Proposed surf park in California desert is rejected by La Quinta City Council
A surfing contest at the Redondo Pier in Malibu in 2007
Randy Nelson | The Times Editorial Page
Sandy Dille, who runs a surf shop on the beach at Redondo Beach, knows that a California beach is not a surf park for kids. The area’s long history of beach access and the natural topography of Redondo Beach make for a challenging environment from which to build, and even the most experienced surfer won’t find a perfect spot on Redondo Beach.
But the proposed Redondo Beach Surf Camp, a proposed surf park in the coastal desert about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara County, is the kind of ambitious, high-concept venture that Dille has long championed. The idea is to turn Redondo Beach into an outdoor-education destination, with classrooms for surf camps and a series of oceanfront surf lesson sessions. Surfers who learn and practice on the beach can then be taught to surf at a surf camp. The surf camps could offer surf camps at both Redondo Beach and Newport Beach, with both locations conveniently reached by bus or train, or a free shuttle. The camp would offer lessons by the hour, not by the day, so students could go to the ocean as often as they like.
“I’m very aware of what the local landscape is, and what the place needs,” Dille said.
Dille’s ideal Redondo Beach surf camps could cater to 10,000 students in eight weeks, but the proposal has run into trouble with the City Council of La Quinta, the site of the $5 million Redondo Beach Surf Camp proposed by Dille and his partner, Mark Zwack, who have been working with local environmental groups and the Santa Barbara County Coastal Conservancy on the project. The plan would be the first of its kind ever proposed in the area, and Dille has been working tirelessly to get it approved by local residents and elected officials. His efforts have been opposed by La Quinta City