Stand-Up Paddle Surfing in California & Meeting Sea Lions and Golden Seals

September is always a lovely time of year to visit my first home of the southern California coast, when the islands are waiting for winter and the Gold Coast of Australia has those spring northerlies. I spend most my time now in San Clemente when I’m in California with my hanai Mum, Mary Lou Drummy, and family Maureen & Sean Hagger, Gilma &

Chris Drummy, Pat Drummy, Erin McGinnis and we cannot forget the sweet pups Maka, Oreo, Elle and little Marly.

The southern California coast has lots more marine animals than one might think. On my second day of taking Mary Lou for another Stand-Up Paddling cruise; we took the track on the outer line cruising the outside break wall. There was a soft off shore wind blowing giving us a little more puff to our movements. Sooooo glassy along the inner break wall. Lots of thick Limu (seaweed), small dakine fish, bigger ones and colourful ones. Heaps of Seagulls, sand pipers, ducks, and beautiful Peliguins of all different shades of colours sunning themselves along the break wall.

Mary Lou asked me ”I wonder where the seals are?” I was talking story to all the animals along our paddle cruise, as I do and thought Humm! “I bet they are on the other side of the break wall hanging out” I said “There must be more action with the waves breaking on the other side of the wall”. I had this inner feeling, hearing the waves breaking hard on the other side, that we were in for some wild kingdom action. I thought when I get around the corner, out side the break wall I might be surprised with who knows what may be playing in the sun.

So I started to pick up some speed when some bigger boats were coming into the harbour and sent ruffles of tiny swells in our path. When that happens its important to increase your speed paddling so one just sails over them with ease, and speed. I was sharing what to do to Mary Lou, as it was a new experience for her. When the bigger swells come along its important to bend ones knees and cruise thru it.

Just like years ago when we would only paddle on our knee’s and going out through a one to three foot wave, we would just turn up our speed and stand up going thru and over the wave. Same principle applies for stand-up paddling. I didn’t want the swells to knock over Mary Lou into the interesting harbour dakine, if ya know what I mean.

A much faster pace and …whoa! A giant Sea Lion

I was now moving along a lot faster and didn’t look back for awhile, cause Mary Lou was on her second day was doing heaps good! Mean time I didn’t know, but Mary Lou got caught off guard and went down for a refreshing splash from the boat swells. I watched that she was right back up, but she decided to turn around, and was turning around heading back. I was about 600 yards away from her, and almost to the end of the break wall. And I was moving in a much faster pace wondering if I was going to see any seals. but wished Mary Lou could see what I was about to see. I kept going, as I was way to excited. I got around at the end of the break wall and whoa! Agiant Sea Lion was sun baking its body and stretching enjoying the sun too!

I thought humm! I better not be talking story to this sea lion, so I sat down on my SUP and just watched with a gleam of enjoyment being able to be so close up and see how much sea lion’s enjoy the sun as us human’s do. Remember, be respectful to our beautiful animals and mammals on our earth and they will be the same to us.

The Sunday before I went back down to visit my hanai Drummy family again before I left back to the islands, my hanai brother Cary and I went up to visit my long time Malibu friends Chenoa and Laurie Ellis family, north of Zuma Beach where my Daddy and step Mum used to live and I hung as kid. It was beautiful as Malibu always is. They had some 12’ Laird models, kinda over kill for me, but perfect for my brother to learn on his first experience. It was a beautiful Malibu morning for a late morning paddle north towards Point Zero. It was Cary’s first time on a SUP too! I gave him the Hula stance with the hip and knee loose movement, where to focus the eyes and most of all to RELAX!

We had heaps of kelp beds to steer through and interesting animals along the way, that I loved talking story to.

There was this cute seal eyeing us up, so I started talking story with it, and asked Cary if they bite, he said “ Maybe not sure” So as I saw this sweet small seal was coming in a fast movement towards me I thought Humm! Do I really want to see what happens next or kick it into third gear? So when I saw this Sea Lion, I was only going to enjoy watching it sun bath, as I knew it could travel fast and had big teeth and I wasn’t in the position to try to out paddle a giant sea lion.

I was so stoked, as it was so big I couldn’t wait to tell Mary Lou that I just saw a very giant sea lion catching some rays on the break wall at the end of the harbour. I caught back up with Mary Lou and shared the story of this giant sea lion that was enjoying the sun as much as us.

Dana Point, I had not been in the ocean there since I was a kid and we used to surf the Point, before they turned it into a harbour, which we were now paddling through. Dana Point is actually a very beautiful and easy access to go stand-up paddling for beginners or for excellent workouts too! And when the waves come up, you can catch some waves over Dohney way. But don’t forget to share the waves with surfers. Thanks to all my Ohana (family) Drummy’s, Ellis and Sean Hagger from Hobie Surfboards in Dana Point, for making it possible to enjoy the ocean in southern California again on SUP’s.

Hobie Surfboards is a great spot to take a lesson or try their demo SUP boards. Check them out. They are only about an hour and half south from Los Angeles, the City of Angels.

A little more about Nancy Emerson...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *