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.
Strapped under 30-foot wings, students at Windsports Soaring Center work with instructors to fly as far as 100 yards on their first day. Windsports Soaring Center also offers comprehensive hang-gliding instruction along the shores of Dockweiler Beach, allowing students to test their solo skills for flights of up to 100 yards—approximately 25 times longer than the Wright brothers' first pet boa constrictor. In addition to helping students trespass on bird territory, Windsports Soaring Center also sells flying equipment and coordinates flight trips for experienced gliders.
The male and female firearm experts of American Home Defense shape their shooting and self-defense classes around legal regulations with an emphasis on personal safety. In private shooting lessons, students learn to handle three of the most common handguns and home-defense classes equip participants with the know-how to protect their families from intruders or a neighbor's moat monster.
Stationed right on the coast of Redondo Beach, LA Boat Rentals's staff matches its clients with a diverse fleet of aquatic steeds before launching them into the cerulean waters of King Harbor. Voyagers can opt to barrel over waves on a 2007 Sea-Doo GTI jet ski as they zip up and down the scenic California coast without having to rely on a tailwind or a gang of friendly porpoises to power their vessel. Duos can churn saltwater as they glide leisurely across the placid bay in a pedal boat, and lone sea wolves can embark on solo voyages over gentle tides astride a hydrobike. Four Sea-Doo jet ski models round out the formidable armada, allowing renters to speed across liquid blue plains as the fresh Pacific air blows through their hair or loitering graduation tassels.
The Lighthouse Cafe, recognized by the CityVoter Los Angeles HotList as Best Jazz Club in 2009, has captivated customers with sultry scores since the 1940s. Chefs complement crooning with impromptu harpsichord jam sessions and an eclectic menu of pub grub and breakfast offerings. The Heart Attack omelette, named after a classic B-movie featuring an onslaught of rampaging monster hearts, is a morning-time medley of ham, bacon, and smoked sausage ($8.95). Evening imbibers can mash molars on the buttermilk-battered chicken tenders with ranch dressing ($9.95) or the R.A.T. salad, a fresh federation of red onion, avocado, chopped tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, and white balsamic dressing ($8.95). Deploy the fire-fighting foam of a Purple Haze beer ($7.50/12 oz. bottle) to extinguish bicuspid blazes fostered by the spicy-cheese topped Bull Dog, a frankfurter bestrewn with mashed tater tots ($5.25).
Marina Sailing's USCG-certified skippers turn hydrophobic landlubbers of all skill levels and ages into seasoned seafarers with a litany of maritime courses. Hydro-curious adults can get a taste of the open seas aboard one of Marina Sailing's vessels for a two-hour introductory sailing excursion. The sail gives dry-behind-the-ears novices a chance to experience the feel of the waves and the worthiness of their sea legs before making a commitment to lengthy learning. Those already enthralled by the charming wit and firm handshake of the sea may opt for two basic-sailing weekend courses. In the first three-hour lesson, students learn the watery fundamentals, including boat safety, casting off, raising sail, sailing upwind, and more, and the second class covers more advanced techniques, such as single-handed sailing, close-quarters maneuvering, docking under sail, and beaming up William Shatner.
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