San Diego Media Tour Day 3

Once again I apologize for the delay in updates, but I’m sure the excitement of my third day here in San Diego will make-up for any lost time! Thankfully, the overall pace and schedule for Saturday allowed us to sleep in a bit longer than usual, and since the group as a whole was feeling rather full from our meal night before, we decided in unanimous fashion that breakfast did not sound particularly appealing. Instead, we opted for a quick cup of coffee next door to Surf Diva, the locally owned and operated surfing school where we were to signed up to take a group lesson on the art of stand-up paddle boarding.

Surf Diva’s overall energy is very welcoming to beginners of all levels, and the owners, Coco and Izzy, were incredibly friendly with a business motto that primarily consists of ensuring their visitors have the most fun possible. (Little known fact: both Coco and Izzy, as well as most of their staff, speak French, so obviously, I was over eager to hear them speak)! Now, I’ve never been the biggest water activity fan, and to be honest, it’s probably because I never had much exposure to any water sport growing up. My family doesn’t usually opt for vacations at the lake or the beach, so the die-hard surf culture of California has always intrigued me a bit. After squeezing myself into a wetsuit (which, by the way, are nearly impossible to put on!), the group and I headed out to the beach, a mere two second walk. The waves were looking a bit larger and rougher than I remembered seeing the past few days, and my previously fearless attitude began to unfold as the reality of the activity settled in. Izzy kindly walked the group through the overall process, and for some unexplainable reason, I volunteered to go first. Forging past the crashing waves was pretty demanding, and a few times I was certain I was going to get pushed back to shore; however, Izzy continued to encourage me, and I eventually made it out! Next came the difficult part: actually standing up on the board. Thanks to my many years of dance and ballet, I quickly realized it was all a balance act, so as long as I could maintain stability, standing up on the board was not hard at all! For something I possessed no prior knowledge about, stand-up paddle boarding was incredibly exhilarating, and if my arms could take the paddling, I would do it all day!

Two hours later, we rode the waves to shore and headed back to the hotel for a much-needed shower before lunch at the infamous George’s at the Cove. Located in downtown La Jolla, George’s is widely known as one of San Diego’s premiere restaurants, offering both fine dining as well as a casual breakfast or lunch, not to mention an unbeatable view of the beach.We sat on the upper level outdoor terrace, and I immediately fell in love with the contemporary atmosphere at George’s. The menu made my experience all the better–it is fantastic! Although it took me what seemed like forever to decide on a single item, I eventually decided on their famous smoked chicken & black bean soup, pairing it alongside a Grilled Mexican Shrimp salad. I’m not sure I can do the soup justice in words, so let’s just say it took me a mere two minutes to finish the entire bowl!

Feeling stuffed and satisfied, our group walked around a bit in the area until wafting smells of sugar cookies landed us front of a small local bakery, Girard Gourmet.  Completely excusing the purchase of three cookies each after our exhausting water activity earlier, we sat outside in the perfect weather and conversed a bit before venturing back to rest up for the next adventure on the schedule.

While originally this time slot was set aside for snorkeling, we were informed that the company had called earlier to cancel because of poor conditions in the water. I was secretly excited about the news because after having every activity planned down to the exact minute, it was nice to have a little spontaneity! I was given the choice between a private tennis lesson, shopping downtown, or paragliding–like that was a choice! We arrived at the paragliding venue, Torrey Pines Gliderport, which lies on a steep hill, 300 feet above the ocean below.

Naturally, the moment we drove up the winds were starting to die down a little, and so after I had already signed my life away on about eight forms waiving virtually all of my legal rights to embark on this endeavor, they informed us we would have to wait around a little to see if there would even be opportunity for us to go that day. The winds were on our side, thankfully, and the next thing I knew, I was being strapped into a harness. I was grateful to discover they didn’t just send me off on my own and that my instructor, Jeremy, would accompany me for the entire ride. He was incredibly helpful in calming my nerves; I wasn’t even nervous when we began running off the edge of the cliff! The rush of endorphins with that first leap really took my breath away, and the next thing I knew I was staring down below me, realizing how high up we were. The ride lasted about 30 minutes, but after that initial stir, it was honestly relaxing… the best way to see the coastline by far!
The remainder of the day consisted of  casual relaxation at the beach and a barbeque dinner outside that evening. It was our last night as a group together, and I can’t express how appreciative I am to have met so many inspiring journalists from all over North America. They all taught me something new about the industry; each one of them solidified reasons why I love writing so much. Despite saying a few goodbyes that night, the trip had not reached a conclusion for me just yet, and my final day here was full of just as much excitement!

(My view from the glide!)

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