Monthly Archives: November 2015

November Surf Fizzles Out


Perhaps it was too much to ask Hurricane Sandra to rescue us this Thanksgiving weekend from November surf fizzling out. I got a call from a friend who spent the holiday in Seattle with family bummed that he would miss out on the wave festivities.  He texted me Saturday to say that he would be home that evening and was ready to go for tropical driven surf.  Got together with Derek McClean, the Long boys (Henry, Steve and Kai), and Patrick Britton to celebrate the holidays.  Over three pizzas and some finely crafted micro brews from Left Coast Brewery, Alpine and Modern Times we took an opportunity to get together and celebrate the holiday weekend.  Time and responsibilities don’t give us the same ability to all be in one place at one time like we did when we were teens and twenty somethings down at Salt Creek.  The friendships have lasted but the freedom that once allowed us to be at the beach all the time and together has faded over the years.  Left Coast will be pleased to know that Steve was stoked on the Trestles IPA, and so much so that he accepted my Left Coast key chain and took an empty big bottle (bomber as they call it) back to Texas as a keepsake from the coastal region that he was born in.  He will be looking for places that carry Trestles in the Fort Worth, Texas area.

Derek and I had hatched a plan to trunk it today the day before.  A late morning with a gentle breeze made for water that was not only tolerable but still comfortable.  Yes, we know that it is late November!  The funny thing was that there was just enough swell to make it rideable and gave us hope for the predicted increase out of the southeast from Hurricane Sandra.  For the record Surfline was over-optimistic and the inconsistently reporting Solspot was dead on.  Solspot  thought we would get little or no bump from Sandra and they were absolutely right.  Surfline had sets up to chest high and I didn’t see any like that Saturday. It is odd to me that Solspot got it right with forecaster Adam Wright missing in action and new forecaster Austin Geron indicating that if viewers wanted an on time forecast during the holiday weekend, they should donate to Solspot so that he could pay for child care for the week.  Apparently his child had a week long Thanksgiving Vacation from school that he was unprepared for.  It was still bizarre.

During out impromptu holiday get together Henry said that a buoy hit 1.5 feet suggesting that the swell from Sandra was picking up and producing surf in the 2-3 foot range.  Henry is one of the most knowledgeable dude’s I know in the surf community studying buoy readings and knowing how they predict wave heights. It was a shock when I got to Salt Creek this morning to meet the boys and the surf had taken a turn for flatness.  Armed with a coffee, I enjoyed breakfast burritos from Derek’s wife and put on a rash guard and trunks to head down for one of the smallest days I can ever remember paddling out on. The company was great but the lackluster surf demonstrated November surf fizzling it out.

Channeling my inner Ron Pringle, the Laguna body surfer who inspired us with his trunks into December in 2014, I was determined to trunk it again.  Derek, despite bringing a 4-3 full wet suit stuck to his guns and paddled out in trunks also.  We got some looks and some people laughed while asking us if we were wearing trunks!  We proudly answered yes to all those with the guts to ask us if we were really that crazy. There was a noticeable chill on the water that had me worried at first.  The winds were offshore this morning as opposed to the light and variable onshore winds late morning yesterday.  They produced a wind chill factor that threatened to rain on the parade so to speak.  Much tougher to deal with though was the lack of surf and the waiting.  I paddled between the south end of the point and gravels just to stay warm.  I got a few weak waves and suffered the indignity of watching perhaps the 4 biggest waves we had seen all morning while walking up the hill.  Why does it always seem to work out that way?

So November surf fizzles out!  There is a couple of decent shots coming out of the north west potentially throwing additional chill on the water that seeks to halt this streak of wearing trunks.  I know Derek and I are committed to this, and we were the only one’s not in a full wet suit.  Patrick gets an honorable mention and a trunks challenge ribbon for making an effort with his long sleeve spring.  The funny thing is that he has ambitions for trying to get through December with that full suit minus the lower legs.  I have no doubt he will be tested with rains and the approach of the shortest day of the year.  That day is the Winter Solstice.  I don’t know if any of us will get very far into December but we will make it.  While we don’t make any money for it or get any special recognition for braving winter water temps, it will be fun just to say we did it.

