Scenes of learning and enjoyment spark infectious enthusiasm among Channel Islands Kayak Center's guides, who thrive on bringing adventurers up close to the wildlife of Channel Islands Harbor and Ventura Harbor. The team furnishes independent explorers with kayak rentals, which include safety briefings so kayakers can tell the difference between a sea lion and an actual lion.
It's not all about adrenaline at 4Points Expeditions—although the group's backpacking, kayaking, and stand-up-paddleboard excursions are quite thrilling. The team of experienced adventurers here cares as much about safety as it does about the outdoors, which is why it keeps trained EMTs and Wilderness First Responders among its ranks. The team members share their knowledge of CPR and first aid during detailed classes, whose past students have included members of the National Park Service. When they're not doling out lifesaving tips, the guides are leading groups through California's most beautiful natural treasures in Ojai, Ventura, Malibu, and behind the H of the Hollywood sign.
For more than 20 years, Channel Islands Outfitters's Paddle Sports Center has helped humans commune with nature through their guided expeditions, courses, and gear rentals. Their expert guides lead kayakers and hikers to California destinations such as Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island, where explorers enjoy picturesque scenery and native wildlife that haven’t yet learned about sarcasm. The outdoor fitness center also offers instruction for outdoorsmen ranging from courses that cultivate Wilderness First Responders to lessons in the art of standup paddleboarding. Meanwhile, their surf shop doles out aquatic equipment such as surfboards, paddleboards, and an array of kayaks that are available in single-seat or tandem models.
Situated along Surfrider Beach and across the street from the famous Malibu Pier, Malibu Surf Shack has been a destination for ocean activities since it first opened its doors in 1972. Crashing waves and surfboard migratory patterns lure instructors to the point-break beach. Here, the pros teach small classes how to shred and duck atop waves. Students can rent boards and other watercraft including kayaks and standup paddleboards to join in on the fun. Inside the retail shop, boards from brands such as Walden and McTavish await their next wave-riding excursions. Malibu Surf Shack's staff demos all of the new and used gear, letting customers try boards or take them to a romantic dinner before making long-term commitments.
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.
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.
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.