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    La Jolla’s big wave surfer gets big time recognition
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Dec 15, 2018 | 17228 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    JoJo Roper was nominated for Surfer Magazine’s Heavy Water Award and serves as a top competitor in World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour 2018.
    JoJo Roper was nominated for Surfer Magazine’s Heavy Water Award and serves as a top competitor in World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour 2018.
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    JoJo Roper
    JoJo Roper
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    JoJo Roper – famous in San Diego by both his skills as a big wave surfer and by his father Joe’s legacy – says the feeling of riding a 40-foot wave is somewhat akin to the heart-in-the-throat reaction typically caused by an airplane dropping as it begins its descent. “If your surfboard is connected to the wave and it’s a super steep take-off and you’re in the most critical position on that wave that you can be… it’s that weightless, not knowing what’s going to happen feeling,” said Roper, who is currently living in La Jolla and works at his father’s surfboard repair shop in Kearny Mesa. Last month, Roper was nominated for Surfer Magazine’s Heavy Water Award and serves as a top competitor in World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour 2018. This has earned him recognition as one of This Year’s Boldest and Bravest Big Wave Surfers. “The most exhilarating is when you’re launching through the air on a drop with a big wave. It’s probably the most scary and unknowing-like feeling that there is, and when you make it out, and ride that wave back into the channel, it’s the biggest adrenaline rush you’re ever going to feel.” That feeling is what Roper says first got him hooked on big wave surfing, and it’s that same thrill that keeps him in the game even when it seems risky and dangerous. Now 29 years old, Roper has been surfing for over two decades, chasing swells all over the South Pacific from Fiji and Tahiti to Portugal and Mexico. “But I am probably one of the few younger people on the big wave tour,” said Roper. “I think there’s five of us in our 20s. The rest are in their 30s or older. Big wave surfing involves so much experience that you’ll see people surfing their best big waves even into their 40s. As long as you’re not taking constant wipe outs and your body stays in one piece, you just keep on doing it.” But what this particular surfing career offers in longevity, it matches with high risk and there’s a reason experience is part of the big-wave-surfing package. While Roper says he “fell in love” at 17, riding Puerto Escondido’s more punishing breaks in Oaxaca, Mexico for the first time, the young surfer admits he didn’t truly come to terms with the real danger of big wave surfing until four years later when he witnessed friend Sion Milosky die at age 35 while surfing the less forgiving swells off Mavericks in 2011. “I thought I had it all figured out and this guy was the invincible, best big-wave surfer at the time,” said Roper of Milosky, an accomplished surfer from Kauai. “We all idolized him. But it was an extremely humbling experience to watch somebody, who you thought was invincible, die surfing these big waves he was famous for.” Roper was actually on the beach when the paramedics were conducting CPR on Milosky and even elected not to go back to Mavericks for a few years, taking a break from the “chasing big waves lifestyle.” Though he eventually made his way back, still seeking out that adrenaline rush, Roper this time went in with a level head on his shoulders. “There’s a lot of risk and a lot of reward… It’s part of the game and dying is something we all know is a possibility,” said Roper. “But surfing still just always excites me. I can’t get enough of it. “You’ll deprive yourself of sleep for surfing or, in my case, drive eight hours to Mavericks to follow the swells. You put it ahead of everything in life. Surfers are very selfish that way but It’s truly that addicting. Roper added that, though not many surfers will admit it, “We all want to catch that 60-foot wave. We all want to paddle into the biggest wave ever ridden.” Roper is set to compete next at Mavericks on the Big Wave World Tour. The competition will take place sometime between now and March.
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    Children’s Pool beach closure for harbor seal pupping season begins Dec. 15
    Dec 15, 2018 | 608 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Harbor seals resting in the Children's Pool. / PHOTO BY RYAN SHORT.
    Harbor seals resting in the Children's Pool. / PHOTO BY RYAN SHORT.
