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Posted by Rick Civelli | 07.29.2013 | Teen Camps

California Dreaming – Santa Barbara Surf Odyssey

Last week, we made the epic journey south to the beautiful town of Santa Barbara – a town steeped in surfing culture. Our first stop was the historic Santa Barbara Surfing Museum. Upon entering the museum the first thing you notice (asides from the sounds of the ukulele!) are the massive amounts of surfboards lining the walls and hanging from the ceiling. The extensive surfboard collection included some boards dating back to the beginning years of surfing in America. Seeing these authentic boards gave us a firsthand look at how surfboard shapes, sizes, and design have changed over the years to the modern boards we ride today.


The museum artifacts and exhibits not only allowed us to learn about the origins of surfing, and the history of surfing in California, but also how surfing has influenced music (Beach Boys, Jan and Dean), books (Gidget, Silver Surfer comics), and TV/movies (Gidget, Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party etc…) The campers were able to understand the role surfing played on a culture- and how someone in a landlocked state or country could still have knowledge and passion for the surfing lifestyle without every being on a board!


After the Surfing Museum and lunch on the beach, we made our way to the famous Channel Islands Surf Shop to explore and check out modern surfboard designs. Channel Islands is one of the biggest surfboard manufacturers and retailers and it was a great opportunity for our campers to see different types of boards that surfers use today.


Then we were off to explore the well known surf spot of Rincon- famous for the long point break seen in many surf movies. Although the waves were small, we still were able to see some local groms catching waves. Here we took the opportunity to talk more about wave dynamics (how waves are formed, parts of the wave-crest, trough- sets), types of surf breaks (reef break, point break, beach break) and the tides.


With this new knowledge and understanding- we were all frothing to get in the water and hop on some waves! We headed to Ventura Beach and found a local spot with some rad waves to play around with. After a few hours in the water everyone caught some sick waves and were stoked and exhausted from the day!


On Wednesday morning we hit up our local spot in Cayucos and had a fun morning surf session. The instructors are so excited to see everyone not only working hard but also having fun, encouraging each other and building self confidence with each wave. We couldn’t ask for anything more! They are great and really improving with each wave!


After a delicious lunch on the beach we headed over to the Morro Coast Audubon Society Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos for some volunteer work. Upon arrival we were greeted by Holly and Doug and after a brief introduction, the campers were ready to get to work! With our newfound love for the Central Coast of California the campers really did enjoy the opportunity to give back to the community. The team did a great job working together as we maintained the local ecosystems in the preserve. Our main focus was on the newly planted California Live Oaks.  The Preserve has worked hard to restore these native species of tress to the area. After all our hard work, we were given a tour of the preserve and learned about future plans for the preserve and how our hard work will help the area thrive in the future.


These past few days have been filled with a lot of teamwork; hard work and especially fun and we are all looking forward to our future activities in camp!


– Katherine