Totally Walled: North San Diego County Beaches Threatened By Potential Seawalls

Breaks like Swami’s (pictured here) are in serious danger.

Encinitas and Solana Beach are dangerously close to having most, if not all, of their surf breaks and beaches drastically altered forever. The Army Corps of Engineers has recently finished a study of the coastline running from Moonlight Beach in Encinitas to Rockpiles in Solana Beach, and have proposed to armor the coastline with seawalls in an effort to prevent the further erosion of the bluffs.

Seawalls would limit beach access greatly and the impact to the local surf breaks could range from the covering of reefs with sand to over-deepening. "What a seawall does is protect one area in front of the wall, but it creates a lot of scouring around it," says San Diego Surfrider Foundation's Bill Hickman. The scouring that Bill is talking about can absolutely destroy a surf spot.

Encinitas and Solana Beach city council members will be making the final decision in December as to whether the seawalls should go up. With a strong contingent of homeowners lobbying for the installation of the seawalls in order to protect their private property, the local surfing community must raise awareness as to the severity of this problem. As taxpayers, surfers may end up funding this project that could destroy some of California's best waves. "Most importantly," says Hickman, "we want to stress that, on top of the environmental aspects, it seems silly to use taxpayer's money to protect a few private residences,"

Surf breaks will not be the only thing affected by the installation of the walls. Beach access will be significantly altered and in many areas the beaches will vanish as the water reaches the seawall. In other words, strolls down the beach to watch a sunset or simply hanging out down on the sand could be a thing of the past. The Surfrider Foundation's San Diego chapter has initiated a plan of action and urges you to voice your concern by visiting this website: . The Swamis Surf Club will be starting a petition throughout the community as well. For more information on the impact these proposals could have on beaches and surf breaks in the area, visit the Surfrider Foundation at