Ocean Beach Being Considered for National Surfing Reserve

by on December 17, 2014 · 26 comments

in California, Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach

Jim Noble, high surf at the pier, 1/11/10

We have just found out that Ocean Beach is right now being considered as a National Surfing Reserve.

Research is currently going on to identify iconic California surfing spots that could have the National Reserve status. It is being conducted by World Surfing Reserve cofounder Brad Farmer, who along with Michael Blum, are doing the research into the potential sites.  It’s apparently a 10-year process.

Surfing sites at Malibu and Santa Cruz have already been declared World Surfing Reserves.

Just what are the criteria to being a National Surfing Reserve? They include historical and cultural significance, surf break quality, community interest, economic and recreational value, and the presence of environmental threats. Ocean Beach has all of these, doesn’t it?

Other potential surfing sites that Farmer and Blum are looking include Cortes Bank, Blacks Beach, Swami’s, Trestles, the Wedge, Huntington Beach, Malibu, Rincon, Pleasure Point, Steamer Lane, and Mavericks.

Brad Farmer told the media:

“A nomination in California would need to exceed the criteria of just a great quality wave.”

We want to roll out the reserves in California. As with all the National Surfing Reserves, these are proactive and practical moves to not only recognize sites but also work toward tighter regulations for surf break preservation with government and stakeholders.”

There has been a lot of success of National Surfing Reserves in Australia and Hawaii. Since 2010, Australia has had 18 National Surfing Reserves designated, and Hawaii has two – Waikiki and on the North Shore of Oahu.

The National Surfing Reserves share government and community support. In Australia, some of the National Surfing Reserve coastal management plans have also been enshrined in government legislation.


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Hippie December 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

That would be too cool!


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I just wish this had happened before they put the pier in the middle of that terrific left. I like the pier but it should have been a block or two south.


Frank Gormlie December 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I remember that left and was sad to see it go. We used to tell time by the pier’s development. Plus the pier was supposed to be payback to the community for the City’s removal of the old fishing bridge to south Mission Beach taken out in 1950 – despite protests, I might add – in order to dredge and develop Mission Bay.


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

The pier is really great addition, just misplaced. If they tried that today, there would be a few protests I imagine. Same thing with Mission Bay. When I read the description of Mission Bay in Ruth Varney Held’s book about the early days in OB of them rowing out to the little islands and having clam bakes and camping overnight, I wished I had been there then. I know lots of people enjoy Mission Bay now but I would have loved to see it in the early days.


matt finch December 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I heard that left was all-time before the pier messed everything up. :(


iblong December 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Ocean Beach, SF, not SD.


Bianca December 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Must strongly agree. NOT OBSD!!! San Fran is whet they’re talking about. Who edits this? And where do you do your research Frank Gormlie???


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

Bianca, from the Orange County Register:

“Huntington Beach Pier, the Wedge in Newport and Trestles south of San Clemente are the three local spots that World Surfing Reserve cofounder Brad Farmer and Michael Blum are pitching as possible contenders, along with other locations, such as Steamer’s Lane in Santa Cruz and Blacks Beach, Swami’s and Ocean Beach in San Diego.” http://www.ocregister.com/articles/surfing-645424-spots-reserves.html


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 9:06 am

What’s with all the CAPS and exclamation points and multiple question marks? Why are you so critical of the Rag instead of asking a civil question? Looks to me like the OC Register got it wrong assuming Ocean Beach meant San Diego, so what? Big deal.

“whet they are talking about.” Who edits your stuff?


SaneVoice December 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

The necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges. So where’s your proof that they mean OB SF ?


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

Okay, assuming (I’m not certain why) the OCR got it wrong – still our Ocean Beach surf and community is much better than Ocean Beach SF ! There’s no “community” at Ocean Beach in SF, and how anyone could say the surf is better there is beyond me. So, according to the criteria, OB SD should win out over OB SF anyhow.


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

Here! Here!


Goatskull December 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

With the right swell direction and wind conditions it can be a pretty good place when it goes off. A couple year ago I was up there and watching them surf while enjoying an adult beverage at the Cliff House. There were some nice 6 to 7 foot thick peeling lefts and the guys were ripping. There is definitely some power and oomph to those waves and it just seems to have a mystic quality we don’t have in the southern part of our state which is not to say it’s better. It IS a great place to surf for those who are good enough when all the factors come together. I don’t however think that means it deserves to be a “national surfing treasure” and would find it very flawed if that’s the OB that’s being considered.


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Well put. I guess it would be good to see what all the factors are for considering a break to be in a future reserve. Ocean Beach San Francisco is not a beach for any and all surfers, by any means. The other beaches mentioned are and maybe that should be a big factor. Does Ocean Beach San Francisco really need the designation? They mention Cortes Bank as a candidate but only a very few surfers venture there so why that spot?


Goatskull December 19, 2014 at 8:41 am

In a sense I consider Fort Point to fit the criteria more than OBSF.


Goatskull December 18, 2014 at 11:58 am

Aside from what the OC Register article says, OBSF would be an odd choice based on the criteria. OBSF IS a world renowned surf break, but it’s also a very treacherous and pretty much black diamond break. Victory at sea comes to mind. Also, the San Francisco version is not really a beach/surf community. I doubt few if any of the surfers actually live in the OB area. That being said Bianca, if our OB is in fact the wrong OB being considered and the Register article is wrong, why don’t you post a link?


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

To quote Geoff, “here! Here!”


bodysurferbob December 18, 2014 at 9:28 am

let’s have a showdown between the 2 ocean beaches ! (only one exclamation mark, please note)


Marc Snelling December 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

What would the stakes be? Maybe the losing Ocean Beach would have to change their name?


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

That’s easy for you to say.


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm
Goatskull December 19, 2014 at 8:38 am

Hmmm. The OC Reg article says Ocean Beach San Diego. However, if you click on the link in that very article which prompts you to a more elaborated article in the Grind TV site there are more details as far as criteria. In that article it lists Ocean Beach as a possible contender but it doesn’t say which one, so now I wonder.


Frank Gormlie December 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

Know what ya mean, goatskull, as of course I went through that very same process.


Goatskull December 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

Maybe the two OBs should do a surf off like Batman and The Joker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlusgU-MUZ4


mr.rick December 25, 2014 at 7:02 am

The real OB is the one that held two World Surfing Championships (’66 & ’72 ?). So just the historical significance of these two events would put us in the cat bird seat for this designation.


Frank Gormlie December 25, 2014 at 11:54 am

Mr Rick – thanks for that historical point.


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