Every morning, just after the sun rises, surfer Janice Aragon drives to the beach to stare at the waves and gauge the force and direction of the wind.
After a prearranged phone call to make her report, she hits the waves and catches a few sets before she has to return home to get her husband off to work and her child off to school. Then she's back on the beach in time for the noon report. Ah, the life of the surf reporter.
From Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, Aragon and 40 other Surf Line Inc. reporters are trying to take the hit-or-miss out of Southern California surfers' never-ending search for the best waves of the day. The 2-year-old Huntington Beach company operates the Surf Line, which last year informed more than 1 million callers to its 976-SURF number (at 95 cents per call) of surf conditions at their favorite local beaches.
Surf Line came into being when three friends, Jerry Arnold, Craig Masuoka and David Wilk, heard about the phone company's 976 program, which enables callers to access various prerecorded messages by keying in numbers on their push-button telephones. The trio saw the program as the perfect way to a launch a surfing report.