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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    VA Beach
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    110

    Question about water quality and rain

    Hey,

    I'm planning a surf trip to La Jolla around Christmas, and was planning on spending my time at Scripps/Blacks. I'm noticing on the weather forecasts though that around three of the days I'll be saying there will have either rain, or be right after a rain event. I understand there are some water quality issues after rain in So Cal, but I was wondering, if there's been enough rain, does that matter anymore? Does the first good rain event basically "flush" the system? Or is it still advisable to not surf during or after it rains due to high bacteria levels, etc.? Just curious, as here on the East Coast we don't really worry about that stuff since it tends to rain pretty consistently throughout the year. I'd hate to travel all the way to SD and not get a chance to surf because of water quality issues.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
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    Public Health Department recommends that ocean users stay out of the water for 72 hours following a major rain event.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hilton Head Island - OB, SD
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    Scripps is usually fine as far as run-off goes. There is a small drain pipe on the cement wall right on the north side of the pier that comes out from the UCSD campus, but there is minimal runoff there. As far as Blacks goes, you are fine there. There is only very minimal run-off at Blacks and most of it is just dirt and sand from La Jolla Farms neighborhood. With the deep water channel behind blacks, you will be fine. I have surfed there many times during and after rain over the past 10 years and never had an issue.

    Places to Avoid: Ocean Beach, from North Sunset Cliffs to the OB Jetty. The San Diego rivermouth empties right out at the Jetty/Dog Beach. There is the worst runoff in the county, as junk and bacteria that have collected in the mostly dry riverbed will light up and runoff into the ocean.... The current travels south out of the river mouth, so OB is always slightly contaminated after the rain....

    If you surf sunset cliffs, MAKE SURE to check the county website and the Union Tribune website... When heavy rain hits San Diego, the county ILLEGALLY will just open the sewage pipe at Sunset Cliffs for hours at a time to prevent Debris from catching in the sewage plant and shutting the whole place down... They get a hefty fine, but when they open that pipe, it sits on the Sea Floor from The south end of the Penninsula and empties 4 miles out, but it litterally can dump MILLIONS of gallons of raw sewage on the cliffs within hours....

    Other than that, Mission Beach is usually clean because its flat with no hillsides behind it and the SD River current takes all the poop to OB.

    La Jolla Reefs are usually OK too. Just avoid rivermouths up in North County... Avoid Del Mar, it has runoff issues as well as Carslbad...

    Like I said, Blacks is the place to go... Deep water channel with mostly natural runoff. Not a ton of oil and gunk.

    Cheers. Enjoy... Catch a few for me on the South Peak... PLEASE!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Hilton Head Island - OB, SD
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    Ohh, and never, ever, ever ever ever ever ever surf IB after it rains... EVER!!!! NEVER NEVER NEVER..... Just trust me on that one... NEVER. I would give it like 2 weeks after rain down there.... And obviously avoid the slough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    VA Beach
    Posts
    110
    Great, thanks for the info! ... Hopefully it won't rain though

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Puerto Rico
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaGaffer View Post
    Public Health Department recommends that ocean users stay out of the water for 72 hours following a major rain event.
    Why? Never heard of anything like that where I live.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by element303 View Post
    Why? Never heard of anything like that where I live.
    Cause of this:

    Quote Originally Posted by zach619 View Post
    Ohh, and never, ever, ever ever ever ever ever surf IB after it rains... EVER!!!! NEVER NEVER NEVER..... Just trust me on that one... NEVER. I would give it like 2 weeks after rain down there.... And obviously avoid the slough.
    You get all kinds of crap in the water here. Between San Diego County and TJ you got almost 5 million people along 90 odd miles of ocean. San Diego Bay is an industrial sewer and has been for 120 odd years.

    The slough is the Tijuana River Estuary, one of the most polluted rivers in North America. It breaks when it storms though and nobody who lives down there stays out. Itís the great unsung big wave break in SoCal. My wifeís IB local, so I know a bunch of that crowd. Those guyís will surf in straight sewage. The maquialladoras arenít too good about keeping industrial pollution out of the water either.

