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    La Jolla’s big wave surfer gets big time recognition
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Dec 15, 2018 | 9090 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 | 491 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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    Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship at La Jolla Shores
    Dec 13, 2018 | 5598 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Alana Nichols, from Oceanside, celebrates at last year’s competition.
    Alana Nichols, from Oceanside, celebrates at last year’s competition.
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    Surf's up for para-surfers, who are uniting in La Jolla Shores Dec. 12-16 for the fourth annual Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship. More than 25 of the world’s best National Para-Surfing Teams will all be competing for gold. Last year, Team Brazil was crowned world champion.  The Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship was launched in 2015 to build a platform for physically challenged surfers to display their talents in competition. Under the ISA’s leadership, the sport has seen an explosion of growth and spurred its expansion worldwide. The event’s participation numbers have boomed since the inaugural event with athlete participation increasing nearly 60 percent,  and country participation increasing more than 40 percent. Two challenged athletes competing in this year’s ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship, Alana Nichols, the first woman world champion in the AS-3 Division, and native San Diegan Quinn Waitley, talked about what it means to them. “The stoke level, hands down,” answered Nichols about why she competes, adding, “You’d be hard pressed to find a more hyped-up-to-be-surfing group of individuals on the planet. Everyone that convenes in La Jolla has had to overcome great odds just to get from the land to the water. And then to figure out how to surf with a disability – you better believe there’s passion involved.” Waitley concurred ISA is something special. “I love competing against the best surfers in the world and helping this sport grow and include more athletes, fans and sponsors,” he said. “The competition at the ISA is the best, bringing athletes from around the world. I have so many friends in adaptive surfing, and the ISA brings us together in a special venue.” Concerning training, Waitley said, “Since I must have help getting in the water and on every wave, I can’t train as often as I would like. But I train with my dad and other friends whenever we can. I surf and go to the gym, and other activities to prepare myself for competition. I want to surf my best and hope to win a gold medal.” In 2017, the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship made history, as a record-breaking 109 athletes convened in La Jolla to represent their 26 respective nations and compete for gold in the Paralympic-style, team-based event. The event was the first to take place after the ISA received official recognition from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and was a key milestone in the ISA’s ambitions to see Para-Surfing included in future editions of the Paralympic Games. “The ISA is proud to host this World Championship for the fourth consecutive year and continue to make surfing more accessible to those with physical challenges around the world,” said La Jolla and ISA president Fernando Aguerre. “Our commitment to para-surfing is representative of our inclusive nature as a federation, and our push to spread the joy of the sport worldwide. Surfing has a therapeutic power to heal that we believe can be used to change people’s lives.” Aguerre thanked Stance for extending their support in growing the adaptive surfing movement. “Stance has been, and will continue to be, an integral part and key partner of our aim to grow and develop Adaptive Surfing within all of our 103 member nations,” he said. Opening ceremonies this year were held Dec. 12 in Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores. The competition continues through Sunday, Dec. 16, with closing ceremonies held following the last heat. Since 2017, women-only divisions have been added into the event mix reflecting increased popularity and participation of the sport among females. As a result, in 2017 the ISA crowned five women’s world champions – the first ever in the sport – in a strong display of the talent that has grown in women’s para-surfing. The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment.
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    New sculpture at UC San Diego pays homage to first instant message
    Dec 01, 2018 | 35213 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Perched high atop an industrial pole at Urey Plaza in Revelle College, a lamp blinks silently, fast and slow. The sculpture continuously signals in Morse code, transmitting the first message ever sent by electric telegraph: ‘What Hath God Wrought.’
    Perched high atop an industrial pole at Urey Plaza in Revelle College, a lamp blinks silently, fast and slow. The sculpture continuously signals in Morse code, transmitting the first message ever sent by electric telegraph: ‘What Hath God Wrought.’
