By Brian Feinzimer
By Charles Lam
By Joel Beers
By LP Hastings
By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Joel Beers
Snorkeling isn’t exactly what Orange County is known for, but Shaw’s Cove has enough marine life to make you at least want to try and breathe underwater. To get there, you’d have to take a 58-step, six-landing staircase off Fairview Street and Cliff Drive. It’s a mostly sand beach, with a few rocky areas, so if you don’t mind sharing your water space with practicing divers on weekends, you’ll probably be able to see a few garibaldi, the state fish of California, along with eels, rays, octopi, bat stars, dolphins and purple sea urchins. 999 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach.
So many places to watch and play softball exist around here it’d be pointless to list them all. So we’ll give a shout-out to a purely alternative softball organization: the Sun and Surf Softball League. The Long Beach league sounds pretty nice, eh? Sun, surf, softball—who wouldn’t have a ball? One thing: It’s, like, really, really gay! The league has been a member of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance since 1983 and has sent teams to the Gay World Series for more than 22 years (there’s a gay World Series? Does Mike Piazza know about this?). It holds its annual Liberty Classic softball tournament in Huntington Beach on July 4. So if you’re athletic and also happen to be gay or lesbian, check ’em out. Even better: If you’re a homophobe who thinks all gays are fags, sign up and show them what a badass baller you are. If there’s any justice in the world, you’ll be the lamest pansy on the diamond. www.surfandsunsoftball.org.
There may be better surf in other parts of the world, more pristine beaches, and more places to rip and shred in relative solitude, but nowhere is surf as saturated into the culture as Orange County. Scores of surf shops dot the coastline from Seal Beach to San Clemente, which also happens to be the surf-media capital of the world, and the biggest surfing competition in the world, the U.S. Open of Surfing, visits Huntington Beach each summer. “I’d have to agree with anyone who says Orange County is the surf capital of the world,” says Matt Yuhas, a manager at Jack’s Surfboards, which opened its original shop in 1957 in Huntington Beach and now has six locations. The reason? “I think it is just the fact there are so many people here, and we all grow up with surfing around us,” he says. There are prime surfing spots up and down the OC coast. If you’re interested in watching really good surfers, head out to the Huntington Beach pier or farther south to Trestles near San Clemente State Beach. But the best places to surf? Unless you already know, you probably won’t ever know. “There are always secret spots, but nobody’s telling,” Yuhas says. If you’re interested in finally picking up the sport, you had better be patient. And it is not the cheapest avocation. Technological innovations make the current generation of surfboards the most advanced ever, and with that science comes a steep price: The cheapest boards at Jack’s begin at $500 and many top out at more than $2,000. Jack’s Surfboards,101 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-4516; www.jackssurfboards.com.
What can you say about swimming? It’s the original summer sport and father and mother of all water sports. It’s great exercise. It’s unbelievably refreshing. It can be done in salt or fresh water, in oceans, lakes, rivers, backyard pools or even baby waders. If you want to swim, just head toward that big body of water where the sun sets every night. If you want freshwater, there’s Mission Viejo Lake and the Brea Plunge; and if you like saltwater but don’t like the beach, try Newport Dunes. And if you’re serious about swimming and competing, check out the Janet Evans Swim Center in Fullerton. Lessons are given, and you’re surrounded by some of the county’s top swimmers, members of the Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team. 801 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, (714) 773-5778; www.fastswimming.net.
Ain’t hard to find a tennis court in this county. Check out nearly any high-school or college campus or any county park, and chances are there’ll be a court open unless a team is practicing. But if you’ve got, say, a job, and you’re looking for night tennis, consider the eight courts at Carbon Canyon Regional Park. They’re open until 9 p.m., and the relatively remote location in the northwestern part of the county means they’re not as heavily used as others. If you’re looking to watch real tennis players in action, check out the Newport Beach Breakers, a professional team that works out of the Tennis Club in Newport Beach. The team, part of World Team Tennis, hosts seven matches this summer, as well as special appearances by John McEnroe, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova. Carbon Canyon Regional Park, 4242 Carbon Canyon Rd., Brea; www.ocparks.com. Newport Beach Breakers, (714) 352-6301; www.newportbeachbreakers.com.