Saturday, January 30, 2010

"A True El Nino #2", by Bill Powers

WATER TEMP. Water temp. is probably the easiest and most notable sign that a "True El Nino" is in your area. Mid 70's in the middle of winter and into spring is a Big Indication of a "True El Nino".

WIND. The wind during the "True El Nino" that I worked through, came up one day literally "out of nowhere" and blew 70 mph onshore. It did this TWICE about a week apart. No one that I talked to could every remember the wind blowing this hard onshore. The wind, in turn, whipped the ocean into a frenzy with very choppy surf inshore that damaged or completely destroyed almost every pier on the Southern California coast. Topanga Point was 10 feet deep in wood from sun decks along the Malibu coastline that were destroyed and ripped apart by the this windstorm and surf.

SEA LIFE. There were these "Giant Squid" that started showing up on the south facing points. These squid were about three feet long. I was at Malibu one day and they seemed to be everywhere on the wet sand. There were also thousands of these "Red Crabs" on the wet sand, as well as outside the surf line where they were hanging on the kelp. Some of my friends that fish called them "Tuna Crabs" because the fishing got very good when these crabs got pushed up to our beaches by the warm El Nino current. Fish normally caught in Cabo in Mexico were being caught in So. California waters.

Bill Powers, LACo S.O.L., Retired
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
January 30, 2010 (aka, "Pay Day")

*** *** ***


A. Powers is once again "Right On The Money" re Giant Squid. Just today, Feb. 1, 2010, Yahoo Buzz reported that Giant Squid are showing up Big Time in Southern California recently because of the warm waters from the current El Nino

See: "Invasion of The Giant Squids", by Mike Krumboltz, Feb. 1, 2010 at:

*** Photo info/source: In this Sept. 18, 2009 photo, Pedro Manuel Alcolado Menendez, a senior researcher with Cuba's Institute of Oceanology, looks at a giant squid at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.(AP Photo/Christine Armario)

B. Photo of Giant Squid

(Photo source:

C. Wikipedia re "Giant Squid":

*** *** ***

"A True El Niño"
, by Bill Powers, LACo S.O.L., Ret. (previously posted on Jan. 19, 2010)

("Venice Pier Archive Photo" Courtesy of Nathalie Brouwer. Photo & Copyright by Nathalie Brouwer 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.)

With every tv network blaring and repeating the words, El Niño, these days, it reminded me of one night in the El Niño years of the early 1980's, particularly the El Nino storm of March 1983. I was working out of SMHQ. Lt. Tom Viren was in charge. The weather and the ocean were very different this particular winter. The water temp. was in the low 70's in the middle of the winter ("A True El Niño"). I remember one day the wind came up and blew onshore at about 70 mph! The Weather Service missed the call and no one let us know the wind was coming. I talked to everyone I could and no one could remember the wind ever blowing onshore this hard. I went out on the Santa Monica Pier with another lifeguard, Adrian Crook (also an Engineer with the Santa Monica Fire Dept.). The pier was closed to the public and you could feel the whole pier move when the waves moved under you. When you looked at the ocean, it was rolling white water to the horizon. The wind was blowing so hard that when someone opened the lower doors in a building in the Marina that it blew out all the windows on that floor. In Malibu, about 70% of all the beach front sun decks were stacked up on Topanga Point.

At approximately 2300 hrs that same day, the Venice Pier phone started shorting out. Lt. Viren said he would ride along with me, while my partner stayed at SMHQ to monitor the switchboard and radio. As we headed toward the Venice Pier, the water was coming back to the boardwalk in a lot of spots. We ended up driving on the Boardwalk just to get around some of the deep spots. As we got to the pier the wind was blowing somewhere between 30 - 40 mph onshore. You could not see very far as you looked out at the ocean, but you could hear it. A continuous rumble was the background noise for everything that was happening all around us as we pulled up to the pier. The first thing I noticed was that the ground and the deck of the pier was wet everywhere. We waited for awhile and watched for anything that would dampen our evening, with the spray from the Big Onshore Wind soaking everything. After awhile we decided it would be ok to check the station on the pier.

