MALIBU – Charlie Garlupa needed to blow off some steam Wednesday after finishing his final exams at Santa Monica City College, so he celebrated the start of winter the way so many Angelenos do. He grabbed his surfboard. Garlupa and dozens of other surfers rode the waves at Malibu Surfrider and other beaches up and down the coast, ushering in the winter solstice with a distinctly Southern California flair. “This is the best, the best,” said Garlupa, 20. “It’s a beautiful day to be out here. The sun is out, the water’s not too (cold), it’s great.” “You would think that you come out here on a weekday morning, 10 o’clock, and you’d have a relatively sparse crowd,” said Ali Sagheb, 33, of West L.A., who is self-employed, allowing him to surf often. “It’s not like that. I don’t know what all these people are doing here. Maybe they don’t have jobs either, at least not 9-to-5 jobs.” While Los Angeles ushered in winter with balmy temperatures, Chicago and New York City saw highs in the 30s. Seattle had a rainy day in the 50s. Temperatures are expected to cool today and Friday before warming to near 80 on Sunday. “It doesn’t seem like it’s Christmastime,” said Sam Sean, 17, a senior at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance. “I’m glad I live in Southern California.” — Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 546-3669 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Backed by the hills and expensive homes of Malibu, surfers stood on the beach, boards under their arms, staring out at the light blue sky and the 20-foot waves headed their way. “They say this happens every Christmas,” said Bryan Boyd, 24, of Woodland Hills. “It’s the Christmas spirit. I’ll never stop doing this. I’ll be doing this when I’m 90, if it doesn’t kill me.” Authorities had plenty of warning about heavy surf and closed the piers in Hermosa Beach, Venice, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Ventura as a precaution, officials said. Bulldozers also built berms along the beach in low-lying areas, where minor flooding occurred. While only the most hearty braved the high waves in Ventura, dozens of wetsuit-clad surfers were lined up in the ocean off Malibu, sitting on their boards, waiting for the next big wave to arrive.