Are you a Corona del Mar local who has never been fishing off our beautiful coastline? Have you ever been to Bristol farms or Whole Food and marveled at the outrageous fish prices? If you answered yes to these two simple questions, then this article is for you.
Corona del Mar has one of the largest fish populations per square mile in California. Thousands of fishing boats depart from Newport Harbor every year, some to catch small game, enough to fill the dinner plate, and others to attempt to catch fish weighing upwards of 150 pounds.
Whether you’re the Santiago of Corona del Mar or just a frequent ocean goer with no fishing experience, CdM has fish to offer for all skill levels. My favorite place to fish is off of my 13-foot Boston Whaler right next to Reef Point, Crystal Cove. The kelp patties near reef point make for a perfect hideout for Calico Bass, Sheep’s Head, Surf Perch, and even the occasional Yellow Fin tuna. All I do is rig my pole up with a small weight, hook, and I chop up some squid as bait. On an average day, you can catch 10 or more fish. Remember, though, that if you reel in a tasty looking bass, measure it and make sure it is legal to take home and fry up for some fish tacos because the last thing you need is a hefty ticket to go along with your freshly caught meal.
The Devastating Effects of Ocean Pollution
By Bennie Seybold, special to Corona del Mar Today
Corona del Mar has some of the nicest, most beautiful beaches in the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people travel from around the globe just to spend a few days on these magnificent beaches. Being a Corona del Mar local almost all my life, I’ve gone down to the beach and relaxed, surfed, paddle boarded, dove off cliffs; you name it, I’ve done it.
It wasn’t until I began diving that I realized there was one big problem with the beaches of Corona del Mar: pollution.
Although from the beach it may not be apparent, pollution in CdM is an ongoing problem that is affecting the ocean’s wildlife. Since I began diving when I was 12, I have found hundreds of crazy items at the bottom of the ocean. I have found car tires, discarded, rotting lobster traps, used fishing line, large fishing nets, steel pipes, cinder blocks, camera tripods, beach chairs, and many other things. These items pose a huge threat to wildlife and are responsible for the death of great numbers of fish, seagulls, seals, and even dolphins. The death of these animals can be prevented and avoided by cleaning up your trash at the beach and by calling people out who are dumping trash into the ocean. Though you may not realize it, things you leave at the beach, such as beach chairs and sand toys, can be swept away by waves and the tide and end up in the ocean. On a typical dive for me, I will pull four or five large pieces of waste from the water.
Another way to help keep our beaches pollution free is by participating in beach cleanups or going down to the beach in your free time and picking up some trash. In order to keep the coastline of Corona del Mar in the near pristine condition that it is in, a community wide effort is needed to help spread awareness of the impact of ocean pollution on the wildlife and natural beauty of our beaches.
By Bennie Seybold, special to Corona del Mar Today
The North Shore of Hawaii During Christmas Time
The Pipeline Masters Surf Competition
Every year starting in the beginning of December, one of the most anticipated surf competitions of the year happens at the infamous surf spot Pipeline. Surfers from all over the world come to Hawaii just to watch this event. Pipeline is perfect reef break that offers not only flawless, barreling lefts, but also a steep, heavy right. These perfect waves come at a cost, though. Pipeline breaks into a mere 4-5 feet of water and under that water is a jagged, unforgiving reef that has injured even the most experienced surfers.
This year, Julian Wilson of Australia took the pipe masters title in an intense final. The victory came down to the last 10 seconds of the surfing heat when a huge, perfect set rolled in. Julian Wilson took the first wave of the set to pull ahead of Gabriel Medina and medina took the second of wave of the set but wasn’t able to regain his lead. As the heat ended, the crowd on the beach erupted with excitement and carried Julian to the podium where he claimed the infamous Pipeline Masters trophy and the $100,000 check that goes along with it.
Advice for Advanced Surfers Surfing the North Shore for the First Time
I flew out to the fabled North Shore of Oahu this past week on a surf trip to score some epic waves. I am an advanced surfer who is used to big waves and sketchy conditions, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I arrived. I knew of a couple breaks that I wanted to go out at but was a little reluctant to just pull up to the beach and paddle out. Also, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to catch waves because I had heard the locals were very protective. Through a lot of searching, socializing, and trial and error, I found some dreamy surf spots where I was able get the waves of my life. Here are some things I learned while exploring the breaks of the North shore that may help you .
1. When going out to a new surf spot, always talk to the lifeguard. Ask him about possible hazards such as rocks, hidden reefs, and if the break is safe enough to surf on that particular day. Unlike Newport, most of the good surf spots in Hawaii break over sharp, merciless reefs. If you aren’t aware where these reefs are, you could find yourself getting thrown onto the razor sharp coral, ending your surf trip right then and there.
2. Make sure to bring a board adequate for the size of the surf. Before you leave on your trip, check Surfline to see what the waves are going to be like when you are there. The last thing you want to happen is the waves be 15 feet and the only board you brought was you 5’7″ everyday short board.
