I thought it would be good to introduce myself briefly. I am Matt Brady and I am your Club President for the next few years. I am a 2nd generation Middle Beacher and have been a member since the mid 60’s when I was born. My Mom & Dad joined the club back in 1953. I love San Onofre and it is THE most special place in the whole world to me. I am truly honored to be your club President and to have the opportunity to give back to a place that has given me so much. I want to thank Brian Ephraim for decades of service on the Board and as our VP and recent President. Brian has done an excellent job in leading the Board and in fostering our relationship with the State Parks Department. He has left me big shoes to fill but I will do my best. If you see him at the beach, please say thanks to him for his service to the Club.
Well 2016 was a busy year for the San Onofre Surfing Club. We started with big winter swells and some significant beach erosion. The State was very cooperative in working with us to allow for the preservation and maintenance of the historic shack at Old Man’s and we had an amazing crew of volunteer members who donated materials and rebuilt the roof. It looks truly awesome!! The big surfboard wind vane was also in need of some love since the propeller had stopped spinning. Again several members including Rick Fegley and Tom Bistline sprang into action and removed, refurbished and reinstalled the board. If you didn’t see all the photos on our Facebook page, I recommend that you check it out. And speaking of things that spin in the wind, thanks to Pete Herrera for repairing the famous Fingermill. I think that Richard Nixon may have rolled over in his grave. As usual, the events at the beach were a ton of fun and were a big success due to the tireless efforts of many board members and club member volunteers.
We kicked of the year with the Horseshoe Tournament organized by the Vetter’s and Wolfe’s. Although it is the smallest of the club events, it is always a great time and enjoyed by all. This year’s victory went to Rick Fegley and Craig Ephraim. Consider coming out for this one in 2017. The next event was the annual Aloha Family Fun Day. We had good waves and once again were able to serve both breakfast and lunch to our members and non-members. Dancing to live music in the sand is always a treat. This event has been an awesome way to share the Aloha of the club and to attract new members to join and get involved. The raffle was a big hit and we were once again able to raffle off 3 brand new surfboards. Once again the club hosted 2 volleyball tournaments this year, both expertly organized and run by Dave Kulstad. Although we are now down to 2 courts, the scoring was adjusted and everything ran extremely smoothly and was enjoyed by all. Last but not least the annual Club Surf Contest was the highlight of the summer. Emmy Lombard stepped up this year as Contest Director to carry on the long tradition of a Lombard lead contest. She did a stellar job with lots of great help from her Dad, Bobby. This year’s contest was changed to an October date due to other conflicting State Park events on our usual weekend. The surf was just perfect for all age groups, it wasn’t so big that the surfers were too far out to see and there were plenty of waves in most heats. Conditions held up all weekend long and the other surfers at the beach were very cooperative respecting the contest area. The Novice Tandem, 8 & Under, and Jr. Mixed relay were (as always) the highlights. Those young kids blow me away. The level they surf at is so much more advanced than when I was a kid. I can’t wait to see where they will take the sport in the future. The Spirit Award went to Kurt Winn for his tireless efforts at the grill for many years. Kurt is one of several members who have jumped in to feed the beach at a number of our events. We ended the year recently with the Ten Buck Chuck organized my Charlie Zyvolosky and Sabrina Pearcy. I think that the Vintage longboard division is the highlight of this event. In that category the board ridden must be from 1973 or earlier and at least 9’-0”. We see some awesome old boards on the beach for this contest and there is a lot of board sharing so that everyone has a qualifying board in their heat. This year’s contest had good clean surf, was well run, and a blast for everyone. Next year we’re planning to move this event to the Spring so that we’ll have events more evenly spread throughout the year.
Other updates: The State has turned off all showers at their parks due to the ongoing drought conditions. So if you like to rinse off after your surf just bring a jug and we recommend rinsing off in the bamboo so you’ll be watering the plants at the same time. The bamboo areas were an important topic of discussion with the State early in the year. The State Parks Department is OK with these planted areas as they are today but they have specifically stated that no additional plants or furnishings are to be added to the beach. Please refrain from adding anything so that we can keep enjoying these planted areas as they have been meticulously maintained by our Club volunteers. If you see anything being added to the beach, please let one of the Board members know. A big issue coming up is the Marine Corps renewal of the States Parks lease. Access to the beach is a privilege that we owe to the Marine Corps. Renewal of the lease is important to the Club and the State Parks Dept. We will work closely with the State to do everything we can to secure a successful renewal of the lease.
I want to give special thanks to all the volunteers over the past year. The list is too long to include here but you know who you are. From the maintenance work and events listed above to the daily care that so many of you put into keeping our beach a special place, I am truly thankful.
As a last item I would like to ask you to reach out to the people you see at the beach and invite them to join our club. There are a ton of people who benefit from what the club does, keeping the beach in its natural state. Let them know about our club, our awesome events, and encourage them to get involved.