Seagull Mayhem

Seagull Mayhem

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Seagulls trash Aliso Beach.

Aliso Beach in South Laguna has always been a favorite hangout for the local seagull population and thus experiences what I would call seagull mayhem.  Often called flying rats, this bird type is often a source of annoyance at Aliso.  I have personally seen a seagull swoop down on a little girl and snatch a sandwich out of her hand sending her in tears to her parents.  I have also seen a seagull reach it’s beak into a trash can from the top and fish out a half eaten burrito that he flew off in to the distance with.  I didn’t know they liked Mexican Food!  LOL!  No one is safe around them when food is present, and if you leave food unattended, they will get into it while your back is turned.  They tend to congregate around set ups looking for something to pick at and drag away unbeknownst to people and families who have momentarily turned their backs on these intelligent and pestering birds.

Maybe seagull mayhem happens because this small slice of Laguna is their home, or maybe it is because people who frequent this beach are feeding them.  I have seen a man roll up in a small SUV early in the morning driving around the parking lotMore likely the reasons for their behavior are a combination of both, with seagulls present daily morning to night and emboldened by those who offer them a free meal.  Do these things even know how to catch fish anymore?  This is a legitimate question.

One of the problems associated with the congregation of local seagulls at Aliso Beach, is that they bathe in waters of Aliso Creek backed up at the high tide berm at the beach.  Seagulls are made to poop as they take flight to lighten their load.  As regular visitors to the creek waters, the fecal bacteria counts in that creek water are pretty much always elevated.  Add to this the people that feed them and the overstuffed trash cans from summer beach days and you have the recipe for nasty water.  Inevitably, the creek breaks the berm and empties its content into the waters of Aliso Beach carrying along all the pollution, bacteria and toxicity to the waters we play in.  To say that seagulls wreak havoc on the beach is an understatement.

Yesterday I checked the surf before 7:00 am and seagull mayhem was on full display.  Trashcans that were spilling over with trash and half eaten items was ripe for the picking through by our local seagulls.  They ripped the trash cans apart spreading chip bags and food wrappers all over the beach.  It is probably a good idea that the trash is emptied during the summer season and holiday weekends at night rather than early in the morning.  If not, we can expect that seagulls will spread half the content of the trash cans all over the beach as they fight each other for whatever scraps they can pull out.

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Fake News

FAKE NEWS

Fake news is all the rage these days if you are following all the mud slinging going on between the Trump Administration and Main Stream Media as well as both the left and right leaning news organizations hammering each other with accusation.  Put the politics aside for a second! This story has nothing to do with politics but it involves an allegation of fake news that is really funny from someone in the South Orange County surf community that I have a ton of respect and admiration for.

I was meeting some body board friends up at Aliso Beach today.  With inland temperatures in the 90’s, today was predictably a very busy day at the beach.  When I got there, I heard a succession of whistles and my name called.  The parking lot was packed and there was the hustle and bustle of cars on PCH, a parking lot of people fighting over few remaining spots, and the chatter of beach goers entering and leaving the sand with family, children and friends. A second whistle and I figured that it was intended for me.  Looking back towards the direction of the sound, I saw my buddy Jack waving me down.

As we sat there watching the waves and talking, we were joined by several other body boarders from the community. While we were standing there, a man I know from the community walked up and asked me if I was deaf.  I laughed and explained to him that I heard someone call my name but could not see where it was coming from. The dude I am referring to is none other than Mr. Tom Monroe.  I explained to him that my eyes and ears are going just like everything else, and he laughed.  Tom is a really cool guy.  I should probably do a piece on him for the website.

seal, capo beach, scared of sharks, great white sharks, great whites, great white sharks capo beach

Seal At Capo Beach

The dude has a remarkable history as a Waterman, photographer, business man and realtor.  He calls me to check in every so often, and truth be told, I love this guy! He is classic and also known as Mokitom.

So we got on the topic of the shark activity along our coast.  Since I know he is out documenting the surf, skim, body board and beach scene at Aliso Beach and the Dana Point to South Laguna Beach region, I thought I would ask him what he had seen and captured.  He told me that he and his friend Larry were down there at Capo today with a drone shooting footage of the sharks.  Of course none of the video was ready for review, and Larry didn’t have his recently published drone footage on his phone so I accused Tom of teasing the video knowing I would not be able to see it.  His response was a big grin and laughter. In my conversation with him, I asked him if he thought this was normal. His response was somewhat shocking.  He blew it off saying the sharks have always been there and that this hoopla is nothing more than more people with cameras and drones.  I told him that I had been studying the return of Great White Shark populations since 2007 when a surfer’s board was bitten in Huntington Beach.  When I told him that there were now hot spots for Great White Sharks at San Onofre, Sunset Beach, Capo Beach and Long Beach, he looked at me and proclaimed “Fake News”!  I don’t agree with his assessment of fake news, but I acknowledge his right to free speech in America.   He is definitely someone knowledgeable in all things coastal South Orange County and the happenings at local beaches, but I feel I know enough about the proliferation of white sharks over the last decade around our coastline to make a legitimate argument in support of the idea that we have a new normal with Great White Sharks close to shore at South Orange County Beaches.

