San Onofre Beach Road Washes Out, Access Closed Indefinitely - Stab Mag

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San Onofre Beach Road Washes Out, Access Closed Indefinitely

Southern Cal’s longboard scene cops one on the chin.

elsewhere // Feb 4, 2024
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

After a bout of heavy rains doused Southern California this past week, the dirt road leading to the popular longboard mecca San Onofre State Beach has washed away.  

California State Parks personnel say the vehicular access to the long-trodden road break will be closed indefinitely. There reportedly is a plan to put a paved concrete lot on top of the cliff that could host a smaller amount of cars. 

Reportedly, the beach had been eroding for years, with every washing carving away more sand. The closure has occurred just as several Southern California cities near San Onofre are considering how to retain sand (and tourism dollars) and their local beaches. 

However, the OC Register, reported that it’s possible the recent damage may “have come from a fairy shrimp vernal pool habitat that sits above on the cliff. A drainage system, for decades, has funneled water coming down to a concrete outlet near the ocean, where water would simply flow back to the sea. But recently, the drain broke and runoff water was instead flowing down at the toe of the slope, eating away at the roadway. With the latest storm sending high-velocity streams of water from the hillside, the dirt road washed away.”

Shrimp, of all things. 

Nestled just north of the anatomy-resembling nuclear power plant and south of the Trestles trifecta, San Onofre has been a break from the area’s urban jungle for many decades. It’s been a timeless scene for most of California’s surfing history: survey the waves between the palm trees on a sunny summer day and you’ll see a wealth of families surfing together. There’s a thriving longboard and SUP scene (but they get relegated to a wave called Dogpatch). Sure, the waves hardly ever get higher than three feet, but even the most die-hard thruster purist can find the place idyllic if they hop on a log for once. 

Though the waves will still be there, the place won’t be the same for some time. 

“It’s devastating,” California State Parks Superintendent Scott Kibbey said to the OC Register. “We’re trying to wrap our heads around a solution to find a way to fix this as soon as possible. It’s impassible. You can not drive a vehicle around that right now.”

The jury is still out if this will make the Carl’s Junior parking lot extra crowded.

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