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Stories by Siobhan Braun

There's an art to falling

The Tijuana Slough is known for its massive break. Coupled with a rocky reef and heavy pollution from the Tijuana River, it can be dangerous and during the winter months it’s often closed due to ...

June 15, 2021
San Diego Reader Fun issue

Breakdance with Olympic prospects Kearny Mesa/Old Town Breakdancing will be an official sport at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and local b-girls and b-boys have been practicing breakdance maneuvers in hopes of repping Team USA. ...

June 9, 2021
Not so many fights at Windansea as O.B.

Nick Manverg: “Surfing at Windansea is almost more stressful than school or work. It’s a little hectic. On a good day it is really crowded and kind of insane. I have seen guys get into ...

June 8, 2021
Too many tourists near Belmont Park

Kelsey Gonzalez’s mom used to push her into waves and encourage her to surf the white wash. Her mom later took her to Bali on a surf trip. “I used to wear this shirt all ...

June 1, 2021
At South Mission you have to wait for waves

Jake Wilsie believes that younger surfers need to respect the older locals. “It’s little stuff like leaving trash on the beach or yelling at older guys in the water. [At South Mission] you are going ...

May 25, 2021
Came close to drowning in La Jolla

“My first experience at Hospitals [La Jolla] was crazy. It’s a reef break. It breaks really aggressively and it’s not forgiving. The learning curve is a little more painful. "Some of the biggest waves I ...

May 18, 2021
Freaked out at dolphins

Arturo Baravalle taught himself by watching YouTube videos and getting in the water as much as possible. “When I started, I went to friendly surf spots, like Tourmaline. I stayed away from the crowds.... My ...

May 11, 2021
Almost lost an ear in Carlsbad

Charley Stevens nearly chopped off an ear while surfing in Carlsbad. “I was about 13. The crease where my skull and ear connects got clipped by the fin of my surfboard. My ear was hanging ...

May 4, 2021
20 surfboards in my quiver

Thomas’s 7´4˝ surfboard was shaped by Tim Bessell of La Jolla. "I probably have 20 surfboards in my quiver.” “On a day like today, a beautiful day, really great waves, there were only two of ...

April 27, 2021
Crystal Pier washing machine

My dad took me and my buddy out to Crystal Pier in PB. It was in the middle of a big storm. There was nobody out in the water. It was like being in a ...

April 20, 2021
Stand-up paddleboarders can be tiresome

Julie Schuman, a Cardiff native, admits that stand-up paddleboarders can be tiresome due to their tendency to drop in on other people’s waves. “I know what the rules are out there,” Schuman says. “I don’t ...

April 13, 2021
San Diego Reader writers alone at Christmas

Christmas Jerk I managed to avoid being homeless on Christmas Eve 1979, but just barely. Unemployed since that summer, I found a cheap flophouse on 12th and Island where 70 bucks a month got me ...

December 23, 2020
Beating back fear of Tijuana, why I keep thinking about Mexico, a cross-border kidnapping

Baja is back Hip and delicious. There’s no reason not to get in your car and go. By Elizabeth Salaam, July 24, 2013 | Read full article I was hit with the realization that half ...

October 25, 2020
San Diego Reader's Best Of issue

Look for the online list of Best Of voting winners soon. We have printed and re-stocked extra copies of this week's print version where the Best Of voting winners are listed. Best place in San ...

October 21, 2020
The Chargers crowd, the Padres crowd, where old Chargers are

Cheerleading Is More Dangerous than Fighting Cage-fightin’ rock stars. It’s Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., and I am waiting for amateur mixed martial arts fighter Jaime Reyes at the Lakeside Cafe. When he walks past me, ...

October 11, 2020
Juan Vargas loves lobbyists, the Dominelli fake-out, Pala tribe civil war, SDSU hates undergrads, UCSD wants blood south of I-8

Leavin' On a Jet Plane Tax dollars fund airport blitzkrieg. The stealth campaign that spends your money to buy your vote. CEO Thella Bowens proudly pointed to the poll's key finding: that public support for ...

