From oceanfront gatherings in Newport Beach to water rides at Anaheim’s Knott’s Berry Farm, Orange County offers a diverse array of opportunities for planners interested in providing memorable off-session experiences for attendees.
In Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, is Banzai Surf School (714.499.3315; www.banzaisurfschool.com), which accommodates groups of up to 40 people.
“Lessons include surfboards, wetsuits and all the sand they can eat,” jokes owner Jaz Kaner, adding that packages can also include take-home photos and professionally produced videos.
Kaner says group events work best during the autumn months, when the water is still warm and the crowds have gone home.
“The Banzai crew can help to form competitive teams and engage a local restaurant for the evening’s post-surf mock awards show,” he says. “The surfing experience moves staff far from their office comfort zones, and opens new channels of communication among associates. Surfing transforms people.”
Quite the opposite of surfing lessons is Buena Park-based Pirate’s Dinner Adventure (714.690.1497; www.piratesdinneradventure.com), a delicious spectator sport.
“You will feast around our replicated Spanish-style galleon surrounded by 250,000 gallons of water,” says Suzanne Signoretti, corporate sales manager at the interactive dinner show. “Guests are entertained with an astonishing display of special effects, aerial artistry, swashbuckling swordplay and dynamic duels, with a classic story of good versus evil.”
There are also built-in opportunities for team building.
“Our arena has six different sections where you compete throughout the show with other groups,” Signoretti says.
Entree options include rotisserie chicken, barbecued pork loin and vegetarian lasagna, and there is space available for private functions before or after the show.
In Dana Point, considered the Whale Capital of the West, is Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching (949.496.5794; www.danawharf.com).
“Dana Point is located in a super ‘Whale Highway’ and it’s not uncommon to see whales at our famous Headlands landmark,” says Donna Kalez, the company’s general manager, adding that dolphins and sea lions are also often spotted on trips. “While the whales are the focus, the scenery of the Dana Point coastline always leaves groups wishing they had more time on the water.”
For a more hands-on outing, Kalez adds, sportfishing trips are great team-builders.
“They can compete for how many fish they can catch and release, who catches the smallest fish and who catches the non-fish, like a rock or kelp or a crab. Everything is given a point system and then the team winner is awarded a prize,” she says.