Before going home, I went to Capo Beach to check things out.  There was definitely more swell in the water, and I noticed the shark advisory signs are still up lining the beach.  I got out of the car and watched the near shore waters, where for two straight weeks, I have observed Great White Sharks within 10 feet of the shoreline thrashing around.  I did not see sharks today as Tom had said were there, but I did see a seal swim north acting mysteriously while positioning itself in waters that were shallow. Could it be that Great White Sharks in the area had pinned this poor mammal along the shore at Capo Beach?  I don’t know but it is certainly in the realm of possibilities.  Assuming that it was getting harassed by hungry Great White Sharks at Capo Beach, I have to wonder how the seal feels about fake news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aliso Beach, beach news, Capo Beach, fake news Tagged , , , , |

Great White Shark Activity

GREAT WHITE SHARK ACTIVITY

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Whitney L Anderson with Great White Shark Painting

From the near fatal Great White Shark Attack at San Onofre weeks ago and the OC Sheriffs Helicopter warning a paddle boarder of being in the middle of a pack of 15 sharks to personally seeing sharks thrash around the water 10 feet or less from the sand and the OC Register report of a shark at Thousand Steps Beach, the danger has become very real to this South Orange County Body Boarder and ocean enthusiast. A friend in Laguna Beach had suggested that there was a sighting at Aliso Beach several weeks back and I immediately drove up to Aliso to speak with a lifeguard supervisor who was unaware of any sighting.  That day curiosity got the best of me and I headed to Capo Beach where there has been many daily sightings over the last several weeks.  Sure enough, I got to see them in the surf zone at a spot I have paddled out at in years past.  I was moved by the fear of a friend of mine who has been in the San Clemente to Laguna community as a former professional body boarder for the bulk of his life.  I would like to acknowledge Joe Grodzen and I wanted to relay the sentiment of what he said on Facebook.  He spoke of his deep ties to the ocean and those of his wife Keila whom is also a former professional body boarder.  Raising a young boy and giving him the gift of beach and surfing culture, it is not lost on Joe how concerning the rash of shark sightings from San Onofre to Long Beach, California is.  Joe for the most part is a very unflappable, competitive and in the moment kind of personality.  What he said was very raw and very real.  Reading his thoughts, I was affected by the fear he had related to the presence of these sharks in what perhaps is a new normal along our coastline with regular visits.  He echoed the sentiment that he may have to give a second thought to being in the water to keep he and his family safe.  Joe has been at this far longer than I have, and to hear a man that has spent nearly every day of his life since he has been old enough to walk in local ocean waters express a genuine concern for his safety, it definitely caught my attention.

Still trying to process the swarm of so many sharks in the area, I did return a second time to Capo Beach noticing the shark warning signs, and eventually seeing one splash around 10 feet or less from shore.  It is probably not a good idea to be in the water at all at Capo.  Rumor has it that boats and perhaps kayakers are chumming the waters to attract the sharks.  Some of these boats are alleged to be whale boats capitalizing on the presence of these toothy new inhabitants of Capo Waters.  Any reasonable human being should not approve of throwing blood and guts into the water near shore for commercial gain, capturing footage or taking photographs.  This is a really bad idea that may contribute to a fatality and should be stopped immediately.  My hope is the lifeguards and authorities can identify those perpetrators and force them to stop.  As far as I can see that is harassment of a federally protected shark but what do I know.  If this is being done please stop this very reckless behavior.

