27 Miles of Scenic Beauty
Malibu. The name inspires thoughts of beautiful people strolling along wide, sandy beaches, movie stars, mansions and the occasional wayward celebrity. With good reason, Malibu is culturally influential. Like a pebble tossed into the pond of our collective consciousness, all things Malibu have resonated through movies and TV, pop music and fashion for generations.
Malibu is a movie star, with pivotal roles in hundreds of films and television series, often stealing the show with its otherworldly beauty, laid back charm and hi-wattage charisma. It’s the place where Gidget met Moondoggie, the Beach Boys went surfin’, and countless celebrities call home. The little seaside city is unique in it’s approach to sustainable energy and organic cuisine. It is reverential to the ancient Chumash from whom it derives its name and it radiates a casual acceptance of all who reside here, from the seriously wealthy, to those who dwell in the hippy-chill neighborhoods and trailer enclaves spilled along 21 miles of majestic Malibu coastline. Though you could spend a lifetime discovering the wonders of Malibu, we’ve assembled one long summer’s day of adventures and destinations designed to illuminate and uncover that elusive vibe that is uniquely Malibu. So, grab your flip-flops and beach towel. Don’t forget the sunscreen and come along as we discover one sun-splashed a day in Malibu.
Get your day started: Legacy Park
Next stop on our day is Malibu’s award winning Legacy Park a 15-acre naturally sustainable oasis in the heart of Malibu and the centerpiece of Malibu’s commitment to stellar water quality and environmental conservation. Unconventional like all things Malibu, the park has no large expanses of lawn yet still invites visitors with a warm and graceful entrance, imaginative statues and beautifully landscaped pathways. Legacy Park incorporates six endangered habitats: vernal pools, woodlands, wetlands, coastal prairie, riparian corridors and an education center and 1.5 miles of pathways, lookouts. The park is a great place to take a moment to appreciate a tranquil getaway and a must-see for those looking for a beautiful space that include the latest innovations in storm water management and state of the art conservation technologies. The park doubles as an environmental preserve. It contains a state-of-the-art water treatment facility that cleans storm water and urban runoff that accumulates in the park, making it into an environmental cleaning machine that has eliminated the City’s stormwater pollution to Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon, and the world-famous Surfrider Beach. The park is located east of Webb Way, and between Civic Center Way on the north and PCH to the south.
Malibu Surf Shack: Paddle Out
Malibu Surf Shack is a one-stop-shop for all things surf related. Located across the street from world-famous Surfrider Beach, “The Shack” has built a stellar reputation with surfers, sports enthusiasts and beach-goers by continually providing the latest gear and apparel to an appreciative clientele of locals, tourists and celebrities from across the globe. Since 1972, the Surf Shack team has continued a tradition of top-notch service with its traditional surfing clientele, but recently shifted their emphasis based on the changing tides of consumer demand. According to Sean Weber and his wife, Leslie, who now own and operate the surfside landmark. The buzz today is all about stand up paddle boarding.
“The industry started to shift to kayaking in the ’90s,” said Weber, “and now the craze is the stand-up paddle board. Over the last few years, it’s become super-popular and we were one of the first to dive in. Now we’re known for sales, rentals, tours and even rent-to-own programs. According to Weber, getting started with a stand-up paddle board can be a bit intimidating and suggests talking with a pro with an actual shop, equipment and know-how before you begin.
Weber explains that there are different forms of paddle boarding: lakes, rivers and ocean. His first question concerns how paddlers are going to use their board. Will it be on a quiet lake or inlet or in the ocean? Will surfing be involved at any point and if so, at what level?
“Stand-up paddle boarding is a really dynamic sport that can evolve no matter what you want to do or where you want to do it and can be fun for any age including the little guys as long as they can manage a paddle,” Weber adds.
