This past weekend, The Great Pacific Airshow made its debut in Huntington Beach. Under new ownership by Huntington Beach resident Kevin Elliott, the 2018 airshow, which lacked the Blue Angels but featured an explosive lineup of Thunderbirds, rocketed across the North Orange County skies. And even though the event is typically known as a Surf City happening, the planes were visible for miles around — even in Newport Beach.
Paul Bivens, contributing writer and photographer, was on hand Sunday to reflect in words and amazing pictures on a truly great show. Here’s what he had to say (and photograph):
All along the Newport Beach river jetty, in every wooden plank of the Huntington Beach pier, you can feel the rumble in the air. You can hear the music blaring from the many radios, watch the cyclists and rollerbladers gliding by, and see the excitement of the dogs as they enjoy their afternoon stroll.
From the boardwalks of Newport and Huntington Beach to the sandy shores, locals and tourists alike gather for the airshow. Boats and yachts line the horizon, palm trees wait in leafy repose on land, volleyballs bop across nets, and people spill out of beach bars, eyes fixated on the cloudless sky above.
On the beach, the sound of children’s laughter is almost as loud as the spectators who scream in delight, cell phones raised high, ready to update their Instagram and Snapchat stories with images from the day.
Finally, long lines of swirling smoke fill the bright blue sky and the planes appear, each flown by a skilled pilot, ready to perform acrobatic, aerial stunts.
Jets soar above the pier then effortlessly dive toward the Pacific Ocean, as everyone holds their breath. With what looks like just a few feet separating the wings from the waves, the plunging planes ascend at the very last moment. All is well, the collective crowd seems to say in relief, the show will go on.
— Paul Bivens (@paulbivens_imagery)