Since I spend more time at Salt Creek and the coves of Laguna Beach, I felt like I was relatively safe in the zones I like to play in.  Given the explosion of shark numbers close to shore in San Clemente and Capo Beach, the idea that there are no great whites near shore at Salt Creek and Laguna Beaches rests on quicksand.  It simply doesn’t hold.  A Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register Article, shattered my idealized safe zones with a shark spotting at South Laguna’s Thousand Steps Beach and the mention of a shark advisory at Salt Creek.  Say it isn’t so!  I don’t know what I am going to do personally and I am feeling like I may put myself on a self-imposed time out, and as Joe Grodzen so eloquently said, what are we going to do? Ocean enthusiasts have built their lives around washing away all that ails them in the ocean and doing something athletically that keeps them happy.  I don’t know the answer to this question, and I suppose time will tell.  Having paddled way out at Salt Creek and sitting in the kelp paddies, I admit that I have thought about the unseen below that perhaps I don’t want to know is there. The ocean and local waters are home to the Great White Shark, but I cannot say that in over the 30 years I have spent time in these waters, that this is normal in any way shape or form.   How I feel about this situation will in no way dictate the behavior of sharks and where they choose to set up shop.  While I pray that their presence will come to pass and they head out to deeper waters, their continued presence could put a damper on what little ocean time I have as it is.  Having had a fin pop up on me in Baja while body boarding alone at a northern stretch of La Fonda, I really don’t want to find myself in that situation again.  Fortunately, a well-timed set arrival got me out of there before I could stare into the intentions of presumably a Great White Shark…and I prefer that to be the last time I find myself in the water with one.

I would like to take a moment to thank my friend and artist Whitney L. Anderson, a brilliant painter and collage artist residing in Seattle, Washington.

Website:  http://www.whitneylanderson.com

Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/whitneylanderson_art

 

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach News, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Safety, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Dana Point, Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Salt Creek, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Shark Research

SHARK RESEARCH

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Capo Beach Shark Warning

After I heard this I decided to do some shark research today. A 50 year water man in Laguna Beach said online today there was a shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  He also said that in all his years that he had never heard of a shark reported in the intertidal zone of Laguna Beach. To be clear, this reported sighting is unconfirmed, but you can appreciate that as the owner of the Aliso Beach website and an avid body boarder that has spent a ton of time at Aliso and neighboring Laguna beaches, I am simultaneously concerned and intrigued by the recent hot spots for sharks at San Onofre, Poche Beach, Capo Beach and Long Beach.

When I got to Aliso Beach this afternoon, I got my parking pass and wasted no time finding the lifeguard supervisor. He was a cool guy, and I am sure that what I asked him is something that has been asked since Orange County News showed a helicopter warning a paddle boarder that he or she was in the middle of a pack of as many as 15 Great White Sharks in the surf zone.  When I informed him that I had a question for him, I told him that I didn’t want to shout out my question.  As I got closer to him, I very discreetly asked him about the alleged shark sighting. He was unaware of  any recent event.  They were training aspiring life guards on the beach so I am 100% sure that OC Life Guards would not expose those kids to unnecessary risks.  So the mystery deepens as it relates to the alleged sighting of sharks at Aliso Beach.  I left the beach assured that there were no issues of Great White Sharks and the absence of media attention, adds to the case that Great White Sharks had not been observed at this popular South Laguna Beach.  I did greatly appreciate the time afforded to me by the supervisor and the willingness to discuss the potential issue.  He was a cool guy and I trust in what he told me. As he indicated, you would have to be a silly white shark to want to take on the shore break conditions of Aliso Beach. With this news I am sure a talented young skimmer with dreadlocks that frequents this local spot is breathing a sigh of relief.  That is just me being funny.  I suspect that very few, if any, wave riding enthusiasts had heard about this shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  Shark research was to continue as I got back onto S. Pacific Coast Highway and headed south.

When I got to Capo Beach, I immediately noticed the traffic stand barriers with the shark warnings attached to then.  It was one of 3 or 4 I saw lining the beach to warn beach visitors of the presence of Great White Sharks. I must admit this is super freaky, and although I have heard of sharks present in local waters, this fact has not hit this close to home until now. Looking south, I noticed a couple of life guards huddled up by the tower and looking out over the water.  I walked up to them and began a conversation about the sharks, and they were definitely there to keep an eye on things and make sure people are informed.  As the shark warnings clearly stated, by entering the water you were swimming or surfing at your own risk.

We discussed theories on why the sharks are there.  It was a cool conversation.  I have always found OC Life Guards to be a class act, and as we talked a shark surfaced and thrashed around a bit. Until that moment, I had never seen a Great White Shark in Southern California waters. I found it surreal.  Capo Beach isn’t the best surfing, body boarding or even swimming beach due to a sloping beach, waves crashing right on the sand, and a fair amount of small rocks lining the shore.  Nonetheless, life guards were keeping everyone informed and watching for the presence of sharks which numbered 15 several days ago.

I talked to them about how I was following the Great White Shark population resurgence with federal protections extended to them and the seal population which represents meals on the preferred menu for these toothy creatures.  Having kept up to date with shark sightings in Southern California, I told them about Ralph Collier and Pacific Shark Committee.  Ralph is a leading scientist and expert on Great White Sharks and predatory behavior in North America. The life guards told me that Chris Lowe, the California State University Long Beach Great White Shark expert and researcher, was working with OC Life Guards on tagging the sharks to gain a better understanding of migratory patterns.  I was a bit surprised to learn that they were doing the tagging via jet skis.  Initially I had asked for a seat in that boat but quickly changed course when I found out that they were doing this on the much smaller and more exposed water vehicles.  That is a little too close and not enough protection for this fat, old guy.

Reality is that local Orange County Waters we hold dear as surfers, swimmers and body boarders, are the homes of Great White Sharks.  To some extent they have always been there.  Perhaps the record rain and runoff combined with cooler waters, spring wind patterns and upwelling are creating perfect conditions for movements in the food chain that have these sharks closer to shore to feed.  While I don’t have all of the answers with my shark research, the numerous sightings from Long Beach to San Onofre have definitely captivated me.  Let’s hope we do not have any more encounters like we saw at San Onofre where a Vista woman was attacked, bitten and air lifted to the hospital clinging to life. I am pleased to say that she made it.  Despite additional surgeries coming and a long road back to as normal a life as she can have given the serious injury to her leg, she is alive and not wishing sharks any ill will.

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

Trash To Treasure

TRASH TO TREASURE

Have you ever heard the saying “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”?  I haven’t come across that statement in a while but it was the first thing that came to mind after visiting Aliso Beach two consecutive weekends in a scene representing trash to treasure.

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Aliso Beach Debris from storm runoff.

We have experienced a rainy season for the record books.  I hate to say it but rain and Southern California are like an oxymoron most seasons.  This winter has proven to be a very memorable one for weather, rain and snow.  While it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the wet season is over, the snow pack has been measured well over 100% of normal, California dams have been stressed to near breaking points and roads have been washed away with cars overcome by torrents of water under heavy downpours.  Our local Southern California Beaches, including Aliso Beach, Laguna, are on the receiving end of all the runoff and whatever it carries down stream from storm drains, washes, creeks and rivers.  With significant rain over short periods of time, you can imagine all the things swept down into our ocean and deposited back on our beaches. Plastics, bottles, toys, wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, baggies and even dreaded syringes as seen recently in Newport Beach near the River Jetties.  Also ending up on the beach from heavy rain and wind events were leaves, twigs, tree branches, logs and driftwood.  At times it seems like you could take a rake to the top layer of the ocean surface along our coastline, and those logs and branches put wave riders at risk of serious injury.

That first trip to Aliso Beach, there was an unsightly pile of wood and branches just south of the main lifeguard tower.  It was, however, cleared from the beach and shoreline and staged for removal.  This is where the ingenuity of a father spending time with his son transformed the debris from trash to treasure.  I had no doubt the County of Orange, who does a great job of maintaining Aliso Beach, was going to come in and remove the pile of wood.  Probably because of consecutive days of rain, they were unable to get the debris out of there, or they figured they would add to the pile during additional rain events so they could clean up the beach all at once.  It is completely logical to me.  The picture to the left shows the wood all piled up steps from the parking lot and ready to be hauled out of there.  Given that our winters in recent years have not produced much rain, it was somewhat surprising to see a pike of branches and wood like that on the beach.  Some of the branches were substantial, and with all of the trees that came down in South Orange County along the coastline, it really wasn’t any surprise to see that kind and volume of wood deposited on the beach.  I am wondering if the Full Moon Drum Circle group saw that pile of wood.  It would have made for a great night with plenty of wood to keep everyone warm!

 

aliso beach, trash to treasure, storm debris, south laguna beach

A fort built by a father and son with wood washed to the beach from winter Southern California storms.

While the pile of wood certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, a father and a son went on a building spree.  They took the larger wood pieces and buried them vertically in the sand.  I was surprised that with the girth of the branches that the sand would keep them standing upright.  As far as I know, no one was injured in the evolution of trash to treasure in what I call the making of an Aliso Beach fort.  I have to admire the father.  It takes the ability of a parent to think creatively like a child to entertain a child.  I remember how much I liked forts as a kid, and to be child-like was worthy of my attention and a smile.  In that moment, it felt like all was right in the world and that everything was okay.

