When twin sisters Izzy and Coco Tihanyi decided to pursue a career that combined their passion for surfing and their love of the ocean, their calling came in the form of starting Surf Diva. Before long, they were on course to becoming a lauded school for coed surfers in California and Costa Rica. Augmenting the pair's teachings is their team of certified instructors, all graduates of their school's intensive training program and certified in CPR and first aid. Committed to their expertise in surfing, many of the instructors also hold down careers as firefighters, paramedics, and snowboarders, granting them the combined know-how to put out beach bonfires with a casual backflip.
The team's instruction ranges from coed group lessons and competitive coaching sessions to two- or five-day women’s weekend surf clinics. When they're not teaching surfing, crew members commit themselves to alternative teaching programs in yoga and standup paddleboarding, helping surfers to conquer the water with their bodies as well as with their very buoyant hearts. The twins' Costa Rica program also helps women and families hone boarding skills abroad while becoming fully immersed in the Costa Rican culture.
"Music is my diet and dance feeds my soul," says "Salsa Susie" Ngyen, who quit a six-figure career at Xerox to start Ooh La La Dance Academy—in the midst of an economic crisis. Her risk paid off, because since then, the company's dance troop, the Cosabellas, earned the title of Best 2010 Performing Artist of the Year by Raw Artist and sparkled onstage for celebrity judges during a live-taping of America's Got Talent in 2011.
The Cosabellas not only entertain; they share their enthusiasm of dance with others by teaching kids and adult dance classes at Ooh La La Dance Academy. Boasting over 15 years of experience each, the instructors teach the dance they pioneered, a blend of Latin and burlesque, as well as fitness-inspired classes and classical dance forms such as ballet and The Beethoven Shuffle.
Founded by Bibi Kasrai, Harvard Cookin' Girl's team combines a love of cooking with a passion for healthy eating to instruct kids during summer cooking camps, which have reaped notice from NBC San Diego. Hoping to empower youth to improve their lives and that of their families' through nutrition, participants are motivated to explore the kitchen by making such ambrosial masterpieces as pesto pasta, zucchini pancakes, and smoothies. Each weeklong session varies by theme, such as under the sea and tropical week to expose mini-chefs to multiple interests. The culinary camp also includes yoga to focus on overall health, arts and crafts to further captivate imaginations, and freedom from parents to allow kids to mastermind plans for federally subsidized cotton-candy farms. The Harvard Cookin' Girl's bright-green-and-orange studio is furnished with an open kitchen area and plentiful counter space, so all participants can watch and learn as the culinary conjurers whip up tasty treats.
At the ¡Latin Food Fest! Grand Tasting Village, Latin culinary aficionados Richard Sandoval, Roberto Alcocer, and Javier Plascencia join with restaurants, distillers, artisan food makers, brewers, and winemakers for the annual Latin food grand tasting event in California. Guests rub elbows with the likes of TV host chef George Duran, or share a wave with Baja culinary icon and Misión 19 owner Javier Plascencia. Throughout the festival, dedicated pavilions focus on specific topics, ranging from the Wine Tasting Tent and Beer Cabana to the ¡Taste Baja! Pavilion and the Craft Spirits Expo & Awards, where distillers and mixologists hold tastings. In addition to the tastings, the festival holds competitions for Top Chef, Best Restaurant, and Best Dish to showcase local culinary excellence. Other senses are delighted by live music from Latin sensation QUATTRO and an art show, and a silent auction of culinary supplies and memorabilia will benefit non-profit partner Feeding America.
A colony of seals suns itself on the rock ledges of La Jolla Cove while seabirds preen themselves a few feet above. Below, bright-orange garibaldi fish and california spiny lobsters scuttle about the cove’s reefs and kelp beds. This biologically rich landscape sets the stage for La Jolla Dive & Snorkel’s scuba-diving lessons, which range from beginner discovery classes to dive-master-certification courses that adhere to the training standards of the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI). They also lead four shore dives to various sites, such as one located near The Marine Room restaurant, where the shallow reefs and smell of lobster bisque attract gentle leopard sharks in the early summer. Along with scuba diving, instructors also teach students how to strut in fashionable snorkeling gear and how to stoically gaze into the horizon during standup-paddleboarding tours.
When Larisa Hall was born, the doctors were not sure she'd ever be able to walk. She was born with severely clubbed feet and spent the next nine months wearing casts on both legs. But within six months, Larisa was up on her feet; and by the time she was five, she had discovered dance and never wanted to stop. Dancing proved to be a useful physical therapy—helping her gain coordination and overcome ankle pain.
Spurred on by her own triumph, Larisa founded Tap Fever Studios with the belief that everyone—no matter their age or level of ability—should have the opportunity to dance. To that end, she holds workshops for the hearing and listening impaired, as well as those who are developmentally disabled. Larisa also recently created a new method of dance called hand tap, which allows people with limited mobility to use special gloves and a wooden board to tap out rhythms while seated.