Memorial Day weekend mostly incident free

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Gianno Hancox and Cody Gorecki found themselves buried up to their necks in sand at Zuma Beach during the Memorial Day weekend holiday. Photo by Devon Meyers / TMT

More than 190,000 people came to Malibu’s beaches over the three-day weekend. The girlfriend of a missing Agoura Hills man needed to be rescued after hiking down a canyon in search of him.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

Memorial Day weekend attendance at Malibu’s beaches was slightly down this year, but there was still a large number of people who came to enjoy the surfing, sand and sun. More than 108,000 visited Malibu on Monday. Last year on Memorial Day, more than 126,000 came to the Malibu coast.

“We had pretty big crowds and just lots of activity,” said Los Angeles County Lifeguard Capt. Dan Atkins. “Sunday had five hours of just warm sun and surf.”

Sunday, which Atkins said was the best of the three days in terms of weather, also drew a large number of beach-goers, with approximately 58,000 people. A little less than half that, 24,000, got their Memorial Day weekend started early by coming to the Malibu beaches on Saturday.

Cold weather combined with strong riptides made swimming difficult for some. Fifty-six lifeguard rescues took place, including 41 on Monday.

“Swimmers aren’t as good as they used to be,” Atkins said. “They get pulled from the shore. If they don’t get back in quickly, they get hypothermia. Yesterday we had some good riptides pulling them.”

Atkins said there were various medical emergencies that needed to be attended to, including some allergic reactions and head injuries, but nothing serious.

On Sunday at Corral Beach, a man was cited for exposing himself to four young women. “It seems we have at least one of those every year,” Atkins said.

Also on Sunday, there was a report that an allegedly drunk man tried to kill a seal at Leo Carrillo State Beach. Atkins said the incident was handled by California Department of Parks and Recreation officials. State Parks officials could not be reached for comment.

With all the cars entering and leaving Malibu, traffic backups did occur, but there were no major accidents that caused any lengthy delays, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Lt. Debra Glafkides said.

“It was very uneventful, that’s what we like,” said California Highway Patrol spokesperson Leland Tang.

The lone significant incident occurred Monday evening on a cliff just south of the tunnel on Malibu Canyon Road. A woman had hiked down the canyon and gotten stuck. The Sheriff’s Mountain Rescue Team and Los Angeles County firefighters were called to the scene. The woman was rescued, and no injuries were reported.

The woman’s name was not released, but it was reported that she is the girlfriend of missing Agoura man Jonathan Richard Varble. The woman told Sheriff’s officials that she thought she had seen his car. The two vehicles inside the canyon turned out to be cars that had been there for a while, but had not been removed.

Varble, 24, has been missing since Saturday night. He was last seen at Bogie’s restaurant on Agoura Road in Westlake Village around midnight.