Saturday, April 18, 2015

CSHQ: In The Fisheye, etc., et al...

Dateline: Saturday, April 18, 2015

48 hours until the California Incline closes for at least a year and probably longer...

SMFD on a run at 4th and Pico...

Sign directing traffic to SMS!...

A sun savvy OL at SMS Tower #16!...

A LACo OL on a workout after opening up SMS Tower #17...

*** And Check out the fresh new paint job on CSHQ!... just painted last week!   ***

Baywatch Santa Monica on patrol just south of SMS Tower #17...

Atten Hut!...

Look who is back in Central Section!...  Welcome back, Capt. Eugene Atanasio!... who recently completed a two year assignment as the Captain in charge of the Training Center.

Heads up, Rookies!  This is what you fill out after making a rescue.   :-)

The A Team at CSHQ!...


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by & Copyright Will Maguire 2015).

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Zuma Drive By...

Dateline: Thursday afternoon, April 16, 2015...


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by & Copyright Will Maguire 2015.)

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mass Confusion!, by Bill Beatie

Photo by & Copyright Bill Beatie circa 1970.  "SMHQ Switchboard".

Just in from Veteran LACo/Santa Monica City Ocean Lifeguard (Ret.), Bill Beatie, now living in Mesa, Arizona !

Dateline: March 25, 2015

"Hello Will:

Long time no see (other than through your Blog).  I was going through some old flics to bring to my big 50 reunion for Venice High in a month. Came across this classic of the switchboard when in full swing capacity back in the day at Santa Monica HQ.  Early 70's, Capt. Jim Richards flipped out when he saw the board at max!  He was worried about incoming calls, asked if it was all business or bullshit.  There was NO swell, early morning fog, every guard on duty wanted to visit with the neighbor or get an outside line.  He finds out the truth... then proceeds to place his arm behind all the trunk lines and pulls them all out at once. I could not believe how fast all the lights went out and stayed that way. All guards knew it was the Boss and better not push their luck.  I freaked out at first, then we all had a good laugh.  It sure was fun in HQ while on disability from my shoulder injury.  Lots of fun when I got to Topanga South five days a week too.  Held that spot and TPN for most of my 25 years..."


Thanks for the memories, Bill!  I can still hear your voice on the switchboard when I would call in to speak to the next tower over... "Tower #26 comin' to ya!..."

To our readership, if you have any switchboard stories to tell, please let us know.


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015



This just in from lifeguard, paddler, Wahoos! devotee and County Recurrent freelance correspondent, Adam Sandler.

Hey Will:

Imagine 5,200 police officers and 20 LA County Lifeguards battling each other for supremacy in the extreme heat of the desert while wearing only running shorts.

No, it's not the latest TV show from Greg Bonann. It's the annual Baker To Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race, which was held this past weekend. It's where 262 teams run 120 miles -- broken into 20 legs ranging in distance from 3.7 to 10.7 miles -- while traversing flat terrain, slight hills, not-so-slight hills and hot highway asphalt in a quest to be the fastest team to complete the course.

As you know, the "B2V" race is the brainchild of two LAPD officers who started it 31 years ago to foster camaraderie among the various law enforcement departments. I volunteer as a Medic for the race each year. (More than 200 medical personnel cover the race, among the thousands of other volunteers).

Typically, one of the LAPD Teams boasts the fastest time. This year the top time was 12:53:17. That's 12 HOURS, 53 minutes, folks!

But, perhaps just as impressive was the team of LA County Lakes Lifeguards who clocked in at 15:01:33, landing a 2nd Place finish in the Invitational Category, and nabbed a 15th Place Overall finish.
LA County Lakes Lifeguards - team members at checkpoint 13 at 0120 hours Sunday. Safety First: all runners wear lighted (red blinking LEDs) reflective vests.
That's 15th out of 262 teams that were comprised of gun-toting bad-asses from the ranks of numerous teams from the LAPD, LASD, CHP, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Border Patrol, and many others! Runners from police Departments from Queensland, Calgary, South Wales UK and the RCMP (Mounties) also joined the fray. (Link to Results Page:

To be fair, and in the interest of full disclosure, we should also give kudos to the California State Parks team, which also boasts some lifeguards among its gun-toting, peace office ranks. The team landed in 5th Place in the Open category and 6th Place Overall with a time of 14:33:04.

We should extend a sincere WELL DONE to our lifeguard brothers, and to all the teams.