September 13, 2020
Mexico after the millenium

Smugglersville “The cops mess with us. The thieves mess with us. Everybody messes with us.” I was hobbling back from the store with a liter of milk, when I saw three young men sitting on ...

Juan Vargas as cash magnet, J. David Dominelli as town sugar daddy

San Diego State's growing contempt for undergrads “We have pulled resources out of undergraduate education in order to build expensive, elite PhD programs that cater to very few students proportionately." By Joe Deegan, March 27, ...

May 16, 2020
El Cajon – from rednecks to immigrants

The slow end of the Kalasho regime At a city council meeting in September Elia spoke publicly to Kalasho: “Ben, you need help. It hurts me to see fellow Chaldeans spiral like this. It might ...

Best Reader stories from 2017

Spruce Street suspension bridge brings out demented thoughts It’s early, the marine layer still a veneer over the city, when we park the car just shy of the suspension bridge. The day promises to be ...

March 28, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2015

Cartel tunnels to Otay Mesa are infrastructural marvels The amount of warehouse space in Otay Mesa has nearly quadrupled since the mid-’90s, and the expansion has been almost as frenetic in Garita de Otay. Forklifts, ...

March 21, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2013

Movie lover's paradise Meanwhile, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have shuttered their local outlets. Owner and buyer Guy Hanford understands why. “When you went into a Blockbuster or Hollywood to rent a film, you never engaged ...

March 14, 2020
Reader writers attempt to tone up

High on fitness Patrick Henderson Pyles Peak Corner of Golfcrest and Navajo Drives Mission Trails Cowles Mountain is a very popular, very crowded hike — especially if you’re taking it from the Golfcrest/Navajo staging area. ...

March 11, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2009

A San Diego Charger football game is one thing, fandom is something else Silva's powder blue coffin was trimmed with gold — Charger colors. His body was dressed in a jersey honoring his favorite player, ...

February 29, 2020
Jacumba – the far edge of San Diego

A quiet street and an old hotel Jacumba is a kind of living ghost town out in southeast San Diego County, on the Mexican border, in what’s called, the Mountain Empire district. It has come ...

Idyllic Tierrasanta

East Shepherd Canyon East Shepherd, or Greenbelt, trail is interesting in all seasons, with a combination of native coastal sage scrub and nonnative plants in the canyon. Walk north on Santo Road for about 160 ...

Siobhan Braun and the Reader

-(Jan. 31, 2018)

July 21, 2019
San Diego Reader 2019 Arts issue

Birds sing, elephants dance, and monkeys paint, but only humans turn those activities into art. And only humans evince a bottomless hunger for it: hence the endless parade of pictures on Instagram, stories on Netflix, ...

February 27, 2019
San Diego Reader 2018 winter fun issue

Drums, giants, and Mother Goose Stargazing in Anza-Borrego 652 Palm Canyon Drive Borrego Springs This year, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was officially designated an International Dark Sky Community, thanks to years of concerted effort to ...

November 7, 2018
Are these new college grads ready for life in overpriced San Diego?

When my husband and I moved to San Diego from Lawrence, Kansas, upon him receiving his first “real job” out of college, we assumed what normal Midwesterners would — that we would live in an ...

April 11, 2018
Quirky artsy spots sprinkled all over the county

Thanks to our constant sunshine, San Diego is one the most photogenic cities in the country. And then there are the views from of our coastlines, inland valley, desert, and mountains. We don’t lack for ...

February 7, 2018
The casino's been built — Jamul is still fighting it

The Jamul Indians’ next 12,000 years will be air conditioned.

January 31, 2018
San Diego Reader writers dig deep into Christmases past

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

We were ruthless Christmas-letter mockers

When I married my husband Aaron I was well aware of his political leanings, his thoughts on religion, and that he was a saver not a spender. What I did not know was that he ...

