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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 64  |  August 11, 2020

Well-known local surfer reacts to beach closures by setting example for others 


Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, Laguna’s surfing legend and former top five surfer on the World Tour Jeff Booth and his two children Tess and Travis, who also surf competitively, spent a lot of time in the water. However, on Sunday, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to close all beaches and parks in Laguna. In response, Booth is determined to set an example by adhering to the restrictions.

Well known local 1

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Local surf legend Jeff Booth and his family (L-R) Melissa, Travis, and Tess are staying out of the water for now, and encourage other local surfers to do the same

Booth says, “We all need to hold the line together as a community as much as possible. Of course, I see people trying to relieve the stress of the situation by surfing. It’s understandable, but let’s not make it worse by caving in. This issue has been a major dynamic in our family, and we have had a lot of conversations about it. Being in the water in Laguna, you’re in close proximity with each other as our breaks have very tight take off zones. You can have the best intentions going into the water and next thing you know you are too close to your buddy. The only way to avoid this is taking yourself out of the equation – for your own safety and that of others.”

Booth says, “Our family is trying to do the right thing. I’m not a health expert, so I listen to people who are and follow directions regarding the inherent dangers.

Well known local 2

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

“We can’t be selfish. We’re all in this together,” says local surf legend Jeff Booth.

“My wife really drove this home. She said that if you go surfing there’s water quality issues with all the rain, touching everyday things like railings, outside showers, sitting on the benches etc., you could bring the virus back home and get everyone sick and then we can’t take care of ourselves. I finally came to the conclusion for our family’s safety that we needed to batten down the hatches and be more vigilant – by not going into the ocean until we hear otherwise. And that includes traveling outside of Laguna as much as it pains me to say this!

“The situation could get worse, and it may take knowing someone who has it before we all comply 100 percent. Let’s do the right thing now in and out of the water.

“Surfers are by nature selfish. Trust me I’m the ring leader in that department, but right now is not the time. Let’s all do our part so we can return to normal sooner rather than later.”


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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