Petals, Not Peddles

30 09 2009

7:00 am, September 29, 2009 — Upper Trestles

Here’s an on-the-scene report from the beach at Trestles to show you firsthand how bad the bike parking is getting.

The beach at Trestles  is turning into an urban junkyard.   All those bikes are making it tough to even find the dune flowers that used to thrive near the lagoon.

It’s time we did something to manage all those bikes.  We need to either organize them, up by the train tracks, or find another way to reduce the number of bikes on the beach.

If we don’t do something, the State Park will try to control it for us.  Can’t you just imagine what they would do.  Install a “staffed outhouse” to collect $15 for bike entry, require bike permits, or ban them altogether.

Over the years, the number of bikes has exploded.  It used to be a rare few who would either peddle from home or cram a bike in the back of their trucks.  Now, it seems the only people who don’t ride bikes are the newbies who don’t know any better.

So, let’s start figuring out a way to hide the bikes so we can keep the Trestles experience.

When men were men — before kook cords

26 09 2009

xm-tangle-freeIt’s funny to see surfers out in the water without leashes.

Some of the old guys will tell you that in the “good ol’ days” there were no leashes.  In fact, before 1971, there was no such thing as the surfboard leash.  When they first showed up on the scene, promoted by Pat O’Neill, leashes were held onto the deck of the surfboard by a suction cup.  The cord was actually made of surgical tubing, the same stuff used to make Hawaiian slings for spearing fish.  The problem with surgical tubing is that it sent some surfers to the hospital.  Seems the elasticity was a bit too much and sometimes sent the board coming back at the surfer faster than they could react.  In fact, that is how Pat lost his eye–now he wears a patch.  Here’s a bit on surf leashes from Surfline:

As could be expected with surfers, when the leash first showed up, it was rejected for the most part.  It was called a “kook cord.”  The kooks were looked down on for being lazy and weak — not real men.  Within months, everyone was wearing  kook cords.

A funny side note is that when the leash was first marketed, one of the advantages was the ability to whip the nose of your board around faster using the leash.  You don’t hear anything about that anymore.  Maybe somebody ought to go back to attaching it to the nose and see if Kelly wants to take it for a spin–literally.

I’m sure glad the leash has taken.  I can’t imagine going back to having my latest rocket dashed on the rocks.

Then again, without leashes, everyone used to do some pretty impressive “fly aways” rather than dumping your board at the end of a wave.

In the shadow of . . .

22 09 2009
What the heck is that in the distance?
What the heck is that in the distance?
Surfing trestles all the time, you forget what looms in the distance.  Crank up the telephoto a little and you quickly remember that you are not in Kansas anymore.  In this shot, I was just trying to document the amount of hardware lugged to the beach by the Hurley Pro folks.  You can see the last of the stands being packed up in the near background.
But, in the far background, something popped into view . . . San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).  It’s easy to forget that 20% of Southern California Edison’s entire generating capacity is sitting a short distance from the lineup.  When you hear someone say “it’s firing” at Trestles, you may want to verify what they are saying next time.  Hopefully, they don’t mean in a fusion out of control sort of way.
Regardless of the scale of the plant, it has actually had relatively few “problems” since it was built in the 70’s.  In fact, nuclear generation may finally come into its own as we struggle with how to eliminate all the smoke-spewing coal and oil fired plants.    Maybe “drill baby drill” will be replaced with “split baby split.”
Let’s take a minute next time we’re in the water to gawk at the wonder of our quiet neighbor that brings our electronic world to life.

Fanning the Flame

20 09 2009

Well he did it. Mick Fanning won the 2009 Hurley Pro and walked away with $105,000, the largest prize in history.   That makes him the second hottest surfer in the world as of today.  I’d call him a flame.  Here’s the story in photos.

Not everybody loves contests, especially when they are at your local surf spot, because they bring crowds and they close off the surf to everyone else. But, remember this is Trestles, one of the most crowded surf spots on the planet. So, why sweat it. Enjoy the fun of having our own big name contest without having to travel.

I don’t know Mick personally, but he is always welcome to join our crowd whenever he wants. In fact, we welcome anyone who wants to join us. Just to prove it, Surfline backs me up with this short note:

Congratulations Mick! On joining the Trestles Surf Crowd that is.

The Stars Are Out*******

13 09 2009

*****out at Lowers that is. The Hurley Pro (formerly Boost Mobile Pro) surf contest started today at Lower Trestles and is scheduled to run through the 19th.

