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Our goal at Ocean Academy is to educate and encourage as you create lasting memories and build confidence in the water. Join us for a day of fun on the ocean.

Our Approach

We believe in excellence. Ocean Academy delivers on its promise of better experiences on the water from our world-class instructors to creating a safe, convenient, and comfortable experience for our clients.

First and foremost, we are safety conscious. Your positive water time starts with feeling safe, comfortable, and confident that we’ve got you. You can trust us from there.

Now, let’s focus on you and your goals. We are here to serve you and your needs in a way that fits your skill level and desired outcomes.


Candice Appleby

At Ocean Academy we believe in creating positive experiences on the ocean through expert instruction and encouragement. From her years of experience as a champion athlete, our founder Candice Appleby is passionate about passing on the knowledge she has gained to help others build a confident lasting relationship with the ocean.

Renowned waterwoman Candice Appleby began surfing at the age of nine and competing at age ten. As the captain of her high school surf team, she led San Clemente High to four consecutive national titles. She went on to obtain her degree at the University of Hawaii and pursue surfing full force. In 2006, she decided to give standup paddle surfing a try. And with her amazing fitness level and surfing background, Candice was soon competing again – and beating – men in SUP racing and surfing. In 2008, at the Duke Kahanamoku Oceanfest, Candice became the first and only woman to beat men in a professional SUP surfing event, winning both the women’s and Open Pro divisions. She claimed victory six times at Battle of the Paddle and thrice after it became the Pacific Paddle Games —an event long considered the World Championship or “Superbowl” of SUP. She’s also been the #1 Female SUP Athlete of the Year three times, APP World Tour Champion in 2015, and has collected four gold medals for the United States over an international field at the ISA World Championships in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Candice qualified for the 2019 Pan-American Games and represented Team USA in SUP Surfing and Technical racing, taking home a silver medal in SUP Technical racing, and is the USA SUP Team’s Team Manager.

Beyond her skills as an athlete, Candice has been a dedicated coach to several athletes for many years. She has taught surfing for over 20 years and standup paddling for more than a decade. Her standup paddle coaching began in 2009 as SUP fitness trainer for the sports very first training club Paddle Core Fitness on the South Shore of Oahu. In 2012 she co-founded Performance Paddling alongside Anthony Vela, coaching a Junior National Team of the USA’s top young SUP athletes. Then in 2015, she co-founded the Performance Paddling Adult SUP Training Club that is still active today. Candice has taught standup paddling clinics all over the world and trained other athletes to champion titles. Ocean Academy was born from her years of experience as an athlete and a love for encouraging others on the water.

Today, Candice Appleby is known as a pioneer of SUP and also its foremost champion. ESPN W calls her “Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Brittney Griner, and Danica Patrick all rolled into one. She’s talented, fiercely competitive, tremendously well-respected, and a true ambassador of the sport.”

What Our Clients Say:

Mike Fox

61, Sup & Kayak Tour Owner
Beaufort, South Carolina

“I flew across the country to train under Candice for one-on-one sessions for several days.

I knew after our first session that my technique was improved, and after the second session, vastly improved.

She went out of her way to provide a great week of thorough instruction.”

Kimberly Maxson

50, Court Reporter
Trabuco Canyon, California

“I have been taking paddleboard lessons with Candice for the last few months. It has been an amazing transformative experience.

Not only has she taught me technique, she has managed to challenge my limits in ways I could never have on my own.”

Nazy Curtis

Founder of Newport Hairloss Center
Newport Beach, California

“Since training with Candice my confidence in the ocean has improved immensely.

During our early days of training, being in open water was a big fear of mine, but with each session, I see great improvement with my paddle technique, endurance, and confidence in the open ocean.”

Michelle Everett

Mom of 3 & Senior Analyst at GAO
Orange, California

“Candice Appleby and her team at Ocean Academy are ocean experts and awesome teachers!

My husband and I wanted to take paddleboard lessons to do something fun and active with our three kids (ages 10, 8, and 7) during COVID. Candice was recommended to us and we quickly set-up a time to meet at Dana Point Harbor. From the moment we met her and her team at our first group lesson, we knew we found something special.