November surf ended in the infamy of smallness. It wasn’t very good, but it didn’t manner.  I have known these guys for a long, Long (Henry and Steve) time.  Get it, or is is just me thinking the play on the word and their last name is clever?  Either way, it was great to see Steve whom I have not seen since we were in our early 20’s.  For the folks not doing the math at home, that is 25 years ago.  Where does time go?  It was also great to hang out with Henry and his son Kai.  Henry is someone I knew in passing in my late teens and a true friend since my early 20’s.  Those friendships are special to me as are Patrick and Derek.  I am blessed to call those guys my friend.  We got skunked on surf, and the water was a little cold as we sat their motionless in between long lulls and sets struggling to get into the 2 foot range.  I have always said that Salt Creek was a place that you could come back to and revisit friendships.  Riding that place for 30 years and building those friendships I can tell you that Salt Creek has not changed in that respect.  It is still a place that friends come back together despite circumstances pulling them opposite directions.  It will always be a special place to me because of that.

November surf fizzled out, but it could not take our enthusiasm for getting together and being among friends that have been riding together for a very long time.  Let’s do it again soon!


Posted in Dana Point, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

No Wet Suit No Problem


65 degree water at Salt Creek on a day with the sun out and light winds translates to no wet suit.  I have been boasting over the last three weeks about how I see no need to wear a wet suit.  With all of the surfers and body boarders that wear wet suits with the slightest of chill in the water temperatures, it is always difficult to gauge what local water temps are like.  I realize that I am holding on to warm water and daring it to drop in temperature so severely that I don’t make it through a half hour of water time.  I did my research though and two reporting forecasts had the temperatures at 63-66 degrees.  Mysteriously enough, Surfline had the Salt Creek water at 66 degrees and promptly changed it to 63 to 65 degrees.  It was if someone threw a fit with their reported temperature after finding out the water felt colder than was reported.  Chances are the dude was skinny and weighs 100 pounds when wet with salt water.

Derek McClean

Derek McClean at Salt Creek in a BMW LOL!

I am not the only crazy guy thinking he can wear trunks well into the winter.  In fact, the plan we have devised has us wearing trunks into December just so that we can say that we did.  When we paddled out today, I had my reservations because the closer we get to winter, the more likelihood we will have to become wet suit minded.  The water was a tad chilly entering the water and I took my time wading before diving in.  I honestly thought I would go back in after a short while but the water turned out to be comfortable and the ocean breeze stayed mild enough not to make it feel colder than it was.  Derek McClean, whom I have known for 25 years, called me as I watched the waves from the bridge at Salt Creek.  We were anticipating waves from Hurricane Sandra out of the southeast.  Small waves from the reports prompted Derek to call off an early mission of 6:00 am.  I was grateful because apparently I really needed a good night’s sleep.

Responding to his text, I told him that I would watch all day hoping that Surfline’s promise of waves from Sandra came true. I have two Hurricane Sandra’s competing for my attention right now.  One is an adorable Golden Labrador that can’t get enough of a game of fetch with a rubber pig and the other is a Hurricane that we are hoping delivers on a 50-50 odds of delivering decent waves for tomorrow.  One Sandra will chase a plastic toy till I am blue in the face and she tracks mud all over the house from the recent rains.  The other is a hurricane that we are praying delivers us 4 feet of swell or better for waves that have produced more yawns that stoke over the Thanksgiving Holiday.   While on the bridge and seeing a few sets come out of the south, I was about to call Derek when he called me.  The first thing he said to me was that he was grabbing his trunks and coming to Salt Creek.  I told him I was already there and that I saw a few sets.  I had no idea that he would  show up with only trunks.  I had no choice in the matter because last year’s wet suit wasn’t going to make it another season and I have refused to buy another.  Any day now, the normal presence of cooler waters off our coast could very well change that but I am holding on for dear life with this fascination with wearing trunks into the beginning of winter.  Even better would be if I had the opportunity to wear trunks all winter and never wear a wet suit but that is a fairy tale and probably isn’t possible.  Who knows though, Fukushima radiation, El Nino, and Global Warming on a massive scale could very well do the trick.

