The Chevron reef - El Segundo


Following the Surfrider Foundation's historic legal victory over Chevron, it looks as if an artificial surfing reef will actually be built at El Segundo early next year.

In an unprecedented legal victory, Surfrider forced Chevron to create a surfable reef at El Segundo after the oil giant built a rock groin that wiped out surfing near its marine terminal.

After years of study, scientists have settled on a design that uses large Geotextile bags filled with 15 tons of sand each. The bags will be placed into a triangular mound in the water just beyond the normal surf zone. In theory, the reef should act like a submerged breakwater, creating a lefts and rights depending on the swell.

A few steps must be taken before construction begins. They must finalize the shape of the reef, select an exact location, measure environmental impacts and obtain permits from all the necessary state and local regulatory agencies.

Assuming all of the above goes through, the huge bags will be filled and floated via barge to the new surf site. The designers will rely heavily on wave forecasting services such as Surfline so they don't get swamped during construction

Once it's in, the reef will be monitored closely. Surfrider members will log observations, film the surf, and take periodic profiles of the beach to determine the effects on sand distribution.

The permitting phase should to take about a year, and construction will take place in the spring or fall of 1997.

In an era when it seems no project, however simple, costs less than a million dollars, Chevron has budgeted the whole deal for only $300,000. That's your gasoline dollars at work.