Monthly Archives: August 2015

Tim Fulton


So the 2015 Skimboard Contest The VIC is in the history books and Tim Fulton is the last skimmer standing.  Congratulations Tim on a big win in a contest rescheduled from June to August that resulted in 3-5 foot combo swell and good conditions at Aliso Beach.  Sadly enough, I don’t know Tim Fulton although I can say a couple of things about him.  He took out very talented skimboarders to win this contest you.  Two of the guys he took out I know personally and have seen ripping Aliso Beach shore break.  Austin Keane, is a mellow and good-natured cat that simply tears it up.  I marvel at those dreadlocks bouncing as he expertly navigates the side wave at the south end of the beach to connect heavy shore break waves. Max Bourne is a young buck that has treated those that frequent Aliso Beach with step off surfing where he paddles into waves on a foam top surfboard and transfers to a skim board that he surfs the wave to shore. Not only are these two guys incredible skim boarders but also they are amazing guys.  I have the utmost respect for these two and can tell you they absolutely rip.

That Tim Fulton beat these guys says a whole lot about his ability.  I have never met Tim but recently found out he is a friend of Alexis at Left Coast Brewery. Alexis doesn’t know it yet but I am going to ask for an interview with Tim on his big win.  My intention was to watch this contest myself but as a body boarder hoping to get waves, the increased swell after about 30 days of puny surf got me all pumped up and chasing down waves in places other than Aliso Beach.  This in no way minimizes my enthusiasm and appreciation for Tim Fulton.  With that I leave you with…..CONGRATULATIONS TIM FULTON 2015 THE VIC CONTEST WINNER.

Check out the Tim Fulton Mini Movie!  This dude can skim!

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach News, Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

Fall Season


Aliso Beach, Aliso , Beach Park, Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach, Laguna

Fall Season Aliso Beach

The weather is still warm but mornings become a little cooler as we head for the fall season.  Kids are back in school and the volume of people in Laguna and at Laguna Beaches drops.  Less people are in the water and in the way with the warm water and South Swells we enjoy. It is the time of year that locals gladly take back their beaches.  I don’t say that because we don’t want people to come visit, and we certainly understand the value of tourist dollars entering the city of Laguna Beach.  The problem is that in the summer, locals get overrun by visitors and tourists at Aliso Beach and neighboring beaches to an extent that we are pushed out.

Again, I would like to make the point that we share our local beaches.  Coastal living for us means being at the beach daily.  It is a lifestyle that we enjoy and embrace as a part of who we are.  Aliso Beach centers us and keeps us sane.  Outside of summer, we can get into the parking lot at any time, whereas a typical summer day at Aliso Beach, the lot is full by as early as 10:00 am. For us wave riders, this nuance of Aliso Beach summers means that if we don’t get to the beach early, we aren’t parking.  On days that we work and can’t get there in the morning, and on days that the tide and swell aren’t right until later in the afternoon, we are squeezed out of our beach. To put this more bluntly, we often can’t enjoy the beaches we know and love. The pain of this stings a little because for so many of us, the beach gives us a calm that makes everything okay.

For many of us, the summer crowds at Aliso Beach are too much!  Many of us shy away from the beach if we are not there early. It hurts a little to see that the Aliso Beach parking lots are full.  There is even no space on the hill on South Coast Highway or in the secondary lot across the street.  The snack bar has a line of hungry people. Trash cans are full of trash and the bees are interested in the half eaten food and drinks tossed away.  Doing what they do, the bees can be annoying.  Some folks are kinder to our beach than others when it comes to removing their trash. If we are lucky enough to get some water time, the beach is stacked with people creating a maze of people lying on towels, huddling under beach umbrellas and reserving the fire pits  to get out of and back to our cars in the parking lot. Sea gulls look for unsuspecting beach goers to swipe food from. Lines of people wait to wash the sand off at a single shower.  Restrooms accommodate many people and  become a little nasty. There are too many people in the water making it really difficult to catch any waves where the inexperienced swimmers, and body boarders aren’t in the way and putting us in danger.

During the summer months, we know what we have to give up, and this is absolutely why we look forward to the Fall Season at Aliso Beach.  The hustle and bustle that came with summer eases. There are less cars on the road and in the parking lots.  Children and parents are focused on the return of their children to school. The congestion and noise that comes with everyone wanting to be at the beach all at once  fade.  The Fall Season at Aliso Beach ushers in a restored order.  The beach once again becomes a source of peace and tranquility where one can quiet the mind and take in the natural landscape without feeling like people are piled on top of each other. To be able to stare at the ocean, breathe in the cool air, and dip our toes in the soothing waters without crowds is a gift.  Local wave riders benefit from less people being in the water in the Fall Season and it is as if you can hear them collectively exhale as they realize that their sanctuaries have been returned.  While it is real easy for local people to be put off by the summer crowds, it is an experience that allows us to avoid taking the Fall Season for granted.  Aliso Beach is a special place during the Fall and we cherish this time of year.


Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Photography, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach Tagged , , , , |

The Vic


skimboarding, skimboarding aliso beach, aliso beach

Skimboarder Photo Credit: Scotty Carter

Aliso Beach is synonymous with heavy shore break waves and the sport of skimboarding.  With roots in Laguna dating back to the 1920’s, it is fitting that Aliso Beach hosts the most prestigious skimboard contest in the world. It is called The VIC and according to the Best Of Laguna Beach Online Publication, it will go down in August for the first time in 32 years on Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th this week.  Tex Haines, Co-Founder of Victoria Skimboards and given credit for organizing and legitimizing the sport of Skimboarding, moved the world’s most prestigious contest from June to the end of August. Concerned that June would not deliver quality South Swell waves that Aliso Beach favors, Haines moved the contest in hopes of putting the best skimboarding talent in the world on the highest quality waves that this South Laguna Beach can offer.  As a body boarder familiar with the waves there, I think he made a wise decision, one I hope leads to one of the best contests ever.  Skimboarding has had such an incredible resurgence and the best skimmers on the planet deserve the greatest stage to perform on.

August 2015 has been a dismal month of surf with prevailing swells under 3 foot.  With less than ideal conditions for nearly the whole month, Mother Nature threatened to put some shade on the decision to move the contest from June to August.  The waves had to pick up some time and fortunately it appears that there will be waves for the contest.  Assuming that Aliso gets the waves predicted  from the Southern and Northern Hemispheres by forecaster Solspot, The VIC could be an action-packed, high octane skimboard contest with riders on the biggest stage in the sport and giving it everything they got.  It should be fun!

I have body boarded in South Laguna Beach for years.  I don’t know many of the skimboarders but the ones I do I have a great deal of respect for.  They are amazing people and I am inspired by their enthusiasm for the sport of skimboarding.  I wish them all good luck in the VIC contest this weekend.  I will be watching!




Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , |

Car Break-Ins


In June of 2014, Orange County Register Staff Writer Fred Swegles wrote an article talking about car break-ins at Salt Creek in Dana Point, California. Fred is among my favorite writers at the Register and he called these thefts a “criminal rite of summer”. In the article he details a spree of car break-ins at Salt Creek that resulted in wallets and cell phones taken with credit cards being used to purchase tens of thousands of dollars of Target Gift Cards used to buy electronics and then resold for cash.  It sounds like a fairly sophisticated operation. Where these thieves are having the most success, and this still holds true today, is watching beach goers and wave riders hide their keys on their cars. I have heard about this type of car break-in for years and until recently, have never had anyone close to me experience it.  I will get back to that in a second.  Roughly a week before Fred wrote his article, there was a couple of arrests. The names of the distinguished gentlemen were not released at the time under the belief that they could help take down a much wider group of thieves.  The 2014 summer increase in car break-ins all had the same story. Hidden keys were retrieved and thieves made off with wallets, credit cards, cash, phones and any small valuables they could walk away with. These issues were so rampant that the city of Dana Point started their “Hide It, Lock It or Lose It” Campaign.  The website asks at the top of the front page, “Did you know that theft – usually from an unlocked car – is by far the most common crime in Dana Point?”  I have heard talk and rumors about these break-ins for years and have even heard police warn people about it in the parking lot. A friend of mine had $5000 worth of electronics including his professional camera, laptop and cell phone taken from his car at the Starbucks location on PCH in Dana Point earlier this year.  It happens and it continues to be a problem for unsuspecting beach goers and people in the beach community.  We are a target and ironically, I covered these car break-ins in Laguna Beach in January of last year.

Yesterday, I saw two friends go on a Facebook rant expressing their displeasure with having their cars broken into.  Both of them routinely hide their keys in their cars.  One of them I am in the water with often and I typically lock my keys in his car which could have been a huge bonus for the thieves that found his hide a key yesterday.  It is important to note that I do that for a reason.  Twice in the last 2 years I have had my towel taken from the beach with the keys tossed into the sand.  I was lucky enough to find them but I got sick of disrespectful people on the beach increasing the likelihood of losing my keys to the sands of Salt Creek for good.  I don’t want to be stranded like that.  As wave riders, we lay a towel down and hope that the towel isn’t taken or have someone pile their stuff on top of it and you can’t find it.  All of this type of behavior, intentional or not, makes it a gamble to leave stuff on the beach as well. It appears though that it is far riskier to hide keys on cars and some crafty thieves have made a living picking off valuables from people who do that.  They are watching us!

