Big Surf

‘Hammered': Big Surf Damages OB Pier Again

Damage to OB Pier
Jim Grant

For the second time in three years, big waves have damaged San Diego's iconic Ocean Beach Pier.

High surf and a high tide combined on Monday to raise the 10- 12-foot waves up enough to skin at least 100 feet of railing boards off the south side of the pier, a witness told NBC 7.

"Hammered, hammered! Boards everywhwere," San Diego resident Jim Grant said.

Photos: ‘Hammered': Big Surf Damages OB Pier Again

A spokeswoman for San Diego Fire Rescue confirmed the damage on Monday, adding that they don't "know how long [the pier] will be closed because the Parks & Rec Dept. has to send someone to assess once the tide and surf abate."

Grant, who has been going over to OB to shoot the waves for more than 30 years, used his Nikon camera and an 300MM lens -- a rig that would set you back over $3,000 -- to capture some startling shots of the ocean's power.

"Big sections of railing -- looks like easily half of what they repaired is coming off again," Grant said.

Grant was referring to the repairs San Diego Parks & Rec had to make in the spring of 2019 after waves slammed into the pier. The pier underwent about $309,000 of repairs and upgrades after high surf from a winter storm in mid-January ripped off a portion of the railing, forcing an extended closure of the nearly 2,000-foot-long pier.

The Ocean Beach Pier was significantly damaged amid high surf at Southern California beaches.

One startling shot captured by Grant on Monday shows what appears to be a large section of railing being braced on the south side of the pier when, in fact, what the viewer is seeing is really about a dozen of the railing boards themselves that have been shorn from their upright supports by the pounding surf.

As he was standing next to a lifeguard shooting stills, Grant said even the professionals were impressed after a particularly large wave came in: "Lifeguard said, 'That was a legit set right there.' "

Grant, a Linda Vista resident who cleans and seals exterior wood for a living, went over to Ocean Beach on Sunday with his new wife, Anita. He said he suggested going over to watch the big waves as something to do -- the pandemic has mostly kept them housebound since getting married last month; Grant said they have even delayed their honeymoon

There wasn't much to see that day, according to Grant, who said the couple walked all the way out to the end of the pier, with the surf breaking at around 5 feet

It was a different story Monday, though.

"Looked like a conduit or something was just strung out all over the pier, so that's down, that's out," Grant said, adding that he saw seaweed and sand that had shot over the seawall at the foot of Newport at Abbott Street.

Huge waves pounded San Diego's coast on Jan. 11, 2021, including in La Jolla. Bystanders were impressed. Watch the footage -- it's pretty wild.

The big waves weren't only in OB, of course -- plenty of beachgoers spotted high surf pounding the Children's Pool La Jolla as well.

High surf pummeled the Children's Pool in La Jolla on the morning of Jan. 11, 2021. High surf and coastal flood advisories were in effect when SkyRanger 7 captured these images.

The Ocean Beach Pier, which opened in 1966, is the second-longest on the West Coast and the longest concrete pier in the world.

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