A rift is forming between marines and surfers, over a stretch of land considered sacred to surfers, but owned by the military.
The Surfrider Foundation is trying to protect Trestles Beach, and it could be the first actual state beach and surf spot that would be set aside and recognized at the national level as historically significant and preserved as such.
The beach, spanning more than 2 miles, is often called the “mecca” of surfing and it’s owned by the military.
Since the 1971, Trestles has been leased out as a state beach and open for surfers to enjoy.
“This is the spot in the continental U.S. where you can get the greatest surfing in the world,” longtime surfer Rick Wilson told NBC 7 San Diego.
Wilson said he remembers risking up to six months in jail to surf there as a teen when the military still owned the land.
“They’d give you these warnings and sometimes confiscated your surfboard,” he said.
The Surfrider Foundation is now trying to make Trestles a national historic site.
"There are threats of toll road, of coastal development of water, environmental impairments so that's why Surfrider has to remain diligent,” said Angela Howe with Surfrider.
But this beach is equally important to the military, serving as a unique area for specialized training.
Despite opposition from Camp Pendleton, the State Historical Resources Commission recommended that it be listed as a historic site last week
The Marine Corps says this designation threatens the base's mission and released a statement saying, “One of Camp Pendleton's primary mission is to provide ...the training opportunities necessary to ensure combat readiness. The requested designation...poses unacceptable risks to this essential military training."
The Navy and Marine Corps also said they will continue to support shared use and remain committed to ensuring the beach remains a widely available and accessible resource.
Surfrider says military training won't be impacted and they just want to protect Trestles for generations of surfers to come.
"You see fathers surfing with their sons and fathers and sons and grandsons you know surfing together,” said Wilson. “It's something that is different three really than any other place in Southern California.”