A big winter swell hit the South Bay beaches of Los Angeles on the first Friday of February, and this brought out not just surfers, but surfing photographers and even television stations to a spot along the seawall in Redondo Beach.
As waves slammed into the jetty, people gathered to watch nature’s show throughout the day.
Three TV stations – KCBS, KCAL and KTLA – sent out cameras for that evening’s newscasts and a half dozen photographers lined the chest-high concrete wall next to the Chart House to get still images.
Surfers seemed to arrive from nowhere, suddenly appearing with boards under their arms on the little beach before charging into the water.
Some of the waves were perfectly-formed tubes and the surfers go long “lefts,” extended rides that carried them well into neighboring Hermosa Beach.
The sky was clear, the temperature was in the upper 70s and is was a true Endless Summer day.
As a result, the true lifestyle of Southern California was on full display in the South Bay. People were suntanning and playing volleyball on the beach and going for leisurely bike rides along The Strand.
If you happen to be a visitor in town, you would get no better synopsis of the Beach Cities than on this February Friday.
On days like this, “life’s a beach” is not just a saying, it’s, well, the life.
It’s Not All Beachy When Something Breaks At A Beach House
Not every day at the beach is, well, a day at the beach.
Sometimes, those of us fortunate to live by the sand and water have normal issues like everyone else, things that break and need to be fixed just like any other place on the planet.
Take today for instance. I came back from a run and was locked out of the house. No, I did not forget my keys, but the lock on the door would not work. The knob turned but the door remained locked.
I managed to get inside by prying open a door through another entrance and went to see if I could figure out why the other lock did not work. Some of these old beach town houses are pretty worn down, you see, by both weather and neglect.
Now let it be stated here that I am not very mechanical. I once had a girlfriend who asked my father, “how could you let your son out of the house without him being able to fix anything!? Whenever something breaks, I’m the one who fixes it.”
Indeed she did, too; whenever I picked up a screwdriver or a hammer she would come running over and grab it out of my hand, and then proceeded to make loud noises with that device while making a repair. While she did this, I made margaritas.
But the gal was not here on this day and I looked curiously at the doorknob. Surely it can’t be too hard to fix this thing, I thought, so I unscrewed the two screws.
Then I noticed the problem; the locking mechanism – the little metal part that goes in and out of the door frame mount when you turn the key – was stuck. I could not get it to budge. I was proud of myself that I had found the problem but frustrated that I could not actually fix it.
So I went to the local hardware store and bought an exact replica lock for 20 bucks. On my way out I asked if it was easy to install. “It depends,” the guy deadpanned, “if you can use a screwdriver.”
Okay, but herein lies the problem. The people who make these mechanical things always add in one or two little quirks that make it frustrating for anyone who is not mechanical to get it to work.
In this case, it was with getting the two sides of the knobs to line up; they have to be in EXACTLY the right position, yet there are no arrows indicating which way they go, so you’re left twisting, turning, cussing and taking a beer break before you suddenly chance upon it.
Once I got this together and the lock reassembled, the door would not shut. The little device kept banging against the door frame. After a few “what the ???” moments, I realized I had put the darned thing in upside down.
Again, there were no arrows or instructions indicating it needed to be installed in a particular direction. Mechanical people, I assume, just somehow know these things.
So I had to start all over again, including spending another half an hour twisting the knobs to get them lined up correctly.
I don’t know the point in all this except to say that when you live in an old beach house, things break fairly frequently and it’s a frustrating experience to fix them if you are not mechanically savvy.
Or you no longer have a girlfriend willing to fix something anytime it breaks so you can get back to making margaritas.
Manhattan Beach Restricting Drones To Protect Residents’ Privacy
While not grounding them entirely, the Los Angeles beach city of Manhattan Beach has created basically restricted air space for the flying of drones.
A favorite tool of photographers who love using drones to shoot the scenic city’s beaches and ocean, the devices are being restricted where they can fly in Manhattan Beach.
And this means pretty much just on the beach.
A new law prohibits drones from operating anywhere they can be perceived to be invading one’s privacy, which is on The Strand and into and over houses.
They must also keep their distance from manned flying objects such as private planes and helicopters. And there are many private helicopters that fly over Manhattan Beach on a daily basis (too many, if you ask Surfside Sam).
They also can’t buzz surfers and suntanners, as they must stay 10 feet away from people except when taking off and landing.
All these are good measures, because drones can be irritating and annoying and you never actually know what the operator is shooting or filming to protect one’s privacy and, let’s face it, private space.
This means drones can still fly over some of Manhattan Beach’s signature events, the pro beach volleyball tournament, the 6-man beach volleyball touranment and, of course, the spectacular Holiday Fireworks.
Now let’s see if other South Bay cities – Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach – in the area will follow the lead of Manhattan Beach.
In the Los Angeles South Bay Beach Cities, life is often defined by events.
There are so many fun ones, it’s easy to build a social life around them. And one of the best happens at the start of the new year, the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K.
This is no ordinary foot race. More than 7,000 people participate, many who make it an annual ritual.