So Derek not only trunked it, but also bear backed his session.  I am sure to many that saw us coming our bravery was comical.  We didn’t care though, as we review local water temps and choose the no wet suit option when the reports tell us that it is unlikely we become human popsickles as a result of forgoing a wet suit.  In my mind, water that is 65 degrees and higher is worthy of not wearing a wet suit.  To most of the wave riding community in Southern California that is pure lunacy.  Derek and I don’t care and we will wear no wet suits if we want!  That is how we do it!

The plan is to wear trunks into December which may run into a decent shot of swell out of the northwest middle of the first week of December which could change the water temperatures here locally.  I am going to give it  a shot determined to trunk it into December just so I could say that I did.  I know water temperatures are going to drop!  65 degree water temperatures and sunny skies are not going to bully me into thinking that I have to wear a full wet suit.  It just isn’t happening.  Wet suit retailers shouldn’t worry though!  I am going to be forced to do what everyone else does when the water drops.  Feel free to test our theory that local water are not cold enough to wear a wet suit if you have the guts.  If you want to deck yourself out like a storm trooper in full neoprene and smoothie that is okay too.  Just don’t be mad if I slide around you for a wave in just trunks and a rash guard.  And by the way, don’t waste any time feeling sorry for Derek and I, we survived 2 hours of water time in marginal surf at best without thinking about being cold.


Posted in Dana Point, Salt Creek Tagged , , , |

Little Sandra That Could


The early rain storms we have had over the last three and a half weeks have done nothing for our surf.  The Thanksgiving Holiday has been a dud for waves and unless the latseason tropical storm I have dubbed the little Sandra that could saves us, the surf won’t be any better until next week.  What a buzz kill that would be if Sandra, a record breaking late Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane, does not send us waves.  Category 4 Sandra is now the latest ini the calendar year that a hurricane has formed in the Eastern Pacific.  But, can she deliver waves?

Surfline forecasts that waves from Sandra will filter in throughout the day today.. Solspot forecasts not much of anything from Sandra, but I can’t tell how real their reports are recently as their lead forecaster often misses the date of the scheduled long range forecasts for the site.  A friend called at 6:00 am to cancel a meeting of old friends to surf together this morning with 1-2 foot surf.  This report seems to favor Solspot intheir assessment of dribbling surf this weekend.  Hurricanes don’t brew  this late in the Southern California swell window and we had back to back storms with potential to bring us waves.  Tropical Storm Rick didn’t have the balls to deliver us waves, and Sandra while flirting with sending us a good burst of tropical, holiday treats, may have just been a tease.

Sandra did get into our swell window as a Category 4.  Winds did reach 100 miles an hour but the small size of Sandra and not all of the fetch entering the Southern California swell window means that we may have been punked on this swell.  It just didn’t stay in the swell window long enough with the bulk of the winds.  She did everything she could for us and by last report, she may be weakening and headed over land.  Sandra is a product of El Nino’s warm waters.  Without them, such a storm does not have the fuel to get going this late into the season.  I have to imagine that Sandra sucked any all hope out of the tropical waters of Mexico.  Now all we can do is hope that storms originating out of the Gulf of Alaska start to get into our swell window.  The tiny surf is getting ridiculous.

Sandra will or will not saves us at this point.  The forecasts will be right or wrong.  All we can do is check hour by hour to see if this was the little Sandra that could or the little Sandra that promised we would get southeast swell and decided to not honor her word.  I am voting for the Little Sandra That Could!  Somewhere out there I am hearing I think I can, I think I can, I think I can evolve into I know I can.  Get it done little Sandra!

Posted in Aliso Beach News Tagged , , , , |

Black Friday


Black Friday is pure insanity.  People wait in line days before the day after Thanksgiving to get the best deals of the Holiday Season.  In a particular news bit, a dude was interviewed that had camped out in front of this big electronics retailer 8 straight years.  He built a fort with a canopy that was stocked with a computer, television, refrigerator and a bed. Have people lost their  minds? I can see what all the fuss is about, it is so much fun to wait in line for days then to be crawled over and trampled on in the rush to get yours be for everyone else gets theirs.  Yep, so much fun!  The news even featured a woman who was waiting in line at a popular retailer who intended to sell the spot to help pay for medical treatments for a loved one.  These spots have become so valuable to holiday shoppers that I bet she makes a little money.