The picture below, is the result of a creative father showing his son a good time.  It was cool to think back to my own childhood and how forts at summer camp at home were a big part of my own childhood!  My guess, by the looks of him, is that the little dude had a really good time!  I was truly happy for them and grateful to be under the smiling eyes of Mr. Sun.  Is it summer yet?

 

 

 

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

Dude Offered Me A Taco

DUDE OFFERED ME A TACO

 

I was surprised this morning how much energy was in the water at Salt Creek today.  It wasn’t huge but it was fairly consistent and punchy.  The bulk of the morning I spend body boarding the shore break with friends.  After a couple of hours and an influx of new eager wave riders, I decided to exit the liquid stage.  My friends decided to whether the crowd increase for about an hour longer and I strolled up the hill cursing under my breath as I often do at that very steep hill.  I was already cramping and tired before the incline delivered a final blow to my desire to exert myself physically.

As I often do, I run into members of the Salt Creek Community.  There are some truly amazing people from a variety of wave riding disciplines that I have enjoyed surfing with and talking to over the years.  Ezra rolled up and parked his car in between the traffic lanes going each direction to check the waves.  We had a 15 minute conversation that included how Salt Creek was more like a community than a public beach because of how many wave riders have surfed this beach for a long time and many people know each other from over the years.  He said, ” I wonder if it is like that at other beaches?”.  I would like to believe so but know that Salt Creek is a special place.

He parked in the lot and proceeded to strike up a conversation with a pretty gal and I waited for my friends to limp up the hill from their surf session.  After chatting with everyone for 20 minutes, hunger kicked in and they all zipped down PCH to Chronic Tacos.  We all agreed to get back to the coast and check Aliso Beach in Laguna due to a rapidly draining tide that favors the shore break.  I headed up to Laguna Hills to get a juice at Mother’s Market and do some shopping.

Jack beat me to Aliso and had already rained on my parade texting me that it was too small.  I was already headed there so I decided to give it a look anyways.  The winds were perfect and the water was a sparkling blue-green.  I was on the phone with Scotty Carter telling him that conditions were perfect minus the surf.  When I told Scotty I thought it was 3 foot a guy cooking at one of Aliso’s barbecue pits said, “Nah, it’s like 6 foot out there right now!”  I laughed and politely told him not today.  He went on to make a comment about how rough it was to which I explained, “that is Aliso Beach.”  He offered me a canned beer that I declined telling him, “Thank you, but no I recently quit.  Nobody likes a quitter”.  He laughed and said, ” You aren’t all that bad”.  I showed my appreciation and continued down to the water’s edge.

There were waves for sure.  It was possible even to ride them with travel time in the barrel but just not enough energy to compel me to paddle out.  There were gentle offshore winds, beautiful water color and glassy conditions.  The winds were feathering back these little wedging peaks back so I snapped a couple of photos on my IPhone.  Knowing I would not paddle out there I walked back up the sand berm and made my way toward the dude that offered me the beer.  I told him to watch for lifeguards and Laguna Beach Police Department whom I have seen write tickets for alcohol on the beach.  He appreciated that and then the dude offered me a taco.  Regrettably I had to decline.  I was so full from a large juice and a couple of organic food bars from Mother’s that I could not eat anything more.  I felt bad for having to decline.  He had the chicken perfectly barbecued and all the fixings for a taco meal and told him everything looked great.

Call me an old sap but that generous offered seemed like the world that has long passed us by.  We are so technologically connected and so inter-personally disconnected that  friendly encounters like that seem so far and few between.  It saddens me.  They were very nice people and I enjoyed talking to them.  It is those types of dealings with strangers that gives the world hope and we all should take note of how small conversations between strangers lead to meaningful dialogue and friendships. In a perfect world, the dude offered me a taco and I was hungry.  In today’s world, this afternoon at Aliso Beach, I had already eaten and wasn’t hungry.  I do appreciate their gesture and hope that people take note of this and look to have conversations like this wherever they go.  They mean so much more than we give them credit for.

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Surf, Aliso Beach Waves Tagged , , , |

Road Rash

ROAD RASH

 

It’s not what you think!  I didn’t wipe out on a mountain bike, skateboard, roller blades or motorcycle, but the result was the same.  It was painful reminder from Mother Nature that we are not always in control!

 

road rash, scrapes, cuts, wounds

Road Rash from Aliso Beach Beat Down

Yesterday, I met up with a friend to go body board Salt Creek when the reports were less than ideal from wave riders coming up from the beach.  Between Saturday and Sunday Morning, the swell had increased, became more westerly, and by consequence, became more closed out. We figured we could come back if we absolutely had no other alternative.  It was 86 degrees, the sun was shining and there was little or no wind down at the coast.  We decided to head up to Aliso Beach.  I must admit, Aliso has not been on my radar and the last time I was there had to be before my terrible car accident in June.  There were whispers of quality surf there the day before, but as Salt Creek proved, what a difference a day can make when it comes to surf.

