The Coast News Group
Sand works better for beach walks than cobblestone. Photo by Chris Ahrens

Artificial reef in O’side a good start

Perhaps I was a bit harsh in a recent column when I metaphorically kicked sand in the face of the state’s sand dumping project in Solana Beach.

My criticism was leveled at moving sand from deep offshore canyons and onto the beach without consideration of how this will affect those who spend the most time in the ocean: fish and surfers.

Now, I admit that I did no research and assumed that sand would be poured onto the beach much as it had been in years past, with little or no thought as to how it would affect anything but city coffers. If I am wrong in this assumption, I apologize. If not…

The last time this sand sucking venture was attempted it aided nobody but local businesses catering to tourists flopping themselves onto the ground like grunion at midday, frying their own flesh until it reaches a crisp, golden color.

While I am glad to see small businesses prosper in these difficult times, I don’t like paying taxes to aid in someone getting skin cancer.

The beach breaks in Encinitas, which are only now recovering from the last great sand dump, will apparently be punished again for the shortsightedness of those who once dammed our rivers and greenlighted the pouring of too much cement over our bluffs years ago.

With that forefront in my mind, I was not thrilled to receive an email about Oceanside’s sand replenishment project. Disheartened, I nonetheless forced myself to read the note.

Turns out, the Oceanside City Council has unanimously approved a beach restoration project that includes building an artificial reef. What? I must be dreaming! These are words many of us have dreamed of hearing for decades.

Artificial reefs, in my limited understanding, are the answer to saving sand, providing structures for fish and making better waves for surfers.

As a representative of the Oceanside Boardriders Club, local ripper Chris Abad threw his support to Oceanside’s sand replenishment project. According to Abad, “Having an artificial reef and some little headlands in place will slow down the movement of sand.”

It seems that, if done correctly, an artificial reef will keep more sand on the beach and cause excellent waves to break further offshore, thus helping save land-based structures from harm. While the City Council has approved the project, it still has jump through some environmental design and permitting hoops.

A failed attempt at an artificial reef known as “Platt’s Reef” in the El Segundo area of Los Angles some years back should not deter us in our efforts to improve upon our natural resources. Consulting the right people (Carl Ekstrom, Stan Pleskunas and Tom Carroll come to mind) could make Oceanside a major international surfing destination. Imagine the Super Girl Pro being held in a perfect 200-yard point wave.

Now, how to pay for it? Is it possible that the federal government would pay for a surfing reef? Maybe. Doing so would serve as a down payment to recompense the surfing world’s loss of Dana Point.

Orchestrated by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1969, the building of Dana Harbor destroyed not only the legendary headland, but also the cove and minor but excellent surfing reefs called Mee Pees and Fisherman’s.

Perhaps some smart attorney is reading this. If so, please consider the idea of suing the Army Corps of Engineers and having them pay we the surfers of the United States not in cash, but in waves.

Thank you, Oceanside City Council. You have offered many of us great hope for the future of surfing in our area.

Leave a Comment