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Swell Time

Forget for a minute that the San Clemente Ocean Festival turns 40 this summer. Think instead of the boyish and tan lifeguards who will pile once again into dory boats for the race near the pier. Think, too, of the fit, young woman who will hoist herself up on a paddleboard, just like the women of years past. Think of the woody cars with dancing hula girls on the dashboards and of sweet rubber ducky races and the children who will watch it all from the shoreline, building sandcastles where those of long ago washed away. Could there be anything more timeless – and quintessentially Southern California – than the event dubbed “The Greatest Show on Surf”? The festival features lifeguard competitions, contests of athleticism and bravado. Nearly 50,000 people show up to watch – or to enjoy their own day on the beach. At 40, the Ocean Festival looks forever young. 

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