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Family Values: Come Sail Away

Learn to surf. Take to the water in a kayak. It's all at one of UCLA's most delightful hidden treasures, the Marina Aquatic Center.


By Wendy Soderburg '82

Published Jul 1, 2007 8:00 AM

Tucked Away in beautiful Marina del Rey, behind the Villa Venetia apartments at the end of Fiji Way, is one of UCLA's most enjoyable hidden treasures — the Marina Aquatic Center (MAC). Located just 10 miles from campus, the oceanside recreation facility is not only home to the UCLA rowing and sailing teams, it's also the perfect spot to bring the family for a wide variety of water sports, including sailing, rowing, kayaking, surfing and windsurfing.

Imagine learning to sail using one of the center's tiny white dinghies or 16-foot Hobie catamarans in Marina del Rey's glistening, man-made harbor. Or renting one of the many neon-colored, "sit-on-top" kayaks, which require no prior experience — just the ability to swim. There are also surfing lessons at Venice Beach and windsurfing lessons at Cabrillo Beach, all available from the MAC. Any equipment you might need — boats, paddles, surfboards, life jackets, wet suits and helmets — is included in rental/class prices.

Yet even with this abundance of riches, "Many people don't know about us. They see the word 'aquatic' and automatically think 'pool,' not 'boating,' " says Erinn McMahan, director of the MAC and former coach of the UCLA men's rowing team. "Still others think you have to be a UCLA student to use the facility."

Courtesy of UCLA Recreation

Not so. The friendly staff at the MAC are more than happy to educate you about the center's offerings, which are available not only to UCLA students, but to UCLA Recreation members (Tier One); UCLA faculty, staff, Alumni Association members, other college students and Marina Passport holders (Tier Two); and community affiliates (Tier Three). Class prices differ depending on which tier you're in; for example, a beginning sailing class can cost $95, $125 or $165.

"The majority of our clientele have never done these water sports before," says McMahan, who points out that boating and water safety instruction is included in all classes. "You don't need pre-existing skills. After all, in the beginning, nobody knows what they're doing!"

UCLA Marina Aquatic Center. 14001 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. For more information, call (310) 823-0048 or log on to



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