Malibu’s Pier: Surf and Birds
I realize the title of this post doesn’t make any sense. Hang on. I will explain the relationship in a zilch.
Malibu, like many other cities in California, has a pier that has become an icon due to its position on an area that was once called the Riviera of America (it is still the Riviera of the rich and famous). In these latitudes, piers are constructed for sport fishing related reasons (you do not need a license to fish on piers).
Make no mistake. This particular pier does not attract people from many parts of the world because of its bait and tackle shops or because of the boats that depart every day in search of halibut, sea bass and rockfish. A festive atmosphere where flavorsome food is shared in good company has something to do with the magnetism of this place. But there are many other reasons that make the area around the pier a pleasurable stop for those in search of something different.
I am going to start defending my case with a simple observation. The views (oh glorious views) are incredible from the pier. To the back, you have the Santa Monica Mountains. After composing hundreds of photos, you are still discovering different vegetation types, copious soil colors and neat houses hanging from steep cliffs.
To the opposite side, there are vast ocean views. But wait, the water has a different shade here (in comparison to beaches located to the south). The soft moving waves are saturated with cyan and robin egg blue hues. It is like the grim effects of industrialization have never touched this space.
On top of that, there is a two story building at the tip of the pier. Visitors have access to the balcony-like upper floor. From there, it is more exciting to take a look at the surroundings. I don’t know if it is just me but I have never seen another pier from where you can scan the surface like a seagull.
Then, adjacent to the pier, you have the surfers. I know. There are always people riding the waves next to the pier. However, this surfing spot is different. This beach, formerly known as Surfrider Beach, has achieved the status of legend in surfing circles.
The right break on the beach is widely recognized by surfers all over the world and has contributed to the elevation of surfing as a sport and culture. The spot is so highly regarded that in 2010 it was declared the first World Surfing Reserve (by an organization aiming to protect global surf areas).
So, I think you get it. For some, this is not an ordinary beach. If you are a surfer, you have found your pot of gold. For those of us that have never put a foot on a surfboard, it is still a cool experience to see people sharing the waves. It is possible to watch students practicing their moves before getting to the water.
My favorite part of this beach is where the Malibu Creek hits the sea. An estuary (called Malibu Lagoon) is created at the mouth of the creek (the buildup created by the creek is what makes the surf break so good). Migratory birds use the lagoon as a rest stop. The best part? You do not have to wait for a migration. Every time I have visited, dozens of pelicans, cormorants and seagulls are hanging around in the shallow waters. It is just a beautiful spectacle.
It is not difficult to cross the creek on foot and take a look at the birds from the other side. Once you have crossed, there is not a lot more walking to do since a fence restricts the access. At that time, it is better to take another look at your surroundings, park yourself for a day or move on to another gorgeous beach.
Tips to navigate the area:
– The beach adjacent to the pier is officially called Malibu Creek State Beach (even though many refer to it as Surfrider Beach). Do not confuse the name with the Malibu Creek State Park (that is another place).
– The beach has an official parking lot but you can park for free on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Try to cross the street at designated areas.
– The Adamson House, a National Historical Landmark and famous for its extensive tile work, is adjacent to the beach. It can be visited from Wednesday to Saturday (there is an entrance fee).
– If you are planning to stay for the day, there are places to eat nearby. However, it is a good idea to take water and snacks.
– Do not disturb the birds at the estuary. Observe from a prudent distance.
See how my title makes total sense. How can we paraphrase it? The beach where surfers ride waves next to an estuary filled of birds. Kind of long but I like it. The important thing is that the separated elements are waiting for our visit.
Have you visited Malibu’s Pier?