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Surf's Up, Dude!

07/22/2015 03:45PM ● Published by Brandi Barnett

Q97 Snapshot

August 2015
By Billy Pilgrim

We had a saying when I lived in San Diego. “Pacific Beach is pretty bad, Mission Beach is mighty bad, but Ocean Beach is Oh! Bad!” I don’t know where that saying comes from originally, or what it means exactly, but it has always stuck with me.

San Diego was the location of my first paying radio job, and I was fortunate to live in the most relaxed hippie/beatnik/surfer community of Ocean Beach on the peninsula of Point Loma. It is only seven miles over the hill to downtown San Diego, but it is a world all its own and has remained essentially unchanged for the last 35 years. I like to think of it as “the town time forgot.” Once known as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego, the town attracted free spirits to the world famous “The Black” smoke shop. The same people have been working in it since 1975. So much of Newport Avenue remains unchanged. In fact, Hodad’s was established in 1969, featured on “Drive Ins, Diners and Dives” in 2007, and remains the same in 2015. They have the biggest burgers I have ever seen.

I spent an awful lot of time on the OB Pier when I was in my 20s. It is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast and open 24 hours a day. Dog Beach is a couple of hundred yards to the north, where dogs can run leash free. I used to run my lab, Blue, there all of the time. It was one of the first beaches of its kind when it was established in 1972.

Just south of Ocean Beach is Point Loma, home to Fort Rosecrans National Military Cemetery - the views are absolutely breathtaking. Cabrillo National Monument is at the very tip of Point Loma, on top of the highest point, and commemorates the landing of Juan Cabrillo in San Diego Bay in 1542. From the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, you can see the Coronado Islands, Tijuana and all of San Diego Harbor.

I’ve heard that “you can’t go home again,” but I did last November, and it felt like I had never left. The good beach vibes washed over me, and I felt so peaceful, relaxed and happy. That was the best! OB is “Oh! Beautiful”! It’s the coolest place I know.

For more on Ocean Beach and Point Loma, visit Check out the beach live at

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