Ocean Sports in Long Beach
With more than five miles of sandy beaches, Long Beach is an urban rarity: equal parts Big City and Beach Town. And whether you require equipment or lessons, Long Beach offers myriad ocean recreational and sporting possibilities: boarding, surfing (both wind and kite), jet skiing, sailing – in other words, there’s a whole lot to do in and on the water. The Pacific Ocean is just waiting for you to come out and play.
You may know them as Wave Runners, Sea-Doo, Jet Skis, or personal watercraft – whatever you call them, they are a whole lot of fun as you scoot over the ocean. London Boat Rentals (186 N. Marina Dr.) rents Wave Runners you can ride from Seal Beach to the Queen Mary. They can document their journeys with GoPro digital cameras available at London. GoPros come with a flotation device as well as a handlebar mounting. Wave Runners hold up to two people and are relatively simple to handle, but since they can reach pretty exhilarating speeds, London’s staff will give you a quick tutorial on all of the craft’s features and functions.
This is the sport that involves people, their feet attached to a board, holding on to a large, usually very colorful “power kite” that catches the wind and propels them over the water, many times at remarkable speeds, many times performing amazing aerial tricks. Long Beach is regularly listed as one of the best kitesurfing spots in the nation. In fact, Granada Beach, where conditions are optimal, has come to be known locally as Kite Beach. SoCal Kitesurfing (79 Claremont Pl.) not only rents equipment but offers a full menu of lessons, from a 90-minute introduction to a five-day “master kiting” course and a whole lot inbetween. Instructors get in the water with pupils and have two-way radio helmets to coach students once they’re riding.
One of the most popular and accessible ocean activities, kayaking can be done at your leisure or turned into an extreme sport. Whatever you prefer, Kayaks on the Water (5411 E Ocean Blvd.) makes it easy to get out from its location at Bayshore Beach on Alamitos Bay, directly across from the Naples canals. The bay’s calm waters make for an ideal environment, especially for beginners. Kayakers can cruise the bay, circumnavigate Naples or head to a cove that is home to moon-jellies, beautiful and non-stinging jellyfish. A canal trip normally takes about 90 minutes, the moon-jelly excursion will probably take twice as long, but certainly is worth the time.
Granted, parasailing is a relatively passive activity in that participants sit attached to a harness, attached to a parachute on one side and a boat on the other. Still, when the boat takes off and the wind fills the chute tugging folks high into the sky, the experience no doubt leads to an increase in heart rate that could probably qualify as a cardio workout. Offering breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and beyond, Long Beach Parasail (423 Shoreline Village Dr.) specializes in providing a safe, easy and memorable parasailing experience. Flights accommodate one, two and even three at a time. Dedicated to safety, all Long Beach Parasail captains are US Coast Guard licensed.
Arguably the fastest growing ocean activity of the past decade, paddleboarding presents a lot of options. You can do it at your own speed, with or without someone. It’s a relaxing activity that also presents a great way to engage your core muscles and get a bit of a workout while you glide along. Paddle Board Rentals Long Beach (6272 E Pacific Coast Hwy) is located conveniently in the Marina Pacifica retail center, so parking is never an issue. That part of the bay is very calm and you can push out toward Bayshore or Naples at whatever speed suits you. It’s nice that when you return, there’s plenty of options for refreshments of all kinds within an easy walk of a minute or two.