Kayaking in Ramona

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A surfing high-school teacher sounds like the stuff of wacky summer comedies. But for Rob Dubin, a teacher and surfer of several decades' standing, it's long been a reality. After discovering the core-strengthening sport during a visit to Hawaii, Dubin added standup paddleboarding to his areas of expertise and founded SUPstanding Paddle to share its serene pleasures. He draws on time spent on the waters of Costa Rica, Java, and Morocco to help his students build confidence, increase balance, and identify the spot where dolphins most like to have their bellies rubbed with a paddle.

111 Beach Club Drive
Solana Beach,
CA
US

The team at Paddle Planet enables aquatic exploration with its shiny fleet of watersport vessels from brands by the likes of Naish, Starboard, Amundson, and Ocean Kayak. Patrons can purchase or rent their desired mode of transportation before they embark on muscle-powered paddleboard voyages, master the tides on a soft-top surfboard, or glide across flat-water lagoons in a tandem kayak. Paddle Planet's aquatic experts also teach first-time paddlers the basics, and lead yoga lessons atop standup paddleboards. While enjoying the tranquil lagoon waters of Agua Hedionda, yoga students hop on floating mats and practice poses that give them the balance and focus needed to tightrope walk across power lines.

996 North Coast Highway 101
Leucadia,
CA
US

At La Jolla Shores, the ocean bottom slopes gently out to sea and the waves roll gently toward the beach, where seals can be found sleeping in the sun. This unique ecology makes the area an ideal entryway into the ocean, which the native La Jollan owners of La Jolla Kayak take full advantage of, leading kayaking excursions past the steep cliffs and through the secluded sea caves where humans first learned to douse fire. Alternatively, snorkel tours allow explorers to dive into the 6,000-acre Underwater Park to spy the leopard shark, garibaldi, and dolphins swimming underfoot. To facilitate journeys, La Jolla Kayak transports visitors' kayaks to the beach straight from its outfitting shop, which also houses complimentary lockers and rents out wetsuits to keep love-struck sea lions from slipping notes into divers' pockets.

2199 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla,
CA
US

Action water-sports shop Everyday California (formerly OEX), wrangles an experienced team of experts to escort patrons on kayak, surfing, and snorkeling tours. The shop as been lauded by publications including the Chicago Tribune for its exploration of the earth's watery expanses that offer glimpses of marine creatures such as sea turtles, sea lions, seals, dolphins, and cormorants. Kayak tours take paddlers out on a variety of adventures, including destinations such as seven sea caves, the paths of migrating gray whales, and underwater kelp forests. Everyday California also rents out kayaks, snorkel gear, surfboards, paddleboards, and saddles for baby belugas.

2243 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla,
CA
US

A crew of former athletes and passionate locals with a love for the outdoors wait beneath the bright-red awnings at each Bike & Kayak Tours location to guide multiple expeditions through the natural sights around San Diego. The 7 Caves and Ecological Reserve kayak tour sends paddlers on an expedition to a 75-million-year-old sandstone cliff with seven sculpted sea caverns that resound echoes in seven-part harmony. In the spring, snorkeling trips follow the seasonal migration of leopard sharks as students paddle in the shallow waters of the sandy flats with harmless predators.

2158 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla,
CA
US

What started as a camp founded and staffed by schoolteachers has turned into a year-round surf school for one reason: people love to surf. Today, the school offers everything from lessons for first-timers to professional surf clinics for advanced surfers. Their teaching model focuses on private and small group lessons, which they believe is the quickest and easiest way to learn to ride the waves. And for their graduates, they’ve even created a surf team that is cheered on by countless adoring seagulls.

2246 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla,
CA
US