BeachGrit is, as you know, an anti-depressive place where you can come and be amongst friends, learning about the love lives of surf-adjacent celebrities, how they intersect with Kelly Slater and, occasionally, receive hot real-estate advice. The stuff of flowery dreams. Wars and rumors of wars, economic or environmental collapse can momentarily be forgotten except, I suppose, today in the wake of a Washington Post hit piece declaring that iconic Northern California big wave Mavericks is on its way out the door due climate change.
Following the lantern-jawed Grant Washburn, who has been surfing Mavericks since it was “just a rumor,” the report discusses how the cliff ringing the beach is eroding at an alarming rate, crumbling and tumbling into the ocean below.
“You can argue the cause, but you can’t argue the beaches have receded,” Washburn told the outlet. “… People would say, ‘Oh, that’s a 100-year swell; you’re not going to see that again in your lifetime.’ And then like, a month later there would be another one. And it was like, huh? So either guys have the wrong name for this stuff or the scale is broken.”
I completely agree with the overuse of “100-year swell,” and cast an angrily squinted eye Surfline‘s way.
Cheryl Hapke, a coastal geologist who wrote a 2007 survey which declared Mavericks has the fastest eroding cliffs in the state, said, “These atmospheric rivers are problematic because it’s going to cause erosion to increase.”
But what of the wave itself? That cold monster that bubbles from the deep and horrifies?
Well, it breaks on a 5 million-year-old paleo seabed too far out to sea to be affected by cliff erosion though rising sea levels etc. may flatten the wave as it won’t be able to “feel” the reef anymore.
It has been one of the worst winters in memory, according to Washburn, with only a few surf-able days. “It’s kind of a weird setup where you want a storm but not right on you,” he said, adding, “Mavericks has seen some of the biggest waves that I think we ever recorded. But we couldn’t surf them.”
All very sad but silver lining? A grand opportunity for the World Surf League to send Connor O’Leary and Jadson Andre to Half Moon Bay in order to plant some small bushes?