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Paddleboarding in Mission Beach + “Paddle” Idioms

August 28, 2016

“Always behave like a duck. Keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like hell underwater.”

Paddleboarding in Mission Beach + "Paddle" Idioms

San Diego is a dream for water sports lovers: the warm weather makes it possible to enjoy the water longer than other parts of the U.S., and the city’s many beaches provide the perfect places to surf, bodysurf, kayak, swim, snorkel, kitesurf, and sail! (Don’t know all of those vocabulary words? Check out our article on Beach Vocabulary and Activities to learn more!)

Stand up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) is a Hawaiian sport that has become popular for many San Diegans. With this fun water activity, you stand on a large flat board and use a paddle to move. Many variations have been created, like SUP yoga, SUP while surfing small waves, and SUP with fishing. Creative!

Paddleboarding in Mission Beach

Mission Bay is an excellent place to try SUP: the protected waters of the bay are calmer than other areas. Rent a paddleboard at one of the local shops and give it a try! (Click on this link for a list of all the places you can rent SUPs in Mission Beach and Mission Bay.)

Paddleboarding in Mission Beach + "Paddle" Idioms

English Expressions with “Paddle”

Before trying SUP, check out these idioms with “paddle.”

Paddle one’s own canoe

Definition: To be independent and self-sufficient.

Example: After a month of training, it’s time for you to paddle your own canoe. Good luck!

Doggy paddle

Definition: An elementary swimming stroke in which the swimmer uses his/her hands to swim in a manner resembling a swimming dog.

Example: Last year I could only doggy paddle: this year, I can finally swim!

Example: The kids can doggy paddle, but they can’t really swim.

Up the creek without a paddle

Definition: To be in a difficult situation with no apparent solution.

Example: I lost my cell phone and my wallet, and I was in a strange part of town. I was up the creek without a paddle.

Example: When the presentation began, his computer froze. He was up the creek without a paddle!

Note: this expression can be shortened to “up the creek.”

Example: You’re going to be up the creek if you don’t start saving your money now!

Keep (on) paddling

Definition: To continue something that is difficult; to persevere and not give up.

Example: I know studying for this test is hard. You just have to keep on paddling. You’ll pass!

Example: It took weeks to finish the project. They just kept on paddling, and eventually, they finished.


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The best SD Instagram accounts to follow + hashtag vocab

August 9, 2016

“Nowadays, social media is the easiest place to go to find something.” -David Nail

Instagram isn’t just the place to post the perfect selfie: it’s an excellent tool for finding out what’s going on in your community! Check out these awesome Instagram accounts based in San Diego and enjoy the travel tips, restaurant recommendations, and (of course) the beautiful San Diego sunset photos that every SD IG account must have.

The best SD Instagram accounts to follow



Why we love this IG account:

Sandiego_ca does an excellent job of showing photos from San Diego’s many beautiful regions. Sunset and beach photos are of course included, but they’re alongside photos of beautiful natural scenery, baseball games, local events, and local culture (such as the craft beer trend in SD). When you browse this account, you get an excellent feel for the lifestyle and culture of sunny San Diego.




But, of course, you get a few of these gorgeous shots as well!


Why we love this IG account:

Professional photographer and surfer Ronald Hons captures beautiful images of what makes San Diego special: the Pacific Ocean and Southern California’s surfer culture. His photos inside waves will take your breath away!





Why we love this IG account:

Want to know what’s happening in San Diego? Visitsandiego‘s IG account is where you need to go! Find out about upcoming events, the most beautiful locations to visit, and the coolest things to do (and, of course, enjoy a sunset photo or two!).




Why we love this account:

San Diego’s Little Italy has been voted the best Little Italy in the U.S., and it’s no wonder why: this beautiful neighborhood’s restaurants, incredible architecture, and plethora of events and festivals will make you never want to leave!



Did we mention there are puppies? There is even a “Dogs of Little Italy” calendar published each year!


Check out the Little Italy Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday!


Why we love this IG account:

There are plenty of food accounts based in San Diego, but this relatively new account does an excellent job of showcasing food items we don’t normally see in SD. This account is a great resource when you’re trying to plan your next meal in San Diego!


Plus, of course, it has plenty of taco photos.

Popular Hashtag Vocabulary

The following hashtags are some of the most popular in the Instagram community. Do you know what they mean?


IGERS means “Instagram users.” It’s often combined with the location of the users, such as #igersd or #igerscalifornia. Should we begin an #igersCISL hashtag?


