Javier Gonzales’s lecture in week 9 on Beach culture and perception inspired me to focus on my upbringing and the beaches I visited. I will be evaluating Butterfly beach through a cultural lens based on my personal experience and perspective. I think back to long summer days where my friends and I-before we could drive-were dropped off by our parents as early in the morning as we were picked up late into the evening. My girlfriends and I in the bathing suits we’d convinced our parents to let us buy for way too much with such little fabric. We’d meet our guy friends who all compared boards and wetsuits, fins and waves, and cared very little whether or not the girls watched the take off, but all did their best to outshine one another.
Butterfly beach sits off the 101 in Montecito, California next to the Four Seasons Biltmore hotel and a royally expensive country club called the Coral Casino. Its placement draws in an affluence that is unparalleled, but consequently provides a beautiful public beach. Street side the beach is lined with mansions, however is easily accessible to the public structurally separated by a wall one often finds dotted with locals having lunch or checking the surf. Santa Barbara’s beautiful coastline is adorned by a bike trail that guides you just along the stretch of beach that is Butterfly; thus inviting not only wealthy neighbors, Santa Barbara locals, families, but visitors from all over the globe.
The California beach imaginary still lives in the brightest way evolving its modernity via music, gear, and social activity. Bruce Brown’s influence on surf filmography is alive and well today carried on by the prodigies of our time. Surfers like the Coffin brothers and Lakey Peterson continue to make Santa Barbara relevant, most specifically Butterfly beach. Music produced by the Beach Boys and Dick Dale have been reincarnated by bands like The Growlers and Shannon and the Clams. The gear has changed with the times, but still upholds the importance of precision and comfort in the water. Our California Imaginary still rings tried and true, but with a twist.