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    At 195-feet-tall, it is the tallest structure on campus. Contemporary artist Mark Bradford’s new sculpture is a monumental ode to the origins of today’s lightning-speed communications. It is the 20th addition to UC San Diego’s renowned Stuart Collection, a unique collection of site-specific works by leading artists of our time. His work is soon to be followed by two more pieces, including a mural by Alexis Smith and a sensory environment by Ann Hamilton. New sculpture Bradford’s conspicuous work stands prominently in Urey Plaza in Revelle College. Perched high atop an industrial pole, a lamp blinks silently, fast and slow. The sculpture continuously signals in Morse code, transmitting the first message ever sent by electric telegraph: “What Hath God Wrought.” The experiment was led by Samuel Morse and his partner Alfred Vail in 1844 and marked an important step in launching our nation’s communication network. The sculpture, titled What Hath God Wrought, is intended to reflect on the powerful influence of technology while silently referencing impending change. Mark Bradford “Mark is a crusader for social change while at the same time being one of the most successful painters of his generation,” said director of the Stuart Collection Mary Beebe, who first invited Bradford to consider creating a work for the campus in 1995. “At first he wasn’t interested in doing a permanent work. I’d call him every few years, and finally he said, ‘I like your persistence and I like what you’ve been doing.’” Bradford visited UC San Diego in May 2013 to discuss possibilities. Meandering the campus with Stuart Collection project director Mathieu Gregoire and Revelle College Provost Paul Yu, they made an exciting discovery. In the plaza adjacent to Urey Hall, they uncovered a forgotten plaque. It marked the spot where, in 1961, leaders of the newly founded university dedicated the site where construction broke ground. It was a fortuitous sign that Bradford’s retrospective work should reside where UC San Diego’s story began. The luminaire that crowns the work harkens to a time long past, but one that is inextricably tied to the instant messages that pervade our lives today. Fabricated by the Marine Sciences Development Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the lamp’s 300 LEDs can be adjusted for intensity and color, shining brighter on sunny days and dimmer at night. Bradford was born in Los Angeles and is known for producing large-scale, abstract paintings and collages made from leftover artifacts from city spaces. He builds up layers of found materials, then cuts away at them, revealing a kind of map of urban life, networks and relationships. In 2009, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, followed by a National Medal of Arts in 2015. Two years later, Bradford was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, a prestigious international art exhibition. New mural Bradford’s sculpture is one of three new pieces planned for the ever-expanding Stuart Collection. A 20 by 60-foot mural by artist Alexis Smith will be displayed in the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood when it is completed in 2020. The painting, titled “Same Old Paradise,” served as the inspiration for Smith’s “Snake Path,” the sinuous trail that connects Warren Mall to Geisel Library. The idea for the mural came to Smith in a dream she had while visiting San Diego over three decades ago. She describes the work as a “distilled vision of the promise of the open road and a fruitful land most commonly referred to as the American dream.” Below the metamorphosing snake, eight panels feature souvenirs representing an American road trip, along with an eight-sentence recap of Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road,” which served as inspiration for the painting. The passageway On the east side of campus, another work is distilling. Massive trackways are taking shape on the periphery of campus in preparation for the trolley arrival. The movement of people and the opportunity to create an immersive sensory space piqued the interest of artist Ann Hamilton. She visited the campus in 2013 to talk about a proposal that involves a series of swings that will hang from the Pepper Canyon transit station trestle as well as a 400-foot embossed pathway that leads into the heart of the university. The passageway is envisioned as a concordance featuring hundreds of quotations from faculty members and other notable figures connected to the campus such as Thurgood Marshall and Eleanor Roosevelt. Running down the middle are intersections that the passages share. The work, still in development, will be the collection’s 22nd installation. All pieces in the Stuart Collection are site-specific, permanently built into the university’s landscape and architecture. Each sculpture is funded by private donations and must be approved by an advisory board — comprised of museum directors, artists, educators and community members — as well as the Chancellor’s Office. The process can take years, but the product is often notoriously bold. See the sculptures Want to see the sculptures? Visit stuartcollection.ucsd.edu to learn more about each artist and work, and download a map for a self-guided tour. The Stuart Collection relies on philanthropy to bring new sculptures to life. To learn more about how to help support, contact Mary Beebe at mbeebe@ucsd.edu or call 858-534-2117. What Hath God Wrought What: The campus and local community are invited to learn more about the piece from contemporary artist Mark Bradford, who will speak at Galbraith Hall. When: 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1.
