South Coast Project Looking At Surf Conditions, Sea Level Rise Enlisting Surfers For Research

Jan 13, 2020

It was a big weekend for surfers on the Central and South Coasts, with what’s known as “king tides” hitting the region’s beaches. Some Cal State Channel Islands researchers are trying to use the combination of surfers, and the monster tides to help us learn more about what’s happening short term, and long term along our coastline.

Dan Reineman is an Environmental Science and Resource Management professor at Cal State Channel Islands. He says two Cal State Channel Islands students are doing the fieldwork for the project, which means talking to surfers to gather their observations.

Ashlee Phelps and Ryan O’Sullivan set up camp for the weekend at Surfer’s Point in Ventura, which is near the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The researchers are also surfers themselves, and know that the surf community has been monitoring local conditions for decades, and can talk knowledgeable about what they are observing.

Reineman says they are testing the concept locally this year, with plans for a national rollout. The professor says they are looking at two things: Short term, and long term impacts to surf, and the coastline. He says while climate change, and sea level rise are a part of the long term picture, artificial efforts to protect the coastline from the sea are having more immediate impacts.

The researchers are going through the information they gathered over the last few days. Phelps says they’re also gearing up for the next King Tides in February and hoping to line up more volunteers. If you want to take part in the study, here’s the link:  www.coastography.org/kingtides