Are you really a local if you've never spent the weekend soaking up the hot summer sun and lounging on Lady Bird Lake? The pastime is so popular that if you find yourself cruising over one of the Lake's many bridges on a weekend, you're likely to see hundreds of people clumped together on the water in a formation locals call "Party Island."
With temperatures in the mid-90s this week, the Colorado River's cooling waters welcome paddleboarders, boaters and kayakers alike. Though it is well known that swimming is prohibited in Lady Bird Lake, nothing can stop partiers from perching on the shallow sandbar that leads into Barton Springs Pool—not even a global pandemic.
Like every sunny weekend, paddle boarders, kayakers, boaters, tubers and bridge-jumpers gathered at the intersection between Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake.
The lake is adjacent to the Lady Bird Lake Trail, which is also a busy recreation destination for runners, bikers and lovers of nature.
Jumping from the bridge is prohibited by the city, though you can see groups jumping off the bridge nearly every weekend.
Dozens of lake-goers gather to jump the bridge—performing flips and tricks into the water below.
Zach Melton, a 22-year-old DJ that goes by the name Maniac, lives in the Zilker Park area and jumped the bridge for the first time on Sunday. A Dallas native, Melton said he loves the nature, scenery and people that live in Austin. "I love the vibes of this city," Melton said.
The love of Lady Bird Lake transcends species—dogs can often be spotted enjoying the lake with their humans.
Or spot some other four-legged friends—Lady Bird Lake is an excellent area to turtle-watch.
People-watch long enough and you'll probably see a few people fall off their boards.
August is the hottest month of the year in Austin, so Lady Bird Lake season is in full swing. There's still time to enjoy the greenery and water sports that Austinites love so much.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.