High Surf Conditions Damage Structures, Force State Park Closures

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Damage Sustained By Cove House

High surf conditions due to Hurricane Marie are causing an increased number of rescues and damaging Malibu structures up and down the coast, including the Cove House Lifeguard Administrative building at Point Mugu State Park – Sycamore Cove. The historic building may be destroyed by the conditions, according to District Superintendent Craig Sap.

“This is nothing the building has seen before,” Sap reported of the waves hitting the Cove House, which has been converted into State Park office space. “This would be a significant loss.”

Officials were able to remove first aid supplies and computers and disconnect the power before anything too significant happened to the structure, which was built in the 1970s.  

As of 2:30 p.m., Sap reported that the building had sustained “a good amount of damage,” and he described cracks that appeared near the door. The 12-16 feet of sand that is usually separating the water from the bedrock has disappeared, and the water is now directly hitting the bedrock. Sap explained that the building is lifting from the piling. 

“There’s nothing we can do but wait,” Sap explained. Losing the building to the waves is a possibility, so Sap and State Park Officials are closely monitoring the situation.

The high surf conditions have also forced the closure of several State Park areas, including the Malibu Pier, Thornhill Broome Campground, and day-use parking lots from R.H. Meyer Memorial State Beach to Mugu Beach.

According to California State Park officials, the Malibu Pier lost seven pilings on Tuesday, with an additional three overnight. The pier will remained closed until at least Friday.

The approximately 20 campers at Thornhille Broome were asked to leave and given suggestions for alternate locations. The campground is expected to remain closed through at least Friday afternoon as well.

But the high waves and yesterday’s death of a surfer are not enough to keep people away from the beach. According to Lifeguard Capt. Howell, 20 rescues have been made as of Wednesday afternoon. Capt. Remy Smith explained that lifeguards are using a personal water craft (in this case, a jet ski) to perform some of the rescues.

“We’re going to have a guy deployed on the jet ski until dark,” Capt. Smith said of the rescue team.

Capt. Howell says that the high surf conditions are expected to last through the weekend, with a peak of today and tomorrow.