Boards come in a variety of lengths, widths and shapes. For those who are intermediate to pro, and are looking to ride in the surf, an 8-foot board allows for quicker turns and faster speeds and may be the optimum choice. Longer and wider boards offer more stability and buoyancy and are made for paddling in open areas. For a beginner, it’s advised not to jump into the sport without a little research and consultation. Better boards can start at $900 and go up to as much as $1800 on the high end. And then there is the paddle - The basic is the aluminum paddle, which runs about $130 and up. There are also super strong, lightweight carbon paddles that start around $200. An adjustable paddle is highly suggested as it can be used for multiple riders or for kids as they grow. Paddle Blades come in a variety of sizes and widths, depending on preference. Fin styles range from generic, raised, flat-water, and others; each type changes the dynamics of the board and are easily added or changed to enhance the experience on the water. Weber states in closing, “We offer hundreds of boards and provide lessons, tours, corporate events and rentals. We’ll actually get you out in the water before you even purchase a board. We’ll usually start you with something bigger, then work your way down to a smaller board as you can get the feel. You can rent different boards or even do a rent-to-own program where a percentage of all your rentals go back toward your purchase. We’ll do pretty much any and everything to get people out on the water and into the sport!”
Visit: Malibu Surf Shack
22935 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
A family owned and operated business, the Malibu Surf Shack crew is friendly and knowledgeable and very willing to share information and advice. There’s Sean and his wife Leslie, sons Zach and Sebastian (he’s the one in diapers), and Satellite and Bosco, the canine crew in charge of entertaining kids while mom and dad shop!
Drop in: Historic Surfrider Beach
Is the home of the Malibu Sport Fishing Pier and the place where surfing began on the west coast of California. With a heritage that dates back to the 1920s, when Hawaiians George Freeth and the legendary Duke Kahanamoku discovered Malibu’s long rolling point breaks, Surfrider Beach remains a year round favorite for surfers, families and sun lovers.
50 years of hands-on, open-to-the-public, organic agriculture in Malibu: Vital Zuman
Sitting along a scenic hillside in Malibu, California just off of Pacific Coast Highway is Vital Zuman Organic Farm. This working ranch, with its on-premises market, is known to locals and specialty restaurants for their amazing array of organic, certified naturally grown produce.
Vital Zuman plants, cultivates, harvests, and markets over 20 kinds of fruit, a full spectrum of both summer and winter vegetables, raw honey, and specialty items that can all be found in their folksy, trading post like store. They also offer organic specialties from neighborhood farms, keeping the shelves stocked with 100% locally grown delights. Likely the oldest continuously running organic farm market in California, Vital Zuman Farm Market dates all the way back to the ’50s. It started as a small stand at the front of the house and has since grown into a modest but thriving business where local growers can take their produce and either donate it, trade it, or sell it.
“Food has been the primary way that people have fundamentally connected with each other over the millennia,” explains Vital Zuman owner Alan Cunningham. “Having something that you grow and offering it to someone who might want or need it, and vice versa. That’s how communities have been formed. In our day we have CSAs or community supported agricultural programs, but I look at it as agriculture supporting community.” In addition to sales at their own store, the busiest of Vital Zuman’s marketing endeavors, the farm sustains itself through volunteers who help work the operation, and through a farm box program - a produce box filled with fresh local fruit and vegetables delivered weekly to specific locations. Besides helping to support local growers, a portion of the proceeds from the farm box program is donated to the other small farm operations. Local farmers markets also benefit from the crops grown nearby, as do many Malibu restaurants like Savory, Sunset and Moonshadows. Vital Zuman also supplies a lot of its rare fresh harvest produce to the raw food community at large. Cunningham explains that it all started when his family purchased the land nearly 60 years earlier. Both of his parents came from heavy agricultural backgrounds- His mother from a 300-acre farm in Minnesota. Cunningham states, “My parents had a music business in Santa Monica for over 40 years, but they never abandoned their agricultural roots, expressing them newly in Malibu.”
As a child, Cunningham remembers his family planting a lot of trees on the very hilly property to hold the slopes during heavy rainfall - And since they were planting trees, they might as well be fruit trees. By the time he was 8-9 years of age, they had done so much work as a family and things had really taken off for them growing food. He knew this needed to be and always would be a farm.
