Proposal to Cut Meter Hours Praised as Politically Correct

Dawn Patrol surfers at the Huntington bluffs who are getting tired of shredding, thrashing and then sprinting to pay the parking meter could be spending more time in the water if City Councilman Jim Silva gets his way.

Silva, who's also running for Orange County supervisor, wants to cut back the hours the meters are in use. He said such a move would also help relieve parking congestion in nearby residential areas.

"I've had many calls from surfers all saying thanks," said Silva, a former surfer and a father of a surfer. "And half the calls were from the homeowners saying it's a good idea. (The City Council) just needs to adopt this, but it should be in place within 30 days . . . after all, we're Surf City."

Silva is confident the proposal will pass. Stay tuned.

Currently, parking meters operate between 5 a.m. and dusk. Silva would move that up to 8 a.m.

Rockin' Fig is delighted.

That's great. There are fewer and fewer places up and down the California coastline where you can park for free. But from Seal Beach to Newport, it's Parking Meter City. Any news about not having to pay meters is good news to me. I guess he's trying to get a coupla surfer votes there.

Well, votes or no votes, it's a good idea.

The affected meters are inside two bluff-top parking lots north of Golden West Street. The meters along Pacific Coast Highway are unaffected.

Parking meters are like banks and help the city generate $650,000 to $700,000 a year in revenue, said Jim Way, Huntington Beach operations supervisor, adding that the money goes into the city's general fund for street repairs and traffic control. Silva said his plan would cost about $3,000 a year in lost revenues.

Surfers know what a pain parking meters are, especially when the surf's good and you run out of quarters. This year it costs more to park at the beach. Huntington's parking meters now cost 25 cents for every 10 minutes. That's 15 quarters for a 2 1/2-hour surf session. Who carries that many quarters?

The only other options are parking in the residential area and walking a half-mile or buying a yearly city parking permit for $50 at the lifeguard headquarters, 103 Pacific Coast Highway. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

In San Clemente, it's cheaper. The meters open at 9 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Cost is 25 cents every 20 minutes or three quarters an hour, said Mark Summerville, San Clemente maintenance service manager.

"And the pier bowl parking lot is metered only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Summerville added.

Anyone for an early-morning pier session in South County?

You gotta face it, there's few places where you don't have to pay for the beaches these days. You can't find too much in HB without paying the parking meter.

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VISITING: Noah Budroe, the 26-year-old Hawaiian pro surfer, was in Orange County last week. Budroe, who is third in the Hawaiian pro-amateur circuit, is still reeling from his first place at Honolua Bay in Maui on Feb. 13, in what Fig described as epic surf.

I heard it was stand-up barrels, reach for the ceiling stuff--just epic.

ESPN televised Budroe's $3,000 victory, which had him defeating world champ Derek Ho in incredible tubes. We talked with Budroe about his last ride.

"On the tube that I won the contest with, I remember seeing Derek Ho paddling out and looking at me," Budroe said. "He had this facial expression that said, 'Whoa! Wow! What a wave!' "

Budroe said he back-doored it, went behind the wave, then came through and into a tunnel and went out the other end.

What's it like to get tubed?

"It's kinda hard to explain," Budroe said. "You just pull in and everything's blue and people are paddling out and there's photographers. You're in it, and everything's peaceful. And, there's little bubbles here and there, and before you know it, you're popping out and you're just stoked!"

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Contests: Kelly Slater, 21, former 1992 world champion, racked up back-to-back victories with his Assn. of Surfing Professionals first-place earlier this month at the Rip Curl Pro at Bell's Beach, Australia, and last month's Bud Tour contest at Seaside in North San Diego County.

Fig is impressed.

It looks like Slater's on a reign of terror.

After the contest, Slater, who beat Great Britain's Martin Potter in the finals, told ASP organizers: "This really is a sweet win. In fact, something that I needed to prove to myself that I am again focused on the job."

And Potter? "I'll get the (bum) next time," he told the organizers, chuckling.

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