So we get to the station and onto the headlights comes the first wave of a set, its higher than the handrail on the pier with water coming on to the pier from both sides. I put the truck in reverse trying to get to the gate, which we left open just in case. The wave goes by us, putting about 2 feet of white water around the truck. I kept backing up, knowing that the next few waves could be larger. We stopped at the bike path and watched as 1 - feet of white water headed east on Washington Blvd. The set was about 10 waves. We notified the police and they closed off the area. The next day, the Engineers closed the pier for 2 years because of damage. The recheck swim in April had 70 degree water temp.

Bill Powers,
L.A. County Lifeguard,
30 years

***** ***** *****

Many Thanks to Bill Powers
for yet another gem from his many years of lifeguard experience saving lives from Dockweiler to Zuma and more.

***Cross-Reference: For The Record:

Subject: El Nino Is Back !
From: will.maguire
Date: July 9, 2009 10:42:07 PM PDT

Per Associated Press (AP),

El Nino conditions return to affect weather

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 8:24am PDT

( originally published at: )

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Wieland Shield 2010...Win, Lose, or Draw?" by Mike Murphy

"County Recurrent" is pleased to present Mike Murphy's reflections on the recent Wieland Shield Competition in Victoria, Australia. So here goes...

(Map Source: Google &

"After saying adios to Finley and her mom nearly 2 weeks ago, I left the Gold Coast of Queensland for the surf coast outside of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.

Arriving in Victoria (VIC) was a welcome change of pace. From balancing training, catching up with friends, and ensuring a good trip for the fam, the VIC part of the trip was all about training lightly, and resting/prepping for the weekends Wieland Shield competition.

Our team was composed of very talented athletes who would probably not be available to race for future California teams in this event.
Age, and other personal pursuits made this squad a one time deal. The team included a few world class athletes, some good athletes, and me. All were fairly exceptional characters. Friday, Jan. 9th served as a the first time all of us would be together. It was surreal for me after 5 months of fund raising, recruiting, and stressing over the event to actually see all the team members together in Victoria. That first sight of our team together made me feel like a dehydrated, half dead man in the Sahara seeing a mirage on the horizon, but this crew was the real deal.

The men's team consisted of swimmer Jeff Barrett (Calif. State), swimmer Pat Jacobson (LACo), board paddler Shane Scoggins (LACo), ski paddler Danny Ching (LACo), and ironmen Brian Murphy and Micah Carlson of LACo. Our women's team was as good as ever if not the best crew of 4 girls ever put together. Micha Burden is an insanely fast swimmer from Huntington Beach, Maggie Hogan is a ski paddler from San Diego who trains full time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Renee Locarnini is from LACo and came to ski paddle and swim, and Alison Riddle is an absolute 1 yr wonder on a board. She has literally 9 months experience board paddling, and kills it. She also would be available to swim. Jay Butki did a sick job managing and making life as easy as possible for those of us racing. Charlotte Graham and San Diego lifeguard Rich Hidalgo helped tremendously as well. Jamie Orr (official California Ambassador to Australia) was the last of the entourage of support.
(editor's note: How do I get in on this "boondoggle" next time they compete in Australia? They are certainly going to need an Official Team Blogger!...)

Our first weekend was spent racing in some events on Saturday and Sunday. Both events served as a chance to see what sort of shape we were in compared to our Victorian counterparts. Our guys faired well that weekend and our girls went even better. Pat Jacobson actually won beach flags amid a very competitive field of Aussies (too bad flags was not a part of the Shield comp). Our team was optimistic that evening when we met to talk about what we learned and what we needed to do for the upcoming week. Considering it was mid winter for our contingent, we were generally satisfied with how things went at that carnival at Anglesea .

