One man’s BeachLife
by Bill Brand
My BeachLife began in Galveston Bay, Texas. In the early 60s, my family would escape the summer heat in Dallas to my grandmother’s house on the Gulf of Mexico. As a 5-year-old boy, I would disappear from my grandmother’s to the shore to go “swimmin with all them critters.” One of my favorite things to do was to wait in waist-high water for a passing supertanker to go by so I could ride its wake on my Styrofoam board. To this day, I remember being drawn to the ocean. It was a natural affinity, even a calling. It was frightening to my parents, though, as they couldn’t seem to stop their 5-year-old boy from sneaking out of the house to ride a wave. Unfortunately for them, it was an ongoing theme.
Three years later we moved to the South Bay area of Southern California. As we pulled into King Harbor in Redondo Beach, I hung my head out the window and yelled with excitement to my mom, “Are we really going to live here?” I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
We spent two weeks at the Portofino Inn and I swam in the Seaside Lagoon every day. Then my dad took us to Torrance Beach to rent air mats and ride some real waves and I was hooked!
Hooked on the ocean, hooked on the waves, hooked on the beach, and hooked on the wonder the Pacific Ocean brought to my young mind. It’s been over 55 years and the search for waves, or “empty perfection” as we like to call it, has led me to visit over 25 countries just to surf, which led to an appreciation of the many different cultures of the world that were living their own versions of the BeachLife.
Now, thanks to visionary Allen Sanford and his talented partners, Redondo Beach once again welcomes an epic three days of live music and communion in celebration of the “BeachLife.” This is a quintessential event that captures the zeitgeist of the southern California beach vibe: amazing music, dancing, arts and culture, environmental and social activism, the beach, all kinds of food and drink, places to play and places to “chill,” and best of all, so many interesting people to meet.
Whether you grew up here or are a first-time visitor to the coast, the residents of Redondo Beach encourage you to enjoy our waterfront and our hospitality during the festival. Everything is better by the beach! Fishing, paddling, surfing, dining, swimming, skateboarding or just strolling along the waterfront. A visit to where the land meets the sea recharges our mental and emotional batteries and connects us as humans to the wonders of the sea and the beauty of all the “critters” we share this planet with. In other words, it’s good for the soul.
One of my best BeachLife memories was Woody Nelson singing, as only he can, “You were always on my mind,” while an unbelievable sunset set over the Pacific. It was awe-inspiring: that is the BeachLife.
Many thanks to the producers and sponsors that make BeachLife possible. You have created an event for all walks of life to come together as a community to celebrate and share the BeachLife experience.
Bill Brand is the Mayor of Redondo Beach