CARLSBAD — Avid paddle boarder and Carlsbad resident John Engelbrits called his cousin Jesse Carbajal of San Diego and friend Logan Schmidt of Oceanside with a creative way to spend the wet afternoon.
At 1 p.m. Dec. 22, Engelbrits, Carbajal and Schmidt packed up their paddle boards and headed to the coast. Rather than walking along the beach to their favorite break, they just headed north on State Street with their eyes on the Coast Highway in between Carlsbad and Oceanside. For Carlsbad’s urban paddle boarders, the conditions were prime. A week of constant rain filled the streets with water, overflowing numerous drainage ditches and creating an urban break never before floated upon.
The trio paddled above the Coast Highway, as spectators watched and snapped photos. When asked how often they hit the streets, Carbajal said, “This is my first time paddle boarding.” These urban paddle boarders first attempted to enter the flooded Coast Highway from Oceanside, but were turned away by the local police department. “If we let you, then we will have to let everyone,” said the officer. This is when they decided to launch from Carlsbad.
While paddling over the Coast Highway, they spotted a hunched figure in the cold water. Engelbrits paddled over and found a local homeless man at the point of hypothermia. The unidentified homeless man was lifted out of the water and paddled to Oceanside where he was given over to area police.