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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Ducks Player

    Corey Perry

    It should've been a bad year for the Ducks. Newly minted captain Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to the face in a game against Phoenix in December, causing him to spend weeks on the injured reserve list and the team to lose its already-shaky focus. Perry, the Ducks' right wing, stepped up and brought the team to fourth seed in… More >>
  • Best Angels Player

    Jered Weaver

    Yep, we're going with the Weave again, but this year, we're laying off the stats (which clearly indicate he's not only the Angels' best player, but also one of the best pitchers in baseball). This time, he wins for being old-school. We'll answer the back-and-forth about Weaver's response to two Tigers batters showing him up after their July 31 home… More >>
  • Best College Player

    Lynn Walker, Vanguard University Women's Tennis

    If sports are really half-mental, the amount of emotional baggage in the mind of Lynn Walker would have crippled most collegiate athletes, leaving them on the floor, hugging their knees to their chest and bawling their eyes out. She lost both her father and her mother in traumatic fashion, and last year, she found out that what she thought was… More >>
  • Best Amateur Sports Team

    OC Roller Girls

    Skating, scars and skimpy clothing—we can't think of anything better to watch on a Saturday night. Since 2006, the OC Roller Girls have been bringing fierce fun to the county, always ready to suit up in knee pads and booty shorts and, their words, "knock a bitch out." For the gutsy gals, who have monikers such as Chick Norris and… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Tom Tereschuk

    In the looming, elephantine shadow of NCAA Division I colossus Cal State Fullerton—and the somewhat-more-elongated, bushy-tailed shadow of the emerging UC Irvine program—Tom Tereschuk has quietly built his non-scholarship baseball squad into a pint-sized powerhouse. A former star pitcher and quarterback at Lakewood High and Long Beach City College, Tereschuk went on to pitch at University of San Diego. After… More >>
  • Best High-School Coach

    Mike Schade

    "If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right." These words are spoken by coach Mike Schade during soccer practices at Sunny Hills High School. They're also tacked on the wall of his classroom, where he teaches biology. He attributes his success in class and on the pitch to his parents, who taught him the importance of doing one's… More >>
  • Best Surf Coach

    Steven Chew

    Determined to teach people of all ages the ultimate way to make music with the ocean every day, Steven "Sli Dawg" Chew became a coach at the Laguna Beach Surf School. Popular for his humor and artistic perspective about surfing, he shows his students the basics of riding a wave without forgetting to have fun, even if they become pros.… More >>
  • Chuck Patterson

    Best Death-Defying Extreme Athlete

    Chuck Patterson

    The things Chuck Patterson does for fun are good fodder for answers to questions such as "How would you want to die?" Riding a stand-up paddleboard at one of the world's most frightening and technical waves, Teahupoo. "Hucking" oneself off a more-than-140-foot snow-covered cliff. Paddling with great white sharks, then going onshore to get a video camera to capture proof.… More >>
  • Best Surfing Trio

    Gudauskas Brothers

    In surf-speak, the Gudauskas brothers are perpetual "frothers." No, they're not foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog; they're just utterly excited about the lives they've created for themselves that circulate around time spent in the ocean riding waves. One renowned local shaper refers to them as "the mile of smile," for obvious reasons. Whether the trio is out… More >>
  • Chance Gaul

    Best Grom

    Chance Gaul

    What's a "grom"? Well, think of a kid riding waves and shredding hills just as well as—or better than—older pros. If you still don't get it, here's a good example: Born and raised in Laguna Beach, 14-year-old Chance Gaul is already a world downhill-skateboarding champion, as well as a junior national champion. His fearless competitiveness, enthusiasm and athletic skills have… More >>
  • Best Golfing Musician

    John Lepak

    No, the La Habra Heights native and current resident didn't get the big break he wanted. But he lasted seven shows into the Golf Channel's Big Break: Indian Wells before being eliminated. The exposure gave an enormous boost to his band, the New Grooves, who combine original songs with covers and what he describes as "California-soul" and for whom Lepak… More >>
  • Best Downhill Skater

    Wyatt Gibbs

    Saving downhill skateboarding in Laguna Beach has become this young gun's cause. He skates every day wherever he goes, sticking to the safety rules of the downhill sport in an attempt to set a good example for other local athletes, as well as to prevent haters from persuading the Laguna Beach City Council to ban it from the town. But… More >>
  • Best Stand-Up Paddling Group

    Pirate Coast Paddle Co.

