15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble
Patch Instagram photo by bcrumble

Rain Runoff Cancels Surf Contest

Mira Costa High School student surfers couldn't get in the water to compete on Saturday thanks to storm drain runoff that contaminated the ocean. But the dirty water was of little concern to others who surfed and paddled.

As offshore winds groomed head-high waves marching in at the Hermosa Beach Pier—where one of the important early-season match-ups of Division 1 surf teams in the South Bay was to run in the morning on Saturday—one thing was conspicuously absent: a contest.

“We had our first rain of the year, so the drains have been plugged since probably last spring,” said John Joseph, South Bay Surf League director. “And so they [the rain] flushed all that stuff that's been accumulating for the last five months [into the ocean] so the water quality is unsafe today...any time we have a major rain, and the drains flush, we try to stay out of the water for 72 hours.”

Contestants such as Noah Collins, Wyat Boyde, and Codee Stemais, all from Mira Costa—along with longboard talent Josh Gilbert, from El Segundo—were among those whose performances were highly anticipated Saturday, according to Joseph.

The water quality didn't keep the water from being crowded, however—nor did it keep a local photographer from swimming out to take pictures.

“The waves are good,” said ocean photographer John Gonzales of Hermosa Beach. He had just gotten back from swimming among the waves and surfers with a small, waterproof video camera. “I'm from Seal Beach [originally]. The water is a little bit dirty out there, so my body's used to it—so it's not a problem,” he said of his concerns about the dirty water.

“It was offshore, it was 'peaky', it was head-high, it was perfect...and it's awesome to start the day like that,” said stand-up paddleboarder Tamara Lentz of Redondo Beach, who thought the benefits of surfing Saturday outweighed the risk of falling ill from the runoff contaminating ocean.

Others decided to enjoy the view, but steer clear of the sea water.

“It's just a great day—and the surf was going off, so we decided to take a walk,” said Joe Hudson of Hermosa, while out on the pier with his date.

“We're on the beach here, probably every day,” added Jaymie Braun, Hudson's girlfriend, also of Hermosa.

“My shoulder is a little bit jacked—if I can't be out there, I might as well be checking it out from the pier....maybe in the next month or so, I'll be able to get back out in the water,” Hudson said.

“Conditions are about as good as I've seen in awhile,” continued Hudson.  “This is what Hermosa Beach surfing in the wintertime is all about.”

The surf contest featuring Division 1 surf teams, according to Joseph, is re-scheduled for next Saturday, Nov. 12th at the Hermosa Beach Pier in the morning. It will feature 10 high schools and nearly 200 surfers.

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