December 10, 2015
Volume 46, Issue 19
The Warrior Coach
A perfect right
Steak in Manhattan
Beach Gift Guide
December 10, 2015
Volume 46, Issue 19
ON THE COVER
ECC Camino Warriors carry
coach John Featherstone off the
field following his final game,
after 31 years at El Camino
Photo by Brad Jacobson
CUT * COLOR * STYLE
20 Coach Feather by Randy Angel
Coach John Featherstone gives thanks to the players and coaches
he worked with at El Camino College for over three decades. In
turn, they remember “Coach Feather” with reverence usually
reserved for legends.
26 The Right call by Ryan McDonald
Palos Verdes big wave rider Alex Gray and extreme sports photographer
Bo Bridges travel to Tahiti on the chance that the surf might
be good at a spot that almost killed Gray on two previous trips.
34 A steak in the heart of Mid-Century by Richard Foss
The Arthur J pays tribute to the Mid-Century era of strong cocktails,
thick steaks and golf shoes with steel spikes. The namesake’s well
worn golf shoes are at the front door.
38 Post panorama by Bondo Wyszpolski
Photographer John Post memorializes the beach that was,
in Our South Bay.
48 Next play focus by Randy Angel
Sea Hawk outside hitter Megan Rice credits coach Tommy Chaffins’
drills on mental focus with her team’s advancement to a second
consecutive CIF State Division 1 championship match.
10 Beach calendar
12 AMS mock trial competition
30 Gift guide
32 HBEF Wine Walk
41 Mama Liz Thanksgiving Dinner
42 Hermosa Historical Society’s
“Night at the Biltmore”
46 CSC’s Girls Night Out
51 Service Directory
PUBLISHER Kevin Cody, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Budman, EDITORS Mark McDermott, Randy Angel, David Mendez, Caroline
Anderson and Ryan McDonald, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Bondo Wyszpolski, DINING EDITOR Richard Foss, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS
Ray Vidal, Brad Jacobson and Gloria Plascencia, CALENDAR Judy Rae, DISPLAY SALES Adrienne Slaughter, Tamar Gillotti, Amy Berg and
Shelley Crawford CLASSIFIEDS Teri Marin, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA Jared Thompson, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tim Teebken, DESIGN
CONSULTANT Bob Staake, BobStaake.com, FRONT DESK Judy Rae, INTERNS Sean Carroll
Northwest Corner of
Crenshaw Blvd. & Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance
~ For Information, Call 310.534.0411
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entire contents of the EASY READER newspaper is Copyright 2015 by EASY READER, Inc. www.easyreadernews.com. The Easy Reader/Redondo Beach Hometown News
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and on newsstands in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and Palos Verdes.
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4 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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S O U T H B A Y
North Manhattan Beach
hosts its annual Holiday
Open House and Walk
About. Merchants will be
offering unique gifts,
refreshments, and raffle
prizes. Santa will fly in from
the North Pole, landing at
the “miracle of 34th Street.”
5 - 9 p.m., 32nd to 42nd
streets along Highland Ave.
Let's take a walk
The Sierra Club offers
free 2 hour hikes on the
hilly streets and trails of
Palos Verdes Thursdays at
6:30 p.m. Meet in the
parking lot near Rite Aid
Drugs at Hawthorne Blvd.
and Silver Spur Road. For
questions call Paul
Rosenberger (310) 545 3531
The 9th Annual Victorian
Holiday Party and Toy
Drive is hosted by the
Redondo Historical Society
and the Redondo Historical
Commission at the historic
Morrell House and Queen
Anne Museum. Entertainment,
hors d’oeuvres and
merriment. Admittance is
an unwrapped toy valued at
$10 or more. All toys will go
to Cheer for Children kids.
6 - 9 p.m. Heritage Court,
298 Flagler Lane, Redondo
Beach. (310) 465-7149 or
The 24th Annual King
Harbor Holiday Boat Parade
presented by King Harbor
Yacht Club features Denise
Austin as the Grand
begin the parade at 4:30
p.m., followed by boats at
5:45. The parade makes
multiple trips up and down
the main channel and is visible
from throughout the
harbor. 280 Yacht Club
Way, Redondo Beach. (310)
The Manhattan Beach
Yuletide 5K is run on wet
sand on the beach just after
sunset. and lit by the light
of glow sticks. This fun,
family-oriented race starts
at 5:30 p.m. on the sand
north of the Manhattan
Santa concert on
the Redondo Pier
The 5th Annual Holiday
Concert and Santa on the
Pier is presented by the
Redondo Beach Pier
Association. Free and open
to the public. Selfie photos
with Surfing Santa. Free
holiday activity book for the
first 150 kids. 3 - 5 p.m. 100
Redondo Beach. Visit
Redondopier.com for details
about free holiday parking
at the pier.
Add a Little Light
A Hanukkah celebration
presented by Congregation
Ner Tamid includes candles,
song and food and begins at
6 p.m. Del Amo Fashion
Center, 3525 W. Carson St.,
Torrance. 1st floor courtyard
near AMC theaters.
5721 Crestridge Rd, Rancho
Palos Verdes. nertamid.com
house & visit
Learning with a diverse
community is necessary for
students to thrive in a globalized
society. The Vistamar
High School curriculum has
been adapted from the best
programs in Europe, Asia,
and the United States. Open
House Registration: 8:30
a.m. Program: 9 a.m. -
noon. 737 Hawaii, El
Segundo. RSVP by calling
10 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
(310) 643-7377 or
Beach holiday fireworks
celebration begins at 4 p.m.
with the Skechers snow
park followed by the
Hyperion Outfall Serenaders
and MCHS Jazz
The gift of giving
Make good on your
Christmas spirit at
Manhattan Beach Community
Christmas Fair. Learn
about and give to a variety
of local and international
including 1736 Family
Crisis Center, Habitat for
Humanity, St. Paul's Project
Needs, Project Learn
Guatemala, and Church
World Service. 11 a.m. 303
S. Peck, Manhattan Beach,
on the lower patio.Parking
behind the church on
Rowell. Admission is free.
(310) 372-3587 or visit mbccucc.org.
State of the region
Waters and Congressman
Ted Lieu will give presentations
on national issues and
their impacts on the South
Bay. Noon to 1:30 p.m.
DoubleTree by Hilton
Torrance - South Bay, 21333
Hawthorne Blvd. Reservations:
call (310) 540-5858 or
Santa Sleigh Ride
The Hermosa Beach
Neighborhood Watch along
with the Hermosa Beach
police and fire departments
present the 9th annual
Santa Sleigh Ride. Santa will
arrive with helpers at five
stops and will spend 20
minutes at each stop.
Watch stand-up paddleboarders and then many of King Harbor’s most
beautiful boats lit up for the holidays and cruising the main channel,
beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Families will be able to take
pictures of their children
with Santa. 6 - 6:20 p.m.
200 Hillcrest, 6:30 - 6:50
p.m. 1200 19th Street, 7 -
7:20 p.m. 1500 Golden, 7:30
- 7:50 p.m. 1000 9th Street,
8 - 8:20 p.m. Pier Plaza.
Toy Drive wrap up
The 23rd Annual Beach
Cities Toy Drive wrapping
party is today from 10 a.m.
- 2 p.m. Bring an
unwrapped toy and help
wrap hundreds of others.
Hermosa Beach Community
Center, 710 Pier Avenue,
Free to Be Me
Every third Sunday of the
month, noon - 3 p.m.
Sabina facilitates a drum
circle just north of the
Hermosa Beach pier, on the
sand. Drums and percussion
instruments are provided
so that no one is left
Bring a gift, then help wrap thousands of others at the 23rd Annual
Beach Cities Toy Drive wrapping party Saturday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. - 2
p.m. at the Hermosa Beach Community Center, 710 Pier Avenue,
AMERICAN MARTYRS LEGAL TEAM
Appears before Superior Court
by Werner Foxx
merican Martyrs School in Manhattan Beach was one of 150
schools that participated in the 38th Annual Los Angeles
County Mock Trial Competition last month. The students performed
the roles of attorneys, witnesses and court personnel in the
fictional case of the People v. Hayes. Two team members prosecuted
and two defended mock trial defendant Jamie Hayes, a college student
on a track and field scholarship accused of murdering a campus
Each team was judged for their presentation and legal skills by 300
volunteer judges and attorneys.
The annual event takes place in the Los Angeles Superior Court
Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. It is sponsored
by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
“The kids have positive interactions with adults in the judicial system
while developing their presentation and critical thinking skills,”
said Lourdes Morales of the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
Attorney Pat Barrera of Barrera and Associates in Manhattan
Beach coached the AMS team. The team met on Friday afternoons to
review the case and prepare their testimony, opening statements and
“They were more poised and polished than some of the attorneys
that appear in court daily,” he said.
1. The American Martyrs School’s Mock Trial Team gathers for
the start of trial.
2. Prosecutor Julia Keller and witnesses Brooke Charlton, Ryan
Torii, Micah Worner and Avery DeVore.
3. Defense attorneys Donny MacArthur and Sean Dorr go over
notes with witness Ryan Torii.
4. Witnesses Madeline Tello and Yzabella Ramirez prepare their
5. AMS Mock Trial coach Pat Barrera and American Martyrs
Principal Dr. Camryn Friel talk trial strategy.
6. American Martyrs Vice Principal Tim Bersin with Mock Trial
students Julia Keller and Brooke Charlton.
7. Mock Trial Judge Kenneth O’Brien Jr. gives instructions to clerk
8. Mock Trial Judge Kenneth O’Brien Jr. admonishes witness
9. Prosecutor Julia Keller with witness Yzabella Ramirez and
Judge Kenneth O’Brien Jr.
10. American Martyrs Mock Trial coaches Pat Barrera and
Richard Lyman with Judge Kenneth O’Brien and the American
Martyrs Mock Trial team.
12 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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Hastings College of the Law in 1987, he is admitted
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 13
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 19
Players carry John Featherstone off the field after he concludes his 31-year tenure as head coach of El Camino’s football program. Photo by Brad Jacobson
There are no words that can describe what Coach Feather has done for athletics in the South Bay.”
-- Keith Ellison, former Sea Hawk, Warrior and Buffalo Bill player and current Sea Hawk defensive coordinator
by Randy Angel
Coach Feather felt odd standing on the sidelines last month,
watching Redondo battle West Torrance for the CIF-Southern
Section Western Division playoffs. He was not accustomed to
surveying the action on the field simply as a fan and not as a scout
for future El Camino College players.
The former gridiron star and coach had recently announced his
retirement, after 31 years as head coach of El Camino College’s football
“It will take some time getting used to. Old habits are hard to
break,” he said.
John Featherstone coached his final game Saturday, November 14
at Redondo Union High School, where his players came up just short
of their goal to win one last game for their admired coach. (The game
was at Redondo because a new El Camino football stadium is under
construction.) Trailing 38-23 heading into the fourth quarter, El
Camino rallied, only to lose 38-36 to Long Beach City College, the topranked
team in Southern California’s National Division.
“It’s been a great ride, but it was time,” Featherstone said.
Featherstone’s football career began at Mira Costa High School and
continued at El Camino College and then San Diego State.
Coach Feather, as he is affectionately known, finished his coaching
career at El Camino with a record of 214-119-1. His teams made three
national championship game appearances and won the title in 1987.
They also won two state titles and 11 conference championships.
Feather’s teams appeared in 19 bowl games and reached the playoffs
five straight years, from 2004 to 2008. He was inducted into the El
Camino College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
“The reason we coach is for our football players. Our goal is to see
they get to the next level academically,” Featherstone said during the
halftime ceremony in his honor at his final game. “We work them
hard academically and when they step on the football field during the
week, they work hard. That’s what life is all about.”
In 2008, Featherstone was voted National Coach of the Year for a
second time. He also received his eighth California State Coach of the
Year honor that year.
“The NCAA used to not recognize junior college ball at its national
convention,” Featherstone said. “The National Coach of the Year
honor was one of the neatest experiences of my life. They had a
parade and the auditorium was filled with over 1,000 people. I was
honored to represent junior college football and El Camino College. I
always accepted any type of award as a coaching staff award. I didn’t
ever want to be singled out as the main man responsible.”
Featherstone coached more than three dozen players into professional
football, including: Keith Ellison (LB, Buffalo Bills),
DeLawrence Grant (DE, Oakland Raiders), Antonio Chatman (WR,
Cincinnati Bengals), Marcel Reece (FB, Oakland Raiders, active), and
Derrick Deese (OL, San Francisco 49ers). Countless former students
20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
from Live Oak Park.
Featherstone smiles when he thinks back on how the lessons he
learned during countless hours of playing baseball in empty dirt lots,
catching footballs and making tackles on the grassy fields of Live
Oak Park, running and jumping in the soft sands of beach volleyball
courts and surfing formed the foundation for a career that would
make him one of the most successful junior college football coaches
in the country
The skinny, little blond kid who embraced every minute of fun in
his youth is now 65. At 5-foot-8, he continues a strict fitness regimen
that keeps him at his high school playing weight of 145 pounds. The
boyish twinkle in his eyes is also still there and seems to glisten a little
brighter when he speaks of football.
Featherstone was raised in a strong athletic background. His
grandfather and father were both high school football stars. His older
brother Fred was also an exceptional athlete to whom John would
look up to. John would later pass on his knowledge to his younger
brother, Jimbo, who is eight years his junior.
At Mira Costa, Featherstone competed in track and field, baseball,
John Featherstone is surrounded by family and friends during his final appearance last month as head coach of the El Camino Warriors. Photo by Brad Jacobson
were All-American athletes and transferred to universities to continue
their education and play football.
“I have known Coach Featherstone since our elementary school
days when I had to attempt to tackle him on the playgrounds of
Manhattan Beach,” said Bill Beverly, president of the El Camino
Community College District Board of Trustees. “He has touched
thousands of lives and presided over the building of innumerable
young players into better students, athletes and men. John represents
all that is best about El Camino College."
Keith Ellison, a standout player at Redondo Union High School,
has known Featherstone since he was an 8-year-old watching his
older brother Chris play for El Camino before transferring to BYU.
Keith followed in his brother’s footsteps, playing linebacker for
Featherstone prior to two successful seasons at Oregon State
University, which led to an NFL career with the Buffalo Bills.
Keith and Chris have returned to Redondo High as coaches. Keith
is the Sea Hawk’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
“Feather is one of the nicest coaches you’d ever want to meet or
play for,” Keith said. “El Camino is a special place and it has provided
a second chance for many athletes. There are no words that can
describe what Coach Feather has done for athletics in the South
“He has the right touch with players and I’ve never seen him in a
bad mood. His positive attitude rubs off on everyone around him.”
Don Morrow was inducted in the El Camino Athletic Hall of Fame
in 2003 after an exceptional football career as a quarterback for
Aviation High School, El Camino College and CSU Northridge. He is
in his 23rd year as head coach of Mira Costa’s football program and
has produced numerous players for Featherstone.
