Professional, award-winning surfers and lifeguards comprise the team of instructors that equips students with gear and sends them paddling into the ocean. To ensure safety and capitalize on ideal waves, the seasoned athletes check ocean conditions and Poseidon's mood before taking groups or individuals out to sea. As beginners become proficient at catching waves, the instructors level up their curriculum and teach intermediate or advanced feats. Islands Surf Camp stays active in its community by donating time and gear to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, SURF, and Echo Malibu.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
The Harbour Queen may impersonate a pirate ship, and its guide a buccaneer, but The Pirate Boat Ride doesn?t actually involve plundering. Instead, the 40-minute excursion into Channel Islands Harbor and Mandalay Bay affords close-up encounters with birds, sea lions, and large ships. The tour includes views of Anacapa Island, a 5-mile mass of sheer cliffs and natural bridges (Arch Rock soars 40 feet into the sky). Sunset cruises also take to the bay for 90 minutes right before sunset, when the sky fades from orange to soft pink over the Pacific.
Shuttled out to Anacapa Island on the 53-foot Sunfish, Blue Ocean Kayaking paddlers can explore the natural sea caves in open-top kayaks that are carted out for them. Led by knowledgable guides, tours navigate the surrounding waterways, giving guests the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and a variety of sea birds. Groups are then picked up by the boat at the end of their tour instead of having to hike back to a take-off point or paddle across dry land. Excursions are suitable for all ages and experience levels, and equipment and training is included.
From dawn to dusk, Hopper Boat Rentals fleet of small, maneuverable crafts weave past the sailboats and houseboats docked in the tree-lined Channel Islands Harbor. Though the compact vessels are easy to master, Hopper Boat Rentals’ aquatic experts still happily help customers suit up in provided lifejackets and then impart a brief tutorial on operating their vessel of choice. They then rent out their watercraft by the hour, allowing customers the freedom to enjoy a quick jaunt or a daylong quest to overthrow surrounding sandcastle fiefdoms.
The Channel Islands Maritime Museum brings the area's rich seafaring history to life with original paintings, ship models, and intricately decorated scrimshaw. After 21 years in one spot, the museum relocated in 2012, hauling along its 2,000-strong catalogue of artifacts—including historic documents, records, and art—to its current location on Channel Islands Harbor. Museum collections inside the new digs highlight periods and industries important to the development of the local maritime culture, reaching as far back as the Chinese Treasure Fleets that sailed the high seas in the 15th century. More modern attractions include the collection that explores whaling industry of the 18th an 19th centuries, the curious case of the La Jenelle, a ship that sunk right in the harbor in 1970 thanks to a nasty northwester.