(Photo of Anglesea beach above, with Anglesea SLSC building in foreground overlooking beach below. Source:

The week leading up to the Wieland Shield comp was full of positive experiences.
Our entire team had the chance to sit with a South African professional ski paddler for an impromptu surf ski clinic. Dawid Mocke had a couple days in Victoria prior to the years first world cup race in Perth. He was even more stoked to meet our team and hear what we were all about (he went on to win the Perth race, and only wanted to ask about how our sqaud did that same weekend). I also had a private swimming lesson from a multi-time Olympic medalist. I am a very (below!) average swimmer and appreciated a lot of feedback from the Olympic champ and friend of our teammate Micha Burden.

(Photo shows Anglesea SLSC Logo, circa 1986. Courtesy of Will Maguire.)

The best part of the week was the incredible hospitality we were the recipients of. We had multiple surf clubs offering to host. Our initial club home, Anglesea SLSC (, sponsored breakfast and coffee for our entire crew of 15 for the 5 days we stayed. Expecting stale bagels, cold cereal, and leftover pizza, we were universally blown away to find that brekkie would include omelettes, chorizo breakfast burritos, steak and eggs, etc...totally legit breakfast. Coffee was espresso, cappuccino, latte's, etc. I am missing it like hell now that i am writing about it here. The week ended well, with the crew on the same page, and all of us amazed at the hospitality of our Victorian hosts and opponents. Even the guys and girls we would be racing were going out of their way to get us quality gear to race on. I was double checking everything for loose cables, drilled pinholes, and other strategies of sabotage, and again only found true genuine hospitality. They were way too kind, and obviously had no clue how intent we were on competing. Considering the California teams record in Vic is something like 0 and 11, I don't think they were too concerned about us.

The wait for the Shield comp to start felt like pregnancy all over again...something that is all sorts of effort, and eventually comes to feel like a permanent state, and suddenly ends with one of life's most exciting days. We were amping when the day of racing finally came, and our crew performed well. After 7 events on the first day at Bancoora Beach, a couple surprise finishes had our crew in a great spot, and only a few points back of the Victorian team for the events point lead (27 to 31). Highlights included Brian's win of the surf teams swim race, his second place iron man finish, Maggie's victory on the ski, and a solid team effort to win the days last relay event.

(L2R above: Brian Murphy, Mike Murphy, Alison Riddle, Danny Ching, Patrick Jacobson, Jamie Orr, Micah Carlson, Jeff Barrett, Micha Shaw, Jay Butki, Renee Locarnini, Shane Scoggins. Photo by & Copyright Kari Lyman 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission. Photo shows Team USA on Day One of Shield Competition at Bancoora Beach in Victoria, Australia.)

X-Ref; Re: Bancoora Beach:


The next day would favor our teams strong swimmers and hopefully put us back in the mix to win. After a sunny day, with small waves on Saturday, Sunday brought showers, 20 knot side shore winds, and some solid surf which made racing conditions brutally challenging but fun. A seesaw day of racing had multiple lead changes. At days end, we needed our guys and girls to win the run swim run event to have a shot to win. Our girls crushed it as anticipated, and our guys had to have absolutely heroic swims in CRAZY 25+ knot gusts and psycho rain in order to come out ahead in the event. We were down going into the run swim run, and as the guys hit the water the heavens just unloaded with the rain and the wind jumped almost 1O knots. It was a weird feeling on the beach as all hell broke loose trying to tie down tents, gear blowing everywhere, children freaking out like it was a summer afternoon on Amity Island...and despite it all we were (read:"I was") completely focused on where our guys were at and where they would finish. Our team had to throw Brian and Micah into the run swim run. Neither planned on doing the swim races, but as the event unfolded it became clear that those two guys gave us the best shot to win. I've known Micah since he was as scrawny as I am now at age 16, and obviously known Brian for far far far too long. Seeing the two of them resurrect our hopes and finish strongly in first and second place was a huge lift to our whole squad and pretty emotional for me. I was fully clothed getting drenched in the sand screaming at them as they finished ahead of the savvy local Victorians. Their performance was flipping macho beyond belief considering the conditions and that neither had planned on swimming those events the day prior. Their efforts on the last day absolutely carried our crew. We would go into the final races, the mens and womens Taplin's, at a tie. We had to win both races to win the event, and needed to win one to finish at a tie.