The aqua green-blue water that is a hallmark of the beautiful Laguna Beach Coastline, was glassy smooth and inviting.  The tide was a bit on the high side when we arrived so it had that wonky Aliso Beach look that only a much lower tide would correct.  We had time on our side without the threat of a late morning onshore wind to get in the way of our plans.  As 3 of us stood on the beach, the tide continued to recede and an occasional wave or two would peel through that motivated me to paddle out.  Having successfully worn trunks the day before at Salt Creek, I was excited once again to leave the wet suit out of the equation.  Because I feel so weighed down by the extra neoprene, it was great to once again be in 67 degree water unencumbered.  It was November 13th!  For the last 3 years I have been in the water without a wet suit during November.  Crazy!

With trunks and rash guard I plunged into the Pacific by myself leaving two friends on the beach trying to will themselves into less than ideal conditions.  There must have been 3 guys out in the lineup spread way out with a couple of skim boarders lining the shore and doing their thing.  I got a couple of waves right away and I expected my friends to paddle out.  It was decent size and it kept improving as time went by with plenty of racey waves of consequence.  As I continued to get waves and the soft top surfing crew started to paddle out and push me further north.  I continued to get decent waves. After I had been out about an hour and a half, I decided to get out to find out if my bros had abandoned me for better waves reported at another spot.  I was a little salty.

When I got to the parking lot, I noticed by friend’s SUV still in the parking lot.  He must have gone out, I thought to myself.  After putting my body board and fins away, I walked south along the parking lot and spotted my friends.  Had it not been for two or three perfect waves coming through, I would have called it a day.  On my second wave, a chunky right popped up and my friends were hooting me in.  It was a boomeranging wave that slung me pretty good.  I knew the thing was going to heave and after I got about 20 yards it unleashed its inner beast mode and  began to hollow out quickly.  I saw it coming and was perfectly slotted when the thing closed out and slammed me to the bottom on my back.  After having a fin lost to the ocean, the wave violently dragged me over some rocks and I knew that I was cut.  Most likely the rocks came from Aliso Creek and migrate south towards the reef with predominant West and West Northwest Swell Directions.  It felt like someone dragged me over a reef forcefully while lying on my back.  Yep, it was good old fashioned road rash on my lower back.  It kind of sucks!  I suppose that it could have been worse because that wasn’t the only thing that happened middle part of the beach that was alarming.  You will have to read my next post to find out what that means.  Until then I am lubed up with Neosporin and hoping that the road rash goes away quickly. It stings and is uncomfortable, but that wave was worth every scrape I got!  Be careful out there!

And yes….I know crack kills!  When I had the picture taken I was less concerned about my crack and more concerned about the severity of the injury.  It didn’t feel so good!

 

Posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Surf, Aliso Beach Waves Tagged , , , , |

Three Friends

THREE FRIENDS

Just three friends out in the water at Aliso Beach this Sunday, enjoying some left over energy out of the west northwest.  It wasn’t huge, but like Aliso has a tendency to do, it delivered a mean little shore break wave breaking a tad below sea level as the tide drops.  It is rare today, however, to be able to be out in the water with just a couple of friends.  Austin Keen was down the beach doing his step offs on an outside peak, and he too had to be stoked on the lack of competition for waves.  The shape wasn’t perfect, but the waves angled down the beach with guttering rights and the occasional left that made it a really fun day.  It stayed glassy for the most part and the waves were punchy.  My friend Patrick had to rescue a little girl who with her convenience store bought body board and her lack of fins, managed to get dragged out into a dangerous spot.  He helped her get under a couple of the larger waves and waited for the lifeguard to reach him to take her back to shore.  During this event, a father was yelling out from the beach petrified that his daughter was in trouble.  She most certainly was, and I have to shake my head in that minutes before that unfolded, a lifeguard was warning this family of the dangerous situation she put herself in moments later.  It may not be the North Shore of Oahu during winter at Aliso Beach, but the shore break waves at this South Laguna spot are capable of ending a life.  It was a good thing for her that three friends were in the water that day and one of them was close enough to her when she got in trouble to keep her from harm.  We don’t mind being an extra set of eyes for unsuspecting children or the inexperienced, but I really don’t want to be out  in the water when someone dies because the lifeguards or the wave riding community can’t get to them quick enough. There have been a lot of close calls over the last few years at Aliso Beach.

