I recently had some training at the Ventura County Fire Dept. Academy, and on the way home down PCH into Northern Section, I dropped by Nicholas Canyon Beach (NCB). Some "County Recurrent" readers may be unfamiliar with Nicholas Canyon as Surfrider, Point Dume and Zuma usually get all the attention. But north of Zuma is this jewel of a beach, and it is the northern most beach under LACo Lifeguard Division supervision.
And while some OL's south of Nicholas get to drive environmentally friendly hybrid Ford Escapes, the lifeguards here drive the vehicle that is best for the environment: A Bicycle!
"Aah, what a privilege and wonderful opportunity to work in such a magnificent environment! I loved taking patrols on the bike! I've made rescues there on people, boats, preventions, enforced ordinances, etc., etc.," recalls OL Eldin Onsgard, who logged many hours at Nicholas during his 20-plus year stint in Northern Section before transferring to Central. "The bike served a great function for the Lifeguard Services. I always hoped the bike would make it into a Lifeguard Museum when retired. The bike rust and all, it just kept rolling! The bike was a classic piece of lifeguard history! The road did not go all the way through but it went pretty damn far, turning into a running trail, then onto the sand. At low tide, it was real easy to ride up to Leo Carillo." For the record, the bike says "Heavy Duty." (It would have to be).
Onsgard adds, "My fondest memories were when we LA County Lifeguards and were also servicing Leo Carrillo State Beach. I was on schedule at Nicholas. We had some big surf years that were awesome. In the old tower, a few hundred yards down the road, we kept an old wood paddle board. It was a busy weekend and I got a double, a rookie. When he showed up, I encouraged him to take it for a paddle. The board was in such bad shape, it sank out at the kelp line. He cross-chested it to the beach as he didn't want to lose it! I laughed so hard!"
Of course, anyone who knows Eldin, knows that no anecdote about lifeguarding would be complete without a mention about fishing, as he is quite the accomplished angler.
"The beach was also an incredible fishery," he says. "Often we would stay after hours and BBQ the catch of the day...white sea bass, ling cod, halibut, bass, bugs! It was cool!"
Yes, it was Eldin!
Other perquisites of working the tower at NCB: A great view, south and north/west - on Santa Ana wind days you can see both Catalina and the Channel Islands - your own parking spot, and close by "restrooms."
I've included some pics of Nicholas Canyon Beach, plus some shots of Eldin, fishing and competing at Regionals 2011 and winning the 2km beach run in the 60-64 group.
Eldin running at Nationals: courtesy of Skip Prosser. I spotted it on his web site and asked him to send it to me for use on CR.
Eldin with fish: Jan Onsgard.
All others: Adam Sandler.)
p.s. "Day Glo Eldin", below, present day, July 2, 2012 at Will Rogers Lifeguard HQ. Photo by Will Maguire.
Until next time.....
"County Recurrent" News
Service • Training • Commitment
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