I am not sure these people understand opportunity cost.  By waiting out there days before, they are sacrificing  time with family for the holiday.  We get so few hours to spend with each other in this country with busy schedules that drive us apart that it is reasonable to believe that people value and want that time together.  These people that would wait out in front of these stores several days ahead sends a different message.  If you are out in front of a retailer for  7 days prior to the event, what happened to work days?  In that case are you not  sacrificing income to save a few bucks on shopping.  It is madness!

aliso creek

Day after Thanksgiving 2015

Pacific Coast Highway was clear sailing with virtually no traffic late this morning.  There may have been 15 people on the beach with the sun peaking through the remnants of a lingering storm that gave us a second helping of badly needed water overnight.  It was still warm enough for  flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt which makes coastal Southern California a really amazing place. I do not give up time at the beach around the holidays to go crawl over everyone to get the best deal.  I never will.  The angst involved in that frenzied rush of people to avoid being on the wrong end of the unforgiving law of supply and demand when it comes to these deals is of no interest to me.  It hardly seems like fun but those who do it, are wide-eyed and ready to go. There is no etiquette between people in this first come, first serve deals event.  If they run out before you get yours, sorry folks better luck next year.

This time of year is a time to decompress, get away from work, enjoy family and relax.  Retailers have always hijacked this time of year where people can chill out for a moment.  While many people run for the malls and giant retailers I am running as fast as I can the opposite direction.  I want no part of it.  You will find me on a beach staring at the ocean and enjoying my toes in the sand.  The name Black Friday has no meaning to me save for the fact that the evening news shows us how far people are willing to go to get a deal.  Although some retailers have drawn a line in the sand by decreasing their hours for Black Friday, many continue to disrespect time off for their employees and subject them to one of the most grueling retail days of the year.  As a former Trader Joe’s employee, I can tell you how a retail season sucks the air out of you.  It is exhausting,  and I feel terrible for those who have to work like that and take time away from family.

I would like to propose something a little different for the day after Thanksgiving.  Let’s call it Blue Friday.  The place that magic happens is down at Aliso Beach for me.  Any beach in Southern California would do, but I happen to find this one extra special.  To me it is hard to imagine anything more appealing than a beach in the amazing weather we have here in Southern California on the day after Thanksgiving.  Let the mind wander over the Pacific Ocean, dip a big toe in the salt water and take a walk up to the tide pools below the Montage Hotel and see if that doesn’t leave you better than you came.  Refreshed, revjuvenated, recharged and reinvigorated is how a leisurely stroll up this beach will leave you feeling.  I have no clue how some of you get this needed relief on Black Friday sales events.  From where I sit and type, you are all adding stress to your lives that is completely unnecessary.

It’s okay though!  Don’t worry about me.  I will be down at the beach healing, releasing mental fatigue, soothing the soul and being thankful for the amazing coastal environment that captivates and de-stresses me.  You all carry on knowing that I hope all of the madness was worth the craziness.  An hour down at the beach this morning was worth my time on this Blue Friday!



Re-charged, revjuvenated, reinvigorated and soothed soul.




Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Stories, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

Happy Thanksgiving


I wanted to take a moment and wish friends, family, fraternity brothers, partners, clients, men and women serving our country and everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  Two years ago, I almost lost my life in a near drowning event at Salt Creek on Thanksgiving Day.  Nature dropped a serious lesson on me about my own mortality.  Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and something as unpredictable as a set of large waves beating me senseless is a reminder that there are some things I can’t perfectly control.

I left that near death situation a little wiser with an extra helping of motivation.  I really do want to impact the world and make my time here count. There are a lot of really disturbing things going on out there in the world around us, and although there is little I can do to change those things, I do feel like I can make small but meaningful differences in the lives of people that are close to me or in my sphere of influence.  They could be family members, friends or complete strangers asking for help.  Reminding people that they are cared for goes a very long way even if the kind gesture is small. Never underestimate the  power of kindness and giving to lift people up when they need it most.  I have to remind myself at times to step outside of my own crazy world to remember this and it is an internal dialogue that I will keep active so that I never forget that people need help.