In 40 plus years since the start of the Wieland Shield, the Californian squad had never won in Victoria. Our team was pumped to be in the position we were in and extraordinarily focused on finishing what we set out to do. Our women raced insanely well and intelligently to win the Women's Taplin. The story of the event was the performance of our girls, and no one was surprised when they demoed the Victorians in the Taplin relay (ski-swim-board-run). All four of them contributed hugely, and it was cool to see them bond among themselves going into their final contest. The guys began with a tie guaranteed, but needed to win to make history. After a couple solid ski legs, we made a mistake in the swim leg that took us out of the race, and we were collectively devastated when the Vics won the race, and the 21st Wieland Shield concluded in a draw (62 to 62). We split event wins (5 to 5), and team event wins (3 to 3), and had no other tie breaker system in place. The event had never finished in a draw previously. The Victorians appeared relieved, and our crew was collectively gut wrenched with ambivalence. The truth is, we were a lot closer to winning than we were to losing, and we all felt like we let the Vics escape defeat. After many hugs, some tears, some head scratching, and plenty of beer, we were all laughing, and universally stoked on the best finish of any California squad in Victoria. The crew of athletes that came to VIC trained exceptionally hard, and made many sacrifices in coming together as a team of 11.

The Victorian crew was blown away by our efforts, and the ultimate camaraderie among both sides is difficult to describe. The first day of racing was ridiculously awkward for me, wanting to compete against and beat guys I genuinely liked so much. Every Victorian who had been involved with past teams wanted to ask about my daughter, and was sincerely concerned with the happenings of my life and family. This event is built upon an incredible tradition between lifeguards on opposite sides of the world. Coming home with an historic finish validated the time away from the kiddo.

The roots of this event are inextricably linked to some incredible watermen and lifeguards from the late 50's and 60's. Walking in their footsteps is a bit spooky and a tremendous honor. Whether you get caught up in the mystique of all the legends prior, or just enjoy the heckling and late night shenanigans among peers and competitors, the Wieland Shield is a truly unique event. I hope more California lifeguards and agencies find ways to get involved and enjoy the friendships that develop through the Shield."

-mike murf

("Wieland Shield 2010...Win, Lose, or Draw?" is Copyright Mike Murphy 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission).

--- --- ---

*** Many Thanks to Mike Murphy for sharing his remarks regarding this year's Wieland Shield Competition held earlier this month in the state of Victoria in the land down under, Australia. Thanks as well to Kari Lyman for allowing us to use her photo of Team USA. ***

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kimberley E. Montanaro, LACo Recurrent, Rest In Peace

On January 3, 2010, former LACo Recurrent Beach Lifeguard (1991-1994), Kimberley E. Montanaro, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 36 years old, in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she practiced law.

Today's L.A. Times, 01.21.2010, features her Obituary:

or please copy the following link into your browser:

Kim grew up in Pacific Palisades where she swam for Coach Rick Goeden (aka, Coachie) on the Palisades/Malibu YMCA Age Group Swim Team, as well as on the Pali High Varsity Girls Swim Team (Go Dolphins!), coached by former L.A. City and LACo Recurrent Beach Lifeguard, Dave Anderson.