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    The City of San Diego will close the beach at Children’s Pool beginning at daybreak on Saturday, Dec. 15. Since 2014, the City has closed the beach and surrounding area from Dec. 15 to May 15 during harbor seal pupping season. The existing rope line, which serves as a guide and reminder for the public to keep a safe distance from any seals that may be present, will also be removed since the entire beach will be closed to the public.  City park rangers and lifeguards will continue to monitor Children’s Pool during the beach closure to keep the public and wildlife safe.
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    Community news and briefs for Pacific Beach and Mission Beach
    Dec 14, 2018 | 8417 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Santa Sunset
Two SantaCon participants took time out to enjoy a Pacific Beach sunset on Saturday, Dec. 8. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Santa Sunset Two SantaCon participants took time out to enjoy a Pacific Beach sunset on Saturday, Dec. 8. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Donate pet toys, food When Tatum Merrill, a seventh-grader at Pacific Beach Middle, experienced her dog Dezzi dying last year, she decided to turn it into a positive experience by trying to help other animals in need. Merrill and her classmate Mackenzie Brooks organized a pet toy drive for animals in need at the San Diego Humane Society as a community service project. The students set up a box for people to donate treats, toys, clothes and pet accessories at Yogurt on the Rocks, 1886 Garnet Ave. The box will be set up through Dec. 20 and then Merrill and Brooks will donate the items to the San Diego Humane Society. Blood Mobile at Tourmaline Surf Park Pacific Beach Surf Club is partnering with the Tailgaters of Tourmaline and the San Diego Blood Bank to have the Blood Mobile parked and established in the car park of the Tourmaline Surf Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6. There will also be a pancake breakfast. More than 4.5 million people require blood each year in the U.S and Canada. One pint can save up to three lives. Only 37 percent of U.S. population is eligible to donate blood and fewer than 10 percent do annually. NYE Beachfront Bash in Mission Beach Feast, drink and dance from beachfront to rooftop at the inaugural NYE Beachfront Bash from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at South Draft Mission, Cannonball and Beach House, 3105 Ocean Front Walk. The New Year’s Eve celebration offers a unique mix of unique vibes, live music and multiple DJs; plus, handcrafted eats and cocktails to satisfy partygoers in Mission Beach.  Sparkle on the rooftop with an upscale lounge vibe at Cannonball featuring multiple DJs rotating dance and house beats all night. Drop down to Draft for live music and DJs playing kick-back, old school grooves. Or hype it up with a beachfront party at Beach House featuring multiple DJs spinning Top 40 and hip-hop tracks. From 8 to 10 p.m., free tasters of premium spirits, liquors and wine will be provided, along with giveaways and buffet stations and tray pass will be featured at Draft and Cannonball where platinum and gold passholders can move between locations to feast. Visit nyebeachfrontbash.com to purchase tickets and for more details. Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day Are you brrrrrave enough to take the plunge? Saska’s annual Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day begins at 9 a.m. After a chilly jump in the Pacific Ocean, enjoy complimentary Swell Coffee, a costume contest, raffle prizes including a Saska’s gift card, and a special New Year’s Day brunch buffet at 3768 Mission Blvd. Cost for adults is $20 and children $10 (children 5 and under are free with paying adult). Ticket includes Polar Plunge T-shirt, Swell Coffee, raffle tickets, happy hour pricing all day, brunch buffet, and choice of one mimosa or Bloody Mary. Toy drive at Woodstock’s Pizza  ’Tis the season for giving, and Woodstock’s Pizza is stepping up to the plate. Passionate about giving back to the community they call home, Woodstock’s is on track to raise more than $200,000 in 2018 for worthy charities around San Diego. This December, Woodstock’s is celebrating the spirit of the holidays and benefitting with a month-long fundraiser and one-day toy drive event benefitting Rady’s Children’s Hospital. From 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, Woodstock’s Pizza, at 1221 Garnet Ave., will be accepting toy donations at their in-store “gift tree” to be given to Rady’s Children’s patients and the Ronald McDonald House, where many Rady’s patient’s siblings stay. While the greatest need is for new infant and toddler toys, the items must be able to be sterilized for sick children. Santa Saturdays at Belmont Park It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Belmont Park. During Santa Saturdays, guests are invited to share their wish lists and take a free photo next to the beach-themed Christmas tree for a holiday memory. Photos with Santa will be available on Saturdays, through Dec. 22, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Food Court Stage (Santa also accepts wish lists in Spanish).  