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  The  Easy Reader's  " Best Of " Hermosa Beach for 2005 

The "Best of the Beach" 2006 - From: the Easy Reader

Best of Food 2006 Parts I - VI

Best of Life, Parts I - II

Best of Music 2006    Best Skate and Surf    Big, colorful bob art, Parts I - II


The Best Of Drinks, Parts I - III

Hit Counter

Best of Music 2006    Best Skate and Surf   

Big, colorful bob art, Parts I - II

The Easy Reader – March 23, 2006

Best of the Beach



Best of Music 2006

Winners of Best Underage Band Sha Shank Redemption.


Best Underage Band

Ska Shank Redemption -
“Life’s tough, wear a helmet.” These are great lyrics to live life by and they’re written by the best local underage band in the South Bay, Ska Shank Redemption, now known as The Incredible Machine. The original name must have not had the staying power these kids from Manhattan do because, by my watch, the top teen talent is in this 8-member band.

This very entertaining young act must have captured the readers attention as well because the votes for best under-21ers came in droves. Their popularity is clearly rising as well for the brass/ska/rock ensemble. The music is driving and the fans are responding. Go young rude boys!

Runner-up (tie): Mavin Holly and the Sunshine blasters, English Work Standard – Ryan Beachkofski

Best DJ

Mixmaster Rob -
In a tough business to establish a name or following, Best DJ in the South Bay is a great honor. Unless you’re riding the very cool shirt tales of a big name act or you don’t mind the horrific hours and the heavily imbibed crowds, the work may seem slightly more rigorous than that of a rock star. However, Mixmaster Rob has captured more than just the South Bay. This 20-year vet of the turntables and diamond needles has worked with likes of the Lynch Mob and Ice Cube. He has turned out more houses than Don the Magic Juan has turned out…well, you get the idea.

Never in the same place twice in a row, Mixmaster has gained a legion of dance hall regulars that book their weekends based on his attendance. That’s the real accomplishment. Being the best has its rewards.

Runner-up: DJ Element, Patrick Molloy’s – Ryan Beachkofski

Best Ear-Piercing Live Show

Loud Neighbor I thought I had loud parents -
The mom and dad team of Aris and Joyce Corkos, along with Nic Halikis and Todd Turguand, are officially the loudest ear-piercing live show in town, as voted by the readers of the ER. This category was also the official landslide. This white collar foursome from Palos Verdes can be heard weekly in the South Bay almost everywhere...literally. Their bookings are as much as six nights a month, but it may seem like more from the ringing in your ears after you see them.

Runner-up: Pennywise – Ryan Beachkofski

At sunset, there’s the sunset. After sunset the best view at Beaches is the dance floor.

Best Place to Cut A Rug

Beaches -
Whether it is Newton’s Law of Gravity or the allure of the club, you just can’t roll a ball downhill in Manhattan Beach without it ending up on the dance floor at Beaches.

Surrounded by 50 other hot spots in the downtown Manhattan, Beaches has all perks that come with location. The view of the pier is spectacular, there’s a front row seat for the nightly screening of the finest sunset in Southern California, the food and drink are exemplary and the dance floor is jumping.

On any given night, Beaches has a room full of beautiful people entwined in dance, rhythm and song. But on a Friday or Saturday night, there may be no other place to be in all of LA that is more fun than the dance floor at Beaches.

Runner-up: Lighthouse Café – Ryan Beachkofski

Low res photo, but looks ok on screen, Joe’s band has it covered.

Best Cover Band

Joe’s Band -
In a category of quality cover acts, including some that play in lieu of the originals, Joe’s Band was the clear frontrunner. Joe Middler, founder, namesake and talent coordinator extraordinaire, seems to have a lock on the complete cover scene. He takes the concept of the tribute band and multiplies it by 30. The hits range from world beat to Latin groove to rock to reggae, then back around the globe. He puts together a stage full of professional musicians (I have seen as many as 12 at one time) who specialize in particular genres, including a spot on Gloria Estefan and a gal that covers Gloria Gaynor that will make you want “change those stupid locks.”

