At its prime waterfront location in Marina Del Rey, Marina Paddle introduces students to standup paddleboarding, a hybrid sport where one stands on a modified surfboard and steers through the water using an elongated paddle. The aquatic environment and steady pace make for a fun and safe workout on the glassy surface of a river, lake, or ocean. The school's lessons match participants up with the proper equipment and shed light on proper handling technique, including turning, maintaining balance, and avoiding the wake from motorized boogie boards. Once paddlers have a grasp on the basics, instructors point them to prime spots for showing off their new skills. Courses require zero prior experience and take place on calm, protected waters, meaning beginning paddlers need not fear losing balance due to unexpected waves.
The U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains of Marina Del Rey Parasailing harness the might of wind and water to send passengers of all ages and experience levels soaring above the blue on exhilarating parasail flights. To begin the ride, passengers strap in and are accompanied by up to two other flyers to share in the sky-scraping experience and challenge trios of seagulls to a sing-off. As the boat speeds up and the parachute gently fills with the ocean breeze, a sturdy towline extends to 800 feet to suspend parasailors 500 feet above the glittering surf. From the serene quiet of their towering vantage point, passengers catch spellbinding views of Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, with occasional sightings of dolphins, fishermen, and clouds marveling at sunbathers' similarity to teddy bears. As the captain reels the line back in and flights float to a close, newly minted cosmonauts step back on to the boat without the need to ever touch the water. Each 75-minute boat ride accommodates up to 15 fliers, allowing ample time for sea-level sights and victorious Titanic impressions at the boat helm.
Action Watersports' experienced instructors lead groups of seafaring paddlers on rolling adventures that buoy confidence and coordination. During each lesson, a wave maven and a fleet of up to five paddlers hit the frothy drink for roughly two hours of gliding above schools of fish and merpeople tea parties. Tap into core muscles to maintain balance and burgeoning biceps to propel you forward on the muscle-powered schooner. Lesson leaders structure courses to help boarders hone basic paddling techniques, so each pupil feels confident, water-worthy, and superior to aimlessly drifting seaweed. Swimming ability is recommended, and classes are available by appointment any day of the week, with 24 hours' notice, until July 1.
Gently lapping waves, fresh ocean air, and the dip and splash of oars: this is the scene at Phins Water Sports Club. Here, the Pacific serves as a sweatband-free gym, inviting newly-trained sailors to pilot their own craft while strengthening their bodies. Skilled staffers give first-times and club members alike the skills to glide through the water in sleek slide seat rowing boats, atop Hovie standup paddleboards, or inside lightweight Ocean sea kayaks. Visitors who can take craft out on their own can also enjoy the club’s dog-friendly policy, with a canine first mate.
Water splashes up against their toes, which are firmly planted on the board. Arm and back muscles tighten as they push themselves forward with their paddles. Thus do novice paddleboarders from Long Beach Adventure Tours ride slowly glide their way across Long Beach, from the shore of the Hotel Maya to the behemoth hull of the Queen Mary. But they aren't the only patrons out for fun in the sun. On the beach nearby, students carrying surfboards rush into the water to catch their first waves, as a certified instructor shouts out encouragement and instructions behind them. Further out in the water, a colorful arched sail cuts through the air, sending the kiteboarder holding the reigns jumping and twisting into the air. Whatever the sport or activity, instructors that live and breathe water activities unleash their expertise onto both novice and experienced students.
What's more exciting than surfing? Surfing while flying, obviously. The instructors at Southern California Kiteboarding teach their students to do just that, though they refer to it as kiteboarding or kitesurfing. Their lessons focus on the most important part of the sport—the kite—by demonstrating how to control and steer it in the air. They work with small groups on the shore until their pupils can fly comfortably on their own, without training wheels tied to the kitestring. Once the lessons are finished, the staff can then direct kiteboarders to the right gear, give them advice on doing tricks, and invite them to kitesurfing trips around the world.