Category Archives: Aliso Creek

Bee Concerned

BEE CONCERNED

Should you bee concerned? Over the last week or so, I received a website inquiry making reference to bees at Aliso Beach.  I forgot about the email and may have accidentally deleted it, and so I will address whether or not she should bee concerned about our buzzing friends at Aliso Beach.

It is ironic that when I drove into the driveway yesterday that there were enough bees airborne and around my car that I wasn’t going to take my chances.  I decided pull out of the driveway and roll down to to get a beer and return after darkness. They were landing on the car and flying every which way you could think of. This reminded me to follow up on the concern of someone wishing to visit Aliso Beach.

I have done a previous post on bees at Aliso Beach.  With all the talk of colony collapse disorder and bees vanishing, I think there is hope in seeing bees at Aliso Beach.  Bees are attracted to the sugary drinks and food items that we put into trash cans at this South Laguna Beach.  It is very common for the bees to be hovering over and flying into the trashcans in search of the syrupy left overs we throw away.  Since the trash cans line the sidewalk just inches from the sand, beach visitors cross pass with these little guys all of the time, and yes people do get stung.  I have been there when it has happened.

Should the presence of bees at Aliso Beach keep you from enjoying one of the most beautiful and accessible beaches in Laguna Beach?   While it is a good thing to bee concerned, I don’t think that the bee threat rises to a level that should have you concerned for your safety.  For tips on how to avoid the bees you might like my previous post on bee safety at Aliso Beach.

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Fire Pits Are Serious Business

FIRE PITS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS

fire pits are serious business

Fire Pit at Aliso Beach reserved early.

Availability of the fire pits at Aliso Beach is hands down the number one question this website receives.  On July 9th, I was checking the surf and I noticed two things:  1) The sea gulls had thrown the contents of overflowing trashcans all over the beach looking for food scraps and 2) All of the fire pits were attended to by people reserving them for a family day at the beach.  Fire pits are serious business at Aliso Beach and they are first come first serve.  I asked a gentleman who was reserving the fire pit for a family event at the beach what time he had come down to lay claim to the one of 6 fire pits on the sand in Laguna Beach.  What he told me fits with what I have always believed to be true.

There is more demand for the fire pits than there are available fire pits, and if you don’t get their early during the summer, the chances of securing a fire pit evaporate quickly. Technically, he had arrived to save the space and fire pits slightly before the parks opening time of 6:00 am.  County of Orange maintenance workers were their early to haul away the damage beach goers had inflicted on the beach the day prior with trash cans bursting at the seams with wrappers, baggies, cups and bottles spilling over the top and onto the ground.  It wasn’t pretty, but it speaks directly to how popular Aliso Beach is and how much competition there is for the limited space available on a summer day.

I have told anyone that inquires online about the fire pits at Aliso Beach that get there early or forget it.  While this is truly an inconvenient truth, securing a fire pit at Aliso Beach may require showing up before first light, parking on the hill and walking down before the gates open.  It is what it is.  This may be the only way I can say that you have a 95% chance of getting a fire pit during prime beach season.  The man I spoke to also said that he would typically pay kids in the family and friend network to come down and reserve the pits while he keeps a tight grip on extra hours of sleep.  He said that with a grin and as you may be fully aware now, you know fire pits are serious business at Aliso Beach.  It’s the old supply and demand lecture from economics class.  If you indeed want that fire pit for the day, consider there are less fire pits than families who wish to reserve them any summer day or holiday weekend.  Your success in securing a fire pit is dependent on your strategy.  At AlisoBeach.com, we wish you luck!

 

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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

 

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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.

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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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Great Big Plants

GREAT BIG PLANTS

Great Big Plants, tomato plant

Before Great Big Plants feedings for 5 weeks

I have been promising a Great Big Plants Story for months now, and I thought that people from the Aliso Beach and South Laguna communities would enjoy the article.  I am glad, however, that I waited to write this story because the success of the product since the time period that I was supposed to write the article in has shown 15 times better results.  Let me start by going back in time and talking about how a connection has turned into the promotion of an amazing product with real results in my own backyard.

My fraternity brother’s family owns Left Coast Brewco in San Clemente, California.  He had been nudging me for at least a year to come check out the tasting room.  Not sure why I didn’t take the bait of finely crafted beers until nearly 2 years of existence as a business, but I finally got there.  In addition to the quality of their micro brews, I was struck by the type of people that were in the tasting room regularly and felt like it could be really good for business.  The clientele at Left Coast is really cool. One of the people I met early in my time at Left Coast was this funny, young, twenty something who had a penchant for thrift store work shirts.  Everyone of them came with a different name sewn on the shirt and a different company name.  I found that hysterical and lo and behold Spenser was someone I talked to a lot while at Left Coast and a friend.

