Name: Paloma Aguirre Bacalski
From: Imperial Beach
Location: Imperial Beach Pier
Occupation: Coastal and marine director for Wildcoast
Paloma Aguirre Bacalski was one of about 12 that paddled out in honor of Doug Bradley last Monday (January 29th) by the Imperial Beach pier.
At about 10 a.m., Aguirre-Bacalski caught a 1-2 foot wave on her Science bodyboard. “I like to do a reverse 360 spin into a rollo,” she said. “A 360 spin is basically what it sounds like, a spin but in opposite direction of the wave and a rollo is when you do a flip off the tip of the wave and land in front of it.”
Aguirre-Bacalski’s family lived in Puerto Vallarta in the early 90s and this is where she taught herself how to bodyboard. At the time, she was 16 years old and the only one in her city that “sponged.” She has bodyboarded in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca and at Baja Malibu (north of Rosarito). “The heaviest and scariest [surf for me] was in Pascuales, Colima Mexico,” she said. “It is one of the heaviest beach breaks in the country.”
At times, she surfs on a longboard and paddle boards, but loves bodyboarding the most. “I think it’s extremely fun, you can take off on heavier waves (than surfing) and can get deeper in the barrel.”
Sometimes, her neck locks up due to a super-gnarly wipeout that occurred on the north side of the pier back in 2007. She attempted a backflip off of a wave to land in front of it, but “I landed in an awkward position and suffered two vertebral subluxations,” she said. “This means they shifted a bit out of place and I had to spend a week lying flat on my back.”
The IB Pier and the entrance point by Seacoast Drive are Aguirre-Bacalski’s favorite surf spots, so much, that in the last 12 years she’s been advocating for clean water in the border region.
“I work to prevent and mitigate sewage spills that generate across the border and work locally with agencies to ensure beach water quality monitoring is the best it can possibly be for Imperial Beach.”