In my youth, school was not my thing. The surf was.

Sean Hogan (36) surfs Outlet, Coronado.


I’m from Encinitas and work in Coronado as a lifeguard.

How long have you been surfing?

30 years. My whole family surfs, my father, my uncle, my cousins, my brother. I started when I was 6 in the whitewash standing on my boogie board and then moved on to a surfboard. One day it just clicked. I started paddling and catching waves. Small children are easy to learn because they are sponges.

Favorite beach for surfing?

Swamis. This is probably the best point in San Diego. I surf Coronado because I work here. If the waves look fun, even from a distance, and I get the chance, I’ll give it a go.

Did you have any cool wildlife encounters?

Oh, yeah, I see sharks all the time. There are lots of great white sharks here, juveniles. We (Coronado Beach Lifeguards) help Cal State Long Beach mark them. It’s interesting because there’s all this mystique and lore about these animals. Once you finally get to see one, it’s like running on a grizzly bear in the woods. You are shocked and amazed, and also scared at the same time.

Did you have to save many surfers here?

Yeah, big days. People come out who are not really experienced in big surf. The surf doesn’t get big so often [in Coronado]so when the opportunity arises, everyone wants to go out and see if they can handle it. Even people who have 4-5 years of surfing under their belt will come out on a great day and can’t stand it. Those days, [the lifeguards]will sit there on jet skis just for safety.

Did you become a lifeguard so you could surf more?

I mean, yeah. I would be on the beach anyway, so being a lifeguard was a natural progression. I took the junior lifeguard program when I was a kid. This is a great thing for kids in terms of ocean awareness. It is important to learn how the ocean works. Some people are terrified of the ocean. It’s dangerous. Once you get the hang of it and the rhythm, it really becomes a place of fun as opposed to a place of fear.

Do you think you will continue to rescue for the rest of your life?

Yes, this will be my career. It will be my life. I never went to college. It’s never too late to get a degree and I’m working on it, but when I was younger, school wasn’t my thing. The surf was.

How often do you surf?

I try to surf three times a week, depending on the conditions. If the surf is good, I go there every day. It’s unpredictable. The ocean is always changing. Surfing can be frustrating when the conditions aren’t ideal. It’s not all glitz and glam. This can sometimes ruin your day.

Have you ever participated in competitions?

In my younger years I did, but kids these days have a new bag of tricks, and they’re getting better all the time.

What advice would you give to new surfers?

Be kind. Be cool.

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