Friday, August 14, 2009

My Bad, My Apology, My Birthday and Wild Surf

Photo courtesy of and Photographer Tom Cozad and Pilot Howard Hamlin
Recently the Daily Pilot published a letter of mine in their "Sou
nding Off" section in which I addressed another writer's consternation with the traffic that infested the Balboa Peninsula during the huge surf a couple weeks ago. His premise was that the city should have done something about it.

In my letter I said, in part, "
The issue was exacerbated weeks ago when the huge waves at the Wedge drew thousands of gawkers, apparently intent on seeing another person get pounded to death on the rocks, as happened early in the “Weekend of Waves.”, and went on to discuss the problem of managing traffic in the event of a big tragedy - an earthquake or tsunami. You can read the entire commentary HERE.


Today the Daily Pilot carries a letter from a person named Jonathan Hebbard, a Costa Mesa resident, who took me apart for my suggestion that EVERY person on the peninsula to watch the waves was there to see another person killed. You can read his letter HERE. Mr. Hebbard is correct. I was wrong to make the statement as broad as I did and for that I apologize. Certainly, not all the people that jammed the peninsula those few days were there to see a person killed. Most, I'm sure, were there to see the battle between the surfers and those monster waves.


However, I was on the beach at The Wedge on the Thursday of that week, just as the waves were beginning to build, along with a couple hundred observers. While there I saw many viewers cheer, whoop and holler each time a surfer - attempting to ride one of the big waves - was pounded into the sand. Do I think they wanted someone killed? Of course not! Do I think they got a thrill when a surfer was crunched? Yes, I do. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is in our society. It's the same reason people go to bull fights. I suspect most observers over that weekend were there to see the huge waves and to admire the skill and bravery of those choosing to attempt to ride them. I do think some of the observers - many of whom created the gridlock on the peninsula that caused so many problems - were there because of the media coverage of the tragic death of the surfer a day earlier... they wanted to see the "killer waves".


Once again, I apologize to Mr. Hebbard for my insensitivity. I should have chosen my words more carefully and will try to do a better job of that in the future.


So, I leave you for this weekend with a couple links that will amaze you. The first is courtesy of Daily Pilot crime reporter, Joe Serna, who has this link on his blog. Click HERE for an unbelievable series of photos taken from the air by photographer Tom Cozad and Pilot Howard Hamlin in a series of shots of our recent huge surf entitled "Surf From Above" on The above photo was clipped from that series.


The second, a series of photos and video clips of the recent surf here in Southern California entitled Full Story:Summer Megaswell Hits West Coast", is als
o from and can be viewed HERE. You will see some amazing photos of The Wedge, among others. Other fascinating surfing links are also available for your viewing pleasure.



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Anonymous mikes said...

Geoff, comments well taken. Sometimes our society loves the gore point. Why does traffic back up after an accident? The note today was also well taken, not everyone is so taken.

Brighter note...Happy Birthday. The more we celebrate the better. Hope you have another great year.

8/14/2009 10:28:00 AM  

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