The Aliso Beach website is a labor of love and I am incredibly humbled by the appreciation and encouragement the website has received from people.  The South Laguna region of beaches including Aliso is very special to me.  People in and out of the community have found the information on the site useful and have reached out with questions.  I am proud to say that every question and/or request for information have been promptly returned, and as a result of the visibility online, I have be given some opportunities to really help some people.  I have also been blessed with the opportunity to recognized people in the beach community that have helped others.  It has been an absolute joy to extend the Aliso Beach community through the website.

sunset, south laguna, south laguna beach sunset

Glowing ocean surface in fleeting moments of sun.

As the days in 2015 dwindle towards the New Year, the need to do what I said I would do when I started the website again is gnawing at me a bit.  What I said was that I would add art to the website and sell with a split of profits between the artist and a recognized 5013c non-profit charitable organization benefiting Aliso Beach.  By January 1st, 2016, the e-commerce section of this website will have contributing artists and products that may be purchased online that benefit artists and a charity whose work benefits this beach. I view this as an amazing opportunity to support charity and artists. If you are an artist or photographer with work influenced by or featuring Aliso Beach, let’s talk. My collaborative vision for this website requires involvement from members of the community who want to help make a difference.  When the vision comes together perfectly, I will consider ways to make sure there is a transfer of ownership of this website to someone, some organization or some collaborative group of people who will carry this torch on forever.  As we have all seen, the work to preserve our beaches and valuable marine life is one with no finish line.  Aliso Beach has plenty of issues with runoff from the creek damaging water quality and putting the health of beach goers, recreational water enthusiasts and marine life at risk.  In addition to being a great source of information on Aliso Beach, it is a goal to help charities fighting for good water quality and marine preservation with funding generated through the sale of art. The site is getting closer to realizing this desire to help and artists and charities benefiting Aliso Beach.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this work and offer others the opportunity to help.  Together we can make a huge difference in beach community of the ocean playground we love.  The website is always looking for pictures, stories, writers, artists and anyone else with an idea for how to collaborate in a meaningful way that enhances the impact we have on both creative people getting their message out about their art and charities that fight for Aliso Beach.  It’s fun and a great way to give back!

Please be encouraged to bring your ideas for the website to the team here at Aliso Beach. The goal is to involve as many people that want to make a difference in the lives of artists while benefiting a marine water conservation minded charity. Come join us!  We can do great things together with this website.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit:  Scotty Carter

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park, aliso beach website Tagged , , , , |



Paradise is a relative term to how an individual views a destination and surroundings.  It can be so many things to so many different people. To someone like me, who loves the South Laguna Beach coastline, Aliso Beach is paradise.

I left work early today.  I am in marketing and sales, and this time of year, my clients pull back on their marketing.  With valuable tax write offs and the fact that most businesses deemed as competition reverse their gears during the holidays, I would push as hard as I could when everyone takes a breather to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it’s just me.

I took the toll road from Costa Mesa to the Laguna Canyon exit. Half way to the coast around 3 pm, the canyon started to back up with cars.  After a little ways, the traffic broke up and I was soon sitting at the light at the intersection of Laguna Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway.  Young girls coming from the beach paraded in front of cars at the intersection in bikinis far to revealing for my tastes but those are the styles today.  With a faint breeze, the ocean surface was calm, flat and glassy.  I could smell the salt in the air.  Main Beach was it’s typical mixture of tourists, shoppers, beach goers and locals as I made the left turn on to Highway 1.

I stopped off at the Laguna Foundation For The Arts Gallery in South Laguna.  I have taken an active role in helping them build out their new vision for art and the city of Laguna.  The progress on getting the gallery ready was both shocking and pleasing since I am bringing artists I represent to this new location.  I had a short talk with Tony who is one of the principals in the non-profit that has organized this gallery. As it stands, I am very pleased with the progress and look forward to this journey.  I honestly believe it will be a wildly successful venture that simultaneously benefits Laguna, the artists and the foundation that supports artists.

aliso beach , aliso creek beach, aliso tide pools, aliso beach park, south laguna

Aliso Beach blow hole!

After leaving the gallery I stopped off at my favorite sport Aliso Beach.  There were families and tourists enjoying the beach with children frolicking in the unseasonably warm water. None of those kids were using wet suits and neither were some of the community’s talented skim boarders that were doing there thing.  I walked down the beach hoping that the tide pools on the south end were at a low enough tide to verify the presence of sea stars.  As some of you know, sea star wasted disease has wiped out much of the region’s sea stars with a lesion causing disease that for the most part melts away the creature into the next life.  It’s terrible.  Walking out to the edge of the reef, I was unable to locate any sea stars which was disappointing.