Her mom and dad, John (aka, "Big Guy") and Susan (aka, "Sweet Sue") Montanaro, were themselves avid Masters swim team members of the Palisades/Malibu YMCA Masters Swim Team, also coached by Rick, with many a workout also coached by LACo's very own, Paul Henne and Will Douglass. On this Masters Swim Team there were numerous LACo Recurrent Lifeguards as well as many future LACo Recurrent Lifeguards. The list is Ginormous and included: The undersigned (aka, "a.h. guillaume") who regrettably (to this day) recruited Greg ("Bone") Bonann and Chuck ("Chuck Who?") Locko to join this team..., plus the likes of Eric ("Sharkman") Shargo, Bob ("B.J.") Janis, Abby Schneider, Greg Andruk, Tim McNulty (Sr.), Mike ("Newmie"/"Where's my Wallet"/"Can I Borrow Some Shampoo") Newman, Mitch Flyer, Devon ("Buffy") Clark, Will Douglass, Bob Ingersoll, Kerri Culbertson, Steve Moseley, David Sitzer, Phil ("Topey") Topar, Paul Donahue, Paul Silka, plus then Pali High Dolphin swimmers (circa, '80's & '90's) and other Masters swimmers who would later become LACo Recurrents like Tim Arnold, Dave Dolotta, Tim McNulty (Jr.), Luigi DeMari, Erik Koster, Tim Gair, Michelle Saxer, Kim Gair, David (Gohdes) Carr, John Fletcher and many others. This was the same Masters Swim Team captained by noneother than longtime Palisades resident and honorary mayor, H. Barry Stein (aka, "Mayor"), who was like an Uncle to Kim.

It was no surprise but still obviously quite an accomplishment for this beautiful young lady to take the L.A. County Rookie Lifeguard Test and to qualify for its rookie school in 1991 and to graduate from said L.A. County Fire Department's Lifeguard Training Academy, aka "Rookie School". Because of the very special family-team atmosphere shared by the YMCA age group swimmers, the Pali High Swimmers and the Masters, all of whom trained at the same Pali Y Pool in the Conference Grounds above Sunset Blvd. at Temescal Cyn. Rd., this accomplishment of Kim's was shared and rejoiced by all of us involved with these groups. Kim's parents and her brother, Jon "Magic" Montanaro could not have been prouder of this accomplishment of Kim's. From that moment forward and forever more Kim has been a part of our brotherhood and sisterhood of LACo Recurrent Beach Lifeguards. She went on to graduate from college and law school but in her heart she was and always will be an L.A. County Ocean Lifeguard. Her compassion, enthusiasm, integrity and accountability will be sorely missed.

God has other plans for Kim, of that I am certain. Her sudden passing and the imprint she left on family, loved ones and friends, both terrestrial and spiritual, brings to mind for me the final scene in the already legendary film, GLADIATOR, wherein an African Gladiator and slave, speaks to the fallen Maximus and tells him, "I will see you soon, but not yet. Not YET!" ... reminding us that "We can honor Kim's memory" by living life to its fullest and being of service to others just as Kim did in her personal and professional life.

Her spirit will be with us forever more and her example will continue to inspire us.

Kim: God Bless You! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and loved ones.

*** *** ***

Please also be advised that in lieu of flowers and cards,
Kim's family has asked (if you so desire) that you make a donation in Kimberley's name to CASA of Santa Barbara County.

Court Appointed Special Advocates
for children was an organization very dear to Kim, according to her brother, Jon, and she devoted most all of her little free time to volunteer work for them.

"The goal of CASA of Santa Barbara County is to prevent abused, neglected, and abandoned children from becoming lost in the Juvenile Dependency system and working to find them safe, permanent homes as soon as possible."

Donations can be made through the website at:

At the bottom of the donor information page is a space where you can put the donation in honor of Kimberley.


Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"El Niño 1983 Redux", by Bill Asturias

"County Recurrent" is pleased to publish yet another gem from that Big Bad El Niño Storm of March 1983. This story just flew in via the internet all the way from Guatemala where its author is in retirement with his wife and family. And so without further adieu, we are very pleased to present to you:

"El Niño 1983 Redux", by LACo S.O.L./Lt. Bill Asturias, Ret.

"27 years ago I witnessed the destruction of more than half of the Santa Monica Pier due to several storms caused by "el niño". I forget the exact day but it was the day after the retirement dinner of Capt. McFarland in Hermosa Beach. Why do I remember, you may ask? Because on my way back from the South Bay to my home in the San Fernando Valley I was stopped by the El Segundo Police Department and was awarded a free night at their local jail for driving under the influence caused by the many beers consumed at the retirement party.

