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Stories by Russell Goltz

It's bootie time

It usually happens around this time of year, when the ocean water temperature drops below 60 degrees. Some surfers refuse to wear booties no matter what the water temperature might be, but most surfers are ...

January 11, 2017
No one is responsible

A couple of CVS shopping carts made a mysterious appearance at the pump house at the end of Loring Street in Pacific Beach. They showed up a couple of weeks ago, down at the bottom ...

Most surfers pee in their wetsuits

The standard wetsuit for fall and winter surfing is a 3-2. That means that most of the wetsuit is 3 millimeters thick and some parts are only 2 millimeters thick. That normally is warm enough ...

October 12, 2016
The awkward and dangerous Tourmaline crosswalk

A couple of years ago the city put in a crosswalk at the entrance to the parking lot at Tourmaline Surfing Park. That is at the intersection of La Jolla Boulevard and Tourmaline Street. When ...

Noah’s Ark in Pacific Beach

Sure, we know that things are changing in North Pacific Beach. Every time a house is sold it is torn down (except for one small wall so it can be called a “remodel” instead of ...

Should I wear a leash?

Because all beginners should be wearing a leash, going leashless gives a surfer more credibility in the line-up. It is a statement that says, “I am a good surfer, so don’t drop in on me.” ...

August 24, 2016
Trawling for locals-only discounts in PB and MB

There is a This American Life podcast called “Good Guys.” It is about always asking when you buy something if you can get the “good-guy” discount. As Ira Glass says, “You know, you’re a good ...

The advantage of Wavestorms

Several years ago most new surfers at Tourmaline were groms. Nowadays most beginners appear to be adults that bought their Wavestorm boards at Costco for $99.99. A fiberglass longboard is big and heavy. Going “over ...

March 30, 2016
Should I surf today?

The surf is big today, scary big. Surfline.com says it is six to eight feet at Tourmaline Cove, with some sets double overhead. At P.B. Point (False Point) the projections are for over 10 feet, ...

Hidden underwater, even at low tide

I asked the most knowledgeable surfer I know about the name Grimace Rock. Skip Frye told me it comes from a picture taken when a surfer realized he was about to hit the rock. Grimace ...

Surfers will roar at PB Point

Paddle around the peak or get out of the lineup!

Landslide at Tourmaline

On Friday afternoon, September 11, 2015, there was a cliff collapse inside the cove at Tourmaline Surfing Park. Normally this type of landslide is a clear reminder to the locals to not sit up close ...

September 23, 2015
Surfboard fishing in Pacific Beach

The off-limits fishing area in P.B. isn’t as big as it seems.

Pacific Beach revolt against Deco Bikes

Late Thursday afternoon (July 23) Deco Bike Racks were installed in two prime locations on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. Recommendations by the Pacific Beach Town Council and the Pacific Beach Planning Group were apparently ...

How Airbnb is ruining Pacific Beach

Ten years ago, most of the housing on the boardwalk in Mission Beach was old apartment complexes filled with college students. When the locals took a bike ride on the boardwalk we would stop along ...

One negative remark kills the aloha spirit

It has been said that any day you go into the ocean is a good day. Getting down to the beach, putting on a wetsuit, and watching all of the surfers in the parking lot ...

The Tourmaline wave is for sharing

At Tourmaline in Pacific Beach there is a trench about 100 yards offshore that runs parallel to the beach. This trench has a major effect on how a wave approaches the shore. Based on a ...

Graffiti slayer

My neighborhood in North Pacific Beach is pretty much free of graffiti. When I drive into other parts of San Diego, or in Pacific Beach, there are more stickers, old garage-sale and lost-dog signs, and ...

When is the surf too big?

The news weather people love to talk about high surf advisories. They always throw in “strong rip currents” and warn that only “advanced” surfers should enter the ocean. Sometimes they are right, but more often ...

February 25, 2015
The long and short of it

The waves have to be fast and be breaking to catch them on a shortboard. While sitting on a shortboard, the surfer is very low down in the water. Shortboard surfers get upset with longboarders ...

