I have a fear of heights.
That shouldn’t surprise most people, as it is a common fear. I live in the Channel Islands Harbor, so when I saw a person parasailing one weekend from my balcony, I knew I had to conquer my fear and give it a shot.
Dave Vogt, a resident of Oxnard, opened Channel Islands Parasail in November. He grew up around parasailing in Oahu, Hawaii, and has been an operator in the business for almost nine years. He has parasailed more than 100,000 people in places like Lake Tahoe, Catalina Island and Daytona Beach, Florida. Vogt also told me that the next nearest parasailing businesses were in Marina Del Rey and Lake Tahoe; we’re lucky to have it in this county now.
“It’s fun to see people enjoy themselves,” Vogt said.
Channel Islands Parasail offers three experiences: 600 feet, 800 feet and 1,000 feet. Vogt told me that practically everybody does the 1,000-foot experience and advised me to have at least one other person do it with me “to feel more at ease,” so I brought my best friend, Ana, along. He also told us to wear whatever we wanted and that most people go barefoot. Bringing personal items such as a camera or cell phone are at the person’s own discretion.
“You guys will be up in the air for 10 to 13 minutes, it’ll be great,” Vogt said. “The coast line is beautiful with the water.”
We left the Marine Emporium Landing and headed towards the ocean. The winds that day were west-northwest at 10 mph, a perfect day for parasailing. (Vogt told me winds under 20 mph are ideal.) Nate Warren, Vogt’s first mate, helped Ana and I put on our harnesses and lifejackets (yes, please!) as Vogt explained that a hydraulic winch system with 1,000 feet of line would launch and retrieve us.
As if going up 1,000 feet wasn’t enough for me, I told him I get seasick easily.
“We won’t be out long enough for you to get seasick,” Vogt assured me.
“Don’t worry about it, don’t think about it, have fun!”
Helpful instructions! As Vogt sped up the boat, Warren helped Ana and I come to the back, told us to sit down and attached us onto the parasail.
“I’ll let you know when you are coming back in if you should be standing or sitting,” Warren said.
Here we go, I thought. I was feeling excited yet nervous with sweaty palms. Ana and I looked at each other, held our breath and off we went into the air. “Oh my god” went through my head a million times.
It was exhilarating and a bird’s-eye view flying over the Pacific Ocean observing Ventura County. I felt proud to live in such a majestic place. Ana and I let out gleeful screams as the line took us higher and higher. I felt a sense of peace and happiness come over me as we made a turn over the ocean.
On the way down, Warren told us to come in sitting and helped us remove our harness and lifejackets as we headed back into the harbor.
“How was it?” Vogt asked.
I smiled. “Best thing I have ever done,” I said.
Channel Islands Parasail is located at 3600 Harbor Blvd. in Oxnard. Prices are $69 for 600 feet, $79 for 800 feet and $89 for 1,000 feet. For more information or to book an adventure, call 805-462-7696 or visit www.channelislandsparasail.com.