Candice is a natural teacher—positive, attentive, and encouraging. She has a passion for the water and her expertise is second to none. From the sand lesson to learn proper paddling form to “shooting the pier,” we felt like pros after our four lessons. Even our kids, who had only been on a board a few times before, loved it!

I was so inspired by our time I scheduled private lessons for myself. Candice gave me the confidence to paddle around the Harbor. She challenged me to do my best. Candice also taught a group lesson for me and a few friends to celebrate my birthday. Everyone had a blast and kept thanking me for the gift of such a fun experience, which I owe to Candice. Candice and her team are a gift. She is amazing and I’m grateful God crossed our paths!”

Sarah Filion

49, Attorney
San Clemente, California

“Candice is an incredibly skilled instructor and a very encouraging and inspiring coach. How often do you get to learn from a world-class athlete who somehow manages never to make you feel silly?

Candice has been providing both private coaching and personalized training plan services to me for well over a year now.

While my original intention was limited to a few introductory sessions, I get such an enormous benefit out of the coaching that here I am, more than 60 weekly sessions later, still learning and getting great value out of EVERY session.

Having started with some pretty modest goals, working with Candice has really developed my interest and dedication to the sport. The personalized training plans (with which I also surprised myself) have been a huge complementary benefit – Candice makes them easy to execute, and they add structure to my workouts and are a great motivator!

I feel fortunate to have such a great coaching resource so accessible and highly recommend Candice’s services to all paddlers who want to improve, regardless of goals, skills or experience level.”

Margaret Stewart

62, Professional Engineer
Mission Viejo, California

“I started training with Candice just over a year ago. I have private coaching sessions with her, as well as a monthly training plan that provides me daily workouts to do and gives her good feedback on my progression.

Since working with her, my strength and balance have improved immensely. My speed, paddle cadence, and board footwork mastery have also been enhanced with Candice’s true hands-on approach and observational talent.

Candice has the ability to pull out the fierce competitor in me, but knows well when to adjust her approach for differing needs I might have.

Based on everything I have learned and continue to practice, I can’t wait for a true racing season to start again! Thank you Candice for all your help and support!”

Ray Zadjmool

Dad of 3 & CEO of Tevora
San Juan Capistrano, California

“Candice taught my three children to surf and takes our entire family on standup paddleboarding adventures almost every weekend.

She makes paddleboarding safe convenient for our family, and the experiences we share are priceless.”

Barrie Williams

Mission Viejo, California

“Candice, thanks for showing this old dog some new tricks!

You are a phenomenal athlete and coach and have taught me so much while keeping it fun.”

Things to Know (FAQ’s)

Where do the lessons take place?
Most standup paddle and prone paddleboarding lessons launch off of the calm waters of Baby Beach at the Dana Point Harbor. Depending on your skill level and goals, sessions may also occur at other San Clemente and Dana Point launching points.

Is standup paddleboarding hard to learn?
Standup paddling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world because almost everyone can do it. You can be an experienced waterman or someone who never played a sport in your life and have fun paddleboarding. With the proper equipment and experienced instruction, paddleboarding is simple and fun.

What do I wear?
Typically whatever active attire you would wear to go on a jog or hike for the weather that day would be suitable for paddling. You can always paddle in a swimsuit or board shorts as well. Make sure you wear sun protection via a hat, sunglasses (with strap), and sunscreen. For winter sessions, booties are great to keep the toes warm.

How long is the session?
Most sessions are 90 minutes in length, including 10-30 minutes of on-land instruction and warm-up before entering the water. Make sure to show up a few minutes early to find parking. Your session starts at the time of your reservation.

Will I fall in the water?
Standup paddling is a water sport, so it’s possible that you could get wet. However, beginning lessons start in calm waters on large stable boards, so most people don’t fall in. As you excel and push your skills with technical coaching, Coach Candice always says, “Don’t be afraid to get wet. It means you’re trying.”

Cancellation Policy
– If weather conditions are unsafe, the instructor may cancel the session at any time for a 100% refund.
– Non-emergency cancellations with less than 48hr notice are non-refundable.
– Cancellations made 1week-49hrs in advance will receive a 50% refund.
– We do not cancel for light rain.

Contact Us

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Or, just shoot us a note to let us know how much you enjoyed your Ocean Academy experience.