HURRICANE MARIE WAVES
3 days of incredible hurricane driven waves trash Aliso Beach with heavy surf and higher tides. This is so much the case that some of the South Orange County Beaches in the Laguna area including Aliso Beach, have significantly changed. With Hurricane Marie waves in the 8-15 foot range and sometimes bigger for 3 days, the beach erosion has been significant, and the damage to Aliso Beach is quite a spectacle. In all my years chasing waves in this area, I have never seen the kind of damage that Hurricane Marie has provided. As I stared at the beach and noticed the drastic changes to the beach I was left speechless. They are calling Hurricane Marie waves the South Swell of the decade. You won’t get any argument from me there.
One of the most notable differences to Aliso Beach post high surf from Hurricane Marie is the loss of sand. The beach has been beaten back by the powerful waves with tons of sand leaving Aliso and pulled out to sea. Left standing is a 4 foot sand cliff that stretches a couple of feet from the sidewalk that borders the beach. A fire ring fell victim to the pounding waves sliding down the remaining beach sand and into the water. Most of the south end of the beach is now rocky and again, these are rocks I have never seen in my years enjoying Aliso Beach.
The most alarming part of the damage caused by Hurricane Marie Waves at Aliso Beach is the exposure of pilings from the old pier. One particular hacked off pier piling has a piece of metal rebar protruding from the old pier stump that looks like it could impale someone. No joke, it is that concerning. Many years back the County of Orange decided a complete rebuild was unnecessary because the beach was better without a pier. This was amid a Bankruptcy for Orange County and they had just found out from a consulting company that the pier would have to be rebuilt from scratch rather than the Coastal Commission Approved renovation that would cost millions less.
At the end of the day, if there wasn’t the money to rebuild the pier so be it. My question is why didn’t the pier get fully removed. As a wave rider at Aliso Beach, I now have to be concerned about where those pilings are. That is pretty scary to be honest. Hurricane Marie Waves have revealed a few skeletons in the closet for those responsible for the take down of the pier. Rumor has it there is no plan to do anything to remove the newly exposed pilings from a time gone by long ago. It now presents a danger and safety issue for skimmers, surfers, body boarders and swimmers. Perhaps the beach will use natural movements of sand to bury the past once again. For now, the eye sore and the danger is one of many issues facing Aliso Beach post Hurricane Marie Waves and we are all left to wonder how long it will be until this beautiful Laguna Beach heals itself and returns to normal.