Fortunately for one of the friends the keys were left in the car.  The second friend wasn’t so lucky.  The key was nowhere to be found which creates an expensive fix to change the locks and reprogram the keys.  The other friend had his credit card taken and they tried to use it at Target for $900.00.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  The attempt was unsuccessful and it sounds like they have images of the thieves trying to rack up the stolen cards.  In a private message today, the one whose credit cards were stolen said that he wanted to exposed this guy from the surf community. I have asked for clarification but have not heard back as to why he thinks it is someone from our own community.  It makes complete sense though.  Someone who is a surfer knows all the tricks of hiding a key and they know it is the last thing someone does after putting a wet suit on and paying for parking is hiding car keys. We have probably all walked right by these guys a dozen times with amount of time we spend at Salt Creek.  Several surfers from the community acknowledged their being a victim to the hide a key break-ins that they experience yesterday and apparently these clowns are at it again.  The friend was told that there were 20 calls to the police  yesterday related to thefts at Salt Creek.  It seems like there is a common thread between these thefts and Target stores.  Does that mean these guys take the purchases to their friends at registers who grease the wheels for their thefts?  Does this mean that Target doesn’t require Identification on these purchases?  Either way, they aren’t doing people any favors with their intentional or unintentional involvement.

I am hoping we all get a good look at this guy.  I am thinking he has been among us all along.  He is brazen enough to text the numbers for parents of the victims phishing for information that will allow them to perhaps to commit a much bigger crime.  As far as advice goes, here are things that the OC Sherrif Department and the City of Dana Point are recommending:

1) Leave Valuables At Home

2) Lock Valuables In the Trunk Out Of View Of Thieves

3) Take Your Keys Down To The Beach

4) Be Aware Of People Around You

5) Report Suspicious Activity

Let’s hope they nab this guy.  He didn’t just piss my friend off with the theft, he pissed off an entire community of beach goers and wave riders that are tired of this crap.  While Aliso Beach would be a tougher place to do this because of the close proximity of the coastal lot to the sand and water’s edge, it is not immune from this type of criminal activity.  Laguna Beach is also ripe for this behavior with beaches far removed from the parking areas along South Pacific Coast Highway and on surface streets above the coastal route.  At this point I feel like the hide a key strategy is one to avoid.  Thieves have gotten smart so let’s not help limit their stolen treasure so they will stop targeting beach goers and wave riders.

Posted in Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Salt Creek, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , |

Happy Ending


Not everything in life has a happy ending.  Call it the human experience.  Several days ago, I posted in a Laguna Beach forum trying to get clarification the Laguna Beach Smoking Laws and how they impacted Aliso Beach.  I did that knowing full well how vehemently against smoking much of the non-smoking people of America have become.  We are no longer in the dark as to the health issues created by smoking and inhaling second hand smoke.  Armed with that, many people have given up the habit and have joined non-smokers who absolutely do not want to be around cigarette smoke in public.  When I made the post I was trying to relay a message to someone from Texas who was inquiring about the laws.  Since I made the website, you would think I knew the answer right off the bat.  I could not recall seeing any signs or rules tied to Aliso Beach in parking lot signage or posted rules on the OC Beach Parks Aliso Beach website. I could have said he was okay to smoke there but the laws have changed over the years and I suspect they will continue to change.

Shortly after the post I had one particular response to my assertion that it did not appear that there was a law prohibiting smoking at Aliso Beach, and that language in the Laguna City and California State laws made it hard to understand the rules.  Keep in mind that Aliso Beach is run by the County of Orange and so there is a different set of rules.  If I had to guess those laws will mirror each other in the future when the lack of tolerance for smoking continues to gain momentum and pushes city, county and state officials to apply the ban uniformly.  When I pointed out the confusion created by the language in the Laguna Smoking Ban and the California State Smoking Ban, a member of the Laguna Beach forum accused me of being a child for trying to interpret the rules the way I wanted.  I told the guy I wasn’t a smoker.  I had nothing to gain from smoking being legal at Aliso Beach or not.  All I really wanted to do is give the smoker from Texas the right answer as it relates to Aliso Beach so that he could avoid a not so happy ending in the form of a pricey ticket if he was cited for smoking.  Another member of the forum headed down to Aliso Beach and got the answer that lifeguards and county personnel could not enforce the Laguna Beach Smoking Ban and Laguna Police Department could.  A former lifeguard in the forum said that it was legal to smoke at Aliso Beach and a friend of mine who is a lifeguard mirrored that sentiment.  Another group member had a relative that regular attends cigar club meetings there.  So as it turns out, smoking is legal at Aliso Beach. It is amazing to me that just trying to find the answer can be turned into being hated on for trying to find the right answer. Imagine the guy comes down here all the way from Texas and local people and law enforcement dampen his vacation telling him not to smoke and receiving a fine.  I wouldn’t want to be the guy that set him up for that.  As the moderator of the Forum so eloquently stated, she respected this dude for reaching out and trying to stay within the rules.  She recognized his effort to follow the laws.

