also run a fully stocked pro shop and teach classes that cover topics, including knot-tying, belaying, the philosophies of the "rock star" lifestyle, and the ever-important technique of traversing past a pterodactyl nest without disturbing the mother.
The team running Happy Winds Kiteboarding & Water Sports knows board sports like Bo Jackson knows all other sports. Garnering experience in the competitive circuit of snowboarding and chasing the best winds around the globe to engage in the most extreme kiteboarding possible, the staffers have the need for adventure coursing through their veins. In between taming waves, they like to fill their time sharing their knowledge of kiteboarding and sailing with others through organized lessons and training sessions. Aside from lessons, they offer equipment for sale and rental, including everything from standup paddleboards and kayaks to aquacycles, wakeboards, chairs, umbrellas, and cabana sets.
Great White Water Sports creates a harmony with the gentle crash of waves, the powerful growls of jet skis, and the excited yelps of families as they launch a variety of jet-ski rentals right from the sands of Chesapeake Bay. Ranked second on the Norfolk activity list by TripAdvisor, and backed by favorable attention from USA Today, their lifeguard-trained team also saddles up jet skis in waters warmer than the Atlantic and with smaller waves. Their jet skis are not equipped with any speed-restriction devices, allowing guests to rev up their engines and feel the wind hit their faces as they send wake waves rolling shoreward.