When breaking waves are broken

Some of the most beautiful waves on this planet have taken thousands of years to become perfect breaks. Sadly, it only takes a few months and a couple of bulldozers to destroy them. This is Harry’s story.

© TheBrockenInaGlory/Wiki Commons

© TheBrockenInaGlory/Wiki Commons

Harry was born in Mexico, on the northern coast of Baja California. No one knows his last name or where in the ocean his family originated from. It’s not relevant, although people tend to be interested in such things. More importantly, Harry was diagnosed with Fluctus malum seven years ago, an incurable disease that leads to rapid deterioration of the wave tissue within a couple of months. His closest friends (conservationists) and family members (local surfers) were shocked when they heard the news, because Harry’s one of the big-wave surf spots par excellence. Well, was one of the big-wave surf spots. Harry’s died in 2008.

© wramsite.com

Costa Azul, the first LNG receipt terminal on North America’s western coast with one of the long rock jetties in the foreground.                                                     © wramsite.com

When the two major energy companies Sempra Energy and Shell Oil decided to build the $975-million terminal ‘Costa Azul’ for the production and processing of liquified natural gas (LNG), the project not only destroyed Harry’s. It also bulldozed its way through one of the most pristine stretches of Mexican coastline. Where the shallow-water right-hand barrels of Harry’s once crested and kissed the shore, now stand two rock jetties protecting the LNG tankers. Despite a hard-fought campaign led by Wildcoast, Save the Waves Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation, this unique surfing spot is now lost to future generations.

© Jason Murray/murrayphotos.com

Destroyed: Harry’s, once located 12 miles north of Ensenada in northern Mexico, now merely a memory frozen in time by photographer Jason Murray.                                         © murrayphotos.com

Where one surf spot is lost, another is preserved

Despite the sad ending of Harry’s, there’s also reason to rejoice: In January 2013, World Surfing Reserves and Save the Waves Coalition announced that Bahia Todos Santos in Baja California has been officially declared a World Surfing Reserve. Todos Santos Bay is from now on a protected surf zone, the sixth worldwide, that extends in a triangular shape from the break ‘Stacks’ in the south to the island of Isla Todos Santos in the west (including the famous big-wave break ‘Killers’) and to Salsipuedes in the north.

© Save the Waves Coalition

© Save the Waves Coalition/Google Earth

The region not only harbours an ocean playground for surfers and other sea-bound enthusiasts, but offers a beautiful coastline with towering cliffs and headlands, islands and natural bays. As a stopping point for migrating grey whales, it is pleasing to know that the bay and its marine ecosystem will keep on providing a habitat for numerous fish, crustacean and bird species… and surfers.

© World Surfing Reserves

The waves in Bahia Todos Santos are now protected by a World Surfing Reserve, one of six on the planet. © World Surfing Reserves

Some of the most beautiful waves on this planet have taken thousands of years to become perfect breaks. Thankfully, a few of them will be preserved.


One response to “When breaking waves are broken

  1. Pingback: Surfers Against Sewage: Protect our Waves | FRAMED by nflemming·

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