3. Talk to the locals in the lineup. One of my biggest fears when paddling out at Sunset Beach with 13-16 foot waves was not the giant surf but rather the locals. I was under the impression that they were hostile to most people visiting form outside of Hawaii. This could not be farther from the truth. The locals are very kind and as long as you don’t take their waves and cut them off, they are some of the nicest people out there. Also, the locals have firsthand knowledge about the surf spot and can give you tips and also warn you about hidden dangers.
The North Shore is all that you have ever dreamed of and more. The waves are mental, the people are interesting, and the overall beauty of the stretch of coastline is breathtaking. Following these tips can save you from a lot of extra work when visiting not only the North Shore but also surf spots around world.
By Bennie Seybold
Surfing CdM in the Winter
Winter is the time of year that people don’t usually associate with surfing. Surprisingly, though, it is equally as good if not better than surfing in the summer. Despite the cold water and air temperatures, surfing in the winter is a great way to get out of the house and break out the surfboard that’s been sitting in your garage since summer. A combination of offshore winds and big north west or even south swells can make for epic surf sessions in the winter. The best part about surfing this time of year is you don’t have to deal with large crowds, especially in the secluded and peaceful breaks of Crystal Cove. So break out your 4/3 and hit the water because winter is one of the best times of year to catch quality waves in CdM.
This morning, a huge south east swell hit the beaches of Corona del Mar producing abnormally big and powerful waves. The reason this swell is so enormous is because it is being produced by a hurricane off of the California Coast. Every beach in CdM is seeing waves anywhere from 8-12ft in size. Swells like the Hurricane Mary swell only happen every few years so if you have some free time come down to Crystal Cove or Big Corona and witness first hand the raw power of mother nature.
By Bennie Seybold
So far this summer, Corona del Mar has seen very few significant swells. To most surfers this means a lot of their summer days have been filled with lousy beach days and days spent at home with nothing to do.
But to the divers of CdM, this is heaven. When the surf is small, the water becomes crystal clear and the sea life comes alive. The beaches of Corona del Mar are known for their beauty, but little do people know that there is a whole new world waiting to be explored off the shore.
There are countless reefs filled with garibaldi, calico bass, bat rays, stunning sea urchins and much more. One of the best reefs to explore, especially for novice divers and snorkelers, is about 40 yards off of Little Corona right around the rock formations on the north side of the beach. When the waves are small, the visibility at this reef can reach upwards of 20 feet. So if you find yourself bored on a day when the waves are bad grab a dive mask and some fins and go exploring!
By Bennie Seybold
The First Swell of Summer
After weeks of waiting, there is finally a big south swell hitting CdM on July 4. The waves on Saturday were going to be about 4-5 feet and on Sunday, the peak of the swell, the waves are expected to be 6-7ft+. Since this weekend is Fourth of July, the crowds are going to be crazy both in and out of the water. If you want to avoid crowds in Newport, CdM is the perfect place to catch some epic waves. The south swell will be hitting reef point perfectly making for a big punchy left off of the cliff.
By Bennie Seybold, Special to Corona del Mar Today
On Friday of this week, a massive storm swell from the West hit Corona del Mar that was accompanied by strong winds and lots of rain. On Friday afternoon, the waves were 2-3 feet, but the winds created chop that made the waves unridable. On Saturday morning, the waves picked up through the day from 3-4 feet to 5-6 feet. There was a strong south wind that slowly eased throughout the day. On Sunday, the waves had nice shape and were 3-5 feet.
El Morro: El Morro saw some great conditions on Saturday and Sunday. The waves were breaking off the rocks at the south side of El Morro making for fun, long rides. The waves were barreling even with the heavy winds midday Saturday.
The storm swell will continue through Monday and a new WNW swell will hit late Tuesday producing 3-5 foot waves through Saturday. The winds are expected to shift to offshore starting Monday making for epic conditions.
Because CDM is located right next to the peninsula (one of the best surf spots in the world), it is usually overlooked by your typical Newport Beach surfer. What people don’t know about CdM is that it actually accepts winter swells better than the peninsula does. Spots like El Morro and Scotchman’s can be really peaky and hollow on NW and WNW swells that usually hit our beaches during the winter. The waves look promising over the next two weeks with both NW and WNW swells coming in. The waves should be consistently 2-3ft at standout spots and may pick up to 3-4ft after New Years. So if you’re planning on surfing over the break and want to avoid the crowds, head down to El Morro or Scotchman’s for some peaky, epic waves.
By Bennie Sebyold
Almost all of the surf breaks in Corona del Mar are very safe and offer fun waves that can be ridden by people of all skill levels. There is one though that some say is as dangerous as the Wedge — Scotchman’s.
Scotchman’s is located next to off of Scotchman’s Cove in Crystal Cove. The reason that Scotchman’s is so dangerous is because the only thing separating you from the jagged, rocky reef below is 3 to 4 feet of water. Surprisingly, this surf break isn’t that well known to the typical Newport Beach surfer because not many people are daring enough to ride it. Depending on the magnitude of the swell, Scotchman’s can either be barreling or slightly crumbly. Scotsman’s is best during a South swell and can be ridden on a long or short board. If you are an adrenaline junkie and a South swell hits CdM, be sure to check out Scotchman’s for some of the best waves in CdM.