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Finding new ways to exercise

Fusion Academy and Learning Center incorporates surfing, paddleboarding and other activities as part of its physical education program.

August 03, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com
  • Fusion Academy and Learning Center students are taking up paddleboarding for physical activity at the Huntington Habour.
Fusion Academy and Learning Center students are taking…

Before Monday, 16-year-old Fusion Academy and Learning Center student Mario Tascon had never done surfing or paddleboarding.

The day after, he felt it in his arms and said he couldn't think of anything else to do to exercise his upper body.

"It's fun because you get to talk with the teacher and you get to learn things you never knew before," said Mario, who plans to continue paddleboarding.

It's what students at the Huntington Beach school are doing for physical activities, as Will Adams, a Spanish and physical education teacher at Fusion, began incorporating his love of surfing into the classroom this week.

Long gone are the days when football, baseball and other team sports are the dominating activities at school, Adams said.

In fact, not only do activities like surfing, skating and snowboarding keep the students active, they also teach them new skills.

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"It's so much more of an individual's sport," Adams said. "You can be creative, you can come up with your own style, and you're not relying on another person to tell you, 'You have to do it this way and that way.'"

For Fusion, an alternative education school that enrolls fewer students, which allows teachers to work with students on a one-on-one basis, this works.

"It's great for kids because, this way, they'll be able to develop their own skills and practice that type of sport whenever they want to," Adams said. "They don't have to rely on 10 other people to show up to do it."

Adams, who has a second job coaching surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding, decided to take his summer students to Huntington Harbour to do stand-up paddleboarding, which is standing on the board in slower water and paddling.

Adams plans to take the students to Huntington Harbour each day this week, and if it works, he plans to put together a program so all Fusion students get exposed to the activity all year long.

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