For over a decade Hermosa Beach residents and tourists around the world have been able to view the Hermosa surf and sand online from a live beach camera stationed on the rooftop on Pier Plaza.
But due to construction soon-to-begin at the restaurant, the camera, owned and operated by the Internet company Hermosawave, will be removed Friday and will no longer connect Hermosa's coast with the online world until it finds a new home.
Hermosawave founder Daniel Sofer talked to Patch on Wednesday about the beach camera's local history and his quest to now find it another location.
Hermosa Beach Patch: Do you remember when the camera was first installed at Hennessey’s and why was it placed there?
Daniel Sofer: "Hermosawave, my company, used to be in across the street and we were doing a lot of multimedia and started doing Internet stuff in the '90s. Around 1997 we were approached by an advertising agency to have a live camera on the beach in California.
So we talked to Brian Beckman at Hennessey’s and worked on an arrangement where we could put a camera on the roof and send signals across the street back to our office. That’s how it started and it’s been there ever since."
Patch: What will happen to the camera now?
Sofer: "We're looking for a new place… but the owner of the potential location needs to 'get' what a webcam is… if you're not an online person, then you won't understand its value."
Patch: What does a Web camera do? How do you see the camera benefiting the Hermosa Beach community?
Sofer: "A webcam is just a camera on the Internet and anybody can look at it… the Hermosawave cam is not the only camera in Hermosa Beach, but it's done a lot for driving tourists into Hermosa and it's also done a lot for Hennessey’s.
One reason some people go there is to sit on the roof deck in the corner that will be seen on the camera and they can call their friends elsewhere in the world and wave to them from the camera."
Patch: How much does the webcam operation cost?
Sofer: "Basically, the camera's supported by the Google ads that are on it and that pays for the Internet access. It needs high-speed Internet access, slightly different than you would normally set up… and so we end up installing pretty fast Internet.
So when it comes down to it, the location that it moves into gets free Internet access out of the deal and gets promotion because this thing is going to really drive traffic to their website and to their location. I’m a little bit more than breaking even."
Patch: Where do you think is the best view in Hermosa Beach for the camera?
Sofer: "Everybody has different things they want to look at. Some people want to see the surf, others the Strand; some people want to see how long the line is at . Some people just want to see the Plaza. I've moved around a couple of times, but whenever you move it, you get outcries from some people and then others are thrilled. You can never please everybody."
Where do you think the camera should go next to capture the best view of Hermosa Beach?