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Visit California Draws Awareness to California Surfing Day through Press Trips

By Angie Pappas 08/29/2019

Leading up to California Surfing Day on September 20, Visit California hosted a group familiarization tour (FAM) and a series of influencer trips to showcase the myriad of destinations where visitors can experience California’s surf culture firsthand. 

This year’s California Surfing Day efforts kicked off with a group FAM to Santa Cruz County, Huntington Beach and Oceanside with three freelance media - Dana Rebmann, Deb Hopewell and Joy Hui Lin - that contribute to outlets such as AFAR, Fodor’s, KRON and The Telegraph. The group began their August 2-6 adventure at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, where they learned about the history of surfing in the Golden State from Bob Pearson of Pearson Arrow Surf Shop and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Santa Cruz County’s very own surfing dog, Skyler. Following a fascinating tour of O’Neill headquarters, the group wrapped up their first day with a private dinner at the Dream Inn’s Jack O’Neill Restaurant & Lounge, attended by local surfing legends such as Sarah Gerhardt and Richard Schmidt.

Day two saw the group catching some waves at Cowell Beach during an incredible surfing lesson with Ed Guzmán of Club Ed Surf School, before saying goodbye to Santa Cruz and departing for Huntington Beach. After a leisurely afternoon exploring Pacific City and dining at Bluegold, the group settled in for the night at the surf-inspired Kimpton Shorebreak Resort, getting some rest before the excitement of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing finals the next day. 

As expected, day three of the trip was a truly special experience, especially with Californian surfer Sage Erickson taking home the championship in the women’s final. The rest of the day was spent enjoying a harbor cruise with Prince Charters, dinner at Ola Mexican Kitchen and a beach bonfire with s’mores - a quintessential end to a perfect day in the Golden State. 

Since a trip to Surf City USA wouldn’t be complete without catching some waves, the group spent their final morning in Huntington Beach surfing alongside the Huntington Pier with local pro Rocky McKinnon. After quickly refueling at Sancho’s Tacos, the group departed for Oceanside, and an incredible tour of the California Surf Museum. The night ended with dinner at Masters Kitchen & Cocktail attended by some of the most innovative and passionate members of Oceanside’s surfing industry.

After catching some sleep at The Fin Hotel and SpringHill Suites, the group spent the fifth and final morning of their trip visiting the award-winning Surf Ride surf shop, watching surfboards be shaped at Chemistry Surfboards and paddle boarding in the harbor. To close out the trip, the farewell lunch was attended by the co-founders of ENV Boards, who are some of the innovators at the forefront of the sustainable surfing industry.

For phase two of promoting California Surfing Day, Visit California arranged for three influencers to explore the state’s incredible surf culture firsthand - meeting up with local surfers along the way. Thanks to the amazing work of our destination partners, these trips feature activities and meals that showcase the uniqueness of each destination while still providing the influencers with time to catch some waves. 

The first of the trips, and the one already completed, saw Arielle Shipe, a Denver-based yoga and adventure enthusiast, travel to Del Mar, Dana Point, Marina Del Rey and Los Angeles. Her trip began in Del Mar, where Arielle was able to meet up with adaptive surfing champion Dani Burt and stay at the beautiful L’auberge Del Mar. Arielle then continued south to Dana Point for a whale watching tour and a fun surfing experience at Doheny Beach with Mary Hartmann, owner of Girl in the Curl and a pioneer of the female surf industry in Orange County. Arielle’s trip ended in Los Angeles County, which featured a whirlwind of kayaking in Marina Del Rey, hiking to the Hollywood sign with Bikes & Likes LA, and surfing with professional surfer Alex Gray at El Porto.

Jacob Fu and Esther Yee of Local Adventurer will start their trip September 3 with a quick visit to Dana Point before surfing at San Onofre with Anna Ehrgott, an iconic break in Orange County. Next, the couple will journey to Santa Barbara to enjoy a sunset sail and a relaxing stay at the Kimpton Goodland in Goleta, home of the famous Mr. Zog’s Surfboard Wax. They’ll then continue north to SLO CAL, to surf with small wave connoisseur Corina Rose.

The final influencer trip will begin September 4 with photographer Justin Kauffman learning to surf in Huntington Beach, Santa Monica and Ventura. Justin will kick  off his trip with a lesson from Teddy Navarro in Surf City USA, a member of The Mauli Ola Foundation - a nonprofit that introduces surfing and ocean-based activities as natural therapies for those living with genetic disease. Next, Justin will head  to sunny Santa Monica to check out the new surf-themed additions at the Fairmont Miramar - Hotel & Bungalows, and take a lesson from Aqua Surf. Justin’s trip will wrap up with a visit to Ventura and a lesson with Sage Erickson,  who is celebrating her recent win at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. After a rejuvenating stay at Waypoint Ventura, a photo-worthy vintage trailer hotel near the beach, Justin will spend the final day of his trip enjoying a visit to the beautiful Channel Islands.

As a result of these trips, dozens of posts have already gone live on social channels promoting #CaliforniaSurfingDay and the various destinations that have made the Golden State’s surf culture what it is today. More coverage will be going live up to and on September 20, and Visit California encourages partners to share how their own destination is taking part in California Surfing Day!



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