1. Surf - In front of the Venice pavilion just south of the jetty. I'd advice using the long boards since it doesn't get too radical here and you'd have a better time with it. SM lifeguard #26 & 25 is good on 'shorties' early in the AM.
If hitting the ocean is a first, I'd suggest you grab a hold of a boogie board and get a feel of 'catching' a few sets and experience getting tumbled in a 'washing cycle' first. This way you it'll be much easier for you to know how to 'paddle with the waves' when you get on a surfboard.
As with any other spots in the world, surfing is a society. Most surfers can be territorial with their spots. Consult the locals where the bounds are, this way you mix it up with the waves not the locals.
Good spots are at Topanga Canyon and The County Line on the north - Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach to the south.
2. Skimboarding. It's available and loads of fun. But I'll throw you a caution - if you don't have a sense of balance, you may want to consider playing beach volleyball instead because this can ge pretty bad.
3. Kite surfing. Unfortunately, you'll have to go to Malibu for this. They get a pretty good run on offshores winds up there and you can really get down and serious. It is the only place allowed to do this within a 30 miles radius from MDR/SM.
The spot is on the northside of the Malibu Pier. I suggest that if you want to embark in doing this that you already know the basics of kite-surfing, or at the very least learned how to 'ground handle' the kite. It can get pretty hairy out on the water if you don't. They don't rent out the gear as of right now. But if you're in town a while and would like to take lessons, there's a surf shop south of the pier that will be happy to accomodate you.
4. Windsurfing lesson are given in the harbor of the Marina (in front of Cheesecake Factory). If you're proficient, they will alow you to windsurf though the harbor. There are also a few strips along PCH, between SM and Malibu where you can tackle up and shoot a few alleys.
Anything with 'balls'
1. Paddle tennis is played on the strand of Venice.
2. You want to play hoops? You can get a pretty good workout at Venice's center courts. Some of these guys are practically semi-pros.
3. There seem to be hundreds of Beach Volleyball courts all over the beaches. Bring your own ball and a few friends and enjoy.
4. This seem silly since we're on the subject of balls, but since its literally tropical and we don't get snow/ice; so you can don your rollerblades and play street hockey. They play a pretty good game on the parking lot of SM about 1/2 miles up from Venice beach. They use tennis balls.
5. Tennis courts are available to the public just about at any park you see.
Sports for normal people
There are bikepaths that spans from north of Malibu all the way down to San Diego (seems like it anyway). Whether you're a serious rider, or are just out cruising, it is the 'best' way to gather and soak up the are.
1. Road Racing/Riders - PCH can be fun and exhilirating. Either straight up the coast, or streets that crosses PCH. Malibu Canyon, Topanga Canyon are streets the cuts up the mountain and the terrain can be fairly challenging. But please hug the sidelines. You are sharing the road with automobiles.
2. Off Road/Mountain biking. The Santa Monica Mountains have endless of trails that stretches all the way to Hollywood/Malibu. Please get a map to plot out your trails and emergency depots. Sport Chalet in MDR have these informations. This is strongly recommended.
Brought your golfbag with you? No problem. The greater Los Angeles area have over 200 golf courses that'll cure this disease. And that's not even counting Palm Springs, which have almost 90 courses of their own.
Unless you're a member on some of the private clubs, I will suggest the folloiwng courses for you to play (public and semi-private) in order of *my* preference.
All points related to from MDR
*Impeccable and challenging*
1. Robinson's Ranch (Sta. Clarita - 40 miles north) $100-130.00 Weekdays/Weekends.
2. Lost Canyons (Simi Valley - 35 miles NE) $100-$130.00 WD/WK
3. Malibu Country Club (Malibu 25 miles N) $75.00-$95.00 WD/WK
4. Black Gold (Yorba Linda 40 miles E) Call for green fees.
5. Pelican Hill (Newport Beach - 45 miles S)6. Industry Hills - (Industry 30 miles E) Call for green fees.
*Great public courses-but heavy on the traffic*
1. Los Verdes (Palos Verdes 30 miles S) +/- $45.00
2. Rancho (W. L.A. - 5 miles E) +/- $60.00
3. Brookside (Pasadena - 20 miles NE)
*A Steal and a deal*
1. Cascades (Sylmar - 20 miles N) +/- $70.00
1. Penmar Executive 9-holes (SM) $15.00
2. Westchester Executive 15 holes (Westchester - 5 miles S) $22.00
3. The Lakes Par-3 9-holes +/- $15.00
1. The Riviera - Pacific Palisades
2. Los Angeles CC - Bel-Air
3. Brentwood CC - Brentwood
4. Hillcrest CC - Beverly Hills
There's 4 areas I know that you can enjoy galloping on...
1. Western - Saddleback Ranch - Malibu
This is a ranch that also welcomes day riders. They even serve sunset horseback riding with dinner up on the top of SM mountain.
2. Western-Euro - Palos Verdes (25 miles S)
3. Western - Euro - Will Rogers Park, Pacific Palisades. Please inquire. I'm not sure if they actually rent horses or not, but they're heavily into equestrian and also plays polo.
4. Western - Griffith Park (30 miles E)
Fly like an eagle
Hang-gliding lessons are offered in El Segundo, a stretch of beach on the southside of MDR. The company is located in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley) - :-))) I forgot the name but stay tuned and I'll make sure to post this soon as I remember - sorry :(
They also offer a one-day tandem for the curiously-daring in Sylmar that jumps off a 900 foot cliff. Controls are left for you to maneuver, but your guide is there to assist if needed. After all, you're both in it together.
Scuba diving are available. Sport Chalet have a pre-arranged trips that takes you out in the open ocean or out to Catalina Islands (due SE - 30 miles). Private companies offer these trips but at a sligthly higher rates.
Certification is required. If you're not certified unfortunately you may have to either go to Hawaii/Mexico, or spend a 6 week certification training :-(((