It took an extra day for my own lifeguard source to respond and say it was legal.  When I emailed him that news he had already been here for two days and headed back.  The cool thing was is that he found a way not to smoke while he was here under the belief that his cigarettes and two pack a day habit would get in the way of his experience of the cool breeze, mesmerizing blue-green waters, warm sand, cool temperatures and fresh air.  If that isn’t a happy ending I don’t know what is.  I hope the Texas man can internalize his amazing experience here at Aliso Beach without cigarettes and parlay that into the two pack a day habit that has certainly claimed some portion of his health and quality of life.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Stories, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Laguna, Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

Laguna Smoking Ban


The smoking ban on beaches and in public parks in the state of California is extremely confusing.  What I have read does not clarify the Laguna smoking ban between state, city and county beaches. The laws are, at this point, what they are. Residents and visitors have to live with existing laws.  There is language in the laws and rules that is anything but all encompassing, and I imagine that it has many confused.  I am not a smoker and am an advocate against public beach smoking because I grew up with smoke around me while suffering from asthma.  Lucky for me this was a gift that contributed to never smoking.  As a wave rider and regular Aliso Beach visitor, I am put off by cigarette butt litter with the presence of them on the beach and in the water.  The chemicals in cigarette butts poison the beach and the surrounding marine ecosystems that we work so hard to protect for all to enjoy. While I may not be a fan of smoking, I do recognize that there are no clear cut rules on smoking when it comes to Aliso Beach, a County of Orange beach park in the city of Laguna.  Over the weekend I received an inquiry from a gentleman in Texas thinking about an Orange County Beach visit this summer.  He was concerned about the Laguna Beach smoking ban and wondered whether or not that ban affected Aliso Beach.  I didn’t have the answer but promised I would get it.

Based on what I read per Orange County Rules for Aliso Beach Park, that smoking appears to be okay in the park.  To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I saw someone smoking at Aliso Beach but I am sure I have seen someone smoke recently.  Perhaps it has been longer than I remember and a law is in place. According to the American Non Smokers’ Rights Foundation, Laguna Beach is among cities that have banned smoking in 2015 on all city beaches and/or city beaches that have been designated non-smoking beaches.  That to me does not sound like a complete ban on smoking to me. While there is indeed a Laguna Smoking Ban, I have yet to see anything that clarifies how this law affects Aliso Beach.  I have taken a photograph of every sign I have seen at Aliso Beach Park and none of them ban smoking to the best of my knowledge.

California State Law as written in the Public Resource Code, makes smoking within 25 feet of a children’s playground or sandbox illegal.  Aliso Beach, as some are aware, has a wonderful sand box and playground for beach visitors and their kids.  Does this mean that state law trumps city laws that may or may not have jurisdiction over county ordinances? I checked the State of California Orange County Codified Ordinances and while the document addresses smoking, it does not appear to speak to smoking at Aliso Beach.  Interestingly, some Orange County Parks like the regional park in Irvine, Calfornia have designated smoking areas. Are you confused yet?  I am and would not be surprised to hear others confused as well. Logic tells me that state law presides over all of this but if it does, how does the lack of uniformity in the language in the ordinances, rules and laws help anyone know whether smoking is permitted at Aliso Beach?  If the general public is confused about this, how can law enforcement be clear on what to enforce and what not to?  Can they even be bothered to cite people for smoking at Aliso Beach given the important job they do and the demands the city of Laguna Beach has on their time for policing the city?

I am inevitably coming back to this issue.  I posted in a Laguna Beach Facebook Group asking for clarification from the community and it led to name calling and disrespect aimed at me. While I am not surprised at the vitriol that the issue of public smoking creates, I am having difficulty understanding why people can’t read my questions and understand why there is confusion.  I have an email out to the OC Parks to help clarify what the rules are and then I will give that information to the Texas man who would like to visit Laguna Beach.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Laguna Beach Tagged , , , |