Wow!  Many Thanks to Adam for sharing this story with all of us!  The gauntlet of content creation, production and distribution for the year 2015 has been thrown down by Adam!  Who is up to the challenge next to provide our readership with entertaining stories, photos and content?!...   Just sayin'...


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

Story, text, photos by, courtesy of and Copyright Adam Sandler 2015. Used here with permission.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't go Harry!... The Pizza Party!

The man of the hour... just returned from a call out... on his last shift...

Dateline: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 1600 hrs... at CSHQ, an informal reception was held with pizza from Bruno's Ristorante to honor the 28 year career of OLS Harry Varnas!  Here are the photos we took to share with those of you who could not make it.

Best wishes and Congratulations to Harry!

The first guest to arrive...

It's all work and no play for this Central Section Captain!...

There he is, the soon to be retired... OLS Harry Varnas getting a handshake from Dr. Steve Contarsy, Phd/LACo OL...

Below, Angus, Will and Steve. Photo by Shelly Butler.

Can you name these three LACo OL/OLS' (past and present), below?...

Look who else showed up!... none other than the Godfather of Ocean Lifeguarding, Harold Dunnigan!

Hey!?... is that the promised Pizza being delivered, below?!...

Yes it is!... Here comes the man with the pizza and who requested anonymity so we erased his head... :-)

And there's LACo OLS/Paramedic (Ret.), Joel Gitelson!...

Below, would you believe... a pizza sandwich?!..

Harold, Abby and Shelly

Angus, Harry and Abby

Below, I count:  Two Chiefs

And Charlie makes Three!  What a turnout!

10-4, Harry!  Happy Trails!  Thanks for the memories and the pizza!

Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by & Copyright Will Maguire 2015, unless otherwise indicated.)

"The Sky IS Falling!... OLS Harry Varnas is Retiring!...

OLS Harry Varnas. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2014.)

Dateline:  Friday, March 13th, 2015...

"They" say that nothing good ever happens on Friday the 13th!... in this case it's certainly true because today it was announced that Harry Varnas is retiring after 28 years as an Ocean Lifeguard Specialist!  You gotta count his recurrent (OL) years too, esp. because those are the most important foundational years where a lifeguard cuts his/her teeth in the marrow of lifeguarding, e.g, rescues, preventions, foot patrols, first aids, the infrequent altercation perhaps, etc. et al.  Additionally, since this blog is dedicated to the recurrent beach lifeguard... you gotta add 10 more years to Harry's illustrious career, which included an early appearance on a game show where Harry was quoted as remarking that one of the reasons he became a beach lifeguard was because of the scenery...  until then none of us had any idea that Harry was that big into geography and marine science.....

The Sky Is Falling!

Say it ain't so, Harry!

We are going to have to reset the clock!... because time stopped when this was announced!  I don't know how the Call Car staff is going to adjust in Central Section.  The Dive Team might as well start over from scratch!  It is just not going to be the same without Harry!

Above, Harry, at left, with OLS Sam Bertolet at Will Rogers Tower #14, Summer of 2010.

Harry: You've earned it, however!  Congratulations and Well Done!


A trip down memory lane is certainly in order and here are a handful of photos to celebrate Harry's nearly 40 year career that started in 1977!

Below, Rookie swim finish 1977.  Harry Varnas, at left, and Ron Pearlman at the finish line  in Santa Monica.  Photo courtesy of Harry.

Below, Harry Varnas at the old style pagoda Brooks tower in Venice Beach... circa 1980.  Photo courtesy of Harry.

Harry Varnas turns in his flipper to Section Chief Chris Linkletter for a golf club at the CSH area Meeting 2015:

Harry holding OLS Pat O'Neill's famous ten pound BBQ Brisket. Harry's known for putting away large quantities of free grub and today was no exception.  Photo courtesy of Harry.

OLS Charlie Picarro welcomes  OLS Cosmo Flynn to the vacant call car spot.  Cosmo, who brags about his Vegan diet, refuses the offer of the Brisket but not the call car shift. Photo courtesy of Harry.

Two old lifeguards pose for the camera during the (2010) Summer of Color during the Will Rogers crew photo session at Tower #14. Photo courtesy of Harry.

Fall 2014 along SMS... Harry, "watching the water!"...

Below, Harry in the middle, Summer 2010... with his fancy camera equipment during the Will Rogers crew photo session for which he volunteered his time and services...


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by & Copyright Will Maguire 2010, 2014, unless otherwise indicated.)

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