    I don't think I've ever made it 72 hours though, unless I have an open wound or something. Surf's up I go; rain or shine. Iím also almost deaf in my left ear from infections. Sinus infections are common among San Diego surfers, I get those every so often too. Everybody knows somebody whoís had a staph infection (I picked up a MSRA infection; not fun, but that was from the dojo, not surfing). If it's flat, it's a lot easier to keep out of the water a couple of days. Out here, you pay to play.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by zaGaffer View Post
    Cause of this:



    You get all kinds of crap in the water here. Between San Diego County and TJ you got almost 5 million people along 90 odd miles of ocean. San Diego Bay is an industrial sewer and has been for 120 odd years.

    The slough is the Tijuana River Estuary, one of the most polluted rivers in North America. It breaks when it storms though and nobody who lives down there stays out. Itís the great unsung big wave break in SoCal. My wifeís IB local, so I know a bunch of that crowd. Those guyís will surf in straight sewage. The maquialladoras arenít too good about keeping industrial pollution out of the water either.

    I don't think I've ever made it 72 hours though, unless I have an open wound or something. Surf's up I go; rain or shine. Iím also almost deaf in my left ear from infections. Sinus infections are common among San Diego surfers, I get those every so often too. Everybody knows somebody whoís had a staph infection (I picked up a MSRA infection; not fun, but that was from the dojo, not surfing). If it's flat, it's a lot easier to keep out of the water a couple of days. Out here, you pay to play.

    LaJolla like the OP'er said does not get as much runoff, never had a problem here. Other spots to watch out for - Tourmaline in PB, and Cardiff, and the others mentioned. Cardiff got both me and my friend sick a few years back, so I know it was the funky water after a rain (Cardiff is at the San Elijo rivermouth). I surfed Scripps yesterday (after on and off two days rain, and no problems), but if possible I follow the 72 hour rule, esp. down at OB, Cardiff or PB. Good luck.

    -Old's cool

  9. #9
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    Mar 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by old's cool View Post
    LaJolla like the OP'er said does not get as much runoff, never had a problem here. Other spots to watch out for - Tourmaline in PB, and Cardiff, and the others mentioned. Cardiff got both me and my friend sick a few years back, so I know it was the funky water after a rain (Cardiff is at the San Elijo rivermouth). I surfed Scripps yesterday (after on and off two days rain, and no problems), but if possible I follow the 72 hour rule, esp. down at OB, Cardiff or PB. Good luck.

    -Old's cool
    This rain is sucking it. I’m dodging all river mouths, lagoon openings or breaks by a creek or stream. It’s getting funky out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by zach619 View Post
    Ohh, and never, ever, ever ever ever ever ever surf IB after it rains... EVER!!!! NEVER NEVER NEVER..... Just trust me on that one... NEVER. I would give it like 2 weeks after rain down there.... And obviously avoid the slough.
    My Father In Law still eats the Pismo clams down there! He’s got some plywood squares with 3” sheet metal screws drilled through ‘em that he glued to an old pair of Chucks. He stomps around after surfing looking for ‘em. Brings a couple home and either fries them up or makes ceviche. Then he gets all bent out of shape that no one else will eat any. “I’ve been eating them my whole life. Never did me any harm.” They’re bi-valves from the TJ River! Dinner at the in-laws can be a gamble sometimes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
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    Here's a disclaimer:

    I'm not a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, acupuncturist, or witch shaman bruja. If you use any of these things you will die. Don't go surfing before it rains, when it rains or after it rains. Surfing dangerous, better you watch from the beach, I’ll go check it out and make sure it's okay.

    My SoCal Dirty Water survival kit:
    Mack's Silicone Ear Plugs - wear them (almost) every time I get in the water
    Hydrogen Peroxide - Clean out the ears and any cuts
    QTips - See above
    Sterile Saline Spray - Spray up the nose until it starts running down the mouth. Do this one in the shower, no fun.
    Neosporin – apply this to any cuts you have as you until they are completely healed
    Hibiclens – This is some serious anti-septic/anti-microbial soap. MMA guys swear by this stuff; MRSA is no fun. Expensive though, 10 bucks for 8oz. bottle soap. I use it on open cuts.
    Gentian Violet – seriously if you don’t know what this, you probably shouldn’t fool with it. I’m using it on an infected fin ding on my heel right now. It will tattoo you, I’m not lying. It will stain porcelain. It’s a dye and a powerful anti-septic. If you spill it on the carpet, it ain’t my fault. I keep this stuff way up on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet.
    Presidente Brandy - For medicinal purposes only, I keep it in a barrel around my emu Jak’s neck like a St Bernard dog, so it’s legit. He waits at the top of the cliff.