    In the world of ocean activities, stand-up paddleboarding is swelling in popularity. It combines some of the greatest elements of other water sports—the smooth gliding of kayaking, the simple navigation of canoeing and the core workout of surfing. Pirate Coast Paddle Co. offers a safe, fun introduction to stand-up paddleboarding, with basic lessons, special group events such as sunset paddles,… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Anteater Recreation Center

    School gyms aren't typically places to email home about. They're cramped, worn-down and reek of frat boy. That's why so many UC Irvinians take great pride in their glorious overachiever, the Anteater Recreation Center, better known as the ARC. Airy and gleaming, the 89,000-square-foot fitness center features state-of-the-art facilities (athletic courts, an indoor jogging track, top-quality exercise equipment, a heated… More >>
  • Best Place to Shake (and Sculpt) That Ass

    Pop Physique

    Treadmill? Boring. Yoga? Boring, with hippies. P90X? That just sounds scary. We can come up with about a zillion excuses to stay glued to the couch and Interwebz, but alas, one Seal Beach fitness studio finally has us speechless (minus some heavy panting). Founded by a former pro ballerina, the Pop Physique workout is designed to give you long, lean… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Pelican Hill Golf Club's Ocean North

    The Newport Beach resort boasts two Tom Fazio-designed (and -revamped) courses—Ocean North and Ocean South—that have drawn comparisons to Pebble Beach because of their beauty and magnificent ocean views. Of the pair, the North Course is the more wide-open, less difficult and most scenic. There are spectacular ocean views from every tee on the 7,000-yard, par 71 course. And the… More >>
  • Best Beach In OC

    Crescent Bay

    Imagine spending a sunny summer afternoon on a nearly empty beach in Orange County, looking out across the shimmering blue-green water of the Pacific Ocean, with no screaming kids, no trash trucks, no gas fumes from a parking lot, no overwhelmingly large church groups taking over and sand that is actually the color of sand. It may seem like a… More >>
  • Best Beach Parking

    The Dana Strand Beach lot

    The parking lot above Dana Strand Beach at the north end of Dana Point is one of the last free beach parking lots in Orange County. Enough said. We should mention that anything free comes with a price: Beware the walk through the new multimillion-dollar housing development the Strand at Headlands. The homeowners don't take kindly to outsiders parading through… More >>
  • Best Beach for a Late-Night Bonfire

    Corona Del Mar State Beach

    Since lighting bonfires is prohibited at most beaches, Corona del Mar's gorgeous horizon and fire pits are a nighttime blessing. During the day, the beach is home to beautiful tidepools and picturesque landscapes. By night, the beach transforms into the ideal place for a college beach party. If keggers aren't your thing, head for the coast during a weekday for… More >>
  • Best Nature Trail

    Peters Canyon Regional Park

    Here we have a nicely balanced outdoor experience with a range of cool options. Though there are a few teeth-chattering single tracks for the mountain-bike set, most of the trails here are gentle enough for active families and strolling young lovers, offering spectacular windows into the house of nature. Spread out across 354 acres, this spot features a diverse range… More >>
  • Best View

    Beeks' Place

    There are lots of weird stories about Black Star Canyon. One is that rapacious Satanists lurk in the oak groves and await the arrival of unsuspecting virgins walking along the county-owned road. There's also the one about gap-toothed hillbillies confronting startled hikers and brandishing firearms. We'll leave it to you to figure out if any of them are actually true.… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Treasure Island

