La Jolla storm waves
On January 7 waves at the La Jolla Cove roared to life for the first time in two years. Unruly weather and rainfall weren’t enough to deter most surfers from entering the water to tackle 10-to15-foot waves. A handful of surfers bobbed in the gray sea determined to get their fix. Spectators lined the sidewalk winding around the Cove, braving harsh winds and pelting rain to watch the surfers withstand walls of North Pacific swell that swept toward the La Jolla Shores.
Lifeguards prowled the cliffs, and a guard on a jet-ski zoomed around the lineup. San Diego Fire and Rescue were busy implementing their Large Surf Action Plan. When the sun set, an aspiring pro surfer (we’ll call him Johnny) made his return to land. As a set of waves approached, Johnny floated near the cliffs and eyed the rocky platform surfers use to get in and out of the water. An immense set of waves rumbled closer, and a lifeguard barked at Johnny to stay back. Johnny ignored the order and rushed in. He stroked toward the cliffs and mounted a slippery shelf just in time to be swept off his feet and sent flying by a vicious wave. Johnny surfaced lower on the shelf and took a couple wobbly steps before a second wave washed over, dragging him down headfirst. The lifeguard yelled at Johnny to peel off his leash and ditch his board. A third wave swallowed Johnny. Upon surfacing, Johnny ripped off his leash, the lifeguard moved in, and Johnny was hoisted up seconds before a fourth wave spilled through, taking Johnny’s board and smashing it against the cliffs.
Defeated and boardless and bleeding from the face, Johnny climbed and met his father atop the cliff.
“Where’s your board?” His dad inquired.
Johnny replied, “the lifeguard made me lose it.”