Imperial Beach plaques remember slough surfers.

Bronze plaques near the foot of the Imperial Beach Pier recall the legendary slough surfers who once trekked from far and wide to the Tijuana Sloughs, where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean, just north of the Mexican border.

During much of the 20th century, the Tijuana Sloughs was considered the preeminent big surf break in California. There’s a great article concerning the history and geology of the Sloughs here.

If you walk around Portwood Pier Plaza at the foot of the IB Pier, you’ll see a bunch of colorful surfboard benches where you can rest and gaze out across the beach. Look down and you’ll discover plaques next to each bench.

The plaques recall those who rode the big waves at the Tijuana Sloughs and honor bits of Imperial Beach surfing history.

Surfhenge public art welcomes people to the Imperial Beach Pier and Portwood Pier Plaza. The plaza is located next to the beach between Surfhenge and the lifeguard tower to the south.
Visiting slough surfers 1940’s.
Regular slough surfers 1940’s and 1950’s.
Most of California’s finest surfers were lifeguards at some stage in their careers…
Dean of the Sloughs. In 1937 the Sloughs were first surfed by the legendary waterman Dempsey Holder. Over the years surfers from all over California showed up at Dempsey’s lifeguard station at the end of Palm Avenue.
Visiting slough surfers 1950’s.
Father of the Modern Surfboard. In the 1940’s Bob Simmons applied the principles of hydrodynamics to surfboard design and forever changed the sport of surfing. In 1950 he moved to Imperial Beach.
…From 1930 to 1950 the total number of California surfers grew from under 70 to over 1500.
In the 1940’s surfers from all over Southern California made the journey to what is now Imperial Beach to surf the then-known biggest waves off the continental United States.
The Tijuana Sloughs became the testing ground for mainlanders going to Hawai’i. Before Malibu, San Onofre and Windansea groups surfed Makaha and the North Shore of O’ahu, they experienced the thrill and fear of big waves at the Sloughs.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Amazing wave and surfing art in Balboa Park!

Whenever I walk through Balboa Park, I almost always spend some time at the Japanese Friendship Garden, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Today I noticed there’s new artwork on display in the Exhibit Hall. It concerns breaking ocean waves, and includes many images of surfers on surfboards. The art is so vivid and unique, it’s hard to describe.

The exhibition is titled Hokusai Waves. It showcases the work of San Diego photographer Kotaro Moromura, whose images are inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai.

Powerfully curling water and flying droplets, captured with a high camera shutter speed, seem to leap right out of the display cases. The images are not unlike the impressively crashing waves created by artist Katsushika Hokusai.

As you can see from a couple of my photos, the wave images that include surfers are dynamic and definitely very cool!

Anyone visiting San Diego for the next several days for the international World Surf League Championship event up at Trestles might enjoy a peek at these!

Learn more about Hokusai Waves here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Surf history at Imperial Beach’s Outdoor Surfboard Museum.

One of San Diego’s most unique museums can be visited by strolling down Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. The Imperial Beach Outdoor Surfboard Museum is open 24/7, and all visitors need to do is freely walk down the sidewalk!

A short distance from the beach, on either side of Palm Avenue from 3rd Street to Seacoast Drive, 25 different historic surfboard designs are displayed as life-size red metal sculptures, whose shapes cast sandblasted “shadows” across the sidewalk.

The date, material and shaper of each unique surfboard is detailed on circular plaques. Boards that are displayed date from the early days of Hawaiian surfing up to 1985. You can see how influential local surfers have been in surf history, as nine of the shapers hail from Imperial Beach and the San Diego region!

The Outdoor Surfboard Museum debuted in 2006 and is a fitting tribute to IB’s very cool surf culture. Walking along, you’ll see curvy little boards and you’ll see massive long boards–standing up to 16 feet tall! You’ll see how surfboard design has evolved over the years, as surfers have sought speed, control and a long, smooth, perfect ride.

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Girl surfs with dolphins in Imperial Beach!

I like the message in one newly painted mural that I spotted last weekend as I walked through Imperial Beach.

A lady surfer is catching a wave with a pod of dolphins, and written above are the words: “From the land to the sea, we are connected, you and me…”

This mural can be found near the corner of Palm Avenue and 3rd Street, on a wall behind the Pacific Realty parking lot. The art was created last month “for Katy” by Marissa Quinn (@marissaquinn).

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Big surf at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

A sunny, very warm winter Sunday.

Big surf.

High tide.

A perfect combination for some dramatic photographs at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

Many others had gathered at viewpoints above the tidepools and at Cuvier Park to watch distant surfers catch some amazing waves, and to gasp as huge geysers of foaming water crashed against the offshore rocks and rugged sandstone cliffs!

La Jolla is indeed one of the most beautiful places anywhere.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fog and silver at South Mission Beach.

I took these moody photos yesterday afternoon near South Mission Beach Park and the Mission Beach Jetty. You can see the volleyball courts on the sand. You’ll also see the nearby lifeguard station.

The lowering sun had vanished behind a gray bank of fog drifting in from the Pacific Ocean. I thought I’d snap a few photos to see how they’d come out.

They seem to tell a mysterious story about life.

And about silver that lives in the gray.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Painted surfers welcome visitors to Ocean Beach!

Back in 2015, a mural depicting two surfers and sea birds was painted on both sides of a gas station wall at the entrance to Ocean Beach. You can see it as you drive into OB, at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and West Point Loma Boulevard. The eye-catching mural was painted by Southern California artist Henry Goods.

A couple days ago I finally walked past it.