“Feather is a great alumnus of Mira Costa,” Morrow said. “He has
helped me a great deal over the years, especially with his ideas on
the passing game. He is somewhat of a legend in that regard. Our
kids who have gone to play at ECC have loved playing for him. He
is a true legend in South Bay football and will be greatly missed on
Paving the Way
Featherstone grew up on 21st Street in Manhattan Beach, across
volleyball and football. “Sometimes during the baseball season, I
would leave between innings and go over to the track to run in a
relay event or compete in the long jump, then return to the diamond.”
In 1966, high school volleyball was more than a decade away from
becoming a CIF sanctioned sport, so Featherstone and a few friends
founded the Mira Costa Volleyball Club to compete against other
“We weren’t very good, but we sure had a lot of fun,” Featherstone
But Featherstone’s true calling was on the gridiron where he
played quarterback, running back and wide receiver. At Mira Costa
in 1967, he earned All-CIF honors as a wide receiver.
“We were in a rebuilding process when I played there,”
Featherstone said. “I’m excited to see the Mira Costa program where
it is today. Donny Morrow has done a tremendous job.”
The Road Back Home
After earning all-conference honors at El Camino, the speedy
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 21
eceiver received a scholarship to play for legendary coach Don
Coryell at San Diego State University.
“When I played at SDSU in 1970, it was the first year that college
football went to single digit numbers on uniforms,” Featherstone said.
“I was the smallest guy on the team and Coach Coryell asked me how
I felt about wearing number 1. I said ‘Hey, I‘m just happy to wear the
uniform.’ The lockers in the stadium were in numerical order, so
mine was the first one in line, next to the coach’s office. Coryell never
dressed in the coach’s office. He wanted to be close to his players, so
he would hang up his red coat and get dressed in my cubicle. He was
very superstitious. Even on road games, he would dress in my locker,
so we formed a tight bond.”
As a junior, Featherstone’s offensive prowess helped propel SDSU
to the 1969 Pasadena Bowl and what would be the highlight of his
“I had a dream the night before the game about playing in Pasadena
and having a good game,” Featherstone recalled. “Our star receiver,
Tommy Reynolds was injured and our second-string receiver pulled a
hamstring in warm ups, so I was thrust into the starting role.”
Featherstone scored two touchdowns in the Aztecs’ win in front of
52,000 fans and was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player.
With an unblemished 11-0 record, SDSU finished 12th in the
National AP Poll.
Featherstone received a bachelor’s degree from SDSU in 1970,
majoring in journalism with a minor in physical education. The following
year, he began his coaching career as the Aztec’s wide receiver
coach. He said Coryell had the largest impact on his career, not just
by giving him his first coaching job, but because of his offensive
Featherstone believes Coryell never received the recognition he
deserved, though he went on to become the head coach of the St.
Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers. He was the first coach
to have 100 victories at the college and professional levels.
Featherstone earned a master’s degree in physical education from
SDSU in 1973. During the next four years, he served as quarterback
and wide receiver coach for Grossmont College, helping the Griffins
win a state championship in 1974.
At Grossmont, Featherstone became hooked on coaching and
thinking of it as a career. He traced his decision chiefly to his involvement
in play calling and the opportunity to coach Player of the Year
Joe Roth. The talented quarterback would become an All-American
at UC Berkeley before cancer took his life in 1977.
“Joe was a tremendous talent,” Featherstone said. “I was the one
who discovered the mole on his temple. I would see it bleeding every
day. I asked him if he had ever had it checked? ‘Oh, it’s nothing, it
scabs over.’ he told me.
In 1975, Featherstone replaced future St. Louis Rams head coach
Mike Martz at San Diego Mesa College, where he worked as offensive
coordinator and mentored future SDSU All-American quarterback
Returning to SDSU as wide receiver coach in 1980, Featherstone
coached under Claude Gilbert and with future NFL coaches Doug
Scovil and Brian Billick. Featherstone has also worked alongside star
coaches Rod Dowhower, Ernie Zampese and Ted Tollner.
In 1982, Featherstone joined the UC Berkeley program under head
coach and former NFL great Joe Kapp. But one year in the Bay Area
was enough for the Southern California native. Featherstone
returned the following year to become offensive coordinator at Santa
Ana College. In 1985, he returned to the South Bay, replacing future
NFL assistant coach Jack Reilly as El Camino’s head coach.
“I was so excited to return to El Camino,” Featherstone said. “We
had two good seasons when I played for the Warriors under Ken
Swearingen, who was another great influence on me. I’ve been very
fortunate to have been associated with good teams, especially good
“When you look at our offense, we have averaged more than 20
22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
Coach Feather gives a final pep talk at halftime during his final game as
coach of the Warriors, last month against Long Beach City College. Photo
by Brad Jacobson
points per game in my tenure here,” Featherstone said. “(Assistant
coach) Gene Engle played here before playing at Stanford under
Bill Walsh. He and I have played for two of the greatest coaches
in the history of the game.”
Despite the long hours — Featherstone devoted 60-70 hours per
week during the season to football — he loved coaching at the junior
“Playing junior college football is the last time these guys can
play for fun,” Featherstone explained. “Then it becomes a business.
They’re getting paid to play at the next level. I tell the players
to approach each game as if it’s your last, stay focused and
have fun. Football is not a game for sissies. It’s a violent game and
we’re part of a chosen few who get to play at this level.”
Featherstone’s credo on the field and in the classroom is:
“Dream. Prepare. Endure. Achieve. If the first three pieces of the
puzzle fit, you will achieve.”
Although a high-energy coach, Featherstone did not believe in
using whistles on the practice field, nor did he believe in cussing.
“You don’t have to cuss to make a player successful. If we have to
yell and scream, it’s done during the week, never during the
game. We make the correction, and then give them positive reinforcement.”
With so much time spent together, players become a family
unit, with Featherstone playing the role of father.
“We get a lot of kids who haven’t had a lot of love and discipline.
One of the highlights of coaching was watching these kids grow
up to be men and productive, successful citizens.”
With players being in the program only two years, Featherstone
had to keep his eyes and ears open in the community.
He always bought game programs at high school games and
walked the sidelines, asking players who the best players were on
“I like players who never look at the clock, never look at the
score,” Featherstone said. “I looked to see if they’re still playing
hard even though they are down, or ahead by 30 points because
those are players who love the game.
“I looked for overachievers. Team guys with discipline and the
attitude to work hard in all phases of their lives. The only promises
we gave our recruits is that if you came to ECC and stayed out
of trouble and become a good role model to your younger brothers
and sisters, worked hard in the weight room and on the practice
field and played hard between the lines on Saturday night, we
would take care of you for the rest of your lives. We wrote letters,
made calls, whatever it took for players to get to the next level.
And I think we’ve been successful in that aspect.”
The Other Family
Featherstone has an equal affection for the students he has
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 23
taught in his health education classes.
“I loved teaching as much as coaching,” Featherstone said. “I’m as
involved with my 250 students each year as I am with my football
players. I send letters home to parents with tips on feeding their kids,
like I do my players.
“I tell the kids how important exercise is, to make it the same discipline
as brushing their teeth. Take a walk, ride a bike, do something
you like and don’t be afraid to try new activities. Make a
lifestyle change, which may include a change in diet. Adult diabetes
is raging and everything is super-sized. Americans eat way too much
man-made foods, laden with sugar, salt and fat.”
Featherstone lives by his 8-8-8 theory: Eight hours of sleep, eight
hours of work or school, and eight hours of play. “There has to be a
20- or 30-minute window in there to exercise. I’ve always looked at
exercise as a reward, not a punishment. In the last 40 years, we’ve
gotten into man-made foods and with natural evolution, kids are getting
bigger. Whether they’re healthier or not, I don’t know. America
still has the highest cancer and heart disease rate. Americans are
hard workers, but don’t take time to relax. If you don’t find time to
exercise, you’re too busy and need to cut something out of your life.”
