SURFING SOAPBOX: Passing the torch to niece, nephew

I realized on Christmas Eve while walking out of Sound Spectrum that it is people like owner Jim Otto who make Laguna special.

I’ve been shopping in Sound Spectrum since I was nearly 10, when I used to get gift certificates for either my birthday or Christmas, and I would be on top of the world going into Sound Spectrum and buying music. The first record I ever bought was the Cars’ “Shake It Up." Soon those gift certificates became a tradition.

In a tradition I now pass down to my nephew and niece, the gift certificates I was buying were for them. Laguna has always been about tradition and about those people who become a part of those traditions, no matter how small they might seem. Some of the smallest traditions leave the biggest impressions.

Another tradition was just how special it has always been for me to play tennis at Moss Point. When I was just a wee boy my mom and dad would play every Sunday at Moss Point, and I would come down and play for the last 20 minutes. I cherished those days. That’s another small tradition that left an ever-lasting impression on me, and one I rediscovered this morning while playing tennis with my mom and her friends. It was nice to be able to remember just how special those days were to me.


Maybe it’s because I have so many great memories of this town that I care so much. Being lucky enough to grow up here, having the family support I have and the lifelong friends, I always want to see our next generation of children carry on the proud traditions of Laguna and keep Laguna the special place it is.

This morning I was reading an e-mail from yet another young up-and-coming Laguna surfer, Ryah Arthur. He was announcing he was following his dream of becoming a professional surfer and moving to the North Shore of Hawaii to concentrate on his surfing by surfing the best waves in the world and dedicating himself in the pursuit of fulfilling his dream. What was even more impressive in some ways were all the people he thanked along the way and there were a lot of them.

Now surfing has always been a great tradition in Laguna.

More importantly however it has always been about passing the torch down to the younger generations. The passing of the torch isn’t just about winning. It is about the integrity one must hold not only for the sport of surfing but also for the long list of Laguna surfers. In reading your e-mail this morning, Ryah, you deserve one such torch.


In keeping with traditions, now that’s old school Laguna.


JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. He can be reached at