Surf meets hoof as board-toting beachgoer navigates a path through the cowboys and their herd.
The usual early morning sight along the wide white beaches in Huntington Beach, California are surfers, surfers and more surfers.
That was until a few days ago when the coastal cattle drive hit town.
Myron Arnold said he knew something was different Thursday morning when he drove down Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. “It wasn’t salty air and it wasn’t suntan lotion.” It was, well, another aroma.
Forty cowboys and nine cattle dogs led 100 steers down a 1 1/2 -mile stretch of sand in Huntington Beach at 7 a.m., a time of day usually reserved for surfers and joggers.
And so it was that Surf City was transformed into Cow Town, if only for an hour.
The surf-and-hoof event at the Huntington Beach Pier was meant to promote both the Orange County Fair and the U.S. Open of Surfing, an annual tournament taking place just south of the city’s historic pier.
Marketing intentions aside, the sights and sounds and smells of a cattle run in a city best known for its legendary surf created more than a little excitement.
Crowds viewed the herd from a beachside path on a bluff as the bovine brigade shuffled south toward the pier.
No fewer than four news helicopters documented the cattle drive.
“We’re the herd following the herd,” said Rick Henn, 48, a mail carrier from Huntington Beach who took the day off to see the cattle with his wife, Beth.
The cowboys, sporting Stetsons, jeans, boots and bandannas, wore wraparound sunglasses and tropical shirts.
One of them, Robert Kidd, a former resident of Huntington Beach, said herding cattle on the beach was an age-old tradition. So much so that his four-member team of wranglers call themselves the Long Board Cowboys.
“This used to be cattle country right here,” he said from atop a mule. “I left Huntington Beach in a Chevy in ’66 and came back on a mule.
“That mule wore a black banner reading, “Never Surf Downstream From the Herd.”
After the bovine sand parade, the cowboys and cattle dogs herded their Longhorns away from the U.S. Open of Surfing and on to less sandy pastures.
Story: Los Angeles Times