The Eighties

The decade of the Eighties was marked by efforts to preserve the physical elements of the beach and begin to commemorate the traditions of the past. While challenges continued the SOSC met them with continued vigilance.

From 1971 to 1982, the State did very little to improve conditions at the surf beach. They built a different entrance with a toll gate, began charging $2 per day, slipped in an occasional life guard tower and placed logs all along the road to separate the road and parking area from the beach. The most notable change was to restrict maximum occupancy to 350 vehicles at any given time.

In 1982, the State built five restroom buildings on the bluff side of the road with an outdoor, cold-water shower at each. By 1983, the run-off water from those showers was literally destroying the road with ever deepening trenches. SOSC President Bob Fitzgerald had pleaded and reasoned for several months with State Parks District Superintendent to let SOSC correct the problem. The answer was always the same: “It has to wait for approval from Sacramento.” Finally, Bob took the bull by the horns and work parties were formed and the water lines were piped under the road and new showers were constructed on the beach side of the road. As a result, bamboo flourished with the water run-off, and the road was once again saved by your SOSC.

Thirty years after SCOC’s inception, the Club officially designated June 30th as Founders Day, in 1982. Designing a special invitation from an old photo of San Onofre, the Club commemorated the date with one of its most memorable parties, bringing members from far and wide across various decades. It was a poignant celebration, where many of the old timers would get together for the last time.

Some years are remembered for the memorable events, some for the great weather, some for the epic surf. At San Onofre, the south swells are the most impressive, when the south facing beach and cobblestone shelf create a picture of point perfection. For San Onofre the summer of 1984 was one of those. Big, deep-fetch Southern Hemi’s from New Zealand, combined with back–to-back Mexican Chabascos, created weeks of solid overhead swell. As word traveled up and down the coast, surfers traveled from both north and south of San ‘O to sample the long reeling waves. And there was so much surf nobody seemed to even notice the extra crowds.

Although everyone had always celebrated it, in 1985 a group of people at San ‘O began to formally celebrate Memorial Day with a formal flag raising ceremony, complete with Kate Smith belting “God Bless America”, and Mike Gleason on the bugle. The festivities include some very innovative imbibing, courtesy of the Green family.

And even though no one can remember the precise year, the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip (a dawn patrol go out with no wetsuits) is a tradition that is firmly entrenched from the mid-eighties.

Next: The Ninties

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