Gaviota Pier Damaged by Strong Waves Along California Coast

Image: Gaviota Pier Damaged by Strong Waves Along California Coast

Monday, 03 Mar 2014 12:10 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Strong waves along the Pacific coast damaged about one-quarter of southern California's historic Gaviota Pier northwest of Santa Barbara on Saturday morning.

The pier, a popular fishing spot in Gaviota State Park, was slammed by waves as high as 10 to 15 feet Saturday morning, park ranger Dustin Patterson told the Santa Barbara Independent.

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"We are especially concerned about the low tide that is now coming in," Patterson said. "Once the level drops enough the surf will start pounding the outer pilings with more force than when the waves broke further onshore."

Jack Crouch, of Solvang, Calif., told KCOY-TV he was shooting video on the pier shortly before it was damaged. 

"There weren't big waves when we first got there," Crouch said. "We started noticing the pier was shaking and swaying back and forth, so we left the pier."

Ten minutes later, a large portion of the pier collapsed.

"I stayed for one more big set of waves and then we ran. It was kind of scary. I'd say it was about 200 feet (that collapsed) from the hoist to the end. Normally that's where everyone fishes," he said.

Patterson told the Santa Barbara Independent that there was damage to other coastal structures in the area as well, including Pismo Pier. The ranger warned of damage to coastal roads in Los Angeles and Malibu this weekend.

Gaviota Pier, a 529-foot pier, dates back to 1943 when the Navy first built it as a 420-foot crash boat pier. El NiƱo storms in 1998 damaged the pier, and it was not reopened fully until May 2000.

KEYT-TV reported that several employees at The Beachside Bar-Cafe in Goleta, Calif., were hurt Saturday while they were trying to secure outdoor furniture and close up the patio area of the restaurant at Goleta Beach County Park. 

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