Sands of time
Despite the many hours Featherstone devoted to football and
teaching he always found time to enjoy his youthful passion for the
Featherstone began playing beach volleyball at 15. He and his
brother Fred played many years on the California Beach Volleyball
Association (CBVA) tour, finishing in the top 10 in five open tournaments.
“I would get out of the water after surfing and see these guys play-
Coach Feather cont. on page 51
John Featherstone was twice named National Coach of the Year. Photo
by Dwight Ueda/El Camino Athletics
24 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
The wave gets Alex Gray’s attention.
The journey began with a weather chart showing a
“purple blob” in the South Pacific, indicating an
intense storm. The swell was headed to Tahiti.
Longtime North Shore lifeguard Dave Wassel called
Alex Gray, asking if he had seen the forecast. The prime
attraction in Tahiti is a left-breaking wave called
Teahupoo, a heaving slab that unloads deep-water swells
on to a very shallow, coral reef.
Teahupoo is one of the most critical waves in the world.
It is also one of the most photographed. Professionals and
underground chargers alike flock to the French Polynesian
break to score waves and sponsor shots.
But Wassel had another place in mind. He suggested
pursuing a nearby wave that breaks right instead of left.
It would be an opportunity to surf epic waves with little
competition. But Gray did not exactly have the best history
with the wave.
“The first time, I surfed it was with Kelly Slater,” Gray
said. “I got a concussion and took a plane ride home with
my head bleeding against the headrest. The second, I
surfed it with Shane Dorian and had one of the worst
wipeouts of my life.”
Nonetheless, Gray trusts Wassel, and decided to go for
it, despite the fact that Wassel had to back out of the trip.
Gray reached out to several photographers. But they
26 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
Bo Bridges and
Alex Gray talk
were skeptical about passing up Teahupoo to shoot a wave
so fickle it did not even have a proper name. (“The Right”
is already claimed by a slab in Western Australia.)
Coincidentally, Bo Bridges was called off a shoot in
Colorado due to sleet at exactly the same time. He phoned
Gray and the duo set out for Tahiti within hours.
“I just love surfing more than anything,” said Bridges.
“So whenever I get the opportunity to shoot pros, I can’t
turn it down.”
Bridges and Gray set out for the wave early on the first
morning of the swell. The swell charts indicated that the
second day of the three-day swell would be the biggest.
Gray and the crew loaded into a panga and snuck past
Teahupoo, which was already crowded with surfers.
“We ducked our heads down as we were going by
Chopes,” Gray said.
“People think Tahiti, they presume it’s this pristine tropical
paradise,” Bridges said. “But storms come in fast, so
I’m looking for garbage bags, anything I can to protect the
Gray surfed alone and occasionally found himself wishing
for companions — if only to better his chances in case
any wildlife showed up.
“I’m thinking, are there tiger sharks on this side of the
reef?” Gray said.
Too late on a perfect wave.
Patience pays off with
a Surfer Magazine
On the second day, Gray rode a
fuller-volume board for paddling into
large, fast-moving waves. But when the
right one came, he paddled out too far
and found himself out of position.
Unlike Teahupoo, which has a predictable
paddle-in, the right’s takeoff
zone is “the size of three football fields,”
Gray said. Judging where to takeoff is
further complicated by the uniformity
of the shoreline: a mass of jungle-covered
Missing the wave left Gray crestfallen.
“As a surfer, to invite a photographer,
knowing he’s spending money and
time away from his family and miss the
wave we came for...that’s what I was
thinking,” Gray said.
Gray said he couldn’t sleep that
night. On the third morning, the final
day of the swell, Gray decided to take
out a jet ski to better cover the takeoff
The forecast predicted the third day
would be the smallest. The forecast
was wrong. Huge sets were still rolling
Yet the wave, while displaying flashes
of brilliance, suffered from interminable
waits between sets, sometimes
lasting up to 90 minutes.
Waiting was made all the more difficult
by the knowledge that a worldclass
wave was a few minutes away.
“Chopes was going off,” Gray said.
“Do you gamble on a place with 90
But each time he and Bridges got
ready to leave, another amazing wave
would appear on the horizon.
“It seemed like every time Alex paddled
over to the boat, a set would roll
through and he would head back out,”
The crew intended to do a short session
and be back in camp for lunch.
Again, expectations were overturned.
They arrived 6 a.m. and did not return
‘till 4 p.m. Gray had come unprepared
for the long day and fueled his
marathon session with granola bars.
The persistence paid off. Gray
stepped off the jet ski and onto the
cover of Surfer.
But even that perfect wave had its
wrinkles. A boat with Hawaiian pro
surfer Ian Walsh, loaded with photographers,
dropped anchor directly in front
of where Bridges was stationed.
Fortunately, Walsh and his crew grew
impatient with the long lulls and left,
not a moment too soon. The departing
boat’s wake sent ripples up the face of
the wave that made the cover.
The trip convinced Gray that there is
still room for old-fashioned adventure
in the search for a great ride.
“It was perfect, why would you
leave?” Gray said, referring to those
fighting for waves at Teahupoo that day.
“Well, maybe to surf a perfect wave all
by yourself, and get a Surfer Magazine
Bo Bridges and Alex Gray
celebrate getting the
November Surfer Magazine cover.
28 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 31
WINE FLOWS IN THE STREET
for HB Ed Foundation
by Richard Foss
eople used to big charity events in the South Bay might be
forgiven for thinking they had gone to the wrong place
when they approached the site of the Hermosa Beach
Education Foundation Wine Walk on October 10. There was
plenty of parking right by the entrance and no valets in sight.
The Wine Walk has an unusual venue – two blocks of Powers
“That’s what you get for living in a small, supportive community,”
said event organizer Lynn Barr. “I’d estimate that 95 percent
of the people who attend here live in Hermosa. They’re
parents of Hermosa View or Hermosa Valley students. They
bring family and friends, and they’re the ones who get the word
Those amateur promoters are sharing news of a unique,
annual event that draws 350 people for two blocks of tables
laden food, beer and wine from dozens of area restaurants. It
was sold out as usual, when the capacity crowd gathered on the
unseasonably warm evening. Entertainment was provided by
guitarist Joe Cipolla who sang classic pop hits from the 1940s
“I’m a crossing guard at Hermosa Valley School and a noon
aide at Hermosa View school. I’ve loved music all my life, but
didn’t do it as a career. I owned clothing stores. Now, I also
teach guitar to children,” Cipolla said.
Other benefactors include the Uncorked wine store, which
has donated over a 1,000 bottles of wine over the years and has
mobilized wineries to participate.
“We don’t have kids in the schools, but we own two businesses
here,” explained co-owner Cathey Knoll-Bonafede. “The Ed
Foundation is our number one charity. To keep our little 1.3
square mile community strong, we need strong schools.”
“Not everybody on this street has kids in the schools, but
they’re incredibly tolerant and supportive,” said HBEF
President Allie Malone. “We try to do the same. Earlier today,
after the road was already blocked off, someone needed to get
out and we moved everything out of the way so they could move
For more information, visit HBEF.org.
1. Hermosa Beach
Education Foundation president
Allie Malone, wine
walk chair Debra Luckey
and publicist Laurie Baker.
2. Lisa Cassity and twin sister
Lauren Copelan of Hook
3. King Harbor Brewing’s
Tom Dunbabin forces a
brew on winemaker Doug
Burkett of Rebel Coast
4. Jennifer Oliver, Amber
Kyle, Steve Kyle, Hermosa
Beach Mayor Carolyn Petty
and Corinne Timms.