Known for many years as Fig Tree Ranch, Cunningham re-named the operation in honor of his now-late father. He explains the unique moniker as a blending of the ranch’s location so near Zuma Beach and the fact that his father was such a vital human being. He did so much for the land and the community, creating new topsoil every year with organic mulch and rototiller. So Vital Zuman seemed so very fitting. “There’s a certain fundamental that goes back to the beginning and it’s simply this: If you can’t have property, grow food and have people come to get it, what are we talking about anyway? It’s so simple and so basic that it’s confusing for some people. I think it’s because they try to see it through a manufactured business point of view, and that’s not what it is. It’s a lifestyle, a farm expression that has come out over a period of many, many years. It’s interesting that more people don’t do this yet, but I think a lot more people will,” Cunningham said.
He adds, “People always ask me if I really know how much this Malibu property is worth. Naturally I do know, yet it’s a farm and we grow food here. I know that it’s worth as much food as it can grow and the overall agricultural service-ability to the community at large. It’s worth how much it can benefit people by allowing a real farm environment for them to come to, buy organic food, volunteer, and enjoy a real organic farm expression.”
Malibu Grange is a local community highlighting the people, places and things that feed and inspire us. Defined as an association of farmers who share ideas and swap knowledge in their communities, a grange is a valuable asset to the local community. Journalist and winemaker, Sonja Magdevski, actor, Emilio Estevez, and Vital Zuman’s own Alan Cunningham, among others, founded Malibu Grange in June of 2012. Visit vitalzumanfarm.com for the complete list. If you are in the mood for some fresh organic produce, or are interested to see how the operation runs, stop by!
Vital Zuman Organic Farm
29127 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Open daily from 10am to 7pm
Chumash Cultural Village: Where Malibu Begin
The little seaside city is unique in it’s approach to sustainable energy and organic cuisine. It is reverential to the ancient Chumash from whom it derives its name and it radiates a casual acceptance of all who reside here, from the seriously wealthy, to those who dwell in the hippy-chill neighborhoods and trailer enclaves spilled along 21 miles of majestic Malibu coastline. Though you could spend a lifetime discovering the wonders of Malibu, we’ve assembled one long summer’s day of adventures and destinations designed to illuminate and uncover that elusive vibe that is uniquely Malibu. So, grab your flip-flops and beach towel. Don’t forget the sunscreen, and come along as we discover one sun-splashed a day in Malibu.
How Humaliwu became Malibu…
Malibu, Zuma, Tujunga, Hueneme. If you live or have traveled through Southern California, these are names that you’ve probably seen and wondered about. All are Native American Indian words coined by the Chumash people who lived in Malibu and along the California coast for millennia. To learn more about the original Malibu beach combers, our next stop is: Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Village. Located on four pristine acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Nicholas Canyon County Beach, the site is an authentic re-creation of a working Native American village. With replicas of Chumash dwellings called “aps,” sea worthy canoes known as “tomols,” tools, and handicrafts, in addition to performance of ceremonies, blessings, solstice and celebrations, the village offers students and the general public a unique, multi-sensory experience of a native Chumash Village.
Tours explain a typical day in a Chumash village, demonstrating how houses were built, and clothes were made and food was prepared using the available natural resources. Solstice and other celebrations are marked by ceremonies, as in ancient times; dances are performed by Dolphin Dancers from the Santa Clara Valley River Chumash Turtle Clan.
The first human inhabitants of the Channel Islands and Santa Monica Mountains areas, The Chumash numbered approximately 20,000 from Malibu in the South, to San Luis Obispo in the North.