The parking lot was 3/4 full when we got there.  We had looked at Salt Creek and it was a bit funky and the tide perhaps a little too swampy.  As the tide dropped we looked for just a couple of waves to signal an improvement worth paddling out for.  It didn’t take long.  The waves got better into the afternoon as the tide moved towards it’s negative low tide in the afternoon.  The wind was light and variable to at times slightly offshore.  As the tide drained it got a little funky but it was over 2 hours in so nobody cared.  It is a rare occasion for a beach like Aliso to have so few people in the water.  It was literally Austin Keen, a surf photographer, and three friends. You can’t beat that!  No squabbling over waves, no jockeying for position, and no one in each other’s way.  The peaks allowed Austin one to himself towards the middle of the beach as we traded waves between the river mouth and the middle of the beach.  No one left the beach that day wave-starved and it was all smiles.  I don’t know a wave rider in the world that wouldn’t take a day in the water where there were only 3 friends out.  That type of experience is like Big Foot.  We hear about them but we aren’t sure it exists.  For three friends this past Sunday, a day in the water with virtually no one out, did go down.

 

 

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Scotty Carter Showroom At Woods Cove Fine Art

SCOTTY CARTER SHOWROOM

Woods Cover Fine Art Gallery

February Art Walk Event At Woods Cove Fine Art Gallery

It has taken several months of hard work, advice, renovations and good people with a shared vision and enthusiasm rallying around the idea of creating opportunities for artists to show art in Laguna Beach, California.  This Thursday, February 4th, 2015, the Scotty Carter Showroom is officially open at Woods Cove Fine Art. We are proud to be a part of this movement in South Laguna Beach.  We invite you to enjoy a night of incredible art, music, good people and refreshments down at the gallery located at 1963 South Coast Highway on the beach side of the  road above the breathtaking Woods Cove in Laguna.  For those visiting galleries on the north end of town that would like to see the Woods Cove Fine Art Gallery, a new stop has been added to the Trolley route that drops off at Diamond Street just south of the gallery.  We believe this will give many people to see the new gallery that may have not come before because it was tough to get to.  That ends this Thursday! Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk now connects with south Laguna via the Trolley, making this new gallery more accessible to residents and families that enjoy this once a month event.

The event is 6-9pm. Come see water sculptures by Scotty Carter including his new distressed wood frame metals in large format and his large canvas speaker unit.  Come test out his speaker unit using bluetooth technology to play your music using a smart phone to communicate and play through the speaker.  It is amazing!  All art sales include something you can’t get at the typical gallery.  Because the gallery is operated by Laguna Foundation For the Arts, a government recognized 5013c charitable organization, a tax deduction is possible with your purchase of art.  30% of the gross sale goes to the foundation which gives you a write-off of that dollar amount at the end of the year.

There will also be music from Jackie Pember and Eric Henderson.  Thursday night will be a great opportunity to see cool art, listen to amazing music and wash the experience all down with a glass of red or white wine!  We hope to see you all down there!  Don’t miss out!

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

Dianas Lesson

DIANAS LESSON

Sometime in the Fall of 2015, I introduced myself to a couple of young girls in the parking lot of Aliso Beach. One of them turned out to be Diana Rosa Cordova, the only Mexican, Female, Professional Skim Boarder on the planet.  Little did I know, a month later or so, she would sit with me for several hours and take a barrage of questions, and pass along what I now call Diana’s Lesson.  As manager of the Aliso Beach

diana rosa, diana rosa cordova, pro skim boarder, professional skim boarder, mexican professional skim boarder

Diana Rosa enters friend Samantha’s hoverboard picture for Aliso Beach website

website, I am constantly looking for cool stuff to include in the blog.  Her friend Samantha was riding one of those hover boards that are getting a lot of press for spontaneously bursting into flames, and I asked her if I could take a picture of her riding.  She was hesitant, and I get it.  It’s like, who is the creepy older guy that I don’t know requesting to take pictures?  Samantha was joined by a wide-eyed, vibrant personality that you couldn’t help gravitate towards.  After talking to them about the website and how I envisioned it playing a role in the community, I told Diana that I would like to do a write up about her for the site.  I have talked with several people in the community about doing stuff on the website, and because her enthusiasm for the website was so great, I knew that doing a nice piece for her was meant to be.  Diana joined the picture with Samantha on the hover board with a flare that is typical for someone with the love of life and people that I have discovered she has.