5. Uncorked owners Kathy
Knoll-Bonafede and Jeff
Bonafede with HBEF events
chair Lynn Barr and Wine
Walk chair Debra Luckey.
6. Joe Cipolla entertained
the crowd with his voice
guitar and sax.
7. Standing Room’s
Jonathan Baran, Lowell
Bakke and Skip Bakke.
8. Mediterraneo chef Pedro
Pureco and server Corey
32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 33
The Arthur J owner Mike Simms with a portrait of his
grandfather Arthur J. Simms. Photo by Brad Jacobson
A steak in the Mid-Century spirit
Executive chef David LeFevre brings 1950s era of
steaks and cocktails to downtown Manhattan Beach
by Richard Foss
Eating steaks has been a symbol of affluence
for hundreds of years and not just
on this side of the Atlantic. Beefsteak
clubs were established in London as early as
1705. Wealthy members dined on steaks,
baked potatoes, wine and beer, a menu that
would delight their counterparts today. It was
such a national trait that the guards at the
Tower of London were nicknamed beefeaters
and a French slang word for Englishmen was
Still, the place we associate with big steaks
is the USA and the era is not the 1750s but
the 1950s. It was an era of cool music, strong
cocktails, big steaks, and big dreams. Even
people who weren’t born yet can get nostalgic
for the era of optimism and opulence.
The place to do that today is The Arthur J.
It’s mid-century visually and the kitchen
serves up dishes in that spirit, but made
attractive to a contemporary palate.
The restaurant is an homage by the Simms
brothers to their late grandfather Arthur J.
Simms, who was a restaurateur and whose
portrait hangs by the front podium. The
grandfather is also oddly but touchingly
remembered with a pair of battered golf
shoes by the front door.
Executive chef David LeFevre taps into
nostalgic and historic veins both with what is
served and how it’s presented. Some very
modern items are served in the blue-flowered
Corningware baking dishes that were in
every kitchen when Eisenhower was president.
These and other touches show a genuine
affection for what’s going on here.
The menu is heavy on steaks, naturally, but
there is much more here. I have visited The
Arthur J twice — once with someone who is
a connoisseur of cow, the second time with
someone who hadn’t eaten beef for decades
and both visits were successful. Both times
we were served by a cheerful pro named
Rachel who was an excellent guide to the
subtleties of the menu.
The starters are mostly classics. We tried
an emmental popover, split pea soup,
Hamachi tartare and a grilled Treviso salad.
The popover and soup were on different visits,
but I wish I had ordered them together
because they would complement each other
well. The very light, savory roll with funky
cheese filling would have been great with the
soup, which had a slight peppery tang and
extra flavor from rye croutons and the
chunks of Virginia ham. A note to those who
haven’t had it before: Virginia ham is saltier
and chewier than most other hams, so adjust
your expectations when you bite into one of
those nuggets of meat in the soup. Including
it in this soup adds a rare flavor of Colonial
America in a California beach town. The
only modern element was the garnish of
smoked chicharrones, which added a rich
crunch to the mix.
The flavor of the Hamachi was another
coast and another century; marinated
chopped yellowtail with micro-greens, tomato,
radish slices, cucumber, Thai chili, peaches,
and peanuts. A puffed rice chip with
sesame on the side adds an additional texture,
if one is needed. Those items don’t
sound like they should work together but
they do. There’s a slightly different balance
34 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
The Arthur J brings a Mid-Century
style to downtown Manhattan
Beach. Photo by Brad Jacobson
in every bite.
We wavered between a classic Caesar
and the Treviso salad, but decided on the
latter because we were intrigued by the
combination of bitter lettuce with ricotta
cheese, mission figs and pine nuts with a
sherry vinaigrette. It was interesting but
not entirely successful. Our server had
mentioned that the Treviso had been
marinated and seared, both of which
usually diminish the bitterness of this
heirloom lettuce variety, but it still had a
rather sharp flavor in bites that didn’t
include the cheese. Using the velvety,
aged ricotta rather than the usual parmesan
was an inspired move, but I would
have preferred more of it, and that it be
cut in smaller pieces so it was spread
through the dish more evenly. The idea
of bitter radicchio with figs and cheese
was excellent, but at least that day the balance
was a bit off.
Unusual variations on classic cocktails are
offered, under inexplicable names. A sidecar
is renamed “Gromit’s whip,” a blood and
sand “Ultimate Degradation.” The fact that
they have any variation of blood and sand is
near miraculous — it’s a mix of scotch
whisky, vermouth, cherry liqueur and
orange juice that was invented in the 1920s
and is unjustly obscure. If you have ever
enjoyed good cocktails, you must try them
here. The booze is top shelf and the people
behind the bar are masters of their craft.
Wine is better with dinner, of course, so
we asked the sommelier to suggest something.
He suggested Champagne with the
split pea soup and a white Montrachet with
the salad. The pairings were spot on. I’m
going to want sparkling wine with pea soup
from now on.
The main courses here are served on an a
la carte basis, though you wouldn’t know
that from the menu. The vegetables and
starches that are mentioned on the same line
as the chops and seafood are mere garnishes.
On the visit with the carnivore we ordered a
ribeye and the sea bream, on the second visit
rack of lamb and a pork chop. (I had been
attracted by an artichoke and cheese dish
that someone at an adjacent table was eating
with gusto, but couldn’t resist the pork.)
The meats followed a simple formula: top
quality product minimally seasoned and
expertly cooked. The pork is from a rare
crossbreed of Hungarian and English
breeds, the meat darker, sweeter and more
richly flavored than even most heritage
breeds and the Colorado lamb will make
you forget that bland stuff from the
The sea bream was less exotic, but used an
interesting, modern preparation. It had been
dusted with fennel pollen, which lends a
delightfully sweet, spicy scent. Bream is similar
to bass but is more sustainable. The
moist, rich fish came away from the bone
easily. Scottish salmon and lobster are also
offered and based on this meal I’d like to
explore their other seafood options.
As for the steaks, the item that is the centerpiece
for most meals here, both prime
dry-aged beef and wet-aged Angus beef are
available. Supermarket beef is wet-aged and
not for very long. It has an agreeable, mild
flavor. Dry aging intensifies the flavor and
adds a funky richness that is generally associated
with lamb and game meats. Dry-aged
steaks are also more expensive because they
lose volume in the process. We decided on
the dry-aged ribeye and after dithering over
the 13 sauces and eight toppings to choose
from, decided to have none. We wanted to
experience the meat by itself. It was a
superlative steak, and as we ate it we mused
that The Arthur J is missing a bet. They
should offer small portions of both wet and
dry aged steak so that customers could learn
the difference. Offhand, I think that they’d
sell more of the dry-aged to repeat customers
because they will have a basis for comparison.
The Arthur J is at 903 Manhattan Avenue
in downtown Manhattan Beach. Open daily at 5 p.m.,
close 10:30 p.m.. Sun-Wed., 11 p.m. Thu-Sat. Street
parking, wheelchair access good, full bar. Some vegetarian
items. Reservations suggested at
thearthurj.com, phone 310-878-9620.
A variety of sides was offered and these
change with the seasons. A terrific fava
bean dish that I enjoyed on the first visit
was gone on the second, replaced by acorn
squash with candied pecans. The mustard
spaetzle was gone too, though I know of no
reason German handmade noodles would
be seasonal. Perhaps they weren’t popular
because nobody knew what they were.
A steakhouse favorite that seems to have
a perennial place on the menu is creamed
spinach. The version here is the classic –
cooked down with real cream and topped
with crisp fried onions.
