Surfers, Marines Clash Over Famous Beach

Military opposes move to add Trestles to National Register

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2013 3:24 AM CST | Updated Feb 23, 2013 12:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Surfers and Marines are poised to do battle over one of the world's most famous surfing spots. Trestles in southern California has seven of the best surf breaks around and surfers want to see it added to the National Register of Historic Places. But the Marines own the beach, and they fear that adding it to the register might prevent them from using it for mock assaults and other exercises involving nearby Camp Pendleton, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The State Historical Resources Commission is backing the move, which would make Trestles the first surf spot to appear on the register, notes U-T San Diego. But military officials and two Republican state senators say assurances that military use will be unaffected are "unenforceable." Among those supporting the bid are members of the Beach Boys, who mentioned Trestles in their 1963 hit "Surfin' USA." Bruce Johnston wrote to the National Register supporting the application, recalling the days before the beach was opened to public in 1971, when trespassing surfers were chased off by Marines. "Trestles still rocks in 2013!" he wrote.

A surfer at Lowers Trestles near San Clemente, Calif.   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Mark Rightmire)
A surfer arrives at Trestles surf beach in San Clemente, Calif.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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The Beach Boys sing about Trestles. (Listen about the 30-second mark.)   (YouTube)

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