I was released early the next morning and was picked up by retired Sr. Ocean Lifeguard Bob Chavez with a cup of coffee and big smile on his face. He drove me to my vehicle and I then drove to Santa Monica for my 8-4 shift at S.M.N. We were amazed at the size of the surf, easily a consistent 12 to 15 foot with some sets bigger than that.

When I arrived at Santa Monica, I could see that the waves were breaking well beyond the breakwater
that protected the pier and many were reaching the parking lots as the tide was coming in. The beach was underwater on both sides of the pier and it was impossible to drive on the sand. A good size crowd had gone to the pier to look at this amazing sight of the waves breaking 200 to 300 yards in front of the breakwater. A second man was hired to ride with me and prevent anybody from going beyond the first half of the pier. That man was none other than Ron Brown (R.I.P.), a great veteran and an amazing water man. Ron's first comment to me was that it was the Biggest Surf he had ever seen in Santa Monica. Upon hearing that, I was immediately worried since he had been "around".

We noticed several waves breaking on top of the Harbor Patrol Office at the end of the pier and saw some people trying to get equipment out of the office.

I remember that several pilings had come off the pier and there was all kinds of lumber crashing against the rest of the pilings closer to the beach. All of a sudden Ron yelled at me to look up at the set of waves approaching...they were huge and it seemed as they kept getting bigger as they came closer to the pier. The breakwater was practically nonexistent as the waves kept coming in and all were breaking in front of the end of the pier. Then we saw the harbor patrolman running as one of the waves lifted the end of the pier and as it came down another huge wave broke on top of it. As soon as that happened the whole 1/3 of the end of the pier was gone with Mother Nature taking the Harbor Office and our Lifeguard Dept's Boat Station with all of the personal belongings of Lt. Tom Zahn (R.I.P.) with it.

We found a very pale Harbor Patrolman still running towards us but we managed to calm him down.

It took several weeks to clear all the debris from Santa Monica beach, with Lt. Zahn spending many days looking for his belongings among the piles and piles of wood.

Ron and I had a witnessed the awesome power of "El Niño"."

Hasta la vista,

Bill Asturias,
Jan. 19, 2010.


Many Thanks to Bill for sharing his recollection of the Destructive Power of Mother Nature during the El Niño storm of March 1983.

*** Special Photo Sequence, Courtesy of Nick Steers, showing the damage to the Santa Monica Pier, the morning after the above-referenced El Nino storm damage in March 1983. ***

*** Many Thanks to Nick Steers for his contribution this evening of these amazing photos. Used here with permission. ***

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pier Piling Hugger Rescue, by Kip Jerger

("County Recurrent" Archive Photo shows Hermosa Pier and area of rescue site. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.)

In a "County Recurrent" Exclusive, we are stoked to bring you a recent Southern Section pier rescue witnessed by LACo Veteran Recurrent O.L. Kip Jerger.


Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:21 PM

Subject: Pier Piling Hugger Rescue

Tonight at approx 5:15 pm, I got a call from Captain Mike Patterson to assist in a rescue of a pier jumper. I was on duty at 10th St. in Hermosa and I drove over to the scene with in the area unit's Rescue Vehicle with the Red Lights flashing.

On the north side of the pier I grabbed my binos and witnessed Ocean Lifeguard and Big Wave Rider Roddy Williams from Hermosa and O.L. Tyler Morgan swimming toward the end of the Hermosa Pier in an effort to reach a "Teenage Pier Piling Hugger Teen With Martini Breath" (hereinafter, TPPHTW/MB). Together Roddy and Tyler peeled this "Human Abalone On A Rock" Victim off the piling. All is looking good but now they have to bring Mr. Inebriated teen through the biggesst surf of the year. It looked like closed out Pipeline with easy 10' to 12' faces top to bottom pounders.

Here's where the Human Abalone gets pounded while the guards work hard to keep the victim secured. Routine for the these two pros. Score: Wave 3; Pounded Abalone 0. The kid, bloodied from the barnacles all throughout his torso and nose, had lost the "pole cloning" competition. And then it was on to jail for a long cold night for this TPPHTW/MB. Cost approx. $ 2,000.00 after all said and done, plus healing time for the barnacles. Living to tell the tale (in his own way), Priceless.