I think contests being staged at popular surf spots has both an upside and a downside.

On the upside, it seems like the waves always show up for this late summer contest–this year from the northwest. Contests bring respect to venues like Trestles. The energy level in nearby San Clemente jumps up a few notches. You get to meet some of the greatest surfers in the world as they compete and wait for their heats. Sometimes, they even show up next to you at your favorite beach break. Contests just bring a sharper edge to surfing in the area in general.

There is another upside tidbit I’m not going to share for fear of great bodily harm from other Surf Crowd members.

On the downside, contests close down surfing for us mortals during the contest hours. You hear a lot of mumbling from the Surf Crowd. The beach and all access points are jammed with people.

In the end, once the contest and all the stars have left town, normal social patterns return and we are all the better for having been part of the frenzy. So, in the balance, it’s only good.

Good luck surf stars! Sincerely–the Trestles Surf Crowd.

Crowd (Parking) Control in Place

13 09 2009

That new sucking sound has nothing to do with the water being dragged from the beach into the incoming wave set.  It’s the funds being sucked from your bank account by the State.

In August, the State Park moved an outhouse (with windows) to the front of the parking lot on Cristianitos and stationed an attendant there, starting early in the morning.  For many a surfer driving to their beloved Trestles, the price of surfing went from nothing to a whopping $15.   Some people may say it was inevitable in an age of declining state budgets, but it just doesn’t seem right.

The Trestles parking lot has been there for over 20 years and it’s always been free.  I think it was originally built to keep the long-haired surfers from parking in the local neighborhoods before walking the mile to the surf spot.  I remember when Trestles was still part of the Pendleton base, we used to park across the freeway from San Clemente State Park, then walk through the school down to the train tracks.  From there we would jump from tie to tie along the tracks, then sneak into the water where the barbed wire was supposed to stop entry into the base (“Barbed Wires”) at the north end of Cotton’s Point.  The parking lot, along with the paved trail down to the beach, was a relief to surfers and landowners when it was built.

Net effect of the $15 entry fee—there are a whole lot of surfers parking on the streets again.

Mr. Governator, please give us back our parking lot!

Trestles Saved by Organized Surfers?

9 09 2009

Oxymoron–organized surfers .

In December 2008, the Republican Secretary of Commerce declared the tollroad dead.  Amazing.  Somehow, a whole lot of surfers and a coalition of environmental groups were able to convince several public officials and agencies that the Highway 241 Tollroad should not be extended along San Mateo Creek, through Camp Pendleton and San Mateo State Park.

The California Coastal Commission had denied the extension.  The Secretary simply agreed with their decision, thereby pushing it to the courts, if the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) decides to further pursue the same road alignment.

I think TCA simply underestimated the intellect and common sense of surfers.  They thought surfers were being used by environmental groups, who they saw as the real “enemy.”  But, they didn’t really understand how independent surfers are.  It just happened that in this case the surfers had the same position as the environmentalists.

So, TCA brought out their best arsenal to take on the “enviro’s.”  In their competent professionalism, they dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s in their reports, analyses, and environmental documents.  But, surfers don’t care about such things.  They just want their waves.  In the end, TCA just couldn’t convince the surfers that the construction a 1/2 mile inland wouldn’t screw up the waves.  So, the surfers banded together (against their nature), young and old, rich and poor, local and distant traveler, Democrat and Republican,  to fight the tollroad.

Guess who won–the surfers!

Is Trestles Crowded?

9 09 2009

You figure it out.   On a normal (3 to 4 foot surf) day, between 15 minutes prior to first daylight and 10 am, at any given moment, there are usually about 30 surfers in the water at the Point at Upper Trestles.  That’s on a weekday.   Move to a weekend or holiday, or when the surf is a little bigger and the crowd can swell to 100 or more.  As the waves march toward the beach, five or more surfers position for ownership.  Is that crowded?

I would argue that crowds are all in your mind.  If you are there for wave count, you may be disappointed.   If you are there to enjoy the water and the camaraderie, the crowd thins and the fun begins.    As a member of the Trestles Crowd, Frank says “I just love the water.  I don’t care what the surf is like or how many people are out.” [or something like that]  That’s the attitude that makes the difference.

We’ll learn more about Frank and other crowd “members” in future posts.  Looking deeper into the sea of black wetsuits, we will look at the personalities, opinions, and controversies that characterize surfing in the Trestles Crowd.