Free the Waves @ Long Beach

"The largest man-made breakwater in the world is a set of three gigantic walls of rock that between 1935 and 1949 were quarried from Catalina Island and carried to San Pedro Bay, where it currently demarcates the place where the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles end and the open ocean begins. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the breakwater complex was built less to block waves for commercial shipping than to stop submarines and torpedoes during World War II. The Navy’s entire Pacific Fleet was anchored in the bay, and protective nets were stretched across the openings between segments of the breakwater. Sitting in about 50 feet of water, the breakwater complex rises between 10 and 13 feet above the surface—depending whether the tide is high or low—and basically provides the horizon for anybody standing on shore and looking out to sea. It’s pretty incredible.

"But a lot of it—specifically, the easternmost section that extends about two-and-a-half miles in front of Long Beach’s recreational beaches, the part actually named the Long Beach Breakwater—appears to have been unnecessary. The war had been over for four years by the time it was completed. While there was talk about some role it might conceivably play in national defense or port expansion, the Long Beach Naval Station has been closed since 1994 and there is no new port on any drawing board..."

Now, a bunch of determined surfers and Long Beach citizens are actively working to bring waves back to Long Beach. Please read the following, plus comments:

"Make of Breakwater" by Dave Wielenga

(Image courtesy of http://www.historicalsocietylb.org)

For a look at how it used to be, please read the section about Long Beach in the 1930s, from the LEGENDARY SURFERS Collection:

Long Beach's Flood Control

(Image courtesy of http://www.historicalsocietylb.org)

Thanks to long-time friend Bill Thompson for the heads-up...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Long Beach City Council is meeting Tuesday night, July 24th to vote on a resolution to spend $100,000.00 on a study as to the feasibility of removing the breakwater.

July 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long Beach City Council votes 7-1 to spend the $100,000 on breakwater study.


July 26, 2007  
Blogger lynzeymarie said...

As a surfer originally from Long Beach, I am blogging about removing the breakwater. I had never realized that the part actually considered to be the Long Beach Breakwater was built after the war was over. Thank you for this insight.

November 03, 2007  

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