Kevin Cody

‘Chasing Lions’ looks back on Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan winter surf

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Matt Mohagan at Hammerland is among the witer surf captured in “Chasing Lions.”

by Ralph Doyle

A highlight of the Hermosa Beach Surfer Walk of Fame weekend over the past three years has been the screening of Brad Jacobson’s video of the most recent winter. Some years, the videos have been more memorable than others. Two years ago Jacobson titled his video “Chasing Unicorns” because the hoped for big swells never arrived.

This year’s video is “Chasing Lions,” a title that delivers on its promise. In January, two swells hit within a week of each other that produced waves in the 20- to 30-foot range. 

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Leo Scleyer appear in “Chasing Lions, surfing a big, unruly day at the Hermosa pier, on November 2, 2018.

In “Chasing Lions” Jacobson weaves in a semi fictionalized account of former pro surfer Chris Wells and his companion Natalie Soderstrom starting off the winter hopefully with the two January swells, only to be disappointed when winter goes out like a lamb.

Also captured in and out of the water are local big wave chargers Alex Fry, Angelo Luhrsen,  Keith and Derek Brewer, Chad Parks, Damien Fahrenfort, Dane Zaun, David Do Carmo, Hunter Jones, Juliano Uzuelli, Kokoro Tomatsuri, Kris Hall, Matt Mohagen, Megan Seth, Mike Edwards, Nic Lamb, Noah Collins, Parker Browning, Pat Murphy, Patrick Miller, Pat Webber, Ryan Boyd, Tim Laney, Tito Bourget, Trevor LeShure, Tyler Hatzikian, Wil Reid, Will Borzi and Zach Rosenburg.

Billy Adkins in “Chasing Lions, on a big, unruly day at the Hermosa pier, on November 2, 2018.

The Big Wednesday myth: it’s not a myth

Even before the 1978 movie “Big Wednesday,” Big Wednesday had its place in South Bay surf  lore. Hermosa Beach surfer and UC Irvine math professor Neil Gretsky, not a person prone to fuzzy logic, would rattle off Big Wednesday dates, going back to the 1960s, to prove big surf on Wednesdays is a statistically supported phenomenon. Gretsky passed away in 2015, but his analysis received more confirming data this winter. This winter, on Wednesday, Jan. 9, surfers at the Redondo Breakwall were greeted with 20- to 30-foot swells. Surfers who paddled out became instant contenders in this 2018-19 South Bay Boardriders Big Wave Challenge. Among them were Jeff Jones, Chris Rodriquez, Jeremy Griffin, Chris Wells, Derek Levy and Randy Meistrell. The winner will be announced Friday, April 26 at the South Bay Boardriders Awards night at the Hermosa Beach Community Theater. The evening starts with a reception for the 2019 Hermosa Beach Surfer Walk of Fame inductees at 6 p.m. in the Hermosa Historical Museum. ER SWOF



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