A lack of tropical hurricanes in the southern hemisphere has been
responsible for the dud waves locally, Collins said, sending area
pros to spots such as Indonesia and South Africa for bigger swells.
And a persistent red tide -- caused by phytoplankton blooms that
never seemed to go away -- produced months of blood-red water.
Collins said an usually cold winter meant that ocean waters took
longer to warm up for the summer, creating cold conditions that
allowed the plankton to flourish.
Beach attendance also was down slightly, said Kyle Lindo, the
city's chief of marine operations, although the red tide was not
likely the culprit.
Lower-than-normal temperatures and the spike in gas prices stopped
many from visiting the beach, he suggested.
Despite a heat wave in late July and another in August, Lindo said
cooler temperatures in the Inland Empire kept visitors from
descending on Surf City.
"It just didn't seem like we were getting that beachy weather," he
For the year, about 7.6 million have visited the beach, down from
about 8 million at this point last year.
During the summer peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day,
about 5.1 million people visited city beaches, Lindo said.
Lindo reported a spike in jellyfish stings -- about 5,712
complaints, way up from last year. Beach rescues, he said, dropped to
just a little under 1,100.
"That really says that the lifeguards are doing their jobs to
prevent accidents by warning people about dangerous places to swim
and play," he said.
The city's hotels enjoyed a spike this summer, said Doug Traub,
chief of the conference and visitor's bureau.
During the month of July, hotels saw their revenues climb 17% to
generate about $6.7 million.
"It think you can attribute a lot of that to the economy," Traub
"And you can't underestimate the amount of media exposure the city
A lot of that media came from the city's battle with Santa Cruz
over which was the true "Surf City, USA," Traub said.
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