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Readers Say the Darndest Things: Sports and Leisure 

Best Athlete
Circus Spire Youth Troupe (ages 8-18)
These kids can do more real pull-ups than anyone. — Victoria Angello

DARK Sheik
Hoodslam's twice-dead Persian warrior, truly the total package. — Sam Khandaghabadi

Snow O'Connel
His fixed-gear freestyle web edit is blowin' up — jim smith

Best Basketball Courts
San Pablo Park
The new courts are incredible! Last night every court was occupied ... even with basketball-playing unicyclists. — Tania Carlone

Best Bike Ride
3 Bears
Around reservoirs San Pablo and Briones; a ride with little traffic, great conditioning. — Laura Gail Miller

San Pablo Avenue, from start to finish
You'll travel through gritty and glitzy neighborhoods, and it's mostly flat, though really, really long. — Kathryn Levine

Best Boot Camp
KES Fitness
Zombie Survival Boot Camp?!? Come on! — zooey66

ProAction Athletics Boot Camp For Women
Sarah McClendon is inspiring, energetic and so encouraging. There's very few people that can get me up at 6 a.m. to run the stairs at the Rose Garden ten times! — Shalini Eddens

Best Fitness Instructor
Andreina Febres
Always high-energy and welcoming to all levels, Andreina is a fabulous Zumba instructor. She's so upbeat and encouraging, which makes you want to try your hardest. Her class is challenging and fun; a great workout that leaves you smiling. — Tandeeka Torrence-Kennedy

Nives Wetzel de Cediel
Nives leads Batucada do Leste (East Bay Community Samba School), and she's amazing! Passionate, energetic, friendly, and incredibly charismatic — Gabrielle Brown-Wing

Tanya at World Dance Center in Berkeley
Get ready to move to the hottest workout in the Bay Area! Tanya is having a party every time she teaches her Zumba class. You watch her doing her athletic and sexy movements and get motivated to work out together with her. — Kirstin

Zia Shook - Golds
Helped my wife get a fab body. — dpfile

Best Group Activity
Nike Women's Marathon
Great swag and an inspiring event! — Wendy Nishikawa

Best Martial Arts Studio
Suigetsukan
Collectively run nonprofit, 100-percent sliding scale. Home of Girl Army and kids classes that are NOT based on punishment. Instructors support efforts in schools (sex ed, consent, and self defense), work with visually impared and more. Macho behavior is not tolerated. — Gopal Dayaneni

Best Options at a Gym
Go outside.
Gyms suck. Go get sweaty in the nature, for free. — popijininsky

Kinetic Arts Center
Pole Fit and Play, Burlesque Tease Physique, Trapeze, Rope and Tissue — way better than pumping iron! — Victoria Angello

Touchstone Gyms
Great Western Power Co/ Berkeley Ironworks: great climbing walls, clean locker rooms, good gym equipment, and a huge range of classes (free with membership). — Estephania Verde

YMCA
I LOVE the Y! You get a real community feel here. It's not a meat market! I get a full gym, yoga, pilates, spin, boot camp, and swimming. This place has it all! — Bianca Pardini

Best Park
Claremont Canyon / Strawberry Canyon trail system
Walk straight from residential streets up into some of the best views of the area, in just a thirty-minute (steep uphill) hike. Watch for owls, vultures, redtail hawks, deer, bunnies, banana slugs, and occasionally a mountain lion or coyote. Take your dog, off-leash, so she can nose around in the underbrush. Remind youself of how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful area. — popijininsky

Joaquin Miller Park
Best trails in the East Bay, picnic areas, an amphitheater, native plant nursery, and a dog run. It's a small park but it packs in the features. — Tom Holub

Knowland Park
Hidden gem. It's a tragedy what Oakland is going to allow the Zoo to do, building a show-off office building right on top of the last pristine views and plant and animal communities in the west-facing hills. — Roy West

Point Isabel (Dog Park) in Richmond
Every dog owner knows this park. Not only does it give you and your dog a good workout to walk the trail but it is also beautiful to be right at the water and looking at the Golden Gate Bridge. — Kirstin

Redwood regional park
Hikers, bikers, walkers, and dog owners dream. We all co-exist on the multi-use trails to soak in views of glorious trees and views of the bay. To get some hiking solitude on a single track trail, do the French trail. — Susan Lo

Best Pilates Studio
BePhysique
So skillful. Pain and stiffness went from an 8 to a 1 in a few sessions. And I don't look so much like an old pear any more! — andrea thach

