Natural Born Paddler

Stella is a Natural Born Paddler


We’ve had a wonderful staycation in Malibu this summer, despite the ever-present paparazzo documenting our every move.

Our family has had so much fun playing in the ocean, catching sand crabs, taking long beach walks, boogie boarding and paddling boarding.


paddleboarding with stella


Now, I love to paddle board. So you can imagine my thrill and excitement when Stella let me take her out on my paddleboard. We cruised through the kelp forest in search of seals, stingrays, dolphins and everything in between.


We talked about everything… school, food, hair, waves, tides, swells, sharks . . . etc. We really bonded. It was great father-daughter time.


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I figured since we were having such a good time on the water, I’d just put it out there and ask her if she would be interested in taking a Stand Up Paddle board lesson (SUP). I nearly fell off my board when she emphatically bellowed, “Oh yes daddy, please, please, please!!”


The next day my buddy Mitch (pictured with Stella) from Becker surf shop came out and gave Stella a lesson. The three of us hit the beach and we were off. Mitch has been doing this for a long time, 20 some odd years, so to see the stunned look on his face when Stella just stood up on her board and started paddling away, with perfect balance, confidence and calmness, was priceless.




I was stunned as well. She was a natural. Mitch said, “She’s the best 6 year old student I’ve ever had, she’s amazing!”. Stella loved it and was stoked. She wanted to make the 3-mile paddle to Paradise Cove, have lunch and paddle back.




I now have a Paddle Board Buddy!! Now, if I can just convince Liam to get out there. I’m not sure if it’s seaweed or sharks he’s most afraid of. Hattie is too busy being a beach bunny to paddle, Jack’s not convinced he WON’T be eaten by a shark, and Finn is ready to go!! “Daddy paddle, Daddy paddle??” I think T might give me a hard time about that one…


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Our family bonfire after playing in the ocean all day

We created some amazing memories this summer. Memories that will last a lifetime, and I’m so thankful for all of it.

For those of you looking to get into paddle boarding, here are a few tips:

  • Use a reputable surf shop to help you get the right size board. (If you’re in or near Malibu go and see Mitch or Travis at Becker surf shop or Sean and Leslie at The Malibu Surf Shop).
  • Take a lesson. You’ll only need 1 or 2.
  • Get out in the water before noon. The surf tends to get rougher in the afternoon.
  • Remain calm and breath. A tense paddler will always fall off their board.
  • Never look down at the tip of your board. You’ll fall. Look out at the ocean in the direction you’re going.
  • When your paddle is in the water it provides stability. If you experience rough water or large swells, just paddle more.
  • If you feel like you’re going to lose your balance and fall, kneel down on your board. It lowers your center of gravity and provides stability.
  • Always use a leash on your board. If you do fall in (which is really no big deal) you’re attached to a 9 foot flotation device (your board!)
  • Relax and enjoy the view above, and also below the surface.  It’s a great stress reliever.


How has your summer been? Tell me all about it in the comments.


  • Suzanne Baldyga

    My summer has been full of studying. I am attending American Public University online and have classes all summer. In addition to that, I did get to spend two weekends this summer doing what I love best trying to get autographs. NASCAR was in town twice this summer and my friends and I welcome the drivers when they fly in. My family and I did not get out on vacation this year but we had fun just being at home and working in the garden. Plus we have lots of animals to take care of (we give you and Tori a run for your money with pets). It was great to see all the fun you have been having this summer.

  • Rach72

    This summer flew by in Ontario! My two boys were in soccer as well as different camps every other week. We were blessed with many cottage visits and fire filled nights. Two weddings in the family as well. Hubby and I had our “adult” cottage weekend and reverted to 19 yr olds for a few days…..dont bounce back as well as we used to! Need comforts of home to function! Lol! Family, friends and summer…..all good! Bring on fall! (leaves changing already, near Algonquin! )

  • Dina Fish

    Summer was going well for me and my family until we all found out that my father-in-law is dying of cancer. We found out on August 18th, not the best way to end the summer.

  • jlo1965

    I love Malibu.

  • NotfromtheSouth

    I live in Pinehurst, NC and we hosted the back to back Men and Women’s US Open for golf. It was an exciting time for our town. But, no Paparazzi here! LOL. You would have blended right in. Anyway, great family photos and blog. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

  • Sharon

    So good to see you lovely family happy!

  • marie-line MARRA

    so kind and adorable familly, great pics, thank – you so much for the share enjoy ,

  • Rhey Moses

    Aww this is so sweet, I’m so happy for you Dean, I love seeing you doing so well with yourself , tori , and the kids , keep it Up, Praying for You ❤


  • Debbieelaine Deb

    That is so wonderful. I am so happy for u an ur family

  • Nichole

    Sounds like a perfect summer! We bought a trailer, so we spent a lot of time camping with our kids too.I’m sure you and Tori would agree,any time spent as a family and with our kids,is priceless! All the best to you and your beautiful family!
    Nichole (Niagara, Canada)

  • Casey York

    awesome , happy joy! this is love and family… most happy for you!

  • Kris

    You and Tori are freakin’ awesome! Sounds like a great summer (minus the dreaded paparazzo) you’ve had with your family… precious memories!! We aren’t able to take our vacation until the end of September, but are hoping for a great week at the beach when do finally go! Money is so tight we haven’t had a vaca in a few years, and even this year we won’t be able to do anything AT the beach, but at least we are able go away!! Can’t wait for our own beach memories!! By the way, congrats to you on your sobriety and your happiness with your family! Good for you both for making it work!! Best of luck to you all…. HUGS!