Surfing Soapbox: Many great memories to look back on

I can walk around Laguna with no shortage of great memories, whether it’s morning or night, sunny and warm, or blistering cold and raining. I will have to admit though, fog is my least favorite. Some memories are great inspiration, like being a 13-year-old watching the Olympic torch being run through our town; others are great spectacular events that have rocked our town.

The lineage of events that have taken place in the last 38 years of Laguna Beach is rather remarkable, and I say that because that’s as far back as my time here on Earth goes. Not to say there weren’t great events that preceded me because I know there were — especially in our town.

I look back on “the Walk” for the Laguna Canyon Road and the only word that comes to mind is “awesome” and this is the epitome of Laguna culture and community — the same culture and community that held firmly intact during some of worst events in Laguna history.

I remember the first fire I witnessed here, in 1978, which was nothing compared to the great fire of 1993 and the 300-plus homes that were destroyed. Then of course the tragic floods of 1998 and the horrific Blue Bird Canyon landslide of June 1, 2005, which was the second slide to hit the same canyon since 1977.


One of my personal favorites was watching Laguna Beach’s Dain Blanton win gold in volleyball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Because I witnessed in high school just how hard he worked at perfecting his sport and he had my respect even before he won gold because of his great work ethic.

It’s pretty amazing how quickly the time passes in 38 years. It’s been 20 years since I graduated high school and my dad still doesn’t know how I graduated — barely, I would say — and Aug. 29 will be our 20-year reunion. Not only am I looking forward to the reunion, I’m looking forward to another 38 years of Laguna memories.


JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha