Defying the odds, one man rides his wave

Zach Platt can barely use his arms, but that doesn't stop him from skimboarding.
In an explicable display of finesse, determination and years of practice, Platt, 32, manages to use his feet to push a skimboard down the sand, then hurl himself onto the board and into a wave.
In some sense, he was just like all the other competitors at last weekend's 40th annual Victoria Skimboards World Championship of Skimboarding, aka "The Vic," in Laguna Beach.
But make no mistake, Platt is unlike anyone else.


Being Muslim behind the Orange Curtain

The three men were old enough to have beards but young enough to look impressionable.
They were walking toward me knowing I was out of place. It was, after all, their mosque, their prayer hall, and yet here I was in black skinny jeans and a bright blue shirt – tucked out.
By contrast, they had subdued robes and prayer caps and a severe sense of awareness.
As they approached, now quite close, I felt my chest tighten and adrenalin skyrocket. For better or worse, I had a fight or flight urge that I could not deny.


Laguna’s John Gardiner leaves a poetic legacy

He was a beloved, disheveled, charismatic ball of energy whose eyes sparkled when he talked about poetry or wolves or Shakespeare.
John Abbot Gardiner, poet, author, UC Irvine instructor, Shakespearian expert, rabble rouser, mystic and gentlemen, died unexpectedly on Monday. He was 70.
A Laguna Beach legend, Gardiner’s stories and influence reached well beyond the comfortable beachside confines that he called home. Everyone who met Gardiner was immediately drawn to his welcoming, unflappable energy.