Another thing that can't be done

Last week I spent some time talking with John, one of the local surfers who also is a kite-surfer. He was lamenting about the probable outcome of the meeting between surfers and kite-surfers that was ...

January 21, 2015
Fourteen levels of warmth

If you live anywhere north of Santa Barbara, you always wear a wetsuit. When you get up to Oregon and Washington it does not matter what the season might be — you will be in ...

January 7, 2015
Always one loud-mouthed jerk

While Southern California is full of great surf spots, there still are not enough, considering the size of the surfing population. This can cause a lot of stress in the lineup. Most (if not all) ...

December 31, 2014
The nervous worried look

We have visitors from Norway in our condo complex in Pacific Beach. The first thing they asked was where they could find a beginner’s beach for surfing. They picked the right place to live, as ...

The unused wetsuit

This was the best summer for surfing in San Diego… ever. There was no May Gray, June Gloom, or July Cry. It was perfect weather at the beach almost every day, and that clear weather ...

Back to the Yukon, part 3

The boat that Waterhorse Charters owns is named the Humboldt. It is 45 feet long and designed for scuba diving. This dive to the wrecked HMCS Yukon will be the second time on the boat ...

November 19, 2014
Back to the Yukon, part 2

Greg Hatem, owner of Waterhorse Charters, was firm with me when I tried to sign up for one of his charter dives to the HMCS Yukon aboard his dive boat. He said before he would ...

November 12, 2014
Back to the Yukon

The diving wreck HMCS Yukon is located about two miles off the coast of Mission Beach and about 107 feet down (depending on the tide). The Yukon sank 1.8 miles off Mission Beach on July ...

November 7, 2014
Is Tourmaline’s lifeguard station 28 dangerous?

One of the common sense rules that are told to visitors to our beaches is that you should only go into the ocean in front of a lifeguard station. Starting about three years ago, the ...

Kite-surfer knocks out swimmer’s teeth — why?

On August 28th, a female surfer, after finishing a surf session at Tourmaline Surfing Park made the mistake of going back into the water for a swim. Not only is this not legal in a ...

P.B. in Baja

Las Gaviotas is an oceanfront gated community located about 30 miles south of the San Ysidro border crossing. It is ten minutes south of Rosarito. There are close to 300 homes, and many are available ...

September 24, 2014
Speak no evil

My surf buddy Jason McLachlan stopped by my house last night, fuming mad. He had just finished a short sunset session, so he should have been a happy guy. Here is his story: “I just ...

September 17, 2014
We need the beach break

Hello, state Assembly member Toni Atkins and state senator Marty Block. I am writing this letter to ask you to submit legislation to modify the Marine Life Preservation Act of 1999, as it concerns shore ...

Why the Yukon will continue to kill divers

Staci Johnson, a 26-year-old Marine , recently became the fifth diver to die while diving the Yukon, a Canadian escort ship sunk off of Mission Beach in 2000. Because the vessel is on its side, it is disorienting.

December 19, 2012
Pacific Beach kite surfers blow right by the law

During the Summer Longboard Classic finals last year at Tourmaline Surfing Park, an unusual event occurred. A kite surfer, apparently oblivious to the tournament, flew full speed into the contestants. Either the intruder could not ...

August 29, 2012
Bugged by U-T Litterbugs

Am I the only one who can see them? All over my neighborhood are plastic bags filled with newspaper advertising. The circulars are everywhere. I live in Pacific Beach and first noticed them in December. ...

February 15, 2012
On January 1 Tourmaline becomes state marine reserve

Chris Manning normally went surfboard fishing in the early morning with the other regulars — Roy and Vicky, Steve, Russell, and the other Roy. But with the ocean as flat as a lake and the ...

October 5, 2011
I Finally Got Skip Frye to Make Me a Surfboard

This story begins ten years ago in the year 2000. My transition from Northern California to San Diego, specifically Pacific Beach, specifically one block up from a great surfing beach, was complete. The beach is ...

October 13, 2010
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