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.

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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!

Life and history at the Oceanside Pier.

Walk along the Oceanside Pier and you’ll encounter life. You’ll see walkers, bicyclists, people gazing across the water, talking, fishing, and beachgoers and surfers down below. If you have a curious mind and observant eyes, you’ll also discover history.

I walked along the popular pier on Labor Day and took these photos.

You can read the following historical plaques, if you’d like. Those many names carved into the wood railing were from a community fundraiser, whose proceeds were used to rebuild the pier in 1988, the year of its centennial.

The Oceanside Pier was originally built in 1888 and destroyed two years later by winter storms. Over the years, there have been six different incarnations. Today the pier is 1,942 feet long. You can learn more about its history here.

Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier. Reconstruction 1987.
Oceanside Pier. 1925. Historic Resource 4-204.

Check out this very cool fish-shaped bike rack! I saw it down by the beachside boardwalk.

Some benches near the foot of the pier memorialize loved ones…

Just a few of the many names on the weathered wood rails along the length of the pier…

Across from the concession shack, with its souvenirs, snacks and bait, you’ll find a collage of faded photographs.

Cherished memories over the years. Happy days fishing…

Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier permanently closed early this year after three decades of operation. A sign indicated the building will return to life in the future.

History goes on.

Why the many flags nearby? It’s Labor Day, 2021.

Another fine day passes by. Time to head back…

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!

Dogs surf freestyle in Del Mar!

The world-famous 2021 Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon was held today in Del Mar!

The non-stop surfing action took place at Dog Beach, and dozens of furry athletes did their best to score style points as they conquered the waves and entertained the crowd in support of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The surfing I observed was freestyle. That meant two or three dogs per surfboard! Whether contestants faced forward or backward seemed unimportant!

I took the following photos of this amazing canine sporting event for your enjoyment and amusement. Yes, it’s all a bit silly, even crazy. But you know what? It was evident that the excited dogs were having a blast! Many were jumping back toward the ocean the moment they landed on the sand!

If you’d like to help rescue dogs and other critters find a loving home, support the Helen Woodward Animal Center by clicking 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!

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!

A colorful Sunday walk on Imperial Beach Pier.

Today I headed down to Imperial Beach to check out a sandcastle that is under construction at the foot of the IB Pier. This summer’s week-long Imperial Beach Sun and Sea Festival features one gigantic sand sculpture. (I’ll share those photos shortly!)

Because I was at the pier, of course I had to walk out on it.

These colorful photographs were taken during my Sunday stroll over the ocean. I walked out to the pier’s end, gazed at the sky and water for a while, then headed back to 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!

The mysterious Coastal Helix sculpture in Carlsbad!

Have you ever wondered about that mysterious shining sculpture in the traffic roundabout at the north end of Carlsbad? You know, where Carlsbad Boulevard meets State Street, just south of the Buena Vista Lagoon?

The fantastic sculpture is titled Coastal Helix. It was created by California artist Roger White Stoller in 2014. Learn more about him here.

As you drive past the silvery flame-like public artwork, watching for merging traffic, you can’t fully appreciate it.

During my walk up the Coast Highway last weekend in Carlsbad I approached Coastal Helix and took a variety of photos. You can see how small stories appear to be told in the metalwork. One sees birds, frogs, surfers, and many other lively elements all mixed together.

According to the artist’s description here: “A celebration of the Pacific Ocean and coastal lagoons, the stainless pattern incorporates abstracted imagery of local flora and fauna: a whale, pelican, heron, crab, bird-of-paradise, waves and many more elements can be discovered. Gateway to the city, it stands atop artisan boulders built by Boulderscape and designed to replicate the local sandstone cliffs…”

These coastal inhabitants all seem to have spiraled upward mysteriously from the rocks upon which the sculpture is perched.

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!

Two surfers, a burger and fries!

Today I rode the Coaster train from San Diego up the coast for a relaxing holiday adventure. I did a lot of walking in both Carlsbad and Oceanside, and took lots of photographs. Stay tuned!

I hadn’t eaten breakfast, so around noon, as I walked north into Oceanside via South Coast Highway, a burger and fries was sounding good. Particularly from Angelo’s Burgers, whose hand cut fries are super yummy. (Their huge burgers are great, too!)

As I neared Angelo’s I spied a surfing mural on the side of their building that I’ve always wanted to photograph.

After crossing the Coast Highway north of the restaurant, I spotted a second cool surfing mural on the exterior of nearby Moose Lodge 1325, so I snapped a photo of that one, too!

Surfing mural at Angelo’s Burgers by Angela Brittain, 2012. The Oceanside artist also painted the mustachioed statue holding a hamburger in front of the restaurant. (The oblong shapes that appear to be dangling surfboards in the above photo are actually shadows.)
I don’t know who painted this very cool surfing mural at Moose Lodge 1325. If you know, please leave a comment!

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!