Runner-up: Led Zeppeland -- Ryan Beachkofski



Best Skate and Surf

To live in the South Bay and not sail is like living in the Mammoth so you can enjoy the view of the snow covered mountains. Photo by Mark McDermott


Best sailing lessons

Redondo Sailing Academy -
Like just about every other sport, sailing is best learned young when the mind is malleable and the body and ego aren’t so easily bruised. But for those whose parents didn’t own a boat, the City of Redondo Sailing Academy has private and very small group lessons for all ages. Students learn on fun to sail Lido 14s, as well as dryer, more comfortable Cal 25s and Cal 227s. The South Bay’s predictable and generally light winds make the area ideal for beginning sailors. King Harbor’s light traffic and quick access to the ocean are also plusses.

The Redondo Beach Sailing academy also offers classes in racing tactics and navigation for more advanced sailors. Instructor Fred Williams recalls a college student who went through the program, and upon graduation from college, bought a boat and sailed to the South Pacific. But a more typical student, he said, is the widow who took the class and now can be seen with a big smile just about every weekend sailing out of the harbor on her own Cal 25.

Students sail out of the harbor on their first lesson, and by the third lesson are skippering the boats.

For more information phone the Redondo Rec department at 318-0610 or visit

Runners-up: Two other great sailing programs are offered in King Harbor, one for kids and one for adults.

For kids as young as seven, the King Harbor Youth Foundation offers an eight week Summer Sailing program. Kids learn basic and advanced techniques in easy to sail sabots. For more information call (310) 376-2459, or visit

Marina Sailing in King Harbor offers beginning sailing classes as well as ocean sailing, navigation, anchoring, and cruising techniques. People who complete the class are eligible to rent the clubs sailboats, which range from an Ericson 26 to a Hunter 376. for more information call (800) 262-7245 or visit – Kevin Cody

John Knoll's shows off a Toe Beach Halibut. He caught using his kayak in the weeds on the sand beds near Haggerty's creek, out front of the pool. Local divers still stick these halibut in about 10 feet of water when there is no surf and the water is clear enough to see the butts on the bottom

Best Halibut hole

Torrance Beach -
Nestled at the foot of the rolling hills of Palos Verdes, where the Santa Monica sand meets the volcanic rocks, is a very special fishing hole known as, Torrance Beach Halilbut hole #1.

The area was once known as Yellowtail alley. However, after the gill netters killed everything in the bay back in the ‘60 the only fish left to carry on was big momma Halibut.

The ole timers say that at low tide you could see, in the once clear waters, Halibut laying one on top of the other -- six halibut deep and some up to 50 pounds!

I have seen this in Paddle Board Cove, but never at “Toe Beach.” Yet, to this day, the boys down at the fishing pier know Big Momma Halibuts are still doing their mating thing in the weeds and sand beds of Torrance Beach. I got pictures to prove it.

Runner-up: Hermosa cable cars – Captain Jack

Best surfboard shaper

Phil Becker -
The dean of South Bay shapers is putting down his Rockwell planer. After half a century of shaping over 100,000 surfboards, Phil Becker is moving to Hawaii. He’ll have a shaping bay at his island home, but instead of shaping 44 boards a week, as he’s done for the past 20 years since he co-founded Becker Surfboards, he’s cutting back to a leisurely – by Becker standards -- 20 boards a week.

“I want more time to surf before I become too dilapidated,” he said.

Becker may be the South Bay’s last surviving shaper from surfing’s pioneer era, marked by the transition from balsa to polyurethane boards. Becker started shaping in the mid ‘50s under the tutelage of Dale Velzy and Hap Jacobs. Velzy, along with Rick Stoner and Dewey Weber are dead. The remaining great South Bay shapers from that era -- Hap Jacobs, Greg Noll and Bing Copland -- have licensed their names.

Computer driven planers have taken over much of the work traditionally done by shapers, and the recent polyurethane blank shortage has given a boost to machine molded surfboards.

Becker isn’t interested in machine shaped or molded surfboards. But he still thinks like a pioneer.

“When foam boards came out, we didn’t like them -- until we saw how they surfed,” he said when asked his opinion of the molded epoxy boards.

“Surfing is an entrepreneurial business. Someone will come along to meet the demand. And we need to protect the environment,” he said, when asked if he was fearful that the polyurethane blank shortage would harm the surfing industry.

Like every endeavor where art and commerce must co-exist, the artist must be strong to survive. Becker is one of the survivors.

