Labor Day Wrap Up: New chaperone policy helps make for a successful Chili Cook-off

Big surf at Zuma Beach on Sat, Sept. 2. Lifeguards had to be on their toes. Photo by Darrell Riley.

Lack of sun keeps some beachgoers away Labor Day Weekend

A new chaperone policy for minors instituted for the first time this Labor Day Weekend at the Malibu Chili Cook-off appears to have accomplished its goal.

No children unaccompanied by an adult of at least age 21 were allowed into the community event cherished by local families. The Boys & Girls Club Malibu, which has been staging the popular event for the past few years, instituted the chaperone policy after listening to parent concerns regarding the challenges of unsupervised young adults who have been known to let off steam at the end of summer celebration with at times unruly behavior. 

According to a few sources, including Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Volunteers on Patrol Team Leader Mark Russo, “It was a well-behaved, well-attended crowd. Everyone had a really good time.

Overcast skies and a little drizzle kept some beachgoers home, but according to Russo, “The diehard surfers still come to the beach.” From Friday through Monday the surf spots that attracted big crowds were Surfrider and Zuma.

“Overall, the weather was great, and we had a lot of surf traffic on the east end of Malibu from Malibu Canyon to Topanga was very heavy over the holiday weekend.

The VOPs (Volunteers on Patrol) and the sheriff’s beach team issued 302 parking citations over the four day period, not a record, but still a large number. “We have an ongoing parking issue at Birdview and Cliffside at the headlands,” Russo commented on patrolling problem areas, including El Matador and Winding Way. “We get a lot of violations around Malibu Seafood Restaurant and the Chili Cook-off. We have a lot of area to cover.”

Los Angeles County lifeguards reported more than 600,000 visitors to area beaches over the weekend. There were 45 ocean rescues at Malibu beaches and over 100,000 of what are called preventative actions, where lifeguards issue verbal warnings to swimmers. Sixty-seven people needed medical care over the weekend at local beaches. Russo commended the LACO lifeguards. He and his team were called to a stranded swimmer near the Sunset Restaurant who was eventually rescued by the lifeguards. 

The VOPs heard his voice past the breakers and assisted in locating the swimmer. 

“The lifeguards did an amazing job. Had they not found him, he certainly would have drowned. He was out so far in high surf.”

Malibu’s hiking trails were well-visited over the Labor Day weekend as well. By Sunday, when temperatures climbed, the Malibu Search and Rescue team assisted a 32-year-old female hiker in Malibu Creek State Park who was showing signs of dehydration and possible heat-related symptoms. Then on Sunday evening, MSAR was called to help a female hiker on Topanga Tower Motorway. She was carried off the trail by MSAR and a LACO fire crew. On Monday evening, as the crowds were finally leaving Malibu, a helicopter was called to help rescue two people stuck on a cliff at Leo Carrillo Beach. Then, as night fell, MSAR was called again to find a missing hiker in Malibu Creek State Park.

Photo courtesy MSAR
Photo courtesy MSAR