James Pike started riding waves when he was 8 years old, when his father would drive him out to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz to go boogie boarding. As he grew up, he learned to surf with a local club, buying and repairing his own used surfboard, which was weathered after 40 years of challenging the ocean and being used to write down mermaids’ phone numbers.
As an adult, James founded Pike’s Surf School, where he teaches students of all ages how to balance on boards in surfing and skateboarding classes. Following lessons on technique and etiquette, students can glide through the waves or fly over pavement, and youths can take a combination surfing and skateboard clinic in groups of four. Pictures and video help pinpoint errors in technique, and cross-training improves students' ability to maintain their balance in different situations.
After spending years as head coach for the Weil Tennis Academy and tournament director for the Bulgarian Tennis Federation, USPTR professional Dimitar Yazadzhiev now leads a team of professional tennis coaches at Oceanside School of Tennis. Through group and private lessons, the coaching staff aims to help students develop critical areas such as technique, footwork, peak performance, intimidation grunting, nutrition, and strategy. During each camp and clinic, students also take part in fitness sessions with certified athletic trainers and certified conditioning specialists. All Oceanside School of Tennis sessions take place at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort, which is surrounded by a natural enclosure of mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History seeks to educate its visitors about the world around them through in-depth exhibits on nature, wildlife, and native cultures. A 72-foot blue-whale skeleton stares down and Chumash Indian relics wait for their secrets to be uncovered. Traverse these halls to see everything from outer space, fossils to bears and a nature trail.
All 78 acres of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden are bursting with life. More than 1,000 species of native Californian plants and regional flora line its 5.5 miles of serene, public trails, allowing visitors to witness the overwhelming diversity of the Pacific coastline's plant life. Along with stands of oaks and riparian woodlands, botanical collections inhabit precisely arranged landscapes, echoing the founders' goal from 1926 to create a garden that would "unite the aesthetic, educational and scientific." In 2003, Santa Barbara County rewarded the garden's decades of cultural and scientific contributions, granting County Historic Landmark status to 23 of the acres.
The garden's specimens and displays exist just as much for education as they do for appreciation. Guests can gather landscaping ideas from the Home Demonstration Garden, a cottage surrounded with water-conserving plants. The Japanese Teahouse and Demonstration Garden melds traditional East Asian design with California-native flora. Throughout the grounds, tour guides dispense invaluable information on the displays and the retired tree nymphs that tend them. Additionally, scientific researchers use the facilities in their efforts to both study and conserve numerous rare and endangered species.
GolfTEC's thirteen locations in the Los Angeles area, all staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor your swing and break down your form on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s certified teaching professionals point out your flaws, strengths, and coach you on how to permanently improve your game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when you’ve executed a perfect stroke or cracked an especially witty golfing joke.
At Fly Above All, owner and P-5 Master-rated pilot Chad Bastian leads a staff of paragliding enthusiasts in their mission to provide training as well as gravity-defying experiences for aspiring aeronauts and purple people eaters. Each tandem flight floats guests down the Elings Park training hill on an approximately one-minute-long jaunt through the lower reaches of the sky, introducing prospective paragliders to the sensation of flight in a controlled setting. A briefing prior to liftoff prepares passengers for the impending retreat of the ground, and attire-aware guests don sturdy footwear, pants, and their luckiest tricorne hats.