We met up last weekend, and although I knew it would be fun to talk with her, I had no idea that when we parted ways that I would have so many great angles for stories that shined brightly on this young and rising skim board star.  Initially, I thought the pieces would focus on skim boarding, but during our conversations, it became clear that this enterprising and personality full, young lady was a collection of really neat stories that I feel blessed to pass along.

Diana indicated that she didn’t grow up with a whole lot of money.  Her parents divorced when she and her brother were young, and so her mom had to make a go of it as a single parent.  The feeling I get is that it made her mom tough, resilient, driven and willing to work hard for everything she gave her children.  I am happy to say that despite her friendly demeanor and kindness, Diana Rosa exhibits many of the same qualities she described in her mom.  Her mom has to be proud of the woman she has become and the woman she has the opportunity to be.

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Education was a topic I was really curious about when we spoke.  I was impressed by her college education in aerospace part manufacturing.  I can count on one hand the number of people that I have rubbed elbows with that are in that field, and there is no question you have to be smart to enter into the field at the college level.  This gives her an opportunity to work in a field beyond skim boarding if she chooses, and she indicated that her experience in the manufacture of aerospace parts has her thinking and believing she will become involved in her own projects. Diana is strong in her belief in what she can do and about the amazing opportunities that are out there for her.  Look out world!  I sincerely believe that she will do great things.  While learning of this part of her education was fascinating, it was what her mom did with respect to her desire for her children to get a quality education that paved the way for Diana’s lesson.

Diana comes from humble beginnings.  Her mother could not afford the kind of education she wanted to give her kids when they were young.  It didn’t stop her from making a quality education happen for her children.  As Diana tells it, her mother walked into a Montessori School and told the administration that despite not being able to afford it, she absolutely believed her kids should be there.  The school took them in and Diana tells me that it changed her life.  It was there and at a young age that she learned English.  They were her formative years, and this education left an undeniable, positive impact on this child who now as a young woman has the world in the palm of her hands.  What her mom did was so valuable proving that if you want something bad enough, go after it.  It changed the course of history for Diana.

So there it was, August of 2015, and Diana was entered in the most prestigious skim boarding contest called the VIC as an amateur.  Some of the men’s professional skim boarders from South Laguna that come down for contests at her local skim breaks in Mexico, encouraged her to jump to the pro event.  She made the leap and placed 8 with no sponsors, no competitive track record in the US, and absolutely nothing to lose.  She was not intimidated and she gave her best effort.  It is hard to be anything but excited for someone that just goes for it.

Diana has a lot of friends in the skim board community, and they have helped her remain in South Laguna to continue practicing and getting better.  Aliso Beach is a pretty good beach among the other South Laguna skim spots to hone her skills.  Fortunately, the water stayed warm until the middle of December, so she was able to get by without a wet suit.  Just half way past the middle of the last month of the year, the cold water in Southern California started to bite a little harder.  Not to be deterred, Diana successfully negotiated a wet suit sponsor that is dedicated to the women’s market.  She understands that opportunities come with effort and believing in herself.  Diana’s lesson is that if you want help or you want something, ask for it!  This type of success and application of lessons taught to her by an amazingly driven mother are the way a parent hopes their children respond when it is their turn to take on the world without them.

I am proud to know Diana Rosa!  I am proud to call her a friend.  I happily root for her in everything that she does and everything she hopes to achieve.  The sky is the limit for her.  She can do whatever she wants to do and she will continue to amaze on her journey through life touching and inspiring people wherever she goes.  If you can’t smile in the presence of this beaming and blissful young lady, I would not know what to say to you.  She is everything that is good about people.  Diana is kind, thoughtful, respectful, genuine, empathetic, articulate, smart, funny, light-hearted and so much more.  You might call me one of her biggest fans, but I do know the kind of impact that kind of personality can have on all sorts of people.  It is not surprising at all that she has been embraced in the Laguna Beach skim community.

Thank you Diana for spending time with someone that you barely even knew. I appreciate your being open about all of the personal things that you really didn’t have to talk about.  That was a conversation I will probably remember forever and I enjoyed it.  Whether you stay here in the United States, travel the world or settle back down in Mexico, you can count me as a friend.  While this story is one of many that I will write about you related to our conversation, this certainly is not the end.  I wish you the best and will root for you in whatever you do!

Diana Rosa Facebook

Diana Rosa Victoria Skim Boards Profile

Victoria Skim Boards Instagram @victoriaskimboards

Diana Rosa Instagram @diana_cord

Diana Rosa Tattoo Sponsor Pure Tatts

Diana Rosa Wet Suit Sponsor GlideSoul

 

 

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