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The Harbor Report: In the summertime, when the water is high

June 06, 2013|By Len Bose

It's summertime in Newport Harbor, and I had promised earlier this year that I would check in with everyone.

My first stop was with one of my favorite people, Mandy McDonnell. Mandy is the founder of Paddle for Privates and, in my mind, the person you go to to find out what's going on in the paddleboard world. This season, Mandy is working for UC Irvine coaching their kayaking, stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and sailing classes. These classes are open to UCI students, faculty, staff and alumni of all UC schools. Lessons are available in 15-foot Capris and J/22 sailboats located at the Orange Coast College sailing base. Kayaking and SUPs are at the UCI crew base in the Back Bay; lessons are available along with sunset and full-moon paddles. UCI is also contracted with the city to run its sailing and paddling program. Mandy is one of the best instructors in the harbor and a fun person to be around. Great value here; just search "UCI sailing" and "SUP" for more information.

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Mandy also referred me to Pirate Coast Paddle Company, located in the Back Bay. When referring Pirate Coast to me, Mandy explained that this group goes the extra mile to ensure your safety by offering you proper lessons before just pushing you into the harbor and wishing you luck. I was referred to contact Tim Lukei about the group's lessons, kids' camp and group events. The event that grabbed my attention was the SUP glow night tours. This group came up with the idea of placing lights under the boards that place a large phosphorescent glow around the boards at night. You might have seen these lights under some of the larger power boats over the years. This sounds like "too much fun" and you can reach Tim at Pirate Coast Paddle Company at (949) 278-0011.

My next stop was with Billy Whitford at the Newport Aquatic Center. If you want to take your paddling experience to the next level, you have to check out the NAC. This is where it all started in our harbor and, without a doubt, it offers some of the best coaching in the country. NAC offers a Kids Paddle Camp and Novice Rowing Camp. You can contact the NAC at (949) 646-7725.

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