When I read this great article concerning the mural’s creation, I learned another San Diego gas station features more artwork painted by Henry Goods. It’s that long, very colorful mural on First Avenue between Cedar Street and Elm Street, featuring sharks, fish, sea lions and other marine life. I checked out that mural and posted photos here, here and here, over seven years ago when my blog was just getting started!

Funny how walking is a travel though time.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A visit to the California Surf Museum!

On Saturday I enjoyed my first ever visit to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside.

This one-of-a-kind museum might be small, but WOW! Every inch of it is packed with cool exhibits that celebrate the history, art and technology of surfing!

I found myself deeply fascinated by everything I saw. Even though I’m not a surfer!

Most notable was the museum’s incredible array of historic surfboards, many of which are true works of art.

I could easily see why so many people love surf culture. I could see the poetry and the physical joy of surfing and its spiritual quality. I asked the friendly docent what he liked most about surfing, and he said it was being in the moment. Forgetting unimportant things, riding a wave, feeling alive.

If you are the least bit fascinated by this sport or the Southern California beach scene, definitely visit the California Surf Museum. To give you an idea of what you might see, check out my photographs, and read the captions!

Numerous exhibits fill the small but very cool California Surf Museum in Oceanside.
Numerous exhibits fill the small but very cool California Surf Museum in Oceanside.
One exhibit details the Anatomy of a Wave.
One exhibit details the Anatomy of a Wave.
A gun surfboard made of layered agave wood, created by local surfing and shaping legend Gary Linden.
A gun surfboard made of layered agave wood, created by local surfing and shaping legend Gary Linden.
Asymmetrical redwood surfboard made from the wood of a large wine barrel, created by Carl Ekstrom.
Asymmetrical redwood surfboard made from the wood of a large wine barrel, created by Carl Ekstrom.
Display case holds 1946 California Surfriders book by Doc Ball, his wood waterbox camera for surf photography, and the 1928 Tom Blake Perpetual Trophy.
Display case holds 1946 California Surfriders book by Doc Ball, his wood waterbox camera for surf photography, and the 1928 Tom Blake Perpetual Trophy.
Another exhibit celebrates the boogie board, invented by Tom Morey in 1971, and explores its history.
Another exhibit celebrates the boogie board, invented by Tom Morey in 1971, and explores its history.
Plastic Fantastic rounded pin surfboard, with cool artwork by Randall Kraemer.
Plastic Fantastic rounded pin surfboard, with cool artwork by Randall Kraemer.
A special, inspirational exhibit celebrates Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack.
A special, inspirational exhibit celebrates Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. You can see her surfboard with a chunk missing.
Bethany Hamilton's inspiring story was told in the movie Soul Surfer. She has won multiple competitions after losing her left arm in a 2003 shark attack.
Bethany Hamilton’s inspiring story was told in the movie Soul Surfer. She has won multiple competitions after losing her left arm in a 2003 shark attack.
A very unique hydrofoil for kneeboard surfing, designed by oceanographer Dr. Tareah "Terry" Hendricks. A plaque in his honor can be found at Swami's in Encinitas.
A very unique hydrofoil for kneeboard surfing, designed by oceanographer Dr. Tareah “Terry” Hendricks. A plaque in his honor can be found at Swami’s in Encinitas.
Circa 1910 early California alaia made of Sugar Pine, built by Ralph Noisat. One of the oldest documented boards in the mainland United States.
Circa 1910 early California alaia made of Sugar Pine, built by Ralph Noisat. One of the oldest documented boards in the mainland United States.
Surfing toys, games and pop culture imagery in a display case at the California Surf Museum.
Toys, games, comic books and pop culture artifacts celebrate surfing in a display case at the California Surf Museum.
A museum display memorializes local surfers who've passed on.
A museum display memorializes local surfers who’ve passed on.
Various bodysurfing handplanes.
Various bodysurfing handplanes.
A cool art exhibit titled Abstractions in Symmetry by Russell Spencer features photographs created using light and rotating surfboard fins.
A cool surf art exhibit titled Abstractions in Symmetry by Russell Spencer features photographs created using light and rotating surfboard fins.
A redwood surfboard by Francis Todd II and Mary Krahn pays tribute to popular Southern California surfing destination Encinitas.
A redwood surfboard by Francis Todd II and Mary Krahn pays tribute to popular Southern California surfing destination Encinitas.
A small slice of heaven for surfing enthusiasts!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A good Saturday to surf near the OB Pier!

I couldn’t believe how many surfers were out in the water on Saturday afternoon. I watched the action from the OB Pier and strove to get a few decent shots with my little camera.

So many people were paddling out, bobbing on their surfboards and catching waves that the action was frequent and entertaining! Sometimes multiple surfers would wipe out simultaneously, and boards and bodies would be flying every which way!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A walk south of the Oceanside Transit Center.

Today I enjoyed a couple of fun walks in San Diego’s North County. After photographing a bunch of cool sights in downtown Vista, I found myself at the Oceanside Transit Center waiting for a train back home with about an hour to spare. So I walked around, of course!

The first photo was taken as I was walking from the Oceanside Transit Center south along Tremont Street. At Wisconsin Avenue I turned west and continued past the “ballerinas among sharks” mural and over the adjacent railroad tracks.

I continued all the way to a lifeguard station overlooking rocks soaked by a wildly splashing high tide. Then I turned back east.

Just before reaching the railroad tracks, I turned north along a virtually deserted bike path which followed a couple of empty paid parking lots. Even though my camera was in hand and ready, I really didn’t see anything noteworthy as I made my way back to the transit center. So my photos end near the beach!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!