Feature

Getting the flavor of...A California surf camp

Carlsbad, located 35 miles north of San Diego, is a perfect place to pick up surfing.

A California surf camp

“Surfing is harder than it looks,” said Bob Carden in The Washington Post. That was the main lesson I took away from my first day in the water during a four-day surf camp in Carlsbad (socalsurflessons.com), but the camp’s “enormously encouraging” instructors convinced me not to give up hope. Carlsbad, located 35 miles north of San Diego, is a perfect place to pick up the skill. Blessed with “bright sun, good restaurants, and oh-so-tasty waves,” it provided my wife and two kids plenty to do when we weren’t tethered to our boards. Yet after learning the basics in two hours—how to rise from our stomachs to standing on a board pushed into a breaking wave by an instructor—even I gained confidence day by day. One minute, I was a 50-something non-surfer. The next, I jumped onto my board and turned into a wave: “And for three mind-numbing seconds, I stood up—love handles dancing in the air.”

Jamming with the stars

Rock-star daydreams now have a permanent address, said Norma Meyer in The San Diego Union-Tribune. Fifteen years after its founding, Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp (rockcamp.com) put down roots in Las Vegas, where $6,499 buys a wannabe four days of jamming and a chance to share a stage with such baby-boomer stars as Kiss’s Gene Simmons or Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil. At a recent camp, featured guest Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys begged out of jam sessions for health reasons, but the deep-pocketed campers seemed pleased enough to have heard him perform a short, private concert, and thrilled to be trading licks with “blistering guitarist” Jeff Beck. Lesser stars played camp counselors to the participants as the amateur bands prepared for a final-day performance on a stage at the MGM Grand. There, for 15 sweet minutes, they “shouted out lyrics, jumped around, shredded guitars, and released their inner rock gods.”

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