Inspiring the Central Coast: Finding lost items at the beach - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Inspiring the Central Coast: Finding lost items at the beach

Posted: Updated:

If you've ever lost something important you know that panicky frenzy that can follow. If that's at the beach, where sand can swallow items and leave no trace, the search can seem impossible.

Larry Royal is just the guy to call when you're trying to find that needle in the haystack. He's a sort of Central Coast beach search and rescue guru, only the haystack is the beach and the needle is frequently something far more valuable. You'll find him on the sands of Pismo Beach just about every day of the week, sporting some fancy metal detecting gear, a scoop, and his Kansas City Royals T-shirt.

"My last name is Royal," he explains with a chuckle.

Especially at low tide, you'll spot him pacing out the area, his headphones on, waterproof metal detector floating back and forth over the sand, scouring the beach for people's lost treasure.

"All because they put suntan lotion on and hit that water. Fifty-eight degrees.. off comes the ring!" he explains.

Unlike other folks with metal detectors, Larry's mission is a public service.

"I do this free for people that lose things," he explains. "Every piece of jewelry has a story behind it. It was given to you by a mother, a brother, a lover, a friend, a husband or wife, so every piece of jewelry has something behind it and has such a sentimental value."

Some folks hear about him through the grapevine, others on his website full of testimonials and notes of appreciation.

"I actually had one lady who shook a towel out with a diamond ring on it and I went to where she was, where she'd been. I know which way the wind blows, so I knew which way she'd shake the towel, and I took three steps and found the ring," he says with a look of satisfaction.

When that yellow hoop sweeps over the sand, precious metals trigger sounds in his headphones.

"I can say I think that's gold. I'll get a real smooth, low, buttery sound. If I go over something silver, I get a high-pitched sound."

He combs the beach in grids, his stainless steel scoop charting his course as he goes. Sometimes he ventures into the water, as he did for one woman who lost a $7,000, three-carat diamond ring.

"Surf's coming in, waves are coming in and I wade out into the water up to my chest," he explains. "The water's hitting me and I couldn't find it. It took me 19 days and a low tide and I finally recovered it under a rock, neck deep. Reached under there with this," he points to the shoebox size stainless steel sifter he carries in the arm not swinging the metal detector. "I got my special scoop and was able to dig it out and I got her ring back to her."

His persistence has born lots of shiny fruit but some of the loot goes unclaimed. He showed KSBY News a few of the sparkling bits of jewelry, including a chunky gold men's ring.

"It's got seven diamonds in it. That's 14-carat gold."

A women's cocktail ring resembles a small red pine tree.

"Those are 58 rubies on an 18-carat ring."

Then he holds up what looks like a jagged set of dentures.

"That is a gold grill, like hip hop artists wear."

Larry says he'd like to have fewer of the items in his possession.

"When I'm able to return something and see the smile on their face, and the joy in their hearts from getting it back, I mean, it just brings joy to me. I've helped somebody."

By the way, Larry has dive gear and he'll go full SCUBA, if necessary.

If you've been at a local beach and lost something that's made of metal, you can enlist Larry's help, too. All he asks, is that you consider a tip. It should come as no surprise that he donates a portion of what he's given to the food bank.  

For more information, click here.

Top Trending Videos

Doppler Radar
Powered by Frankly

© KSBY.com 2018, KSBY.com
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?