One day we ended up in a conversation about his family business Great Big Plants.  I told him that 2014 was very productive for tomatoes in the backyard and that 2015 had been for the most part a disappointment.  He suggested that I try his organic Great Big Plants solution which puts beneficial nutrients and microbes back in the soil that are beneficial to growth and productivity. He was even willing to bring me a complimentary sample.  It seemed like a lost cause but I was down to test it out.  The plants looked like they had completely given up and the life had been sucked out of them.

Two of the three tomato plants after feeding them the solution for a couple of weeks roared back with a deepening healthy, green color and new foliage.  There wasn’t a single tomato initially, and the flowers that started to spring to life seemed to be die and fall to the ground.  That was discouraging, and the bees that were so prevalent in the spring were nowhere to be found.  When this feeding process first started it was late summer early fall.  It was not a forgone conclusion that this would work but in addition to the color, the vibrant smell of the plant became more pronounced and a tomato magically appeared.  I began to notice that the local humming birds that chase each other around the yard for priority on the feeder hanging from the back patio, were now interested in and feeding on the nectar from the tomato plant flowers.  For awhile, the lone tomato grew larger and then one day, it seemed like there were 5 or 6 more.

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The plants aren’t out of the woods though as winter temperatures and predicted El Nino rains threaten the viability of keeping the tomato plants.  There are now 15 tomatoes on the plant which to me is absolutely remarkable.  They are all green and not quite at the ripening stage.  I am hoping that they continue to develop into a salad friendly fruit, or vegetable depending on who you talk to, but the branches are starting to split under the weight of the tomatoes.  This may force the decision to pick the larger tomatoes to see if placement next to a ripening banana starts a chain reaction that leaves them all red.  Understand that I had no expectation for results like this.  I was convinced that there was something to this solution when I saw the new, green growth and a single tomato formed. The odds were long so getting to 15 tomatoes in my mind is nothing short of amazing. We are approaching 3-5 days of rain, and I will be interested to see how well the plants hold up.  Plan B is to remover the big ones to see if they can be influenced to ripen by bananas.

Why is this important to Aliso Beach or South Laguna?  One of my initial thoughts was that the greens over on the 9 hole course at The Ranch At Laguna Beach were treated with pesticides and fertilizers that get into Aliso Creek.  As you may know, phosphorus in fertilizers contribute to algae blooms that upon their death leave a toxin called domoic acid that poisons shellfish beds, lobsters, crabs, fish and larger sea creatures that feed on them.  Couldn’t the Ranch at Laguna Beach make a change that keeps the greens healthy and pristine without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers?  Wouldn’t such a move keep in line with the purpose of maintaining the Marine Reserve at Aliso Beach which is downstream from the golf course? Keep in mind this is just me thinking about the potential uses for Great Big Plants.  The company is already responsible for flipping a country club in South Orange County into their product and doing away with harmful fertilizers and pesticides. It makes me think that it is possible at a place like the golf course at the Ranch at Laguna Beach.

To be crystal clear though, I have no idea what the Ranch at Laguna Beach uses to maintain that golf course.  I think most would agree that golf as a sport generates so much interest and revenue that keeping the greens attractive and top notch are important to the success of the course.  I would bet that most would agree there is a good chance that like many other golf courses, the one here uses pesticides and fertilizers that we would be smart to keep out of urban runoff, out of Aliso Creek and out of South Laguna coastal waters.  Again, I have no idea what they are using at the Ranch.  I do think it would be cool if a business like Great Big Plants got in there and helped them make a change to organic solutions that went along way to protect local ocean waters and honor the Marine Reserve that environmental activists in Laguna worked so hard to create.

The product works.  I can and do enthusiastically speak on behalf of the Great Big Plants solution.  I thought that in order to talk about the product the way I should that I would need to perfectly understand the science of it.  With the plants coming back to life off season and producing tomatoes, all the evidence needed is the tomatoes growing on a couple of plants that were basically dead when the solution was first applied.  After a 30 day period not feeding the tomato plants, some of the foliage died and they did not look as healthy.  The tomatoes kept growing despite the leaves turning brown and the Great Big Plants feedings are back under way.  We will see what happens, but either way, there is more than enough to convince me that this product does what it says it will do.  I will leave the science of that up to Spenser.  My enthusiasm for and belief in the product was enough to connect Spenser with a large player in the landscape and organic gardening business in South Orange County.  The rest is up to Spenser!  It feels good to get this article out there and honor my friend whose family has a product I believe everyone can benefit from.  Linking the organic gardening and landscape business to Great Big Plants feels like a very natural fit with the opportunity to partner on business that makes a real difference in South Laguna and neighboring communities.  The potential for this company to redirect businesses and residences to organic and sustainable gardening is a massive opportunity.  In today’s climate, I feel like people are ready to circle back to growing their own vegetables organically and contributing to the environment by discontinuing the toxic pesticides and fertilizers that deliver foods laden with poisons and soils that produce runoff that gets into our salt and fresh water.  Using Great Big Plants is a win for everyone!