    Located on the ocean side of the walkway that separates the tony Montage Resort & Spa from the Pacific Ocean, Treasure Island is like stepping into an episode of The O.C. The vista from the clifftop park draws photographers who want to capture the stunning views, especially during sunset. You might even spot celebrity guests strolling around the Montage grounds,… More >>
  • Best Place to Be High

    Orange County Zoo

    Staring at stuff is a huge part of a pot enthusiast's day (we bet the tapestry industry singlehandedly owes its success to marijuana), and after a couple of months of enjoying green living, your local park or beach may not have the same smoky allure. So, light a joint (or two) and head to the Orange County Zoo at Irvine… More >>
  • Best Caveat to the Previous Item

    The Petting Zoo at the Orange County Zoo

    Animals are great—until you're confronted with the prospect of feeding one. Disgruntled, dirty and ravenous, petting-zoo animals are some of the most pitiable creatures at any zoo (and that includes the guy who mucks out the elephant pen). Though the urge to play with something fluffy may intensify with all that bud in your system, the petting zoo isn't exactly… More >>
  • Best Sunset

    Laguna Beach

    There's a reason MTV chose Laguna Beach as the backdrop for the teenage dramas of dimpled Lauren Conrad and friends: It looks really great on film, and it's particularly gorgeous during sunset. This sunny stretch of sand and aquamarine ocean is conveniently located next to a string of delicious, renowned restaurants, perfect for dinner right after the sun sets. Surfers… More >>
  • Best Place to Maybe Kidnap the Baby Jesus

    The Orange Circle

    In December, downtown Orange hosts the most P.C. of holiday displays: Smack-dab in Orange's Plaza Square, where Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street meet, is a Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and their pride and joy—along with a terrifyingly large Santa Claus, a pagan Christmas tree and a menorah. (No Kwanzaa symbol as of yet.) The thought of Savior-snatching struck us… More >>
  • Best Thing to Do In the Dark

    Full-Moon Kayaking

    Guide Danny Hough leads kayak tours under the moonglow shining on Newport Beach's Back Bay. Start with a gourmet picnic before setting off on glassy waters for the setting sun. It's an easy paddle that's great for first-timers. Those unsure about their skills (and younger groups) set out on larger, steadier Hawaiian outrigger canoes. Whatever their ability, looky-loos appreciate peering… More >>
  • Best Surf Spot

    Blackies

    On your average day during the year, Blackies in Newport Beach is a longboarder's haven. The waves are usually 1 to 3 feet high, the atmosphere in the water relaxed, and the old guys are chatty. It's the sort of place to which you bring a beginner to learn. There's a parking lot, which makes it accessible, and a row… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Secret 'Secret' Surf Spot

    El Morro

    Any surf spot visible from Pacific Coast Highway can't rationally be called a "secret spot." And yet, any time a shot from El Morro shows up in a magazine or an online slideshow identifying the spot, feelings get hurt and tempers flare. Maybe the secret-spot status came because you had to know which swells made the waves work or the… More >>
  • Best Actual Secret Surf Spot

    We Can't Make It That Easy

    Hint: It's near the place where the friars roam. (Maybe this spot is real, or maybe it's meant to send you on a never-ending search for a place that doesn't exist. Consider that nearly the entire coastline is developed and most every secret spot has been exposed. Live with it. Or maybe this one actually exists—we'll never tell.)… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill (Unless You Get a Ticket)

    Rock Jumping In Corona del Mar

    As with venturing into Mexico or taking a Pirate Shot (if you have to ask, you're not ready for it!), rock-jumping in Corona del Mar comes with its fair share of risks: 1) You have to be able to find the spot, which is the easy part; head south from Little Corona and look for the rock bridge. 2) You… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Avalon

    Hop aboard the Catalina Express from either Dana Point or Long Beach for a quick boat trip to the island's small town—or take an exhilarating helicopter ride over. The entrance to Avalon Harbor looks like a mini-Mediterranean island, with its quaint buildings nestled in the sides of lush hills overlooking the ocean—in fact, most hotels, restaurants and houses come with… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Santa Monica

