Oscar Ochoa's passion for salsa dancing sprouted at age 9, grew rapidly at age 18 when he began taking formal lessons, and blossomed at age 24 when he won first place at a salsa competition. Today, the founder of Miami Salsa Driven combines his dancing expertise with the physical discipline he's developed from years of practicing tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu to lead detail-oriented salsa lessons. His team puts a big emphasis on creating an environment in which beginners feel welcome and unintimidated by advanced dancers trying to show off complex moves, such as the iceless triple axel. Students have ranged from seasoned dancers to a first-timer police-department captain, who actually ended up joining a professional dance team. Located inside the Tempo Music and Dance Academy, Miami Salsa Driven's classes focus on improving students' self-confidence and fitness levels with hands-on instruction and practice. One of the studio's walls is completely covered in full-length mirrors, allowing dancers to adjust their posture to match the instructor's or enjoy uninterrupted eye contact with themselves.
The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
H2O Dive Center—located in North Miami Beach—facilitates safe diving experiences with a staff of SSI–certified instructors, who oversee informative ocean-exploration courses and quality equipment rentals. During dips in the center's pool, professional scuba divers prep beginners for open-water dives, demonstrating properly using the equipment and techniques for luring sea turtles into pulling you ashore. Seasoned divers can further their studies during advanced diving courses or a three-part open-water certification course.
At both of its locations around Miami, Alf's Golf Shop fills golf bags with new and used equipment by top industry brands such as Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike, Ping, and Mizuno. Shelves are also stocked with apparel for men and women by brands such as Nike, Adidas, Oakley, and Lacoste. While players cruise through the showroom, sizing up drivers and counting golf balls, they can look to a knowledgeable staff and a PGA Class A Professional for help finding the right equipment. The pro also makes use of a computerized launch monitor located onsite, which adds an extra level of certainty to selections of irons, drivers, fairway woods, and wedges
Fight Club Miami hones physiques with intensive exercise regimens and self-defense classes in a thoroughly equipped, 20,000-square-foot facility. With a 30-day membership, guests can incinerate insidious calories with the gym's new Life Fitness cardiovascular circuit or summon telephone-pole-plucking power with free weights. Don a pair of Title boxing gloves and gracefully dodge opponents during supervised sparring in the gym's boxing rings. During Fight Club Miami's energetic classes, strength gurus guide groups of students through pulse-pumping kickboxing, fast-paced technical boxing, and muay thai, which employs locking and throwing techniques to use in self-defense against armed attackers or aggressive meat-and-cheese trays.
Once the host of the PGA Tour's Miami Open, Miami Springs Golf and Country Club's 6,785 yards of well-groomed, tree-lined terrain once cradled the spiked footsteps of golf greats such as Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. Begin a day of visceral divot-tearing and surreptitious lie-improvement with a stint at the grass-tee-box driving range, where 70 driving-range balls willingly explode off club faces and land with ballistic grace on targets positioned at varying distances. Mature trees loiter throughout the course, halting wayward drives and placing a high premium on fairway placement, which becomes even more critical on the back nine, where the flowing streams of a canal claim ill-guided orbs and provide aquatic passage for golf carts hoping to abscond to Cuba. The course reaches its climactic crescendo on the par-4 17th—the hardest-rated hole from all three tees—where woodlands claim any misses to the left and some players will have to abandon drivers to stay short of the intervening stream, leaving them with a lengthy second shot to a large and well-fortified green. The course layout offers a thorough outline of each hole, including advice on how to approach each shot and placate territorial flagsticks.
Miami Water Sports’s esteemed crew helps guests to navigate the waters of Miami Beach with an armada of vessels ranging from party barges to kiteboards. Although experienced riders can rent their own watercraft, the staff hands out kiteboarding wisdom during beginner through advanced lessons for individuals or groups. They also host kiteboarding excursions, which travel to such faraway locales as the Dominican Republic. Alternatively, the company's paddleboard rentals are useful when trying to blend in with a pack of swimming dogs.