Aloha Phil.

Runner-up: Ian Wright, Spyder Surf

L.T. Givot of Manhattan Beach takes what he’s learned at the Hermosa Skate Park to his favorite street skate spot, at 14th and The Strand in Hermosa.

Best place to ollie

14th and the Strand -
Skate parks are great for building skills and confidence. But in recent years, the most extreme skating has been in the street. Fourteenth St. and The Strand in Hermosa has all the qualities a street skater wants, but without the traffic. And because it dead ends on The Strand there’s always an appreciative audience.

Runner-up: The parking lot behind the Redondo Fat Burger

Underground shaper

Mike Zippi -
Shapers are the celebrity chefs of surfing. And like celebrity chefs, celebrity shapers only have two hands. So they depend on underground, or ghost shapers to help them meet demand.

This year’s top vote getter in the underground or ghost shaping division was Mike Zippi, who has been shaping under the names of some of the South Bay’s most famous shapers for nearly 40 years. Zippi is also one of the area’s busiest surfboard air brushers.

A few years ago, he found himself having so much fun on a vintage fish, that he decided to shape one for himself. He added a few contemporary flourishes, including rounder rails, a flatter bottom and broad based fins and called it the ZippiFish.

It’s the only board he shapes that bears his name. Last year he sold over 300 ZippiFish through ET in Hermosa, Duke Kahamoku in El Segundo and other surf shops up and down the coast.

He attributes their popularity to their speed and ease of paddling.

“The typical thruster is meant for fast, steep, open ocean waves. Mainland waves are slower and flatter, so most of the time a fish works better here,” he said.

Runner-up: John Wegener

Best surf spot

El Porto -
A surfer’s favorite surf spot is often the last place he caught great a great wave. That may explain why readers picked El Porto as the South Bay’s best surf spot. It can be flat in Hermosa and four-foot in El Porto. If it’s four-foot in Hermosa and Redondo it will be six-foot in El Porto. A website devoted to El Porto is appropriately called Nothing stokes local surfers more than to be driving along Highland Ave. and see corduroy sets marching toward El Porto like they are being channeled, which they are, by marine canyons.

During the summer El Porto’s a great place to learn to surf. During the winter it’s a great place to learn to tow-in surf.

Runner-up: Hermosa pier – Kevin Cody



Big, colorful bob art, Part I


Here’s BoB


And to think if it weren’t for a bunch of nagging preservationists, the South Bay’s most recognizable icon would have gone the way of the old Hotel Redondo. Photo by Yishai Weinstein

Each year Easy Reader invites its readers to vote on the people, places and events that make the South Bay the “Best Place to Live.” Of course, there really is no one “Best Place to Live,” anymore than there is a “Best Foreign Film,” or “Best Live Performance by a Chinese Er-Hu Player Performing Western Classical Music Under the direction of a Hermosa Beach Jazz Pianist,” (though if there were such an award it would go to Karen Han’s performance with the Asia America Symphony under the direction of Hermosa’s David Benoit last month at the Norris Pavilion).

Nevertheless, Best Of awards reflect a universal urge to recognized people whose extra efforts makes life a little bit better than it would be otherwise.

In a community as opinionated at the South Bay, reaching a consensus on the Best Of anything is difficult. Last year readers voted for over 50 different restaurants in the Best Mexican category. Best Breakfast votes were also scattered among over 50 restaurants.

This year, Easy Reader has decided to focus the voting by presenting four to six nominees in each of the nearly 100 Best of the Beach categories. The nominees were chosen by Easy Reader’s staff.

We know the nomination process isn’t perfect, that some people will suspect we favored regular advertisers (though they will be quick to show that’s not the case), or that our selections reflect a West of Pacific Coast Highway bias, or a stuck in the ‘60s bias. Maybe so. But we did our best. And we’re grateful to all of our readers who voted for the people, places and things they think are Best at the Beach. – Kevin Cody, editor

Best beach icon

Manhattan Roundhouse -
The pleasingly proportioned white building with the red tile roof has become the South Bay’s leading picture postcard, and the area feature most recognizable throughout greater Los Angeles.

