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.