As offshore winds groomed head-high waves marching in at the on Saturday, one thing was conspicuously absent: a contest.
Hermosa Beach was to host one of the important early-season match-ups of Division 1 surf teams in the South Bay.
But "any time we have a major rain, and the drains flush, we try to stay out of the water for 72 hours," said John Joseph, South Bay Surf League director.
Contestants such as , Wyat Boyde, and Codee Stemais, all from Mira Costa High School—along with longboard talent Josh Gilbert of El Segundo—were among those whose performances were highly anticipated Saturday, Joseph said.
The water quality didn't keep the ocean from being crowded, however, nor did it keep a local photographer from swimming out to take pictures.
"The waves are good," said ocean photographer John Gonzales of Hermosa Beach as he had just gotten back from swimming among the waves and surfers with a small, waterproof video camera.
"I'm from Seal Beach [originally]. The water is a little bit dirty out there, so my body's used to it—so it's not a problem," Gonzales said of his concerns about the dirty water and rain runoff.
Stand-up paddleboarder of Redondo Beach said she thought the benefits of surfing Saturday outweighed the risk of falling ill from the runoff contaminating ocean.
"It was offshore, it was 'peaky,' it was head-high, it was perfect ... and it's awesome to start the day like that," she said.
Others decided to enjoy the view, but steer clear of the sea water.
"It's just a great day—and the surf was going off, so we decided to take a walk," said Joe Hudson of Hermosa Beach.
"We're on the beach here, probably every day," added Jaymie Braun, Hudson's girlfriend.
"Conditions are about as good as I've seen in awhile," Hudson continued. "This is what Hermosa Beach surfing in the wintertime is all about."
The surf contest featuring Division 1 surf teams, Joseph said, has been re-scheduled for Saturday, at the Hermosa Beach Pier. It will feature 10 high schools and nearly 200 surfers.