Monday, August 3, 2015

Malibu | SUP + Nike Tennis Camp

My husband recently attended a long-weekender Nike Tennis Camp up in Malibu and it was our bright idea to join him up there while he did so. We decided to splurge on a nice hotel for the experience, and the kids really had a blast enjoying the things SoCal is so notorious for: swimming pools, gardens, and a new swath of ocean!

We drove up the coast on a Friday morning and checked into the Four Seasons Westlake - it was a 20-minute or so drive to the Nike Tennis Camp he would be attending on the campus of Pepperdine University.

The kids had a blast roaming their gardens and playing putt-putt golf.


Another plus for families: the game room.

Perhaps the best amenity of all was their spectacular indoor family pool, which came complete with toys.

How many hours can kids swim? A LOT.

There was an adults-only pool upstairs that was pretty happening, but the closest I could get to that experience was ordering a pina colada by the family pool. Not bad, all in all.

The Nike Tennis Camp delivered all that was promised and then some. These coaches provided amazing specialized training and intensive personal workouts.

... all on the beautiful campus of Pepperdine University.

And while he was playing tennis, I decided to take the kids on a very uniquely Malibu mini-adventure.

We hiked along Zuma Beach.

The waves were so intense that we witnessed some local divers getting assistance from a lifeguard near the cliffs.

We were also awed by the rock-climbing up the sheer cliffside.



My middle girl brought her Barbies and asked if we could see "the real Barbie's house in Malibu." I told her she could bring a couple of Barbies to the beach in Malibu instead!

The real Malibu Barbies?

They then enjoyed the beach for hours...

I took the opportunity to try to snap a few portraits.

We found some good fish-and-chips fare.

Then it was off to our next outing, which was their favorite! Trying SUP with Malibu Surf Shack.

Now I've done SUP before and loved it, but I'd only done it in the calm waters of Mission Bay in San Diego and was a bit nervous about teaching the kids with only my two hands and the choppy, open water of the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully the Surf Shack and our very entertaining and strong instructor Troy (seen here allowing our youngest daughter to take a selfie on his phone in the sea) was there to help.

Our little son got right up and paddled around. 

 Check out a shaky little video of the experience here:

Back at the Shack, everyone fell in love with the canine ewok better known in the Surf Shack as "Bosco."

That night we explored the library at the Four Seasons. Sadly, the kids found a book of baby portraits and proceeded to laugh their heads off at the naked babies. Luckily we had the library to ourselves for that.

The paddle-boarding was such a hit that we went again the next day, this time just me on my own with the kids, taking my youngest daughter on my board and letting the other two ride their own along side me. No pics of that trip because I thought my GoPro housing was leaking... but suffice it to say that they adored it even more!

Next we briefly hit the hot foodie joint on Malibu Pier known as Malibu Farm.

Because they are so very organic/fresh/local, they were actually out of the first couple of things I asked for: a smoothie, oysters on the half shell, and an oyster shooter. No matter! I still got a Bloody Mary.

We got enough of a taste of Malibu to know that it's worth the drive up the coast to visit this sweet little beach town, so we'll be back again!

~ Aloha Malibu ~

Thanks for looking. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Freediving with PFI | Performance Freediving Int'l

I decided to take my snorkeling to the next level (oh damn you, pun!) so I signed up for a freediving course with Performance Freediving International. It was something I've wanted to do for some time now and was gifted the course by my husband for our anniversary.

Previously, my idea of freediving was this:

What's wrong with this picture? Freediving with a snorkel in my mouth, and exhaling while down. I was also limited by my inability to equalize my ears with any efficiency. If you're doing it like most people who clear their ears on a scuba dive (or on an airplane) by pushing air from your diaphragm, you're wasting precious stores of oxygen when you likely have enough sitting in your mouth to equalize via Frenzel Technique. That technique can be seen here. 

And yes, I'm also freediving alone... but I will probably continue to do that as long as I live. 

We had a ton of classroom work where we learned the physics of freediving and all about theory and technique - especially safety procedures and rescues. Then we had a pool session to time our static apnea breath holds.

Mine was 2:36 as I struggled with abdominal contractions (aka, the "lying bastard" that is your body trying to scare you into breathing) and visions of blacking out... and other irrational thoughts. My theory is that if you have children, part of your brain goes a little crazy and certain risks may be forever "off the table" for you. For me, big risks now off limits include speeding in cars, heights, and apparently holding my breath too long underwater. Weird since I enjoy being in the water so much. But it may just take more time to stretch out that static apnea time. 

There was a dude in class who broke 5:30. His lips were blue when he came up... but in keeping with our training, he was just fine after taking his recovery breaths (he had been signalling "okay" with regularity throughout his apnea session.)

Next we hit the ocean for some depth training. My first session, I was hit by the thermocline and felt some anxiety. After some reflection and simply enjoying the ocean, however, I had a renewed enthusiasm for the spirit of the sport. 

At one point our rig collided with a mass of kelp. In moving it off, we discovered a cast of tuna crabs inside! It definitely inspired me to continue on my journey to earn my freediving certification.

Here are my amazing instructors. They were shadowing each of our dives to ensure safety. It was marvelous to watch!

with PFI Instructors Shell Eisenberg and Chris Bustad.
Shell is the national dynamic/no fins record holder, having reached 125 meters on one breath.

with PFI Instructor Andrew Miramontes

Check out video from my experience here:

I would also encourage anyone who loves to dive - even snorkel or scuba - to check out this kind of freediving course. You'll stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone, and in doing so, gain invaluable safety information. 

And you'll make some great new friends, too.