(Photos above and below show LACo lifeguards, Roddy Williams and Tyler Morgan, returning to the beach with the victim, having completed a treacherous rescue.)

(Photo above shows on scene paramedics attending to the victim, now seated, and considering his good fortune thanks to the quick response of these outstanding LACo lifeguards and Capt. Patterson.)

(Photo above shows LACo Lifeguard Capt. Greg Lee on scene.)

(Photo above shows LACo Recurrent, Kip Jerger, on a recent Surf Trip to W. Australia. Photo courtesy of Kip Jerger. Used here with permision.)

This is "The Lifeguard Chronicles" by Kip Jerger. Copyright Kip Jerger 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.

All Rescue sequence photos by Kip Jerger. Copyright Kip Jerger 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.


Many Thanks to Kip for sharing this gem of a rescue with us. We hope that you have enjoyed this El Nino Rescue Appetizer. Tighten your seat belts, strap on your fins and break out the wetsuit..... some gnarly surf is headin' our way.

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
Sunday, January 17, 2010, 1630 hrs.

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Thursday, January 14, 2010

El Porto Jetty: Jan. 14, 2010, by Eric Liberty

In a "County Recurrent" Exclusive, LACo Recurrent Lifeguard, Eric Liberty (aka, Son of Conrad), shot some great photos this morning down El Porto and El Segundo way, in the fabled Southern Section...and so, without further adieu:

El Porto Jetty

El Segundo, Ave 61 (ELS-61)

*** Many Thanks to Eric for sharing these photos with his fellow lifeguards. ***

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Monday, January 4, 2010

Celebration of Life For Don Spitler, Sat., Jan. 16, 2010 at 1 pm.

Just in from Chief Don Rohrer, Ret:

The Memorial Service for Don Spitler, S.O.L, R.I.P. is set for:

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 1 pm in front of Santa Monica Lifeguard HQ.

(Photo & Copyr. Tom Thorson 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.)

*** First 80 cars park free "on the Santa Monica Pier" (Courtesy of City of Santa Monica and Section Chief William M. Gallagher). ***

WHEN: 1300 hrs (1pm), Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010
WHERE: In front of SMHQ

Questions; Please Call Don Rohrer at: 310.379.9162

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

(12.03.09 Update: Editorial Correction. In a phone conversation yesterday afternoon with retired Chief Don Rohrer, "County Recurrent" gladly corrects the record regarding the speculation of what would have happened if a car was approaching Spit after 2 a.m. after his way back to SMHQ from Chez Jay. Don convincingly argued that Spitler would have jumped up on the hood of any approaching vehicle and he would have laughed at the driver ! Such were the cat-like gymnastics skills of Spitey ! I was also informed of a lifeguard party many years ago where at least six lifeguards tried to throw Spitler in the pool and were unable to do so... such were his grappling skills ! Let the record reflect these corrections.)

The Lifeguard Fraternity, specifically, L.A. County Beach Lifeguards, recently lost one of its members, namely, Don Spitler, aka "Spit". Don passed away on Nov. 21, 2009 at the age of 70.

Shown here in July 2008, at center, is Don with Jimmy Makuta (at left) and Fred Finley (at right), on the occasion of Dave Estey's retirement party in Marina Del Rey, Calif.

"County Recurrent Op/Ed": Who would have bet that Spit would have passed away peacefully in bed ?!... Come on ! God Bless him but alot of people lost money on this bet. Spit is laughing right now up in heaven with some of our other Lifeguard Fraternity In The Sky ! More likely, and we mean with this all due love and respect,
but we were more likely to hear of Spit getting run over by a car as he was weaving through traffic trying to negotiate crossing Ocean Ave. from Chez Jay (while off duty, of course) and on his way back to SMHQ at 2 a.m. (x-ref: 12.03.09 correction above, courtesy of Chief Don Rohrer). Or he would have died as a result of knife wounds breaking up a fight and dragging Goble out of Big Dean's on the promenade behind SMHQ (off duty, of course). Or from a loss of blood suffered in a hail of bullets directed at 201 (Call Car) intended for Rex at the hand of a jealous husband.

