Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.
Andy Siebert floated in the water, weightless—almost as if in outer space—and watched as all 40 feet of a Galapagos Island whale shark drifted past him. It’s moments like that one that Andy lives for, having devoted his life to scuba diving. He took his first dive as a teenager, but didn’t take the sport seriously until he turned 42, at which point he began his journey to log more than 3,000 dives.
Now, as owner of Scuba World, Andy works to help others discover their love of the underwater sport. One part retail shop and one part scuba-diving school, the PADI five-star IDC dive center is chock-full of gear for purchase and rental, as well as expert instructors who teach classes for divers of all levels, including instructor-level classes. Their classes range from beginner discovery sessions to open-water-certification courses to rescue-diver classes for the more advanced diver who is worried about all those fish in the ocean who need help getting out. Andy’s wife and partner, Lynn Siebert, plans trips that take divers to waters all over the world, including the nearby Monterey Bay and more far-flung expeditions in Micronesia.
Ground Zero Clothing and Boardshop’s adroit staff has been equipping athletes with apparel and gear for skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding since 1997. Harnessing the style and proven functionality of such top-tier brands as TOMS, Volcom, Nike SB, and Burton, they swathe bodies from head to toe in shoes, jeans, and T-shirts. Their collection of Spy and Electric sunglasses protects peepers from whipping winds, and their skateboard decks by Real and Creature help guests skim across surfaces with the speed of an over-caffeinated zamboni operator. Though their selection of boards and accessories rotates frequently, they typically have skimboards, wakeboards, and snowboards in stock to help their guests defy gravity in style. Additionally, skilled staff members recalibrate scuffed boards or grant patrons a chance to test pilot new ways to commute to work with their equipment repair and rental services.
An opening in the rock face slides open, and the warriors pour into the bizarre archaeological site. Rough-hewn blocks, cool to the touch, form close tunnels that let fast breaths echo. Light trickles in through a hole in the ceiling, as though something else had gotten here first. Suddenly, the warriors scatter, and adrenaline-tinged shouts drift up through the constant fire of up to 60 laser guns as the explorers tear through the 20,000-square-foot, newly expanded space. As they sprint past shrouded aliens and desiccated palm trees, their suits transmit stats to the outside world, where real-time scoreboards track their prowess and battle-cry harmonies, and plasma monitors display shootouts taking place in the fog-filled arena.
Golf balls blast off from tee boxes before falling gently onto the greens at Bradshaw Ranch Golf Course, where players can hone short-game skills across a nine-hole, par 3 layout with holes ranging from 84 to 218 yards in length. Confident swings are rewarded on the third and fourth holes, where tee shots must soar above ponds and get clearance from earthworm air-traffic controllers in order to reach the green safely. Golfers looking to improve their swing can head to the pro shop to stock up on the latest gear.
A knowledgeable staff that includes tennis instructors and former touring pros helps customers navigate the aisles of racket-sports equipment inside the two locations of Courtside Tennis & Apparel. A demo program lends out rackets from brands such as Babolat and Wilson for patrons to try out on the court or at John McEnroe–themed parties, and same-day stringing services get gear serve-worthy in a hurry.