MALIBU—The beloved wall in Malibu’s “Surfrider” beach may vanish soon, due to beach erosion.
The grey cement wall perched at the top of the famous beach since its construction in 1928 has been used by surfers for decades as a place to rest their boards. Considered the backbone of Malibu’s surfing culture, Surfrider Beach has been the backdrop for numerous surfing competitions that have shaped the wave-riding culture in the state. Over a year ago, it became the first surf spot to join The Register Of Historic Places.
The future of the wall came into doubt when the community noticed a two to three degree angle change in the wall, and fear a great backwash will wipe the “rad” wall out of existence. In an attempt to protect the wall for current and future surfers, a Los Angeles County crew has placed large boulders in front of the wall. The boulders will not be secured until sufficient rubble to fill the cracks is found, shoring up the historic wall.
Beach erosion is to blame for the change in Surfrider Beach’s scenery. Over the years, the waves and currents from the erosion have removed sand from the beach and caused it to narrow and drop in elevation. The space available for beachgoers and resting surfers alike has dropped.
Malibu’s Surfrider is not the only beach affected by the damages of beach erosion. Residents of Broad Beach estimated a loss of 60 feet of their beach, named back in the late 1800s for its considerable expanse. In 2005, Lechuza Point completely eroded away and homeowners at Broad Beach illegally transferred sand from the public beach onto their properties to protect their homes.
This has not come without complaint from coastal protection groups. The Surfrider Foundation protested the actions of Broad Beach homeowners, which led to a Coastal Commission order to stop the bulldozing. The erosion did not stop, and homeowners found themselves conducting temporary seawalls, in some cases without permits.
Almost a year ago, locals began to implement a sand nourishment project, which aims to protect their coastal property and reestablish a sandy beach.
The sand nourishment calls for the placement of 300,000 cubic yards of sand every five years and nourishments of up to 75,000 cubic yards on an as-needed basis.
While the wall may be secured in the short term, Surfrider Beach may join Broad Beach for a sand nourishment project to ensure the future of the celebrated surf spot.