December 20, 2017
A holiday tourist in my own city

When Christmas season rolls around I like to become a tourist in my own city. My kids are out of school, my husband takes a week or two off of work, and the family and ...

December 6, 2017
Border Angels takes water out to Jacumba area for migrants

A small crowd gathers in the courtyard outside the Border Angels headquarters located at the Sherman Heights Community Center on Island Avenue four blocks south of State Route 94 and five blocks east of Interstate ...

August 16, 2017
San Diego Reader 2017 Fun issue

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

June 21, 2017
For San Diego high schoolers, college is kind of scary

Last year, when my 16-year-old was a freshman in high school, we attended his school’s open house. I was interested in meeting his teachers and getting an idea of what his school day was like. ...

February 1, 2017
Stung on her first day

Name: Darian Alexandra Age: 23 Location: Pacific Beach Occupation: Server at Kono’s Cafe Darian Alexandra moved to Pacific Beach from northern Indiana on Christmas day 2014 with the sole purpose of learning to surf. She ...

December 28, 2016
Musicians, hippies, and travelers in Ocean Beach

For some travelers, hope is the worst drug out there.

December 7, 2016
San Diego Reader 2016 guide to Holiday Fun

I read somewhere that the reason you’re sad around Christmastime is because it’s a reminder of what you’ve lost since childhood: the belief that the world is a magical place that is interested in your ...

November 30, 2016
Not territorial yet

Name: Christopher Mirendil Age: 30 Occupation: Engineer Location: Tabletops, Cardiff by the Sea On a two- to three-foot day, I find Christopher Mirendil nursing a bloody foot after a surf session at Tabletops. “Today I ...

November 23, 2016
Waves worth getting sick for

Name: Colton Koons Age: 22 From: Serra Mesa Occupation: Beach Lifeguard Location: Ocean Beach Jetty Colton Koons is in the parking lot at the end of Santa Monica Avenue peeling off his wetsuit and getting ...

October 26, 2016
Swami’s with 100 guys — not so fun

Names: Justin Mendhan, Walter Graen, and Mikial Tolmosoff Location: Tijuana Slough Mikial Tolmosoff, a visual artist, and Justin Mendhan, construction worker, both 28, have been riding waves together in Imperial Beach since they were 10 ...

September 21, 2016
Get a Costco foam board

Name: Nick Manverg Age: 23 Occupation: Bartender/Student at the University of St. Augustine Location: Crystal Pier Board: Firewire 5’6 Nick Manverg grew up in Temecula, an excruciating 40-minute drive to the beach. As a kid ...

August 24, 2016
PB surfer departs for Texas

Kelsey Gonzalez Age: 25 Hometown: Point Loma Favorite Surf Spot: Old Man’s, Pacific Beach Kelsey Gonzalez is moving to Texas in one week. She is trying to get into the water as much as possible. ...

August 3, 2016
Sometimes I.B. looks like Pipeline

Name: Jake Wilsie Age: 19 Occupation: Surf Instruction Location: South Mission Favorite Surf Spot: Sunset Cliffs It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and Jake Wilse is peeling off his wetsuit after giving a private lesson to a ...

What are you doing here? I'm married!

Rachel looks like a soccer mom. On most days her minivan is cluttered with backpacks and sports gear. Leftover Goldfish and Cheerios are ground into the floorboards. When dropping her kids off at school in ...

Unforgiving Hospitals

Name: Josh Turner Age: 20 Occupation: Valet Location: Tourmaline Surf Park, PB Favorite Surf Spot: Hospitals, La Jolla Josh Turner’s introduction to surfing came by way of a Surfari Surf School class in Mission Beach ...

San Diego's sex trade is second-largest underground economy after drugs

A leopard-print sign hanging on Andrea Smith’s front door announces, “I am a luxury few can afford.” Three years ago there was heavy truth in that statement. Smith was bringing in about $2500 a night ...

June 22, 2016

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