Dennis Moran: At the water’s edge, the “energy and essence” of a city game | Sports
[Noozhawk’s note: This is the introduction to a series of articles on the myriad of recreational activities along the Santa Barbara waterfront.]
Every week, sometimes twice, Stuart Goldfarb comes from his home in Camarillo for a yoga class at Leadbetter Beach Park in Santa Barbara.
There are surely yoga classes closer to Camarillo. But there is an “essence” here that he shared with Adrienne, his 51-year-old wife, who died last year from a long illness, during which Goldfarb was a 24-hour caregiver and 7 days a week.
His death left him devastated – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially.
“I miss her,” he said. “The Bee Gees had a song, ‘How do I mend a broken heart? You don’t. But you continue to live.
Michael Lewis’s longtime Leadbetter yoga class is helping restore Goldfarb, a prominent Los Angeles-area criminal defense attorney. He loves the way Lewis teaches.
“Yoga has been a big help,” he said. “My head cleared up.”
And at this place.
“We used to come here,” he says. “We loved Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has an energy and an essence that other places do not have.
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Stuart Goldfarb beams with the spirit of the ‘namaste’ as he prepares for a yoga class at Leadbetter Beach Park. (Photo by Dennis Moran / Noozhawk)
When it comes to their gorgeous waterfront, many locals in Santa Barbara don’t just sit back and enjoy the view. Instead, they hire him.
Swimmers, runners, cyclists, sailors, skaters, volleyball players, dancers and many more bring the postcard to life every day.
This series will explore the various recreational activities offered at the sites along the waterfront along Cabrillo Boulevard and part of Shoreline Drive, from where Leadbetter Beach hides in the Cliffs of Mesa, to the location. where East Beach ends at the base of Bellosguardo, known to locals as the top of Clark Estate Hill.
Those few miles encompass fitness communities and individuals who test and improve themselves, have fun, bond and learn skills throughout life.
And a closer look reveals fascinating personal stories of how the “energy and essence” of Santa Barbara, to use Goldfarb’s phrase, can improve lives.
This was magnified as California tentatively exited COVID-19 restrictions this summer. The joy, appreciation and participation seem to be amplified a few notches.
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Susan Dickinson is the co-chair of Friends of Los Baños del Mar Pool, an organization supporting the city’s historic, Olympic-sized oceanfront swimming pool, built as part of a New Deal project in 1939.
“It is one of the most beautiful swimming pools in the world,” she said. She’s been a regular since she was a student in 1979.
“I ended up at UCSB and never left,” she said. “The usual story.”
On the way to the races: A Wet Wednesday sailboat race provides a backdrop for swimmers participating in the Nite Moves Summer Sunset series off Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. (Photo by Dennis Moran / Noozhawk)
As she recently got ready for a lifeguards training session, she shared how the Los Baños swimming pool has helped her cope during the pandemic. After an initial closure, the pool reopened in May 2020 with strict distancing protocols, frequent disinfectant cleaning and several other safety measures.
“Thanks to the pandemic (the pool), that’s what saved me,” Dickinson said. “I have my own business that works with seniors. I am a senior lawyer and I go in and out of institutions defending the elderly.
“It was a safe place for me. I felt like I could be here and relax a bit.
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During the summer 2020 pandemic, the city’s parks and recreation department struggled to keep programming and facilities as good as they could, even expanding summer camps for youth. as best they could, with all the necessary distances, offering outlets for the children.
Parks and Rec manages the beaches and waterfront parks from East Beach to Leadbetter – and Beyond The Cove next to Arroyo Burro Beach County Park.
“During the pandemic, we have had growth in attendance at camps,” said Rich Hanna, recreation manager for Parks and Rec. “We were one of the only service providers during the pandemic last summer. So the camps were extremely busy and popular, and that has continued this year.