As I walked back towards the north end of the beach, families were investigation the tide pools, photographers were shooting models against the sea cliff and beach goers were chilling under umbrellas taking in the sights.  It was beautiful!  I have come to expect this type of experience at Aliso Beach.  My love affair with this Laguna Beach has spanned the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s and there are no signs of that changing.

Walking back I snapped a couple of pictures from my IPhone 6 Plus.  When there is little to no surf, small waves push into the crevice of a rock at the south end of the beach sending water through the rocks and spouting upward from the pressure.  It mimics a blow hole in a way and it is fascinating the way the water is spit skyward when it is pushed into the rocks with surging waves.

I am not sure people can understand how peaceful my walk was and how taking in the scenery at Aliso Beach is a ritual of self-cleansing and rejuvenation that the mind, body and spirit needs.  Aliso Beach was gorgeous today and it has become a paradise that removes me from the stresses of every day life that stain people in ways that color their attitudes and contributes to projecting frustration on others.  I don’t want to be unloading my problems or stresses on others.  I use Aliso Beach to remove the toxins caused by the chaos of daily life.  My hope is that in coming to Aliso Beach, I wipe away my burdens so that I can be the best person I can be at work and to others everywhere and always.

What a paradise Aliso Beach is!  The place is like a dream and I owe it my respect and gratitude.  I am forever changed by this wonderfully, peaceful place.


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

Ocean Temps Drop


aliso beach, aliso creek beach, aliso beach park, aliso beach laguna, aliso beach south laguna, south laguna, south laguna beaches

Fall Day Aliso Beach

Say it isn’t so!  Reports this week show South Laguna and South Orange County ocean temps all the way down to 62 degrees.  Given the balmy 72-74 degree water we have grown accustomed to, that is a little on the cold side.  For most wave riders in this region of Southern California, that is no problem because they seem to enjoy the extra neoprene anyways.  Just a mention or a hint of cold water and they are all decked out in smoothie and neoprene like Storm Troopers.

To an old guy like me, wet suits are a nuisance and I despise them.  They are necessary in the winter and spring months but we have been treated to so much warm water that it is hard to let it go.  I did dip a toe into the water at Aliso Beach yesterday and I still think that water is about 65 degrees.  Could the wet suit manufacturers have a deal with the surf forecasting and reporting platforms to call off the warm water to shake lose the rest of us that need to purchase a new wet suit.  Why that would be so American marketing like!

With a couple of Sunday rain events that produced a decent amount of mountain snow, strong north west and west wind events that usually cause colder water through upwelling, and cooler overnight temperatures, we are headed for water that requires a wet suit.  I will hold on another week and paddle out in the dribbling surf at Salt Creek to see how long I last in temperatures that may be 5 degrees lower than they were last Saturday.  Uggh!


Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park Tagged , , , , , , |

Selfish Rick


Aliso Beach, South Laguna, Catalina View, Calm Water, Sunset

Aliso Beach surf flat as a pancake.

Selfish Rick does not appear poised to deliver tropical surf to Southern California this weekend.  How nice of him to tantalize us with the possibility of hurricane driven surf well past the date of conventional wisdom for the possibility of such a wave generating storm from the waters of tropical Mexico!  According to Surfline forecasting, Rick is a loosely organized storm unlikely to intensify beyond a tropical depression with a strong likelihood of never getting into the Southern California Window with enough to give us any surf.  It is a shame to because the Northern Hemisphere Season, at least by Southern California standards, has gotten off to a start worthy of a long drawn out yawn, and perhaps falling back to sleep.  We can only hope that selfish Rick aspires to be much greater than he appears to be.

All this El Nino hype and the Southern California swell making window does not appear to want any storm to pass through to giving the surf community waves that are rideable.  Ocean enthusiasts are aware of the wave drought and are a little stir crazy at the moment.  From the reports it seems like we will get wet weather before we get any surf worth paying attention to.  The only person that will make happy is my mom who almost lost me to a near drowning at Salt Creek in 2013.