Desserts were offered, but here the menu
is out of balance. With the exception of
some sherbets, everything was heavy and
rich. Had something light like a fruit tart or
other, similar pastry been offered we would
have ordered it, but on both visits we didn’t
see anything that called to us.
Dinner at The Arthur J is on the high side
by local standards. The less expensive of the
two meals ran just over $250 for two, with
two cocktails and four glasses of wine. That
could have been much less if we had
watched the wine budget. One the sommelier
suggested was almost $25 for a threeounce
pour. It was a splendid pairing, but
there were other good ones at more modest
The Arthur J is a temple to a certain kind
of dining, the mid-century modern décor
in harmony with the ideas on the menu. At
their best both are about simple ideas elegantly
executed. In one case it’s wood polished
and sculpted to show its beauty, in
the other dishes crafted to show off minimally
enhanced, excellent ingredients. One
could only wish that the patriarch of the
family could have lived to see it. B
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 35
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 37
Before the last
Who we were and where we lived
by Bondo Wyszpolski
It wasn’t long ago, in 2012, that John Post published a book of his
photographs to commemorate the Manhattan Beach centennial.
The John Post Gallery has been a staple of downtown Manhattan
Beach for many years and it’s a safe guess that very few people of
Post’s caliber have taken note of the city’s physical growth and
changes as closely as he has. The 2012 book, by the way, was nicely
Afterwards, Post says, “People asked me how come I didn’t do
Hermosa. Well… it wasn’t Hermosa’s centennial.”
Which probably got him thinking about the larger picture, in every
sense of the word.
“So in 2013 I decided to do a South Bay book. These books take
anywhere from two to three years, and three months, no matter
what the book is.”
The “three months” part seems puzzling at first, until one realizes
it’s the two to three years that contains all the groundwork. “Until
you make the commitment, it’s all in your head and some notes on
paper. Then it’s crunch time; then you’ve got to come through.”
Postmodern, of course
“The original thought was Our South Bay,” Post says. “But the trick
is always what do you leave in and what do you leave out? Do you
put in every street corner in town? It kept narrowing itself down
until finally it became the coastline, strictly the coastline.”
And so, within 100 pages, Post has given us his best images of five
different cities, beginning with El Segundo to the north and curving
down around the Peninsula to the south. Not surprisingly, the bulk
of the work focuses on Hermosa, Manhattan, and Redondo Beach
and Torrance (which lays claim to a sliver of sand called Rat Beach).
Also not surprisingly, the ocean seems to be present even when it’s
not in the frame.
Post explains his approach, his basic philosophy, when it comes to
hefting a camera and venturing outdoors:
“I rarely shoot a photograph for myself; all my photographs I take
for the viewer. I get to have the experience. As I’ve told people over
the years, if I wasn’t a photographer I probably wouldn’t even have
a camera. It’s too much work. But I take my pictures to capture the
moment for other people to experience who either don’t have the
chance to make have experience, whatever that image may be.
“So, to go back to the book, it’s about sharing. Sharing where we
live with the residents.”
It may seem like an easy enough endeavor, as if any shutterbug
with a couple of weeks on their hands could go out and get enough
shots of the Beach Cities for a book, but we need to remember that
John Post has been making images of the area for 40 years. These
pictures are culled from the best of the best.
“Sunset surfer at the Cove.”
“Hermosa Beach Plaza in the rain.”
“I believe it’s the first book of its
kind,” Post says, at the same time not
failing to mention Robi Hutas, whom
Post feels was the original trailblazer.
Hutas has been documenting the
South Bay in pictures since the
“I consider myself the first one to
document the beach as art,” Post continues,
in contrast with Hutas whose
pictures range from the Redondo
Beach waterfront (before the city
ruined it) to nearly every major volleyball
tournament in Manhattan
and Hermosa Beach. Another difference
is that the vast majority of what
Hutas photographed was in black
and white whereas with Post it’s
pretty much all color, and usually a
vibrant color at that.
For our children’s children’s
Another reason for Our South Bay, Post says, is for the sake of
posterity, and not just so that we will be able to recall the various
buildings and opens spaces that define the look of an area. At the
end of the book are several pages in small print containing the
names of current residents — those who responded to ads and
announcements to submit their own names and sometimes those
of family members. There’s a reason why this was important.
“We always see photographs of our times accompanied by the
names of city officials,” Post says. “Rarely if ever are photographs
of an area (accompanied) by the names of the average citizens who
make up the communities. I wanted this book to contain a record
of those people.”
Kind of like the Titanic, I reply, kidding him. You’ll have the passenger
list; ‘cause we’re all going down with the big ship, right?
Post laughs. “I think it’ll be more like Carnival Cruises, sailing off
into the sunset.”
“Longfellow Avenue, Hermosa Beach.”
The ever-changing landscape
Although it never enters the book, there’s an underlying theme
that those who leaf through Our South Bay may not even notice and
that’s the issue of gentrification or, less politically charged, the simple
fact of change. I’m not so sure that Post was eager to discuss this,
because his pictures — with very little text; only a short introduction
— bypass the subject altogether. And yet what we see is always
accompanied by what we don’t see. The past nips at our heels no less
than the future.
But of course Post has been around long enough to witness firsthand
how the cities around us have grown and grown.
“This might be the first and only book to document the beaches
and the coastline before they go Miami Beach,” he says with a grin.
In particular, he mentions the AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach,
the site of which will one day be quite different and, you can count
on it, anything but open land.
This is yet one more reason why Our South Bay is important as a
visual document of the area. Who hasn’t come upon a suddenly
vacant lot and then wondered what had been there? “These things
just disappear,” Post says, “and you can’t go back.
“They’re always trying to keep the small town atmosphere,” he
adds, “but that train left in the ‘90s, after the first home went for over
$5 million. They want to keep the symbols, but they want everything
that made the symbols gone.” That also includes former residents.
“The people who made the place can’t afford to live here.”
As mentioned, that’s not really what the book is about, although
the topic sits quietly in the
background of every page.
Also, the photos are aesthetically
pleasing and uplifting for
the most part, paradise on
parade, with no drunks stumbling
out of bars or people
scrounging through recycling
bins. That’s a series for someone
else with a different purpose
What John Post has set out to
do is give us a bit of permanence
between cardboard covers,
the Beach Cities preserved.
“This book,” he says, “is not
a cell phone, not a selfie, not a
moment you can tweet and be
done with it forever. This is
hard copy. This is not something
you keep on your phone
and thumb and thumb and
“Hermosa Beach storm surf, 1988.”
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 39
40 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
thumb and waste time. This is
something to take you away
from the cell phone, to take you
away from digital entrapments.”
Post gestures to the large format
photographs on the walls
around him. “Drama is in the
detail,” he says and he points out
the detail in his work. “Too
many pictures nowadays focus
on the drama and not the detail
and as soon as you look beyond
the drama the picture’s just an
John Post makes photographs
that tell us, and will tell those
who come after us, who we
were and where we lived. His
new book is a vital document of
the Beach Cities as they exist
now, today, before the last
Carnival Cruise sails into the
Our South Bay (100 pp., 114
full-color photographs) is available
online at Johnpost.com, by phone
(310) 376-6982, or by email
John@JohnPost.com. The current
price is $109. The John Post
Gallery is located at 808
Manhattan Ave., Manhattan
Beach. Hours, Wednesday through
Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. B
MAMA LIZ 33RD ANNUAL
ver 400 guests enjoyed a sit down dinner
with all the fixin’s at the 33rd Annual
Mama Liz Thanksgiving dinner. The
Hermosa Beach Kiwanis and Rotary clubs donated
their halls in Valley Park and guests were
served by community volunteers. Donna Dawick
organized the volunteers and Misty Dawn gathered
up over 40 cooked turkeys from fellow
Berkshire Hathaway Realtors. Sandpipers donated
over 50 pies and Jonathan Coleman served as
Photos by Kevin Cody
1. The carving crew Mark and Evan Hamilton
and Jess Aispuro.
