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.
The U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains of Marina Del Rey Parasailing harness the might of wind and water to send passengers of all ages and experience levels soaring above the blue on exhilarating parasail flights. To begin the ride, passengers strap in and are accompanied by up to two other flyers to share in the sky-scraping experience and challenge trios of seagulls to a sing-off. As the boat speeds up and the parachute gently fills with the ocean breeze, a sturdy towline extends to 800 feet to suspend parasailors 500 feet above the glittering surf. From the serene quiet of their towering vantage point, passengers catch spellbinding views of Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, with occasional sightings of dolphins, fishermen, and clouds marveling at sunbathers' similarity to teddy bears. As the captain reels the line back in and flights float to a close, newly minted cosmonauts step back on to the boat without the need to ever touch the water. Each 75-minute boat ride accommodates up to 15 fliers, allowing ample time for sea-level sights and victorious Titanic impressions at the boat helm.
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.
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.
Sea-curious land dwellers relax aboard the Wiley, a 36-foot Catalina yacht, while witnessing gorgeous scenery and watery wildlife of the Santa Barbara Channel and Ventura Coast of Southern California. Captain Dan, a licensed U.S. Coast Guard captain, will guide the schooner toward prime spots to witness whales frolicking and dolphins holding fraternity hazing rituals. Seafarers meet at Vintage Marina to board the aquatic vessel, and then set out from Channel Islands Harbor. Time your voyage to occur at sunset and observe the briny coastline as it floats by, swathed in the sediment-flattering hues of yellow, orange, and pink. Tour-goers can complement their adventure into the watery abyss by bringing snacks or drinks or by having the staff arrange catering. Buy two Groupons for a couple's cruise, or get up to four people together for an on-ship bridge tournament where the losers have to swim back to shore.
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.