Meet Mati Waiya: Founder & Executive Director Wishtoyo Foundation
Chumash ceremonial leader and Dolphin Dancer Mati Waiya (Little Hawk) created the Wishtoyo Foundation, a non-profit organization, in 1997. Wishtoyo is the Chumash word for rainbow, and like the legend telling of the arrival of the first Chumash settlers on a rainbow bridge from Santa Cruz Island, Wishtoyo serves as a bridge to link the people of today to their environment - the land, air and water that support and sustain them. Wishtoyo aims to preserve Chumash culture by using traditional beliefs, practices, songs, stories and dances to create self-respect and teach a greater awareness of the connection with and dependence upon the natural environment. Wishtoyo’s strong ties to environmental awareness fostered the launch in February 2001 of the Ventura Coastkeeper, 54th member of the national Waterkeeper Alliance, founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr. Mati is the first Native American to become a Keeper - an ombudsman dedicated to protecting, preserving and restoring our marine habitat, coastal waters and watersheds and to bridging the gap between pollution laws, as stated in the federal Clean Water Act, and the government’s ability to enforce them. Mati is actively involved with preservation of Chumash cultural / historical sites. He also addresses cultural resource laws protecting sensitive archaeological sites as well as endangered species and natural resources. Mati conducts Chumash ceremonies including Solstice, and continues the mission of the Wishtoyo Foundation by giving cultural presentations for schools, public events, government functions and grassroots foundations. Many of these presentations are offered at the living Chumash Village at Nicholas Canyon County Beach Park in Malibu. Programs introduce students and the public to the sights, sounds and workings of an authentic Chumash village. Mati believes education is the primary tool for a future healthy, sustainable environment, awakening a passion for our natural surroundings to be passed on for generations to come.
After a tour of the Chumash Village, Mati Waiya sat down with Health Beauty Life Magazine inside of an “ap” – an authentic replica of a Chumash dwelling, and shared his inspiring vision:
“For 10,000 years in this area, 14,000 in history, the whole coastline was dotted with Chumash villages. At every opening were the rivers and the waters. There were lagoons, estuaries and wetlands. There was an abundance of food and birds and we used to harvest from these areas. So we try to protect these areas, reminding people that there are things buried that need to be respected… the voice and the memory of our people in the heart land.” There’s a new tribe here, a new people, on this coastline where we harvest, and build our homes and raise our children. So now, we re-align ourselves, and we readjust our way of life to this modern western society, where we come together and teach about our resources, how we made our homes, to secure our families and protect us from the elements. And how important it is because we are the practitioners of nature. “When everybody starts to pray, and sing, and dance, and enjoy the beauty and the culture of our life, we can learn together. We welcome all of you to come and hear a song, a dance, a story…a connection of our life together with the land and the water, and the air. We are a human family, and we should all have the strength, and the respect and the faith to do our best, to be a good steward of this land.”
Visiting the Chumash Village
The Chumash Village is open for guided tours and presentations, by appointment. On-site cultural appreciation and environmental awareness programs are offered to elementary school students in the Los Angeles County and Ventura County School Districts. The village site is easily accessible by car from Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, with extensive public parking available. For more information on the Wishtoyo Foundation and or the Chumash Village and Cultural Center in Malibu, please visit wishtoyo.org
The Chumash Quicksilver Initiative
The Chumash people, unlike many tribes who lived inland, thrived close to the banks of the Pacific Ocean for thousands of years, dependent on the sea, wildlife and marine resources for food, medicines, clothing, shelter, tools and utensils. Quiksilver too, relies on the ocean and the natural world to thrive economically and has worked diligently through The Quiksilver Foundation, a non-profit organization, committed to benefiting and enhancing the quality of life for communities of boardriders across the world to support environmental, educational, health and youth-related projects.
Now, The Quiksilver Foundation is showing their commitment to sustainability and to the Malibu Wishtoyo Chumash Village with a generous donation and the creation of uniquely designed Chumash T-shirts made from organic cotton, and board shorts made of recycled polyester with graphics inspired by Chumash art, hieroglyphics and culture. The shorts and T’s will be available in spring 2013. Quiksilver will donate a percentage of their net profits to the Wishtoyo Chumash Village, with a donation goal of $10,000.00 for the year. For more information: quiksilverfoundation.org
Your day comes to a close: El Matador state beach
Located on the west end of Malibu, El Matador is universally regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Internationally known for its dramatic shoreline, sandstone pillars and spectacular sea caves, El Matador is the perfect spot to sun, swim, explore or experience a breath taking sunset.