Live2kite's Richmond and Greenbrae locations facilitate wave-riding instruction while also supplying maritime hobbyists with billowing chutes, sturdy boards, and stylish apparel for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and wakeboarding. Canopies by makers such as Ozone, RRD, and Slingshot float upon air currents, free from the interference of kite-hating trees. Rental gear equips wave riders for hours at sea, and lessons impart kiting and paddling basics as well as more advanced tricks and tactics for surfing atop dolphins.
MarinMMA is the home of Gracie Jiu jitsu black belt Mikyo Riggs. Mikyo has trained with world class fighters in Jiu Jitsu and MMA. He has competed in Bjj and Kickboxing and learned from top champions in wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA. MarinMMA teaches Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Sharing a deep passion for the outdoors, the staff at Demo Sport engineers aquatic and alpine fun with an inventory of high-performance sporting equipment for seasons both hot and cold. In the summer months, customers can prepare for riding ocean waves or churning placid lakes into giant whirlpools with standup paddleboards, Suftech and Ronix wakeboards, and accessories such as gloves, boots, and life jackets. Once snow has blanketed nearby peaks, athletes carve the powdery slope atop skis from Rossignol or Völkl and snowboards from Burton and K2, Demo Sport also carries bikes and inline skates, both great methods for exploring urban environments without paying pigeons' outrageous tour prices.
When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
After one look at the pristine pools packed with toys, and it’s no surprise why La Petite Baleen’s four San Francisco-area swim facilities are so popular with kids. What may be surprising however, is that the flourishing network of schools started humbly in the backyard pool of John Kolbisen and Irene Madrid.
In 1979, the public school teachers were brainstorming ways to integrate their passion for educating kids with their love of the water. Starting with their own three children, some neighborhood kids, and one cleverly disguised frog, John and Irene began teaching swim lessons with a rather progressive philosophy: They approached swimming not just as an extracurricular activity, but as a means to boost self-confidence, build friendships, and learn to overcome fears.
More than 30 years later, La Petite Baleen has become a renowned family of schools, partnered with the U.S. Swim School Association and the Swim for Life Foundation. Part of the success has to do with how children are grouped. In weekly sessions, pods of tots of similar age, skill level, and personality evolve at a similar pace—earning individual achievement ribbons as they do. Kids make friends in the group, and the recurring scheduling means that they can stay enrolled with their new buddies indefinitely or until they grow their own dorsal fins. Each location’s indoor pools are kept at an inviting 90 degrees, in an attempt to make even the most timid student to feel comfortable in the water. Perhaps most importantly, the teachers participate in ongoing training designed to encourage empathetic, yet firm teaching methods.
When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.