2. Jim Jones on banjo, Bob White on trumpet
and Jerry Rothschild on piano.
3. Chef Pascal Allaire.
4. The Harrow family Michael, Cora, Becca,
Talia and Abigail.
5. Dinner director Donna Dawick begins the
dinner with a Thanksgiving prayer.
6. Yvette Ford.
7. Dennis "The Balloonman" Forel.
8. The Bolls family Steve, Camille, Catherine
9. The kitchen crew Michael Harrow, Julie
Sherman, Michele Coleman,Tracy “The Brit”
Powelcz, and Jessie Kay Kravik.
10. Musical director Jonathan Coleman.
11. Chris Rodriquez and Mike Pinera.
12. The pie crew Tracey Coe and Kathy and
9 10 11
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 41
HERMOSA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
RELIVES BILTMORE HOTEL DAYS
isions of ballroom dancing at the Biltmore
Hotel in the 1920s were evoked by the
Hermosa Beach Historical Society last
month with a party that began in the museum and
then moved to the upstairs ballroom (converted
earlier in the day with considerable creativity
from a basketball gymnasium).
For more information on the historical society
1. Joan Roney, Rachel Nyback, Dorothy
Courtney, Beverley Baird and Carol Reznichek.
2. Carol Reznichek with the room key from her
last night at the Biltmore Hotel.
3. Hermosa Beach Historical Museum curator
Christopher Uebelhor and his wife Stacey with
councilman Hany Fangary.
4. Lance and Christine Widman.
5. Doug Neilsen.
6. Jackie Tagliaferro, Krista Capo and Kim
7. Barbara Gunning, Janice Brittain, Annie
Seawright-Newton, Brigid Dowd and Dani Hart.
8. Jake and Trish Courtney.
9. Chris Miller and Bob Courtney.
10. Friend and Connie Roderick.
11. Kim MacMullen (right) with fellow You Can
Dance Studio dancers.
12. You Can Dance owner Irina Trebunskaya
and her husband.
13. Susan and Harold Cohen with HBHS
president Norm and Lorna Rosen.
14. Harold and Susan Cohen.
15. Betsy Ryan and Jennifer McNally.
16. Mick Felder with his 1934 Ford Roadster,
which he built from spare parts in 1962.
17. Will Watson and Brigid Dowd.
42 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 43
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CSC’S GIRLS NIGHT OUT
Comedy & Magic Club event
Cancer Support Community Redondo
Beach hosted its 13th Annual Girls
Night Out at the Comedy & Magic Club
October 6, 7 and 8 in celebration of Breast
Cancer Awareness Month and “the women
in our lives who have been touched by
breast cancer.” This 3-night affair raised
Photos by Adrienne Slaughter
1. Waiting in line
before the Comedy &
Magic Club doors
open are Dolores
Crookston, CSC’s Meli
Glover, Mary Lou
Giebel, Lorine Testa
and Maureen Lewis.
2. CSC’s employees
and volunteers Molly
Reichle, Meli Padilla,
LIsa Jensen, Mindy
Stogsdill and Nicole
3. Active South Bay
Lewis, Lisa Raymond
and Dorothy Yost.
4. CSC’s Co-founder
McMillan and Theresa
5. Sponsor Macy’s
Angela Berardo, Nikki
Saffrey and Shereen
6. King Harbor
Corradi and Joann
Turk with guest
Sarah Kirsh and End
Hakami and Dominic
7. CSC’s CEO Judith
Opahl with Kimberly
Caballero and Danielle
8. Emmy Award
winner and volunteer
David Plakos with
Dorothy Yost and 2-
time cancer survivor
9. Bidding on the
silent auction items
are Laura Kauls and
10. CSC Redondo
Beach staff Pam
Martis, Paula Moore,
Amy Martinez, Molly
Lomibao, CEO Judith
Opdahl, Nida Padilla
and Theresa Plakos
11. CSC board
Rietdyk with president
of the board Kyle
Kazan entertained in
many costumes during
the live auction.
46 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 47
Powerful kills by Megan Rice have impressed spectators on both sides of the gym.
Photo by Ray Vidal
by Randy Angel
Two years ago, Redondo girls volleyball
coach Tommy Chaffins asked his players
whom they thought he was toughest on
and made the most uncomfortable. They all
pointed at sophomore Megan Rice.
Chaffins knew Rice had the athleticism and
competitiveness to become a vital cog in
Redondo’s volleyball program, but she needed
to strengthen her mental game.
“There is a process about learning mental
toughness and as far as I can tell, there isn't
any ‘nice and easy’ way to learn it,” Chaffins
said. “An athlete has to go through struggles
and learn how to respond to failure and most
importantly, how to move on to the next play. I
was tough on her as I have been on every player
I have coached. When I say tough, it isn't
yelling, but holding the athlete accountable if
they aren't moving on to the next play.”
The lesson was well learned. The hardswinging,
6-foot outside hitter has led Redondo
to a second consecutive appearance in the CIF
State Division 1 finals while enjoying an All-
CIF caliber season as the team’s leading scorer.
Chaffins is known for his credo “next play
focus” and he knew when Rice had reached
“I can pinpoint the moment when I felt she
had it. It was last season at Mira Costa,”
Chaffins recalled. “We were down 0-2, and she
led our comeback win. We wouldn't have won
state last year without Megan having superior
‘next play focus.’ After that night, I didn't have
to make her feel uncomfortable any more,
because she had it and I was so happy for her.”
Rice’s positive attitude and steady play have
been key factors in Redondo’s success. The Sea
Hawks entered the State finals with a 36-4
record, in what has been a pressure-packed
As defending State champions, Redondo has
had a bullseye on its back throughout the season
and with the graduation of stars Yaasmeen
Bedart-Ghani (Texas), Abril Bustamante (USC),
Kristen Hamlin (Cal Poly) and Hayes Honea
(Amherst), the load put on Rice’s shoulders
would have slowed most players down.
Prior to the season, Chaffins named Rice cocaptain
along with fellow senior Norene Iosia,
a four-year varsity starter who is arguably the
best setter in the nation.
“I knew the pressure was coming,” Rice said.
48 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
“Chaffins made my junior year super hard. He has always
challenged me at practice and I think the experience of
playing in so many important matches last year prepared
me for this season.”
Chaffins said most people didn’t expect the Sea Hawks
to reach the State championship after losing four talented
seniors from last year’s squad and Redondo did drop a little
bit this season. The Sea Hawks lost their bid for backto-back
CIF-SS Division 1AA titles, losing to Mater Dei in
the championship match and they finished the regular season
sharing the Bay League crown with rival Mira Costa.
“There is no secret to our team this season. We count on
Megan to do so much for us offensively: serve, receive, and
blocking,” Chaffins said. “She has had one of the best seasons
of any outside hitter since I have been at Redondo.
Before Megan Rice could play up
to her championship level potential
she had to learn ‘next play focus’
She is in the same conversation as any of the Dykstras
(Devon/Lara/Skylar) and Yazzie (Bedart-Ghani). A top
national program can't exist without an outstanding outside
hitter and we’re blessed to have one of the best in the
“Last year, teams couldn't just focus on Megan due to the
other players. This year, every team’s number one focus is
to stop Megan. No one has.”
Rice’s volleyball success developed over a relatively brief
time. She didn’t begin playing volleyball until she was a
seventh grader at Hermosa Valley School, which is late for
Megan Rice’s all-around play has helped Redondo reach the
State Championship for the second consecutive year.