Sometimes reports are wrong.  Solspot seems to think we could get inconsistent waves up to chest high from the south swell magnets from selfish Rick but I am not holding my breath.  I was hoping that Rick would bring us some tropical waves so that I could test my desire to wear trunks into December.  With recent temperature readings for coastal waters in the 60-62 degree range, the lack of waves the next several days or so might not result in the opportunity to put myself to the test.  I am holding out hope that the water is 65-67 degrees but know the incredible warm temperatures will not last forever.

I am making one last appeal to Rick to grow a pair and send us some waves.  While none of us know what this late season tropical depression will do in the next 48 hours, I am holding out the hope that Rick can save us from the small and dribbling surf that plagues Southern California beaches at the moment.  While surf forecasting plays in a sea of unpredictability, let’s hope that Solspot’s belief in selfish Rick being less stingy with its energy and wave production than Surfline, which at the moment can’t see any waves produced by this storm.

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

Deep Conversation


A deep conversation ensued after I got a call from Larry Beard, the Aliso Beach hero who plucked a little girl out of Aliso Creek in a move that without question saved her life!  Submerging in the waters of the creek, Larry endangered himself by jumping into these waters and lifting this child from the water before she went under for good.  Knowing how rough these waters are and thinking about what a terrible place that would be for a child that cannot swim, I feel it was by the grace of God and an alert waterman that kept her alive.

Larry was grateful for the write up here on the website to which I responded by congratulating him for making a lasting impact on a young girl’s life.  When she got into a bad situation and the deck of the forces of nature were stacked against her, Larry helped her gain an upper hand.  She lived and that is amazing!   Without Larry a young life would have been taken.  Terrible accident, negligent parents and wrong place at wrong time would not matter.  The finality of a tragic loss of a child like this would render blame or explanation impotent.  No one wants to see a young girl lose her life like that and Larry sprung into action and made sure that the story ended positively.  By all accounts, the young girl is happy, healthy and doing fine.

My talk with Larry was an emotional one for him.  As an adult, husband and father, he understands deeply the connection of parent to child, and he would go to great lengths to protect his own children and family. He told me that it felt really good to be the one that had to spring into action to save this girl.  He told me it was amazing to think how greatly he had impacted this girl’s life in a very challenging and life threatening situation. I told him that with decades in Orange County beach waters, it was amazing that I had not been in a situation that required a rescue before 2012 and that I have rescued 4 total people since then in waters from Laguna Beach to Salt Creek.  I completely understand the gift that is saving someone’s life.  It is magically a blessing.  Larry felt like God had planned for him to be the one that recognized the situation with this girl paving the way for this incredible and yet improbable rescue in the turbulent waters of Aliso Creek.

Speaking about the rescue of this little girl evolved into a conversation about family and people.  Larry said something very profound.  He felt like it was amazing to be called on to act in this potentially deadly situation with this girl pulling her from a sure drowning.  He made a huge impact on me when he said that here he was able to rescue this girl and yet friends and family around him needing rescue were not responding to his help.  I have a lot of experience with this and trying to help people who didn’t want to be helped or weren’t ready to be helped, and absolutely that is heart wrenching and frustrating.  Sometimes people we love and care about, friends or family, aren’t ready to accept help.  You can offer money, treatment or advice, and no matter what you do to help, your interest in helping others out of difficult situations is rejected or falls on deaf ears.  It hurts.  It really does.

I told him that today I sent money to a complete stranger that I had a run in with online on Facebook.  In a Lakers forum, he took exception to me saying that Kobe was done as a player.  I forget what he said to me online but it was vulgar and I did not appreciate it.  I responded with the equally rude and insensitive question asking if he kissed his mother with that mouth.  The shocking reply was that he did not have a mother.  I am not a cold and callous human being so that really got me.  I apologized to him directly and told him that however he had lost his mother I felt for him and that I was sorry.  He too apologized, and so this unlikely friendship was born. Sensing that he was someone experiencing difficulties in his life, I befriended him on Facebook and have been watching his posts. He has appeared very down and expressing hopelessness so I have been encouraging him.  Some of what he said was very dark and I worried about this young dude. Today he asked for money for a bus pass so he could get to work at a new job.  I sent it to him in Ohio via Money Gram because it was an opportunity to help someone that gained my respect with the way he handled my apology.  I, like Larry, believe that we are called upon at times to make a difference in the lives of others.  We all can make a difference and impact people.

