By Steve Breazeale
I have a confession to make.
I have not taken advantage of everything the city of San Clemente has to offer.
As sports editor of this newspaper, I’ve spent the last four years running around the city and encountering tons of characters. I’ve witnessed countless games, tournaments and events. If there is something going on in San Clemente that is remotely sports and outdoors related, chances are I’ve experienced it.
But, and that’s a big but, there are still a few things I have on my personal checklist that I’ve yet to do. Now that summer is officially here, it seems like it’s as good a time as any to get started on correcting that.
If it’s OK with you, I’m going to list my checklist here, so maybe a few of you can get inspired to get out and enjoy this city along with me. And if you have any suggestions on things to add, let me know about it.
1. Learn to surf
I grew up in nearby Mission Viejo and basically spent the first 20 years of my life at the beach. Not once did I ever pick up a surfboard and head into the water. Whenever I’m traveling and I tell people I’m from California, and Orange County in particular, one of the first things I’m asked, aside from ‘Were you on The OC or Laguna Beach?’, is ‘Do you surf?’. Unfortunately, I have to come clean, and I’m exposed as the walking contradiction that I am. But that’s all going to change this summer. My ultimate goal? Surf out at San O.
2. Fish off the Pier
It may not sound like the most exciting thing, and there are definitely way better fishing spots around, but there is something that seems so nostalgic about fishing off the San Clemente Pier and I want in. I’ve done stories on Pier anglers who have seen crazy things (remember the great white shark that got hooked in January?) but I want to experience it for myself. You can catch me out there this summer; I’ll be the one who catches nothing and accidentally tangles up with your line.
3. Explore the Beach Trail and Find More Hiking Routes
I’ve gone up and down the beach trail near the Pier just like everyone else, but I have never gone on a long run and explored the dozens of side trails that pop up along the way. The same goes for the Forster Ranch ridgeline trail, which offers some of the best views of the area. I’m going to see where my feet take me next time.
4. Track Down the Elusive Office Chair Derby on July 4
This one is a little offbeat but if you’ve been around town for the Fourth of July holiday, you’ve heard about the office chair derby that goes down in the Pier Bowl. Every year, dozens show up in rolling chairs and makeshift vehicles and race down the streets in a sort of pop-up carnival. From what I can tell, the atmosphere is part Thunderdome, part frat party. I’ve never seen it, aside from videos on YouTube, and this year I want to cheer on the madness.
5. Get a Hole-in-One on an SC Golf Course
This is the goal I’m least likely to accomplish. But nothing would be sweeter than making an ace on one of the city’s great par-3 golf holes. I’m thinking of getting my summertime hole-in-one on No. 15 at the Muni. It may take me a while, but I have the whole summer to try.
Steve Breazeale is the sports editor for the San Clemente Times.