I recall pulling into World Gas Station in my hometown of Montebello and filling up my VW Bug for $2.50.
You can tell by this tidbit that this was during a bygone era, in this case 1967. You also realize that fueling the same car today will require a bank loan.
It isn’t news to anyone that a tank of regular currently runs around $75 and probably more by the time this article goes to print.
The only upside to this fact is that there might be fewer people at the beach this summer than there normally are.
I know how selfish all this sounds, but let’s be honest, what surfer doesn’t enjoy uncrowded surf at someone else’s expense?
I sure did back in the late ’70s during the Carter era when Sunday gas rationing cut the size of the lineup roughly in half.
I loved that so-called crisis because I lived within feet of Swami’s at the time.
Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy it so much now since I live about three miles or around $10 from the nearest surfable waves.
Surf comes (mostly during the winter) and goes (our smallest waves tend to occur between June and August in North County).
Still, there’s no need to cry over spilled whitewater — simply view the ocean with another goal in mind and get back out there.
I was late to the party as far as beach fishing goes, but I currently look forward to this season as much for the fish that migrate into the shallows as I do a deep south swell.
It was probably 20 years ago on one of those typically flat and muggy early June mornings when I strolled along the sand to see two nearly arm-length corbina strung up through their gills on the lifeguard tower.
Their lifeless and eatable flesh prompted a look into the shallows where, to my surprise, I noticed something I hadn’t bothered with before.
Two fish of the same breed and similar size were feasting on sand crabs, head down, in sand barely deeper than my big toe is wide.
I inquired on the method of catching such a fish, was told, bolted to the local sporting goods store, laid down roughly $30 for gear (like gas, the price of fun is now more than double, but still a bargain), was ripped off for the price of a license, something that reeks of being illegal since the ocean does not belong to the state, and drove back to the beach to try out my new hobby.
That was how beach fishing began for me, and I now anticipate it every summer with nearly as much stoke as I once did “opening day” (when the first north swell leads to rides that end up past the lifeguard tower) at Swami’s.
While spear fishing in the Swami’s region is no longer legal, strapping on a pair of cheap fins and an equally low-cost face plate (dive mask) is well worth the effort.
Summer’s here and the ocean will be relatively still for a few months. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t alive with joyful possibilities.