Youth camps, from volleyball at East Beach to skateboarding at Skater’s Point to surfing at Leadbetter, and much more in between have been busy this summer, not to mention the popular Junior Lifeguards program in East. Beach, which employs nearly a thousand young people.
East Beach’s volleyball courts have played host to many of the greatest of all time and remain busy. (Photo by Dennis Moran / Noozhawk)
“And on top of that, when all the indoor fitness venues closed, we kind of transformed our outdoor fitness permit program and saw a huge increase in the number of people moving outside to doing outdoor fitness, ”Hanna said.
There’s also an effort not to over-schedule – to leave plenty of room for impromptu play and relaxation.
“There’s always a balance between how much programming you schedule and how much you make available to the community to access and use as they see fit,” Hanna said. “And I think we do it year after year.”
Chase Palm Park, which runs from off State Street to South Calle Cesar Chavez on both sides of East Cabrillo Boulevard, has grounds for unstructured use, including football and rugby matches or just to hang out. with friends and family amid the iconic curtains of tall Mexican Fan Palm trees.
There are park structures, such as the old Carrousel building, which are available for hire.
Further east, at the Cabrillo Ball Field bordered by the distinctive Chromatic Gate, outdoor fitness equipment has been installed, “an addition that helps keep the positive uses strong,” Hanna said.
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The pandemic has taken its toll on Terrance Brown’s personal training business he had created since arriving in town nine years ago.
Terrance Brown, organizer of SB Rollers, which meets on Sunday at Lot 3 of Santa Barbara City College, is about to show some movements. (Photo by Dennis Moran / Noozhawk)
“I was in a dark place,” said the 32-year-old former college backer.
He called his mother in Miami and told her what an adult dreads saying: “I might have to come back (home). “
“So I was losing him. She said, “Why don’t you just try to skate? “”
As in, the old-fashioned four-wheeled roller skates that were thought to be outdated, to cheer him up.
“I said, ‘I don’t think this is my cup of tea.’ She started telling me her stories, of her and her girlfriends going to the ice rink with their big afros, synchronizing those dance steps. I’m like ‘OK, that sounds interesting.’ “
Fast forward through two lessons at Ventura’s Skating Plus in March 2020, then applying a lot of hard work to his athletic abilities, and now Brown is overseeing SB Rollers, a free activity he created on Sundays in the West Santa Barbara parking lot. City College, across from the Shoreline Beach Café.
“There are so many styles with roller skates,” Brown said.
Learning this and sharing it with others has been a transformation for him. Meanwhile, he’s rebuilding his fitness business.
“I ended up at 32,” Brown said. “I am happy here. Skating did it. I just looked for this thing, and I think skating is that thing. Better late than never.”
This way of recovering from the pandemic “allowed me to see something good and therapeutic, and also for the community as well. So not only did it help me, but I also got a chance to share it.
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Cabrillo’s waterfront as the recreation center we know is a work in progress that dates back to the 1800s.
The historian and author of Santa Barbara Neal Graffy, in his excellent book Santa Barbara: yesterday and today, opens with a section entitled “The Waterfront” which traces this evolution with information and many old and new photographs and illustrations.
The city of Santa Barbara, in its suite of websites, also has plenty of historical information and photos of the waterfront. Historical researcher Hattie Beresford, in her columns for the weekly Montecito Journal, is another important source.
The historical context enriches the present. In 1927, philanthropist David Gray donated the Cabrillo Pavilion to the city “as a gift to the people of Santa Barbara” to be kept for public use, according to the city’s historic Pavilion web page.
Now that Pavilion is nearing the end of a $ 20 million renovation, a new restaurant called Reunion Kitchen is slated to open in September. The fitness facilities with showers and changing rooms are open, and “we’re already renting out the floor for events, weddings and all that stuff,” Hanna said.
Many decades of work have made the Santa Barbara waterfront a work of art on a stunning natural canvas, where the energy and essence of the city is expressed.
(Illustration by Aimee Avery / Noozhawk)