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Foam Top Board Carnage

FOAM TOP BOARD CARNAGE

With a high surf advisory in effect, there were a lot of eyes on south orange county beaches looking for good waves.  Predictably, Aliso Beach had heavy shore break waves that were good enough for wave riders to tame a few beasts.  The first thing I noticed when I crossed the sidewalk to the sand from the parking lot was a foam top surf board in two pieces leaning against a trash can.  It took less than 5 minutes of watching a 5 pack of two body boarders and 3 foam top board surfers to see a young dude get swallowed up by a good size barrel and crack his foam top board in two.  When the surf gets that big, and knowing how coming out of a barrel at Aliso Beach is rare, it is not difficult to wrap the mind around foam top board carnage. Yesterday’s conditions were a perfect recipe for leaving the beach with a foam top in two pieces. The resulting foam top board carnage should be surprising to no one.

In between the fellas trying not to crack their foam tops in half, local Wedge rider Whale was gliding into some big rights with impressive style.  His effortless drop knee take offs and barrel travel time were incredible to watch.  Having been a friend of Henry Long for decades, I really appreciate the way Whale attacks rights in a drop knee stance.  Every time I looked back out at the lineup while talking to a friend on the sand there Whale was picking off some of the best waves I saw that afternoon.  I would say he concluded his surf session very happy.  The guy was absolutely ripping!

I don’t know what the return policy is on these foam top boards but it has to be a pain in the you know what to be constantly breaking them.  With a high surf advisory expected to last until 6:00 pm this evening, I would be shocked if there weren’t the remains of additional form boards today.  Hopefully, I can get out of work in time to go get a few myself this afternoon.

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Paradise

PARADISE

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.

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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.

 

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Parents Beware

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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Life Saver

 LIFE SAVER

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Little girl saved at Aliso Creek in South Laguna Beach.

A life saver, hero, and Good Samaritan are fitting labels that come to mind when a human beings put their own lives on the line to save another.  This past weekend, a near tragic event occurred at Aliso Creek with a little girl sinking into Aliso Creek and finding herself in a deadly position.  If it weren’t for the help of photographer Larry Beard and Brennan Clarke, a family would have lost a precious child.  It is interesting to note that Brennan in years previous was a big part of a collaborative effort with lifeguards saving a woman who was dragged out to sea in 15 foot waves at Aliso Beach.  When you are around the ocean daily, dangers escalate quickly and the inexperienced often find themselves in the worst of conditions.  There are a lot of people in the San Clemente, Dana Point, South Laguna and Laguna beach areas that routinely offer assistance to waders, swimmers, body surfers and wave riders when they are in trouble, and I am proud to be a part of this community and know these amazing people.

This is Brennan describing the near tragedy (with small grammar corrections by me ) in a Facebook Message to me:

“So Larry, myself, and a couple kids were digging the standing wave . There were kids running around playing, nothing out of the ordinary. Larry and I turn around to go to our cars. I was grabbing a board and Larry went to get his camera gear to set up. When we turned around we saw this little girl starting to sink in the creek. She was walking and started to sink into the deep section of the creek which was close to the start of the river. Larry sprinted forward with myself behind jumped into the creek and pulled the girl from the water, which by that time was submerged. She was surrounded by family, a lifeguard, photographers and wave riders, and literally no one noticed. One of the heaviest things I’ve seen was the terror on her face and her trying to keep her head above water because she couldn’t swim.”

Mother Nature is cruel and Aliso Beach in South Laguna, California is one of those places that can take a life with the blink of an eye.  It is difficult to understand how a child that doesn’t know how to swim is in a

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Family surrounds little girl that almost drowned in waters of Aliso Creek

creek like Aliso, especially as it is letting out.  That type of situation has disaster written all over it.  I have spent a fair amount of time talking about the dangers of Aliso Beach from the nasty shore break waves it typically has and how parents really need to focus on their children there.  I have also talked a fair amount about becoming educated on waves, wave conditions and rip currents.  Aliso Creek is another story altogether, and when that thing is letting out it is extremely dangerous.

That a little girl was saved from a violent drowning in the turbulent waters of Aliso Creek is probably a miracle.  One second longer and it was entirely possible a child would have left our world way too early. Nobody wants that to happen!  What Larry Beard did was heroic, and it allowed this precious little lady to return home with family on a day that could have ended in the tragic loss of life.  I don’t know what this girl was doing in the Creek, and she never should have been there.  I am glad that Larry and Brennan were there because without them seeing her struggle in the water, I don’t think we would be talking about a happy ending.

Brennan also said: “She swallowed some creek water I’m sure and hopefully the family took the lifeguards advise and went to the doctor. A second later and I don’t want to think about what would’ve happened, but I can’t emphasize enough that she was surrounded by people from parents, family members, a lifeguard, and random tourists.  No one noticed.”

I am pleased to end this harrowing story by saying I am glad that she was rescued and that people I spend time with in the water were there to make sure she got to go home with family.

Photo Credit: Larry Beard….the heroic lifesaver!

 

 

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