Adding the word “insta” to other words is common in the world of hashtags. The #instagood can be applied to practically anything that is positive, so it’s no wonder that it’s so popular!


The same applies for #instamood: whether we are in a good mood, a bad mood, or any other mood in between, we can use this hashtag. What’s your #instamood today?


If it’s not cool, it’s probably not on Instagram! Therefore, this hashtag is incredibly popular. What’s #instacool to you in San Diego?


Are you a part of the #IGERS community? Find us on Instagram and join ours! #CISLSanDiego #CISLSanFrancisco

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“Heat” Expressions in English + Water Parks in California

August 1, 2016

"Heat" Expressions in English + Water Parks in California

The weather is heating up, but in California there are plenty of places to cool off! In addition to exploring California’s many beautiful beaches, lakes, and rivers, CISL students have the option of enjoying some of the world’s best water parks. Check them out: but first, learn some expressions with “heat!”

Expressions with “Heat”

In the heat of the moment

Definition: Doing something quickly and without thinking, usually because you are overcome with anger or excitement.

Example: In the heat of the moment I said some things I regret.

Example: I forgot my phone was in my pocket, and in the heat of the moment I just jumped into the pool! Oops.

Take the heat (for something)

Definition: To take the blame or criticism for something.

Example: I broke the window, but my brother took the heat for me.

In a dead heat

Definition: Tied while in competition; neither side seems to be the winner.

Example: Right now both Olympic teams are in a dead heat for the gold medal.

Example: The horses were in a dead heat until the very last seconds of the race!

Turn up the heat

Definition: Increase the pressure to do something or complete something.

Example: Production is low, so we have to turn up the heat and get the workers to perform better.

Example: She really turned up the heat in our exercise class today! I’m exhausted!

Beat the heat

Definition: To escape the heat and cool off.

Example: We would beat the heat in the summer by going to the local pool.

Example: I beat the heat in the summer by sipping on cold drinks.

Grammar Quiz

You just learned some new expressions with the word “heat,” but can you use them properly? Check out the following sentences and decide which ones have mistakes with the expressions and which ones don’t. The answers are at the bottom of this post.

  1. It was in the heat of the moment that I decided to buy a ticket and fly to Italy.
  2. This summer we have beated the heat by staying at the pool every afternoon.
  3. It looks like the two teams are in dead heat.
  4. I need you to turn up the heat on Tim so that he sells more this month.
  5. Who is going to take the heat by this failed project?

Water Parks in California

How do you beat the heat in the summer? We suggest checking out some of these spectacular water parks in California!

"Heat" Expressions in English + Water Parks in California

Waterworld (Concord, Bay Area)

Bay Area’s most popular water park just might be Waterworld: it has more water slides than any other park in Northern California! It has some of the scariest water slides, which makes this park a dream for the adventure-seeker!

1950 Waterworld Pkwy
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 609-1364

Waterfront Park (Little Italy, San Diego)

One of the newest additions to the Embarcadero on San Diego Bay is the beautiful Waterfront Park. Have a picnic on the grass while looking at the boats and cruise ships on the Bay, or jump into some of the water fountains and cool off!

1600 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 232-7275


Belmont Park’s Wave House (Mission Beach, San Diego)

"Heat" Expressions in English + Water Parks in California

We’ve often written about Mission Beach’s Belmont Park and Wave House: it’s a favorite for CISL students! Sip on some cool drinks, take a dip in the ocean, attend one of the concerts or events, or try to surf on the artificial wave maker. There’s always something fun to do at the Wave House!

3125 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 228-9283

Sea World’s Aquatica (Chula Vista, San Diego)

Sea World is known for its marine life and animal shows, but there’s something new to check out: its awesome water park! Formerly called Knott’s Soak City, the new Aquatica is entirely renovated and is now a summer “must” for San Diegans. Swim in the pools, take a ride down the lazy river . . . or get crazy and try one of the intense water slides!

2052 Entertainment Cir.
Chula Vista, CA 91911
(800) 257-4268

Quiz Answers

How did you do on our little quiz? See if you found all of the grammatical errors for our expressions with “heat.”

