A Laguna ocean kayaker reveals his insider secrets on the best places to paddle.
By Somer Flaherty
James Pribam grew up on the beach at Pearl Street in Laguna Beach and took advantage of his Pacific Ocean backyard by tackling just about any water sport he could get his hands on. The waterman has been kayaking for more than 20 years and first took to the sport as a kid when he and his friends would borrow neighborhood kayaks that were kept on the beach and paddle to Rockledge to spend the afternoon diving. James now protects the ocean he grew up on, running the Eco-Warrior Foundation, which helps to preserve oceans and beaches through activism, education and mentoring and also manages the Adopt-a-Beach program in Laguna. Here, James gives us his tips for enjoying time on the water in Laguna’s backyard.
Laguna Beach Magazine: Where are your favorite places to kayak in Laguna?
James Pribram: My favorite stretch is going south from Pearl Street and down toward Rockledge since you can only really see that area from the water due to a lack of public access. There are caves and water spits that are pretty awesome to see. I like to call it “the lost coast of Laguna.”
LBM: Do you like to kayak in a single or double?
JP: Single for sure, but if I had a pretty girl to take out I would certainly opt for a double.
LBM: Any tips for people who are new to the water and want to start kayaking?
JP: Go see Billy Fried (chief paddling officer)at La Vida Laguna. He gives awesome kayak tours in north Laguna, and will teach you all of the basics to enjoy your time safely in the ocean.
LBM: Kayaks take up a lot of space, and if you are not lucky enough to have friends with kayaks that you can borrow, should people rent or own?
JP: If it’s something you look forward to doing on a regular basis then it’s time to invest and go buy one.
LBM: Besides the actual kayak, is there any other essential gear?
JP: Sunscreen for sure; water depending on how far you are planning to go; maybe a Clif bar or two; and your iPod.
LBM: Are there any cool memories you can share from being on the water?
JP: My favorite is paddling along a big pod of dolphins. They’ll swim under you and turn on their side as if they are saying hello to you—beautiful creatures!
LBM: Do you like to kayak as a workout or just for fun?
JP: Both. There’s nothing better than having fun in the ocean and getting a good workout in at the same time.
LBM: How can we do some service to our ocean while kayaking?
JP: Don’t just enjoy your time out there in the ocean. Pick up trash while you’re out. We all need to do our part.