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Dakota Faircloth at Old Mans - this photo was the Contents double-page spread in PLB some 10 years ago. No crowds now! Pic: Andy Langeland - @theandylangeland

The road to San Onofre (and longboard heaven) washed away and closed indefinitely

13 February 24

Boat access anyone? A series of storms and solid swell has washed away the dirt road to SanO - that most Californian of breaks with it’s colourful history, vans, bbqs, nuclear plant, and oh-so-fun series of breaks.

As reported by The Inertia:

There are few spots in the state that represent California surf culture more truly than San Onofre State Park south of San Clemente. Fun, slopey longboard waves, evening campfires with family, beach shacks and SUPs relegated to Dogpatch near the nuclear plant. Even the grumpiest of souls have a special spot in their hearts for the place. But it was reported yesterday that access to the iconic beach has been closed due to erosion of the dirt road leading down to the beach.

“It’s devastating,” State Parks Superintendent Scott Kibbey told 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.”

This of course isn’t the first time the road to SanO has been closed during periods of intense winter storms. The park has been closed for weeks at a time, including last year. Surfers armed with e-bikes or willing to hoof it have still been able to access the place. But this is an all-together different phenomena.

Old timers will tell you that due to a number of factors, the beach has slowly eroded away at San Onofre over the years, moving the water closer and closer to the road and the giant bluffs overlooking the surf with each passing season.

The State Parks only stated that SanO will be closed “indefinitely,” with no immediate solutions given to the public as the state entity works to find solutions.

Official access to San Onofre, the area known as Trails, and the Trestles surf breaks, was granted to the public in 1971 when then Governor Ronald Reagan helped create San Onofre State Park with a gigantic blessing from the U.S. Military, which owns the land. The State Parks continues to lease the area. In 2021, it was agreed to extend the lease three more years as a more permanent agreement is negotiated. That lease extension ends August 31 of this year.

The State Parks could very well find a solution to the road destruction sooner rather than later, there’s no way of telling at the moment. But many online commenters were mourning the end of San Onofre.

“Dude, I feel like a family member just died,” wrote one commenter on the Sanoboardriding Instagram page. “Sad, at least I had a lot of good memory’s growing up surfing it and hanging out down there,” wrote another.

Again, there’s no official word on fixes but we’ll update as we know more.




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