    Sure, LA traffic is pretty terrifying and rather predictable (there's never a good time to head north out of Orange County), but if you're willing to stick it out, there is a way to spend the day in that county that doesn't involve taking a tour of movie stars' homes or shopping on Rodeo Drive. Hello, Santa Monica. Yes, you're… More >>
  • Best Park

    Pearson Park

    Located in the heart of Anaheim, Pearson Park is well-known to generations of Anaheimers, who take all of its treasures for granted. But if you haven't been, you're missing out on one of the more charming expanses of open space in the county, one that even drew in Huell Howser a couple of years ago. Whether it's tennis courts, old-school… More >>
  • Best Park for Kids

    Pioneer Road Park

    When it gets hot in inland Tustin—and it gets very hot in inland Tustin in the summer—families flock to Pioneer Road Park, a developed park sandwiched between Peters Canyon Park and the 261 toll road. It's a rare space that can offer parents an entire day with the kids. Start on the half-sized basketball court or play volleyball in the… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Pooch Park

    We had an inside source for this one. In a chain-link-fenced corner of Fullerton's Pooch Park, a dog going by the pseudonym "Bo" dished the lowdown on the hounds and grounds. Away from his master's ear, "Bo" whispered slyly that he comes mostly "for the bitches." (Dogs in heat are not allowed on the premises, so he and other horndogs… More >>
  • Best Place to Massage a Historic Surfboard

    Surfing Heritage Foundation

    Try asking attendants at the Louvre to let you stroke Mona Lisa's face and see where that gets you. At the Surfing Heritage Foundation, not only can you put your hands on some of the oldest, most expensive surfboards in existence, but you can also massage them from top to bottom—if you can reach the top of a 16-foot olo.… More >>
  • Best Shooting Range

    On Target

    Whether you're a hunting god who can hit a target from hundreds of yards away, or a skittish newbie seeking a thrill, this is where you should spend your time. Located in a big, beige, rectangular building sandwiched between Interstate 5 and the train tracks on Camino Capistrano, On Target boasts 20 lanes, with ranges that go up to 25… More >>
  • Mad Tea Party

    Best Ride At Disneyland

    Mad Tea Party

    It's officially called the Mad Tea Party, but everyone knows it as the "teacups." Forget freaking Space Mountain—or even California Screamin', for that matter. To show people you're made of sterner stuff, head for the Alice In Wonderland-inspired ride that "re-creates the film's 'unbirthday' sequence featuring the Mad Hatter and March Hare's chaotic tea party." Most people either love it… More >>
  • Best Place to Hold a Dodge-Ball Tournament

    Sky High Sports

    It is time to rekindle those elementary-school dodge-ball skills because Sky High Sports has reinvented the classic schoolyard game. A specially designed facility, one of the only locations of its kind on the West Coast, decked out with wall-to-wall trampolines and padding, Sky High Sports is the dream playground for every hyperactive kid (and adult). There are three arenas open… More >>
  • Best Place to Get in Touch With Your Inner Einstein

    23B Shop

    Hackerspaces are a global phenomenon, and OC has its very own in this collective of Fullerton-based tinkerers that loves to tear shit up, then build new shit. From computer repair and clown-jousting battle gear to marine radios and mobile DJ units, there's very little that can't be made, fixed or salvaged in the 1,800-square-foot space, which includes an arsenal of… More >>
  • AMC Tustin 14 at the District

    Best Theater at Which to Find an Early Matinee Seat

    AMC Tustin 14 at the District

    Hate the bright cell-phone lights that pop up in the darkness at movie theaters? Jerks yakking as though they're at home watching a DVD? Love the communal experience of going to films so much that sitting at home and being a Netflix junkie isn't enough? Our solution? Matinees at AMC Tustin 14 at the District. We have no idea why­—other… More >>
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