  1. It was in the heat of the moment that I decided to buy a ticket and fly to Italy. Correct! (Note: you could also remove “that” from the sentence: click here to learn about Relative Clauses.)
  2. This summer we have beated the heat by staying at the pool every afternoon. Incorrect: “beated” is an incorrect past participle of “beat.” The tense, the Present Perfect, is correct: click here to learn more about the Present Perfect.
  3. It looks like the two teams are in (a) dead heat. Incorrect. You are in A dead heat because “heat” is a noun.
  4. I need you to turn up the heat on Tim so that he sells more this month. Correct! In this case, Tim works in sales and needs to improve his earnings.
  5. Who is going to take the heat by (for/on/with/regarding) this failed project? Incorrect: we must use one of the words given (for, on, with, regarding) and we cannot use “by.”
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California Surfer Slang for English Students

July 27, 2016

If you’re in California studying English, one thing is certain to happen: you’ll pick up some California slang!

Not surprisingly, a lot of California slang has its roots in the surfing culture. Below are some words often used by surfers, but you don’t have to be a surfer to use these slang words; in fact, many are commonly used by Californians. In the cases when a word is used both by surfers and the land-loving populations, we have included both definitions. 


Surfer Slang (used by everyone)

Generation definition: Having an aggressive attitude; having a bad attitude.

Example: You are such an aggro driver. 

Surfer definition: Being aggressive in the water

Example: He became really aggro when he was stuck in traffic.

General definition: Getting excited about something.

Example: I’m amped about tomorrow’s test because I studied really hard for it. 

Surfer definition: Getting excited to surf.

Example: I’m so amped for our trip to Las Vegas!

Generation definition: To leave.

Example: I’m tired. Do you want to bail? (from a place, such as a party)

Surfer definition: to jump of the surfboard in order to avoid being thrown off because of a wave.

Example: He bailed in the middle of the wave. 


Surfer Slang (used only by surfers)

General definition: the purple dinosaur on a children’s show.

Surfer definition: An inexperienced surfer.

Example: I was a total barney for the first year, so don’t give up when you first try surfing!

Beach Leech
General definition: There isn’t one! This is entirely a surfer term.

Surfer definition: A person who doesn’t bring their own supplies to the beach and borrows (leeches) yours.

Example: Your roommate is such a beach leech. I don’t have any sunscreen anymore because he used all of mine.

Generation definition: a name for a male.

Surfer definition: A non local.

Example: There were a bunch of bennies at the beach this morning.


To learn some more California slang, check out some of our other articles on the subject:

And be sure to check out our articles on surfing in California!

Would you like to learn some more surfer slang? Check out this article from Surfing Waves about “surf speak.”

Photos from Shutterstock. 

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San Diego’s Comic-Con + Onomatopoeia

July 24, 2016

If you’re a San Diegan, you know that July means more than just summer and beaches: it’s the month of ComicCon!

What is ComicCon? This convention, held at the Downtown San Diego Convention Center, is the largest and most exciting convention of the year. Celebrities and fans come from all over the world to celebrate all things comic: from the books to the movies we all love!


To celebrate, we are looking at something classically comic: onomatopoeia. This long (originally Greek) word is for words that sounds like the sound they describe. Examples include animal noises (“oink” for a pig, “meow” for a cat, and “chirp” for a bird), for the sounds of machines (“honk” or “beep-beep” for car horns or “vroom” for an engine).

Onomatopoeia is also commonly used in comic books to describe the actions in the comics. The sounds made when characters are talking or laughing, or the sounds of comic characters fighting one another, are best described using onomatopoeia.


Onomatopoeia in comics


A moment of realization

Example: Aha! Here are my keys! I’ve been looking for them.



A large slam of doors; an explosion.

Example: We were just talking and then BAM! the door slammed shut.



The sound of crying

Example: Boohoo, it’s raining today and I can’t go surfing.



Loud chewing

Example: I can hear your chomps from across the room!



The sound of cars crashing; the sound of crunchy foods being eaten

Example: The car came from nowhere, and then we heard a crunch.



Air being taken in when someone is surprised

Example: Gasp! I forgot my brother’s birthday!




Example: I can hear the “gulp, gulp, gulp” of a very thirsty person!



A painful cry

Example: Ouch! I just slammed my finger in the door!



A sigh of relief

Example: You got the job? Phew!



Someone or something being hit

Example: Pow! He hit him right in the jaw.



The sound of a forcible impact; striking something forcibly

Example: We heard this “wham!” sound and then realized that a bird had flown into the window!


Have you seen these words in action? Check out some comics and see if you can spot these words! And be sure to share your findings with us on CISL’s Facebook page.