Massive tides and high surf significantly damaged the Ocean Beach Pier Thursday night, taking out portions of the railing that washed ashore only to be met by creative locals.
The debris includes small and large pieces of what used to be the pier railing, plus larger items including telephone poles thought to be from south of the pier where the bluffs are collapsing and haphazardly repaired.
Life guards, firefighters, and SDPD were on scene to aid in cleanup efforts, even taking a few slabs of pier wood for themselves.
“We could make a cool bench to put in front of the station,” one of the firefighters said while loading up the truck, “It’s a little piece of history, pretty cool.”
When asked if it was okay for the public to take pier souvenirs, everyone was given the green light.
“They are removing a hazard, it’s a great idea, it's helping us out,” one of the firefighters told me. “Don’t hurt yourself while you’re doing it, don’t go into the surf or on the beach but anything that’s up here on the street is free to take, you know, otherwise its just waste and we’re going to have to haul it to the dump.”
Long time resident, Judd Braun, will soon be opening the Blue Water Grille and was excited to nab a few pieces of history, again.
“I’m opening Blue Water soon, and although I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet, I would love to see it up in the shop,” Braun told me. “I gotta let it dry, then get it off to an artist and see what we can figure out…last time this happened, the major one that ripped off a section of the pier, sometime between ‘82 and ’85 I think it was, I grabbed a bunch of pieces and made planters out of them.”
Kyle, the general manager of Raglan Public Ale House, nabbed a piece about four feet long. “Not sure yet what we’re going to do, maybe do some kind of contemporary art with it, I’ve got a friend Luca Kong, who does Lichtenberg figures-burning into wood-so with this piece hopefully we can turn it into something cool that is representative of OB.”
“I’m going to make a really cool shelf out of this,” Dusty Zamba explained while showing me a large piece of railing and flat slab. “I’ve made shelves in the past, but not using this (pier wood) before.”
Marshall grabbed a piece, “I just want a piece of history, not sure what I’m going to do with it aside from just have it in my apartment.”
Julie had two large slabs of wood, “This one is going to be donated for the OB Christmas auction, a piece of the pier, and this other one I’m not sure yet.”
Within two hours, most, if not all the wood had been reclaimed, leaving very little for the landfill.
“I just watched two women walking up to Newport with a piece of the pier,” said a nearby stranger, “you gotta love the character of Ocean Beach.”