The bid by a local kayaking provider "” backed up by City Councilwoman Toni Iseman "” for official permission to operate a beach concession has opened up a sticky can of worms, to mix metaphors.
The city manager has tried to stuff those worms back into their can, but it’s too late.
For some time, the kayaking proprietor has been providing a great service to visitors “under the radar."
Folks who want to take a kayaking trip around Laguna’s beautiful coves and secluded beaches can get a guided tour. It’s simply too dangerous to send the public out on kayaks in this reef- and rock-filled shoreline.
Now that the request has been made to make the service official and offer it openly at various locations, those who are very protective of the tide pools and beaches have reacted with alarm and want to slam the door closed.
They and City Manager Ken Frank are correct that there are few places in Laguna Beach conducive to setting up a kayaking concession. Much of the coastline consists of protected tide pool areas, or surf-battered reefs.
Even Aliso Beach, a county-operated facility that some consider the likeliest area for such a service, would be nearly impossible for novice kayakers to navigate. We’ve seen adults simply walking near the surfline get pounded to the sand by the intensity of the shore break there.
But surely there is some place in Laguna Beach that can accommodate kayaking on a limited basis with issues of safety and the environment paramount.
Not everyone wants to head out into the ocean on a small flotation device like a kayak, much less row around for an hour or so. But for those who do, it’s a marvelous experience that should be available to visitors and residents as well. Laguna Beach should not just be seen from behind the windows of restaurants, from hotel balconies, or from the sand "” it should be experienced.
A similar kayaking service is operated on Catalina Island. It’s low-maintenance, low-tech and family friendly. What a great way to get to know Laguna Beach!
Hopefully some heads can get together to keep this idea afloat.