Surfer's camera takes plunge, but finds its way home

VIA – OC REGISTER

Published: Feb. 23, 2012 Updated: Feb. 24, 2012 10:32 a.m.

Surfer’s camera takes plunge, but finds its way home

In a testament to technology, tenacity and compassion, Luis and Bonnie Alvarez of San Clemente manage to track down the owner of a video camera that fell off a surfboard on a wave at San Onofre.

 

By FRED SWEGLES / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

As the video begins, a surfer is paddling for a wave, a wide smile across his face.

His video camera – attached to the nose of his surfboard by a homemade extension tube, out in front of the board – is pointing back at him.

Article Tab: From left, Anthony Banuelos, Bonnie Alvarez and Luis Alvarez show off a video camera that Banuelos lost Feb. 12 while surfing at San Onofre. Bonnie Alvarez found it, and the Alvarezes were able to trace it back to Banuelos, pictured here on a screen grab from the lost camera's video on the Alvarezes' cell phone.
From left, Anthony Banuelos, Bonnie Alvarez and Luis Alvarez show off a video camera that Banuelos lost Feb. 12 while surfing at San Onofre. Bonnie Alvarez found it, and the Alvarezes were able to trace it back to Banuelos, pictured here on a screen grab from the lost camera’s video on the Alvarezes’ cell phone.
FRED SWEGLES, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

The surfer rises to his feet, maneuvers a bit, and then something goes wrong.

Hours after the video was shot, Luis and Bonnie Alvarez sat at their computer, watching the video in their San Clemente home. They were unable to see the smile being wiped off the surfer’s face as his $350 GoPro camera separated from the surfboard and continued to record video while sinking – glub, glub, glub – to the ocean floor.

Thursday, surfer Anthony Banuelos of Dana Point visited the Alvarezes’ business, Guicho’s Eatery in San Clemente, to say thanks after being reunited with his lost camera in a way that is testament to technology, tenacity and compassion.

As it turns out, Bonnie Alvarez was walking her dog at San Onofre, several hours after Banuelos’ ill-fated Feb. 12 experiment with the home-made extension pole at San Onofre. She spotted something at water’s edge, a small video camera encased in a protective water housing, attached to a metal pole that looked like a connector was missing.

Banuelos had spent two hours looking for the camera after it submerged beneath 4-5 foot surf. He wondered if he’d seen the last of it. He returned to San Onofre the next morning at low tide to search the shore. No luck. He got permission to post a “lost” sheet on a San Onofre State Beach bulletin board.

 

This is a frame-grab from Anthony Banuelos' GoPro video as he paddled out Feb. 12 at San Onofre. It shows how he had rigged his camera to be out in front of the surfboard. On his first wave, it came off. Bonnie and Luis Alvarez retrieved it and were able to return it to him.

The Alvarezes, meanwhile, fired up the computer at home, inserted the camera’s memory card and watched this surfer, smiling for the camera, rise too tall for his face to remain totally in the picture frame when things went awry. The priceless expression on his face was not recorded for posterity.

The Alvarezes took a screen shot from the video…
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