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    La Jolla looking for park land – residents suggest parklets and view corridors for more open space
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 29, 2018 | 16600 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Hikers look south to La Jolla Cove from a lookout on one of the trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve. / THOMAS MELVILLE / LA JOLLA VILLAGE NEWS
    Hikers look south to La Jolla Cove from a lookout on one of the trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve. / THOMAS MELVILLE / LA JOLLA VILLAGE NEWS
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    The public perception is that much of La Jolla’s public park space lies underwater. That point was debated at length at a recent La Jolla Parks and Beaches meeting where City park staffers discussed an ongoing update to the citywide parks master plan, which includes La Jolla. The City got an outpouring of ideas and opinions from La Jollans arguing their community is decidedly “under parked” with its above-ground parks and open spaces. LJPB planners have long held that much of the community’s available park space is in the submerged, 6,000-acre San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park between Torrey Pines State Reserve and La Jolla Cove.  On Oct. 22, Meredith Dawson, Shannon Scoggins and Rosalia Castruita representing the City’s Parks and Recreation Department invited residents to share their views on the quality of La Jolla’s existing park space, vetting where more space could possibly be found. “The City’s parks master plan has not been done since 1956 and we’re now laying out a new plan,” said Dawson. “We’re meeting with stakeholder groups who are invested in local neighborhood parks.” “Park advocates are key stakeholders,” Scoggins told LJPB’s board, adding the objective is to “create a roadmap” guiding parks master-plan revision. Scoggins said the City wants to standardize its definition of what a park is, as well as make parks more publicly accessible. “We want people to live a minimum of a 10-minute walk and 20-minute bike ride from meaningful open space,” Scoggins said. An audience member replied those time intervals might be excessively long for moms with strollers or seniors, adding the City needs to consider the multi-generational needs of park users. Resident Gail Forbes inquired if the San Diego Unified School District had been approached about sharing school recreational spaces. Scoggins replied that, with today’s heightened school security, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to use school space without shared-use agreements. “We are the most under parked community in San Diego,” contended LJPB board member Melinda Merryweather. “We need to come up with some more land.” Merryweather suggested Pottery Canyon, a designated City historical site off Torrey Pines Road, would be ideal for a picnic park. LJPB board member Patrick Ahern said pocket parks and view corridors shouldn’t be overlooked. The Cove’s Coast Walk trail ought to be considered for park space, argued one audience member, to which another replied, “That trail is a dedicated street. The homeowners own the land so it can’t become a park.” Another resident argued La Jolla needs more off-leash dog space, complaining popular Capehart dog park on Mount Soledad is inadequate. Bird Rock resident Sharon Wampler noted the city ought to take a closer look at parklets and remnant lots in its quest to find more park space. Architectural historian Diane Kane said the city ought to consider the historical and cultural resources of parks in its parks master-plan update. “That is what we want to hear,” said Dawson in response to the public’s comments. “We’re going to be fleshing out trends coming from these listening sessions.” LJPB board member Phyllis Minick asked why the abandoned De Anza Mobile Park site isn’t being considered for park space. She was told that site’s future is being debated in the City’s ongoing De Anza Revitalization Plan. One proposal calls for the former mobile home park to be turned into shorefront camping. How much park space is in La Jolla? Addressing the actual amount of public park space in La Jolla, and whether or not any of it is underwater, the City confirmed the community is “under parked,” but said none of its calculated park space is inundated. “Population-based park acreage requirements come from the Recreation Element of the City’s General Plan and are generally made up of community parks, neighborhood parks, mini parks and joint-use areas,” said City spokesperson Tim Graham. “We are to provide 2.8 acres of usable parkland per 1,000 residents.” Noting useable parkland is generally flat enough for recreational use, Graham said, “In 2106 La Jolla was determined to be 30.51 acres in deficit of useable parkland, and are projected to be 37.66 acres short in 2035.” Graham said La Jolla is a little unusual in that, “There are areas along the coast, such as south of Children’s Pool, that appear to be parkland,” while adding, “But they are actually street right-of-way. Those types of areas are not included in the calculations because they are not designated parks.” Added Graham, “Then you have Charlotte Park, which is nothing more than a rocky beach that can only be accessed from the ocean except maybe in an extremely low tide.” Graham said Charlotte Park was likely donated to the City many years ago, and was probably designated as a park because, “There wasn’t any other category it would fit into.” “The San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park is counted toward the City’s overall park acreage, but not towards La Jolla’s population-based park needs,” said Graham, pointing out the underwater park is considered more as a regional park because it attracts people from all over, not primarily La Jolla.
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