Living the Catalina Ocean Experience

Sometimes a long weekend makes all the difference, even if it’s close to home. A couple nights sleeping in a tent, talking around a fire, paddling on the ocean and diving underneath it can make the worries of everyday life ripple away like the wake off the tail of your board.

Such was the magic of the inaugural Catalina Ocean Experience. Pro paddlers Anthony Vela and Morgan Hoesterey hosted a camping, SUP, freediving and general fun weekend for a handful of lucky participants on March 31-April 2 on Catalina Island, an hour’s ferry ride from the industrious port of Long Beach, and we were lucky enough to snag an invite. The crew camped just outside of the small village of Two Harbors on the north end of the island and lucked into a weekend of perfect temperature and sunny skies.

Most of that time was spent on or under the water. Morgan is a certified freediving instructor and got each member of the group more comfortable diving into the kelp beds and reefs around the island, all while documenting it in photos and video. Anthony was the group ringleader, offering SUP coaching advice, spearheading kitchen duties and always offering a smile, whether anyone was looking or not.

The ferry ride back was bittersweet, the posse salty, sunburned and relaxed after a weekend lived outdoors. The next Catalina Ocean Experience is slated for October 6-8, though we suspect that everyone that went is prepared to go back already. We definitely are.

Anthony Vela’s Performance Paddling.

Get more info on the next Catalina Ocean Experience.