[heading] by KATHY LOY | photos by Soul of Photography [/heading]

There are some families you meet who seem to epitomize the area in which they live. Meet the Berend family—quintessential Leucadians. Members of this family surf, play volleyball, skateboard, lifeguard, and jam in a band … parents and kids alike.

Jeff Berend grew up in Solana Beach, but his wife Janet moved to Encinitas shortly after graduating from a Burbank, CA high school. “When I first moved down here, I lived one block from the beach,” said Janet. “I could hear the surf from my pillow when I slept at night—from Burbank to Encinitas—I was convinced I landed in heaven on earth.”

Jeff and Janet met when they were both working as lifeguards in Solana Beach. “We were lucky—we got to lifeguard Swami’s and Stonesteps and back in those days there were two guards in every tower,” described Janet. “Once our lifeguard lieutenant found out we were dating he never let us lifeguard a tower together. He didn’t want us to be distracted—wanted our eyes on the water, not on each other. He was a smart man.”

[pullquote align=”left”] Janet has recently written a fictional novel, Vertical,  based on students she has had in classes throughout the years. Vertical is an easy to read, high interest story that appeals to teens and pre-teens (especially boys). The setting is in a town much like Encinitas and locals will certainly feel at home while reading through this page-turning novel. Janet captures the power of true friendship while speaking in a language that resonates perfectly with skateboarders and those alike. Publishing the novel has allowed Janet to feel so fortunate. “I’m living the dream,” she revealed. Vertical is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, other local and online bookstores and in Kindle and Nook e-book editions. [/pullquote]

After graduating from college, Jeff and Janet had saved their lifeguarding money so they could move to Spain and teach English. A year later, they moved back to the area but needed a place to stay. “Luckily, our close family friends had a beat up beach cottage two blocks from Stonesteps for rent. They gave us a great deal. We moved in, helped fix it up and have lived in Leucadia ever since,” explained Janet.

These days, the Berend family has two more members … 15-year-old daughter, Rell, and 12-year-old son, Ben … and none of them stray far from the water. Rell just started a Del Mar Junior Guard program last summer, where Janet also instructs. Ben plays Little League and skateboards. Father and daughter both play volleyball, mom is a master swimmer, and both parents play in a band called Super Nacho. Everyone in the family surfs.

While the family shares a love of many similar activities, they all have their own outside interests as well. “We are constantly on the go, but one thing that we do every day is eat dinner together. We love to eat and cook together, and no matter how crazy our schedules, we make a real effort to sit down together after a long day and share a meal together,” explained Janet.




[box title=”At A Glance” color=”#333333″]

Parents: Jeff Berend (45), Janet Berend (46)
Community: Coastal Leucadia since 1991
Parents’ Hometown: Jeff – Solana Beach, Janet – Burbank, CA
Parents’ Occupation: Jeff – Publisher, Janet – High School English teacher at La Costa Canyon High School
Children: Rell Berend (15), La Costa Canyon High School, 10th grade Ben Berend (12), Oak Crest Middle School, 7th grade
Pet: Keno – Swiss Mountain dog mix