In fact, when the true crime TV show “City Confidential” swept through a few years ago to put together a story about the murder of a Hermosa woman, they shot footage of the Manhattan Beach Pier and showed it instead of Hermosa’s less telegenic bare plank.

In neighboring Hermosa people insist on pooh-poohing anything Manhattan, but at least one Hermosa councilman has expressed pier envy when it comes to the Roundhouse.

Restaurants on the Manhattan Beach Pier have come and gone, and a bait shop with fishing-tackle rentals sprouted up and in time went away. But the roundhouse has endured, housing a popular aquarium that entertains casual visitors and educates school kids about the life aquatic.

Runner-up: Tim Kelly Surfer Statue, Hermosa – Robb Fulcher

Best community event

MB Hometown fair -
The Manhattan Beach Old Hometown Fair has it all — food, drinks, vendors, crafts and music.

The fair typically begins on the first Saturday in October and is kicked off with the annual Manhattan Beach 10k run and the Mira Costa marching band. Then more than 200 arts and crafts booths set up on the fair grounds and sell everything from glass, metal, and wood to art, jewelry, and clothing.

The Joslyn Center has continuous entertainment starting at 10 a.m. and the annual Battle of the Bands takes place on the Dorsey Field and showcases local amateur talent.

The food court offers a seemingly never-ending supply of hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers, fish tacos, pizza, BBQ, sandwiches, funnel cakes, nachos, Kettle Korn and chicken on a stick. Sales benefit local charities. A diaper derby and toddler trot races are just two of many, many games offered during the weekend fair.

And last, but definitely not least, there is the ever-popular Beer and Wine Garden.

Runner-up: Fiesta Hermosa. – Cynthia Dizikes


Big, colorful bob art, Part II


Here's BoB


Best Park with a view

Redondo’s Veterans Park -
Located at Catalina Avenue and Torrance Boulevard just south of the Redondo Beach Pier, the 6.3 acre grass and tree park is known for its picnicking and offers a panoramic view of the ocean and pier.

The beautiful Veterans Park Community Center, which housed the city’s library for many years, is available for weddings, parties and banquets.

For more information about the park, call 318-0610. To book an event, contact Spectrum Catering, 937-6844.

Runner-up: Parque Culiacan in Manhattan Beach – Randy Angel

Best Park for kids

Hermosa’s Valley Park -
Tucked away on Valley Drive and Gould Avenue, Valley Park is a favorite among kids and parents alike. The recent million dollar make-over has provided clean new restrooms, multiple drinking fountains, six barbecue pits and numerous tables and benches. Valley Park also contains an amphitheater for live performances.

“Valley Park has a killer playground and the coolest sand area,” said Akisha Davis, who works for the Hermosa Beach Parks and Recreation Department and frequents the park with her four-year-old son Jelani.

If you’re planning to reserve an area for a party, plan early. Weekends are already booked through July.

Runner-up: Manhattan Beach’s Polliwog Park

This is a big, scenic park with a pond that’s a stopover for migrating water fowl, the city’s historical museum and a new disc golf course. – Randy Angel


Best Speed Trap

190th Street at PCH & Anza -
Rolling hills and the steep incline between Flagler and Beryl make this a tempting stretch of road to speed on. With numerous advantageous hiding spots, the Redondo Beach Police Department has issued 147 citations this year on 190th, between from PCH to Anza.

“One of the most common excuses we hear is ‘It’s a hill. What am I supposed to do?’” Sgt. Mike Adye of the RBPD’s Traffic Unit said. “Our answer: Use your brakes.”

“We have no specific time or place when we set up for speeding violations,” Adye said. “We respond to reports from our Traffic Hotline and set up where we feel it is needed most. Recently, one of those spots has been Manhattan Beach Boulevard between Inglewood and Aviation, along with school zones, particularly Prospect Avenue near Parras Middle School. Although the city does make revenue from citations, if our visibility prevents an accident and/or injury, then we’re doing our job.”

The four motorcycle officers of the RBPD, which plans to add two within the next two months, have what Adye says is one of the most dangerous jobs on the force.

“Every time one of our motorcycle officers has to quickly merge into traffic, it poses a hazardous situation. If a vehicle is speeding at 50 miles-per-hour, the officer might need to go 80 to catch up.”

Runner-up: South on Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach – Randy Angel




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