In partnership with The Salvation Army, Belmont Park will participate in a Free Ride Toy Drive through Dec. 16. With a donation of one unwrapped, brand new toy, guests will receive one free ride of choice. Toys must have a minimum $5 value to redeem a free ride. One ride per person is offered upon redemption. For Christmas shoppers, Belmont Park’s annual pass is available for purchase. The annual pass includes unlimited rides, attractions, discounts and more for a full year of unlimited fun. To learn more about Santa Saturdays, the Free Ride Toy Drive, and annual pass, visit belmontpark.com. San Diego residents may seek permits through online portal As part of his push to speed up the permitting process and give residents access to more City services with the click of a button, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced on Dec. 6 the expansion of an online portal (business.sandiego.gov) that will make the application process for single-family home improvements easier and more efficient. San Diego’s new residential feature is an expanded function of the OpenCounter online business portal – an innovative web portal that streamlines the process of locating, expanding and getting permits for a business in the city. San Diego is the largest U.S. city to implement the OpenCounter platform.  With this expansion, OpenCounter will now provide homeowners, contractors and builders with knowledge about the potential permits required and fee estimates. It guides users through the permitting process for single-family home projects, such as building or repairing a secondary structure like a pool or deck; installing solar panels or graywater systems; and upgrading building exteriors like replacing a roof or windows. Pure Water Project receives EPA loan Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer recently joined the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to officially accept a $614 million federal loan to help finance the first phase of Pure Water San Diego – an innovative water recycling program that will provide one-third of the City’s drinking supply by 2035. With the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan, the City will help fund the first phase of the Pure Water San Diego program, which would expand the City’s potable water production capacity to 30 million gallons per day to replace the use of imported water. This additional drinking water supply will save the City money through reduced imported water costs, benefit the environment through reduced discharges into the ocean, and provide a reliable, sustainable water supply for future generations.
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    City creates mobility board to focus on safer and cleaner transportation goals
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 12, 2018 | 5043 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Santa, and Santa's helper, ride an e-scooters north up Mission Boulevard. / THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Santa, and Santa's helper, ride an e-scooters north up Mission Boulevard. / THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    A new mobility board has been created by the City of San Diego combining two previously existing bicycle advisory and parking advisory boards under the same roof. It’s a development bicycle advocates Nicole Burgess, District 2’s rep on the previous bicycle advisory board covering the beachfront, and Andy Hanshaw, executive director of San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, are cautiously supporting. “Innovation in transit and increasing competition for the public right-of-way has fundamentally shifted the way we move ourselves around, meaning the decisions we make will have greater impacts on the quality of life of all San Diegans,” said District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward, who spearheaded creation of the new mobility board. “This will build on past successes, while informing future transportation decisions in a holistic, comprehensive manner.” Ward said the new mobility board will aim to provide “safe choices to move around San Diego that facilitate our goals in the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and Vision Zero.”  Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, particularly those involving pedestrians and bicyclists, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. San Diego’s legally binding CAP enacted in 2015 calls for eliminating half of all greenhouse-gas emissions, and for all electricity used in the city, to be from renewable sources by 2035. Ward said the new mobility board will incorporate the work of its predecessors. “I want to reassure parking and bicycle board members that their work will be capitalized on through the guise of the mobility board,” he said adding the process was not “a last-minute thing.” “For more than six months, we have met with stakeholder groups, both private and public,” Ward said. “The challenge is, if you are asking your advisors to help advise decision makers, you need them to answer the same questions, with the same wider perspective, we have to operate under.” Ward added the mayor’s administration has promised to have a city staffer with “the proper skill sets and expertise,” to respond to the new mobility board and address a lot of its goals.  “That’s a huge step forward,” Ward concluded. While supporting the new mobility board in concept, both Burgess and Hanshaw are keeping a watchful eye on its implementation. Burgess has some reservations. “Although I am supportive of Mayor Faulconer's and Chis Ward’s office for good intentions to create a holistic mobility board, I am disappointed with the process and the ordinance that was approved,” she said. “I believe we should have done better, and would have appreciated a more collaborative and inclusive proposal.” Burgess noted she was “proud” of the work the Bicycle Advisory Board accomplished during the past four years noting, “It was the only City board dedicated to creating safer streets for everyone.  As streets have been resurfaced, we have collaborated with City staff to repurpose them with paint to slow traffic, dedicate space, and prioritize active and healthy modes of transportation.” There is a lot to gain — and lose — said Burgess, with the outcome of the newly created mobility board. “There is great potential for San Diego to become a world-class, bicycle- friendly city,” she said while pointing out, “I believe dissolving the Bicycle Advisory Board is a step backward. Nonetheless, I will stay optimistic, and roll with the changes and continue to enjoy my commutes near and far and advocate for a healthy future.” Hanshaw has taken a wait-and-see attitude toward the new mobility board. He pointed out there’s a lot of work to be done to make San Diego more bike-friendly. “The City is facing challenges on a daily basis for implementing its CAP,” said Hanshaw. “I want to believe that, moving forward, the mobility board is going to make things better.” “The underlying goal here is for the City to meet their CAP goals, which are focused on bike, walk and transit, and shifting modes away from single-occupant driving,” Hanshaw added. “We have to be focused on mobility, prioritizing bike, walk and transit, which has to be 50 percent of mode share by 2035. If creation of the mobility board streamlines, or makes more comprehensible, the CAP and its implementation plan, I want to support it.”
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    Ho Ho Ho-ing for a good cause – Pacific Beach SantaCon donates to Toys for Tots
    by THOMAS MELVILLE
    Dec 09, 2018 | 9913 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    SantaCon participants walk south the The Local on Mission Boulevard on Saturday, Dec. 8. / ALL PHOTOS BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    SantaCon participants walk south the The Local on Mission Boulevard on Saturday, Dec. 8. / ALL PHOTOS BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Rachel Boles (left), who organized the Pacific Beach SantaCon, with her friend Molly.
    Rachel Boles (left), who organized the Pacific Beach SantaCon, with her friend Molly.
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    Pacific Beach SantaCon
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    Hundreds of Santas, elves, reindeer – and a few trees – pub-crawled through Pacific Beach on Saturday, Dec. 8 to spread holiday cheer and spirits while donating gifts and raising funds for Toys for Tots. “It has been an amazing turnout,” said Rachel Boles, who organized this year’s SantaCon, after restarting the tradition in Pacific Beach in 2017. “Last year, we had about 100 people. This year we had more than 400 come out.” All those somewhat-sauced Santas donated more than 200 toys and raised more than $2,000 for the Toy for Tots program. “I’m going to be buying a lot of toys for children,” Boles said. “I’m really happy about that.” They also filled restaurants and bars – Tavern at the Beach, Mavericks Beach Club, The Local PB, and Sandbox Pizza – spreading more green around for service workers during a normally slow Saturday. “These places are packed on what is usually a dead Saturday because people are busy with the holidays and college football’s not on,” said Boles, who works for US Foods and has many contacts in the service industry. Boles, who’s originally from south New Jersey, said she was surprised there wasn’t an active SantaCon in Pacific Beach when she moved to San Diego. “It’s huge on the East Coast and in other West Coast cities like San Francisco and LA. I know it gets a bad rap at times, but last year we had no incidents. Hopefully, this year everything goes well.” Boles said that most people she meets are also San Diego transplants with no family here, so they rely on friends during the holidays. “This event is a big deal for me because I can’t always go back east to visit family at Christmas. A lot of these people here can’t either, which is why spending time with your friends is so important – we become family. And today, we’re also helping out other families so they can have a wonderful Christmas,” Boles said.
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