Photo by Ray Vidal
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December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 49
a player in the South Bay.
She played soccer and was a star player
on her basketball team, but would often
attend the club volleyball practices of her
older brother Nathan, who subsequently
played for Redondo.
“Nathan’s coach Dale Smith got me
interested in volleyball by involving me in
his practices,” Rice said. “I was only 5-
foot- 5 in middle school and hadn’t really
thought about playing volleyball. My dad
wanted me to stick with basketball, but I
really liked volleyball because it is a noncontact
sport and truly a team sport. It
takes every player to win.”
“Megan was so good at basketball,” her
father Jeff said. “When you watch your
kid, since the age of five be the player all
the other kids would throw the ball to and
then see her shoot three-pointers as an
eight-year-old, it’s hard to make that transition.
But when she started playing volleyball,
it was obvious she would bring
that same level of athleticism to the new
game and I haven’t looked back at all.”
Rice was placed on the frosh/soph team
to give her playing time although she
could have battled for a spot on the JV
“She needed to play 100 percent of the
time since she hadn't played much volleyball,”
Chaffins said. “I knew, she would be
on varsity the following year because of
her athleticism and competitiveness.”
During her first year at Redondo she
began a friendship with Iosia who,
although also a freshman, was an assistant
coach for her father Moe on the
“I still learn from Norene all the time,”
Rice said. “Even though we’re the same
age, I have always looked up to her. I’m so
lucky to have a setter like her. She plays at
a collegiate level and is a giant reason why
we are where we are.”
“Megan has come a long way and has
worked very hard the last few years,” Iosia
said. “She’s been a rock for us and our goto
player this season. She can handle any
type of pressure and always has a positive
attitude on the court. When I get a little
down, I can look at her and know that,
hey, we got this.”
Rice feels her strength is her front row
play and playing intelligently. She credits
Chaffins and assistant coach Tiffany
Rodriguez for finding new ways for her to
“Megan’s always had the ‘home run’
swing, but swinging for the fences isn't
always the right choice,” Chaffins
explained. “I have been so pleased with
her decision making and ability to score in
a variety of ways, not just with the fastball.
There are many of times when the
right play is to snap the ball in, hopefully
to an uncomfortable spot for our opponent
and give our defense a chance to extend
Rice said last year’s five-set win over
Mater Dei to win the Southern California
Regional championship and upsetting
Torrey Pines – the top ranked team in the
state – on the road in the second round of
this year’s regional tournament as her
most memorable matches.
“The entire run to State title last year
was something I’ll never forget,” Rice said.
“That experience helped me become a better
player. Playing in front of the giant
crowd and having 32 kills at Torrey Pines
was also a huge match for me.”
She said her favorite moment came
when she killed the last point in
Redondo’s come-from-behind, 5-set victory
over rival Mira Costa to win the 2014
Bay League title.
Rice will take her talents to UC Santa
Barbara next fall but has another goal set
before she embarks on her college career.
“I really want to medal in the Junior
Olympics,” she said, who will play for the
Sunshine 18’s club team. “I’ve played for
Nike West for the last three years and we
made the Open Division at the Junior
Olympics each year. It’s been a great experience
playing against the best club teams
across the country.”
Wanting to stay in California, Rice
talked with coaches at a Loyola
Marymount and San Diego State but chose
UC Santa Barbara because of its beach setting
and its proximity to her Hermosa
“It’s far enough away from home but
close enough so my family can watch me
play,” Rice said. “I should be able to earn
a starting position as a freshman. Many
schools consider me too short at outside
hitter and I love the game so much, I just
want to play. I hope to help the team reach
the NCAA tournament.”
Along with Dale Smith, Rice credits
Tiffany Rodriguez as playing vital roles in
her volleyball career.
“Tiffany was my first coach at Hermosa
Valley,” Rice said. “She came to Redondo
to coach when I was a sophomore, so
we’ve been through a lot together.”
Yet it is the bond between Rice and
Chaffins that has produced yet another
player on the list of Sea Hawk greats.
“He holds the bar so high for me,” Rice
said. “I appreciate him working with me.
Other coaches might focus on players
needing more work but he gives me just as
Chaffins said Rice’s enthusiasm for the
success of her teammates along with her
leadership, traits are what make a champion.
“Megan always gives full effort on
every play, sacrificing her body every
practice,” Chaffins said. “It sets the tone of
a gym culture when your best athletes lay
it out in practice like Megan does.”
Megan Rice makes a block during Redondo’s 2014
Southern California Regional Championship win
against Mater Dei. Photo by Ray Vidal
They joke about it now, but every so often
Chaffins will ask Rice if she remembers how he
used to make her feel uncomfortable – usually in
front of the team when another player has to go
through the same treatment.
Rice says it made her better but admits it wasn’t
“Credit should also go to her parents, Jeff and
Lisa, for allowing her to go through that process,”
Chaffins said. “I think many parents today are
quick to try to ‘fix’ their kid’s athletic/school
issues. They allowed Megan to go through the
process of personal growth.Young people have to
learn to advocate for themselves, go through the
learning process and figure out ways to be successful.
I knew Megan's competitiveness would help
her figure out what she needed to do so I would
get off her back." B
50 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 10, 2015
Coach Feather cont. from page 24
ing volleyball. It looked like fun, so I gave it a try and fell in love with
the game,” Featherstone recalled. “It turned out to be the best thing
I ever did for all my other sports. It helped my surfing and it helped
my football immensely because when the season rolled around, I
reported to practice in great shape. Because of the great workout of
running in the sand, I’ve never had problems with my lower extremities
During the summer of 1975, when Featherstone was taking advantage
of an off-season lull from his coaching duties in San Diego, he
joined forces with three friends to form the Mission Beach Volleyball
Clinic for adults. It was an immediate success and the program was
packed for five summers.
Just as the athletic days of his youth would prove valuable for
Featherstone later in life, the experience gained from the adult volleyball
clinic would pay dividends down the road.
Featherstone’s future would include four daughters.
“I’m very lucky with all my daughters,” Featherstone said. “They
didn’t get into the drink and drug deal. Plus, they all love football so
we support each other.”
Although athletics didn’t appeal to his oldest daughter Terre, sisters
Ivy, Keegan and Arianna all played volleyball. Keegan is the girls
volleyball head coach at Bishop Montgomery High School.
Even though the girls fall volleyball season coincides with football,
Featherstone attended as many of his daughter’s athletic events as
“I know how important it is for parents to go to back to school
nights and other school functions. Unfortunately, a lot of kids on my
football teams didn’t have that kind of support growing up and that
breaks my heart.”
After Featherstone became a parent, he saw how popular volleyball
was becoming for girls. “We had the facilities right here,” he
said. “So I started coaching and started my own club, the Manhattan
Beach Tidal Waves.”
Last summer, Featherstone celebrated the 21st year of his beach
volleyball clinic, which includes two sessions. “Kids taking Junior
Lifeguards in morning take my class in the afternoon and vice versa.
Parents can drop their kids off for an entire day at the beach. I see
how much fun kids have playing the sport. I’ve been overjoyed
teaching young kids the great sport of beach volleyball. I’ve loved
every second of it.”
If playing recreational and master’s competition in beach volleyball
along with coaching the sport wasn’t enough for Featherstone,
he found time to serve as a referee for many years.
“I refereed a lot in the ‘80s and enjoyed the high caliber of competition,”
Featherstone said. “Professional beach volleyball players are
some of the best athletes in the world and can match up with those
in any other sport.” B
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Pub Date: January 14, 2016 • Deadline Date: December 31, 2015
December 10, 2015 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 51