First! on the Laguna Surf

A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to try my luck at surfing, thanks to Oakley and my gig at LAmag.com! Read more about it here. While I feel lucky to consider that “work,” it was a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of a neighboring coastal town that usually never warranted more than a drive-by along picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. As it turns out, Laguna Beach and the nearby Doheny State Beach in Dana Point were the perfect settings for a string of firsts.

Photograph courtesy of Gary Copeland

With nothing but the sound of crashing waves before us and the soft earth below us, a bout of early morning yoga lifted my spirits and prepared me for a day in the water. Numerous sun salutations (how else would the sun come out?), warriors I, II and III, and balancing poses galore gave me energy and confidence for the day ahead. Having done yoga on my own for the past couple years, it was so refreshing and encouraging to be in a class again. I even did my first yoga head stand!

Photograph courtesy of Jason Merritt/Wireimage

Photograph courtesy of Jason Merritt/Wireimage

Photograph © Where is Ashley? 2010

Once on the beach, it wasn’t long until I was on a board.  With the help of my surf instructor, Oakley pro-surfer Katrina Petroni (pictured with me above), I had a blast riding the waves and got a super workout swimming out into the ocean each time. Although I won’t have the expertise of a pro surfer the next time I paddle out to the line up, I can’t wait to do it again.

To round out my afternoon of firsts on the water, I hooked up with Jaime from Stand Up Paddle Co. Laguna Beach to learn how to paddle board. While I had a natural edge on the surfboard (thanks to this most recent snowboarding season in the Swiss Alps!), I found it much more difficult to balance while stand up paddle boarding. “It’s the hardest core workout you’ll ever have,” Jaime shouted across the water at me while I struggled to stay standing. Whew, by early evening, my body wasn’t so sure it could handle any more “first time doing…”

Photograph courtesy of Jason Merritt/Wireimage

Thankfully the evening ended on a relatively tame first time relaxing fireside to the tunes of Kelley James, a singer I’ve never heard of before but am now quite keen on, thanks to his clever freestyles. After an active day on land and sea, it was a great way to bring on the weekend.

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