Stable Core Pilates
I'm so glad I discovered this studio! I love the small class sizes and the fact that the instructors take the time to really understand your needs and limitations. — Fanny Lee

Best Place for Water Sports
Oakland "Estuary"
If you can get over the filth floating on the surface of the water ... you know, condoms, plastic bags, bottles ... that stuff. — Dana Bushouse

Best Place to Play Board Games
Games of Berkeley in Berkeley
Complete setup downstairs for gaming galore — Lucas Brandt

The Hobnob
Floor-to-ceiling bookshelf of board games, before or after a great locally sourced meal — Carol Lonergan

Lanesplitter
I never do it, but there's definitely some grown men playing Dungeons and Dragons whenever I go by. — Sam Khandaghabadi

Best Place to Run
Alameda Naval Base
Almost no dogs, all flat, plenty of space. — Sam Khandaghabadi

Around Lake Merritt
On the pathway around Lake Merritt, Oakland
— Florence Windfall

Mandela Parkway
Way less crowded than running around the lake! — Kiyomi Tanouye

Redwood Regional Park, Oakland
Ahhh. And doggy can run alongside off-leash. Perfecto. — kiluma

Best Spontaneous Sports Gathering
FourSquare EastBay
Fo SHIZZLE. — Arik Rosenthal

Best Sporting Goods Store
REI
It's the only one left — Tom Buoye

Best Sports Team
A's
This means "best" not in the sense of actually being good, right? — Ellen Cushing

A's
Losing is good for you. — Greg Keidan

The Berkeley Revolution
The unicycle basketball national champions, often seen at Strawberry Creek Park in Berkeley, are headed off to Italy to compete in the world championships, July 23-27. — Tom Holub

Best Summer Camp
Camp Unalayee Wilderness Immersion.
Two weeks in the outdoors hiking, cooking over fire (or small stove on backpack trips) drinking from springs, swimming in Alpine lakes. Unalayee has been preventing Nature Deficit Disorder for over 60 years — No Child Left Inside! http://unalayee-summer-camp.com/ — Seena Hawley

This Land Is Your Land/Sarah's Science
My child comes home tired, dirty and full of science knowledge! I won't send him to any other summer camp!! — Katherine Regalado

Best Yoga Studio
Flying Yoga
Flying Yoga is the last bastion of unpretentious yoga in the East Bay. The instructors here, led fearlessly by the inimitable Laura Camp, have a vibe that belongs in Oakland. They take you through classes that are heavy on strength, poise, and grace, laced with lessons in meditation and internal peace, and completely devoid of ostentation. The studio has the genius to also be your one-stop workout shop. You more of the bootcamp type? They've got those plus TRX classes. You the type who wants to dance your sweat up? They've got killer zumba teachers and all sorts of dance classes. All shapes, all ages, all types welcome — this is a true Oakland space. — Zoe Blasco

Groove Yoga
Best yoga studio EVERRRRR!!! You have none of that yogi exclusivity, "I'm here to compete with your ass"-type attitude that you get from some other studios. Great variety of teachers with different flows so you have options. 2 words: HEATED YOGA. 2 more words: HELLA CLEAN. 4 last words: I LOVE GROOVE YOGA. — Nikki Marucut

Best Yoga Teacher
Deborah Saliby
I refuse to take yoga from any other teacher. She is strictly Iyengar. — Mary Jane Lawless

Leah Gillman from Barefoot Movement Yoga and YMCA
Amazing instructor. I make sure I come to her class every week. She remembers everyone's name, pushes people to their limits, and is incredibly attentive, patient, and hands-on. She was born to do this. Nobody compares to her! — Bianca Pardini

Ray Yokoi, Monkey Yoga Shala, Oakland
Pure inspiration, great corrections, slightly dorky humor. Love that. — kiluma

Most Subversive Exercise Routine
Contiortion Class at Kinetic Art Center
I took the beginner class at 50 years of age! It was epic; I have never been so flexible of my life! — Violaine Hamel

Crazy dancing in your own home, late at night.
My favorite music to dance to alone is anything from the late punk era, especially the Canadian Sub-Humans, "Shit for Brains." — Kathryn Levine

Dancing Under the Stars
Jack London Square, Friday Nights — Julia Allenby

Lawn Bowling with beer at the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club by Lake Merritt
The young folks are moving in and taking over the club from the old folks — Hollie Hardy

Picking up litter with the Keep Dimond Clean Team
These folks really know how to clean up and exercise at the same time. Good for the body, good for the soul. — bells & whistles

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