What Larry did inspires me.  How he felt about the blessing of being the one called upon to help this girl is simply amazing.  Humans do incredible things for others when they know someone needs help.  What Larry did was an absolute miracle! I don’t know if years from now this child will remember what he did. Her parents were described as being oblivious to what was going on and not aware of how close they were to losing their daughter.  Whatever this girl achieves or becomes in life, Larry Beard helped make her future possible.  He feels really good about that and aware that God called upon him to act, and he did saving a young girl’s life. Her only chance was Larry!

I wrote the original story having heard it from Brennan Clarke who was with Larry when this happened. He was incredibly grateful for the story and I really appreciated this raw and real, deep conversation.  With all of the drama and pettiness in life between people in this day and age, more of these conversations should take place.  We might just find enough common ground in them to actually see similar needs, hopes and dreams that connect us far more than we find ourselves separated from each other today in a chaotic, fast paced, and mixed up world.  Thanks Larry, what a great conversation.  I appreciate being inspired to help people more with your heroic and selfless act of love for this little lady who remains here on earth because you responded the way you did.  Such a great story!



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Parents Beware


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Collapsing walls lining Aliso Creek.

Parents beware of the dangers of Aliso Creek.  If you bring your children to Aliso Beach Park and see the creek furiously unloading into the ocean, it would be wise to keep little ones away from the sand embankments being carved out by the water. As the water cuts through the sand, the walls on each side of the outflow collapse into the rushing water.  The problem is that if you or a child are standing at edge of these walls as they collapse you are going to land in the rough water as it flows violently through to the ocean.  Check out the pictures below with a little explanation of what to look for.  All human beings have a fascination with water and perhaps kid especially.  When Aliso Creek gets going, there is no stopping it until it has unleashed all of the stored up energy and the power of flowing water.  It is incredibly dangerous and I see no need to allow children to be near it when flowing.

From a second account offered to me, the family was completely unaware of the whereabouts of their child.  Larry Beard threw himself into the water to make sure that a drowning child lived to see another day. Struggling to breathe with head submerging beneath the surface, a family would have been making funeral arrangements had Larry not sprung into action. Aliso Creek is a force of nature that is undeniable and it holds potential to claim lives.

As the water rushes down Aliso Creek towards the ocean it is eating away at the sand walls that line it.  This is where people stand watching the power of the rushing water, and if they are not paying attention, they fall into the creek as the place they are standing cracks and falls in.  It is a very dangerous place to be.

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Roaring Rapids of Aliso Creek

Yesterday by comparison to other days was a mild day.  This scene can be 5 times more dangerous than this picture looks but I would wager a bet that no parent would want their child swept into these rapids.  The chances of survival for little ones are really poor.  This makes what Larry did over the weekend all the more incredible.

No one wants their children to have to fight rapids like this at Aliso Creek.  The creek does what it does.  It has one mission, and that is to flow through to the ocean.  It will take out anything in its way.  Rocks, sand, shoreline and people.

I am disturbed by the lack of awareness when it comes to the dangers posed by the creek and the ocean at Aliso Beach.  Very inexperienced people are injecting themselves, their friends and their family members into situations with potential to result in loss of life.  The child that was saved this weekend was going under, and the description that I have been given of this event as seen by several people in the community is absolutely terrifying. Telling parents beware of Aliso Creek is something I wish we didn’t have to do, but the events that occurred with a little girl nearly drowning with parents who were unaware of their child dangerous close to the rushing water, suggests that we do.

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Hump of water at Aliso Creek.

It has been said that the toddler did not know how to swim and she could not have been in a worse position.  Part of me is angry at the parents for allowing a daughter that can’t swim near that creek.  I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that her parents did not know how to swim either.  That makes it even worse.

Parents beware of Aliso Creek.  Turning your back on a child for one second near the edge of Aliso Creek could indeed result in a tragedy and it was proven once again this past weekend.  Good job Larry Beard once again for seeing that a little girl was safely returned to her parents.  It seems to me this was completely unavoidable and I know you jumped in to save this young life knowing full well you could lose your own in the process.  It was a selfless and heroic act!

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