Nature, Man, and Malibu: A Brief Version of a Very Long Story – Part One

Nature, Man, and Malibu - A Brief Version of a Very Long Story - Part One

Thanks for taking the time to review a brief collection of facts that may help you form a better understanding of the natural and man-made dynamics that affect Surfrider Beach. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and as you go through the information, naturally you still may have more questions than answers.
But my goal is only to provide a brief version of how Nature has created, albeit as affected by Man, an amazing natural wonder: the perfect waves we ride at Malibu.
Now, when we started Surfrider to protect the shape of the wave at 1st Point back in 1984, I was working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory writing computer code for spacecraft. Today I’m teaching high school math classes. So I like to think I’m capable of separating facts from fantasy – which is
important when it comes understanding the problems – and controversies – at Malibu.
This isn’t easy when you consider:
• Natural processes that have been going on for thousands of years – and continue to this day;
• How, starting 100 years ago, the Malibu Creek wetlands was transformed forever thanks
human intervention (such as the construction of PCH); and
• the nostalgia of older surfers vs the sciences of weather, watersheds, wetlands, and waves.
So my presentation is only intended to help simplify some of the complex issues involved – as opposed to my trying to explain in detail what is a very long and complicated story.
Then again, as Lance Carson said in his speech to protect the shape of the wave at the hearing back in 1984, “Malibu is like Old Faithful – a natural phenomenon found nowhere else.”
I couldn’t agree more. And if we are to honor that idea, and if we are to consider the issues at Malibu properly, we owe it to ourselves to do some clear thinking. This presentation represents my effort to do just that. – Glenn Hening, July 2019

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