Hula-hoopers hit Regan Beach |

Hula-hoopers hit Regan Beach

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneSaundra Koeck organizes a weekly gathering of hula-hoopers at Regan Beach.

On Thursday nights at Regan Beach, avid hula hoopers gather to hoop it up and watch the sunset.

“I call it Hoopville out here,” said Saundra Koeck of Tahoe Hula Hoops, who calls herself the Happy Hooper.

The group began meeting last year after Koeck and Andrea Creo decided to combine their circles. Creo owns Tahoe Fire Dancers, so her friends and co-workers like to practice similar styles of movement. Both Creo and Koeck are massage therapists, and they met belly dancing 10 years ago.

“It all happened on its own,” Koeck said. “I put up a few posters and people came out and hooped.”

The gathering is for all levels of hula hoopers, and for all ages. Koeck said the youngest hula hooper is about 3 years old.

But the adults enjoy hooping just as much as the young ones.

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“It keeps you youthful. The first time I did it, I felt like I was 5 years old again – it’s just like blowing bubbles,” Gina Fox said.

Sue Jackson, 71, said she tries to get her friends to come hoop it up with her.

“I tell the other people my age and they say, ‘you must be kidding,'” Jackson said.

Many of the regulars love coming to hoop and visit.

“I love being together with a bunch of people, just letting our hair down and getting a workout,” Fox said.

Koeck encourages the younger hoopers to try to whirl as many hoops at once as they can.

“It’s all about putting a smile on people’s faces,” Koeck said.

Another reason the group started was that Koeck wanted to learn how to hula hoop. She went to the store to buy a kid’s hula hoop, and became frustrated when she couldn’t use it.

Now she makes professional-size hula hoops because stores around town don’t sell hula hoops for adults. Most hoops are made for children who weigh less than 50 pounds.

The hoops Koeck makes are larger and are weighted. The larger the hoop, the easier it is to hula with, she added.

She also makes different weighted hoops, and different sizes. She decorates each one, too. Some are covered in fabric with leopard print; others have multicolored electrical tape wrapped around the hoop.

Jackson likes talking with people she otherwise might not have met. For example, she likes hearing stories from those who attended Burning Man because she’s never been there.

Burning Man is an “annual art and temporary community based on radical self expression in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada,” according to the event’s Web site. Creo is one of the Burning Man regional contacts in South Lake Tahoe.

Besides hula hoops, participants can try their skills at poi – a pair of arm-length chains with handles attached to one end. Occasionally Creo said people will stay after dark.

“Us diehards will stay and practice glow stuff,” Creo said.

Hula hoop at Regan Beach

7 p.m. to dusk Thursdays