Winter is Over!

by Duke Jarboe

From Arizona to Minnesota, spring-breakers are flocking to the beaches and hopping in our kayaks to explore the beautiful La Jolla Ecological Preserve. The sun is staying out longer and the water is starting to warm up. Our new shop is closer to being open and we found our long lost VW bus. To top it off, our new spring line is in and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the fresh threads. You’ll fall in love with the new designs that scream softly, “Wear me, I’m California.”

And we’re picking up new staff to ready ourselves for the torrent of people looking to have fun in the sun at our lovely beaches. Our excitement has never been higher and our focus has never been tighter. In the words of Harry, “It’s going to be our best summer yet!”

There’s only one sad element to this glorious transition: The Grey Whales are gone. They’ve passed through our waters and are hanging out in Baja, enjoying the lovely lagoons and warmer waters. We had a great time with them this season. Over 85% of our Whale Watching tours had the amazingly intimate experience of kayaking within feet of these magnificent marine mammals.

Some of the highlights of the Grey Whale season were so incredibly inspiring, they blew my mind. The first tour of the season spotted five whales just a mile offshore. Missy and myself took out a high school on an educational field trip and after just 15 minutes of Kayaking, Missy spotted whale spouts less than a hundred yards from our tour. We had the good fortune to be able to get within five feet of them. The cherry on top though? One was an albino. The rarity of that combined with it being our first tour with a group of kids made for a truly special moment.

We also spotted two juvenile whales lost in the boat launch and surf area of the La Jolla Shores. The second one we spotted was no further than ten yards from the sand. We lost our collective mind and sprinted for the water. Missy, Ben and myself took three paths to try and intercept the young whale and play in the water with it. I was extremely lucky. Just out past the break, I dove under the last wave and saw the small grey whale just underneath me. It breached just a few arm’s lengths in front of me and looked directly into my eyes. It’s big black eye, full of intelligence and extreme awareness locked onto me and stared into my soul.

After our brief soul connection it fluked in front of me and swam away, guided by two helpful bottlenose dolphins. The experience was easily the single best moment of my life. To be so close with such a massive and intelligent creature in the surf moved me beyond words. And to be in the water with my fellow water-people, Missy and Ben, made it a communal moment that was almost spiritual.

It was an amazing winter to say the least, with awesome bookend whale encounters that make us excited for the spring and summer months. New shop, new digs, new hats, new van, new opportunities for more spectacular moments. Share the dream and come play with us!


Duke Jarboe
Duke Jarboe

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