Thinking about Spit, can anyone remember a dialogue with him that did not include his truly infectious laughter, his ever present smile and laugh. I can't. I can't remember a single conversation that did not involve laughter, camaraderie, his smile and his sense of humor and friendship. That is certainly one clear measure of this man, this brother, this friend of ours. He loved his family and friends and was extremely loyal. When I saw him at Makuta's Retirement Party in late June 2008 and a couple of weeks later at Dave Estey's Retirement Party in July 2008 and took his photo (below) and again took his photo (above) with Jimmy and Fred, he said, "Sorry, what was your name again. I can't remember names too well". I said, "Maguire", and he said something like, "Of course, Maguire!".... and then he laughed his famous laugh with his Big Smile and then he had me laughing too. Typical Spitler !

(Left to right, Don Spitler, John Moryl, and Randy Steigley; on the occasion of Jimmy Makuta's Retirement Party, June 2008. Photo by Will Maguire.)

God Bless you, Don ! On the eve of Thanksgiving, we can all give thanks for the privilege of having shared in Don's life and laughter.
We were all privileged to know him and to work with him and to share in his sense of humor, friendship and dedication to duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.


Will Maguire,
"County Recurrent" News

P.S.: Some Comments From Our Brethren:

Steve Contarsy, Recurrent, 11.25.09, remarked: "Nice job on Spitler. Dude, he was one funny, friendly, and loyal friend and comrade. We all will miss him. Steve."

Arthur C. Verge, Recurrent, 11.25.09, remarked:
"Will - wonderful write up on Don. You captured much of what made Spit so fun to be around - especially his infectious laugh. Anyone who knew Don is deeply saddened by his passing. He was a great guy who made all of us laugh and smile. And who could forget the night of his retirement party? Story after story - each one a classic. Here is one I would like to share - I was working notorious SM #15. The place as usual was out of control and adding to our woes was a man who demanded that he be allowed to take his plastic raft out in the surf. On my third attempt at explaining why he couldn't take his "99 cent only" plastic raft out in the surf - "its unsafe, it can blow away, its slippery and you can fall off..." I spy the Call Car on the backside of the beach. I fratically waved it over. Don, from the passenger side, asked, "What's wrong?" I excitedly told him and then in one fluid move he got out of the truck (while Rex remained at the wheel) and quietly walked over, cigarette in hand. As I continue to argue with the guy, Don simply said, "Let me see the raft." The guy handed it to him. Before you could blink your eye we heard a loud - "Pop!" Don then handed the now deflated raft back to the guy and said, "Yup, its not safe." Don then got in the call car and in a flash he and Rex drove off leaving me with the stunned man. It was the first and only time that I had seen a cigarette used as an effective lifesaving tool. God rest his sweet soul - there was no one like Spit. The man was a legend. Arthur."


LACOLA Alumni, Nov. 22, 2009, Posting follows:

From: Lifeguard Alumni

Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2009 9:17 PM

Subject: Sad news the passing of Don Spitler

Hello all,

We regret to have to inform you of the passing of retired Senior Ocean Lifeguard and fellow Alumni Don Spitler. He passed away this morning, November 21, 2007. He was 70.

As details of his service become available we will pass them along.

Nick Steers

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Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day 2010 Broad Beach Malibu

(All Photos by and Copyright Steve Hotchkiss 2010. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.)

It's A Brand New Decade, Folks!

Just check out these three awesome photos taken today, New Years Day 2010 at Broad Beach in Malibu by LACo Recurrent Steve Hotchkiss. "County Recurrent" is very grateful for Steve's permission to post these photos here for us all to enjoy. In Steve's words, here is what he had to say about two of these photos: "Hi Will, Please use them. The first two were taken with my iPhone using the app called Pano."

Happy New Year !

Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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