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New book showcases history, costumes of Cardiff Kook

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — It’s the perfect holiday gift for any North County resident or visitor. Cardiff 101, a non-profit organization that advocates for Cardiff residents and businesses, will be releasing a book of photography in December called “The Cardiff Kook and His Magic Carpet Ride.”

Local historian Fred Caldwell helped curate the photos for the book, bringing all the volunteer decorations that have adorned the Kook, in a series of pictures. The book showcases how the beach town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea turned an unexpected public outcry over a misinterpreted sculpture into an infamous local attraction. The statue was drafted by the Cardiff Botanical Society at a cost of $120,000. It was installed in 2007 at the entrance to the San Elijo State Beach campground on Coast Highway, but surfers and locals complained about its portrayal of a young, novice surfer.

Over the years, a tradition began as volunteer locals created various costumes on the statue – now nicknamed the “Cardiff Kook.” This is a look back, not only on the Kook’s history but also the variety of costumes the Kook has worn.

The book will be available for pre-order for $39.95 at and can be found at local retail stores in greater Encinitas. There will only be an estimated 1,000 copies available to purchase. Proceeds from The Cardiff Kook will go towards supporting Cardiff 101 and its small business members.