Gaviota Pier Severely Damaged by Storm

Last One-Quarter Disappears Overnight

Gaviota Pier now ends at the boat hoist. Heavy surf threatens to destroy more of the pier tonight, including the boat launch facilities.
Ray Ford

Early this morning when CA State Park rangers checked conditions in their various parks, they discovered that a portion of the pier at Gaviota was gone. Ranger Dustin Patterson estimated that about one-quarter of the pier had been demolished. The structure now ends at the location of the boat hoist, often used to launch fishing and Hollister Ranch surf boats.

View from Gaviota Beach shows the loss of sand and overnight destruction to the pier.
Ray Ford
Pier as it looked just a few months ago on a beach walk west towards Hollister Ranch. Above, what it looks like now.
Ray Ford

“We are especially concerned about the low tide that is now coming in,” Ranger Patterson told me. “Once the level drops enough the surf will start pounding the outer pilings with more force than when the waves broke further onshore.” As we talked I could see several large beams near the boat hoist being knocked back and forth by the waves. It is possible by morning that more of the pier may be gone.

Ray Ford

Patterson also notes that the damage along the coast isn’t limited just to our area. He is hearing reports of damage to the Pismo pier and others nearby. Coastal roadways along the Los Angeles area beaches also are getting hit hard, with some damage to roadways in the Malibu area.

Ray Ford

Not only historic structures like the Gaviota Pier are being affected by the huge waves, coming in waves after wave at from 10-to-15 feet in height. The beach at Gaviota, recently smooth sand, is now large cobblestones and bedrock. When asked how quickly this happened, Patterson replied, “overnight.”

As I traveled back to Santa Barbara at every spot I could see the ocean there were long lines of waves coming in one after the other, from Gaviota to Haskells Beach. For those of us who love walking the beaches, it appears we could wake up tomorrow for a coastline stretching from Gaviota to Rincon Point that is completely different.

Looking west from the Arroyo Hondo viewpoint up the Gaviota coast.
Ray Ford


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.