SURFING SOAPBOX:High waves and emotions

That moment will probably never leave my mind, or perhaps better said, my heart.

Tuesday morning, at 6:38 a.m., my dog, Cassius, passed away softly in my arms on the steps of my parents home, and I could feel his last breath leave his body.

In the same instant, I looked out to the sea under the blue sky and noticed just how big the waves were "” as if the moment Cassius passed his energy surged forth into the ocean, sending a menacing set toward the beach.

I believe it, because through our companionship and relationship, the beach always meant the world to us.


Cassius meant the world to me as well.

I remember when I would be surfing and Cassius would be running wild on the beach like a young brown horse. I can still envision him and feel that feeling of happiness I enjoyed just watching him "” like a young boy playing on the beach.

Soon after I laid Cassius to rest, I paddled out on my surfboard in front of the Surf and Sand hotel and caught one of the biggest lefts I have ever surfed there. I surfed in front of the Surf and Sand until my leash broke and my board washed to shore.

That was enough for me.


Then I noticed three swimmers in distress nearby, and I helped one to shore and then, in another weird twist of fate, came home to turn on the news and see that a couple had been presumed dead after being swept off of the jetties in the big waves.

A full-scale rescue attempt was made with boats and a helicopter for the two, who at this time still haven’t been recovered from the raging surf.

All I could think was that I was always taught to do my best "” and I wonder if our city manager and council are giving their best to our emergency and lifeguard services in Laguna Beach.


  • JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, board member of Clean Water Now, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. He can be reached at

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