By Yehuda Ben-Hamo, Founder of The CORE Project
The west coast is experiencing #kingtides this week, which is a great time to raise awareness about the dangers of rising sea levels and erosion in regards to coastal and ocean recreation.
King tides are the highest tides and often the lowest low tides of the year. When King Tides occur during floods or storms, water levels can rise higher and have the potential to cause great damage to the coastline and coastal property.
If you live anywhere near the coast or visit our beaches often, you’ll notice that the average high and low tide is much higher than it used to be. Ever wondered why your favorite surf spot always seems to be high tide? Well, those observations are not unordinary.
In fact, since 2015, coastal water levels have risen 1.7 inches and are expected to grow an additional 4 inches in the next four years. That causes many surf spots/beaches to become too swamped for ideal surf & causes dangerous conditions for entering and exiting the water (unless you time an extremely low tide which is hard to sync up with decent swell & wind).
For every new seawall protecting a home or a road, a beach for the people is sacrificed.
Rising sea levels, king tides, and coastal armoring contribute to the increased risk of cliff collapses. Cliff collapses along the California coast killed three Encinitas beachgoers in 2019. That same year, another bluff collapse in Del Mar destabilized a set of train tracks regularly carrying passengers between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Lifeguards have reported an increasing number of calls to rescue surfers/swimmers in distress from getting washed into the coastal armoring.
Lifeguards have reported an increasing number of rescues for surfers/swimmers in distress from getting washed into the coastal armoring.
People who may be unaware often enter the water at a low/medium tide. Within an hour or two are put in a dangerous situation as the tide reaches the rocks/seawall/berm and creates a fierce backwash that makes difficult conditions for both surfing and exiting the water.
The CORE Project is working to develop educational material for surfers and beachgoers that includes the dangers of sea-level rise and coastal erosion.
So here’s a little critical thinking takeaway:
As surfers and ocean enthusiasts, should we lean toward initiatives that protect our coast and iconic surf spots in the face of urbanization and climate change, or move toward supporting energy-intensive artificial wave pools that help speed up sea-level rise and risk putting the sport and our livelihoods in the hands of developers and corporations who only want what lies in your pocket???
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