Several people dress up in costumes, be it themes or funny takes on politicians. The event actually kicks off with a costume contest.
There’s a beer garden.
The course is gorgeous.
It start out in King Harbor, turns up palm tree-lined Catalina Ave., peels behind Riviera Village (feel free to stop in one of the bar for a refreshing beverage, by the way!), has its stretch run along The Esplanade with a full view of the Pacific Ocean, and finished back in King Harbor.
The beer garden is in adjacent Seaside Lagoon. When the sun it out – which is usually the case – this is simply the best way to start your Super Bowl Sunday.
The scene is lively, social and everyone is in a great mood. And you don’t have to feel guilty about eating all those chips and fattening dip later at the Super Bowl parties because you’re run six miles!
Or maybe you only ran three, or even walked it, for there is also also a 5K walk/run and even a baby buggy 10K.
Guided Bicycle Tours In Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach
You don’t need to get Black Friday or Cyber Monday or even go to the mall or Internet to find the perfect Christmas gift for your beach-loving relative or friend.
Instead, go to the beach!
Give the person the Beach Cities Bike Tours, a guided tour of the Los Angeles South Bay towns of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Or, if you get the Deluxe Package, up to Venice Beach and Santa Monica.
All on a bicycle!
The tour – given by long-time Los Angeles beach veteran Kevin Wilkerson – goes along The Strand, a beach walk and bike path that parallels the sand and Pacific Ocean.
The tour points out Hollywood movie and film locations, top surf spots, the mecca of beach volleyball, South Bay historical sites and the Southern California beach lifestyle.
The guide also gives recommendations on his favorite restaurants, bars and nightlife.
The tours cost just $25/hour (bike rentals extra), and that’s for up to groups of four (most tours last two hours).
So there’s a bonus – in addition to having a unique and great present for relative or friend, you can have a gift for yourself, as well.
Waikiki Beach Leads The List That Includes California & Florida
You don’t have to be huddled around a fireplace, freezing when you step outside and stuck watching football for four days during Thanksgiving weekend in the USA .
You can be on a beach!
And here are Surfside Sam’s top beach destinations for Thanksgiving Day Weekend.
Top Beaches List
1.) Waikiki Beach
This is a fun, lively beach with tons of activities. But the reason it’s #1 is because there’s also a big bonus – on the Friday after Thanksgiving there’s a Christmas parade right down Kalakaua Ave. Plus, the water is warm, the temperature is great and it offers the perfect combination of being laid back without the possibility of anyone getting bored.
2.) Kaanapali Beach, Maui
This beach near Lahina offers good snorkeling, a walkway with a few popular outdoor restaurant/bars, sunset cruises and serves as a launching point for seeing the rest of the island. This is prefect for couples and families but single people can have a good time, here too.
3.) Hermosa Beach/South Bay, CA (Los Angeles)
The South Bay Beach Cities have a bike path – take a guided tour with Beach Cities Bike Tours – great weather and a long, sunny beach. Hermosa Beach is the center of activity but there’s also Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. All connected by the bike and running path known as The Strand. And oh, the sunsets!
4.) Mission Beach, CA (San Diego)
How does riding a rollercoaster sound? Not one of those really scary ones but a milder one, right at the beach! There’s one at Mission Beach in San Diego. There are tons of restaurants, a good beach and, like the above South Bay beaches, a bike, walking and running path that connects to Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. La Jolla, too, is just up the coast.
5.) Key West
Of course the Conch Republic has to be on this list. There’s so much to do in Key West and yet so little if you choose to spend your time just wastin’ away. Of course, one must-do daily ritual are seeing the sunsets from Mallory Square
6.) St. Petersburg, FL
Ft. DeSoto Park is continually ranked as one of the nation’s best beaches (this is in addition to St. Pete Municipal Beach and others), there’s the St. Petersburg Marina with all kind of boating and fishing opportunities, plus the usual Florida activities such as Par-3 and themed putt-putt golf courses.
7.) Siesta Key, FL
If Surfside Sam were doing a list of top family destinations, this would probably be at the top. This beach by Sarasota is as white, as, well, someone who has not been to the beach in a while. And while there’s enough activities to keep you busy, it’s also pretty quiet. In other words, it’s a good place for a siesta for a few days.
8.) Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Always active Ft. Lauderdale provides for boating, hanging out on a warm beach, going for a swim, walking along it’s intracoastal waterways and having food and drinks at any of its many restaurants and bars overlooking the beach. Surfside Sam likes it better than South Beach because it’s less “intense.”
9.) Florida Keys
This is a different kind of way to spend your long weekend – on the move! You can make your way down the Keys by staying in the little towns along the way: Key Largo, Islamarada, Marathon. Make your Thanksgiving dinner at at Dockside Tropical Cafe at Sombrero Beach where you’ll hear the best live trop/rock music in the Keys.
10.) Tybee Island, GA (Savannah)
Historical Savannah is 20 minutes away and Tybee Island provides a beachy place to stay for Thanksgiving. The summer crowds are long gone and you can enjoy peel-and-eat restaurants, a couple of bars with character and there’s even a Civil War fort to explore.