Laguna Beach city officials are finding themselves in the unenviable position of having to curtail something that is a lot of fun. And fun is important to Lagunans, especially those reared on the thrills of surfing and other water sports. Of course, the subject here is skateboarding.
Skateboarding has its origins in the sport of surfing; it's a combination of surfing and skating, invented by some genius who thought 'Why not put wheels on a surfboard?' It's thrilling, exhilarating, dangerous and can be a lucrative sport for those who excel at it.
But while surfing takes place in the ocean — except for spots that are "black-balled" to surfers as a concession to the safety of beachgoers — skateboarding happens on public sidewalks and streets. And Laguna Beach — with its quiet, steep and winding canyon roads — has become a mecca for speedboarders who use their special boards to zip downhill at astonishing speeds. It's no doubt fun, and a test of skill and mettle, but it's also a safety hazard for the speedboarders and the general public who must also traverse these streets, with hairpin turns and narrow lanes that test the best of drivers.