Harry's, Baja California, Mexico
PAST SITE – ENDANGERED WAVES
Just like that, after a few days of heavy equipment moving rocks, another world-class surf spot is gone. Sempra-Shell, defying an injunction that a Mexican judge had slapped on their LNG plant proposal, resumed construction on their hotly-contested facility and buried the surf spot within days. Wildcoast director Serge Dedina stumbled upon the wreckage in the first week of July, and witnessed the dump trucks as they covered Harry’s in an earthen grave.
The events surprised the coalition of surfers and environmental groups that has been battling the proposal over the past year, especially considering the fact that Sempra’s ownership of the property has been under dispute since 2003. A lawsuit filed by a Mexico City businessman claims that Sempra-Shell is not the legal owner of the property, which he claims is actually 3 kilometers south of the site. Land disputes of this nature are not at all uncommon in Mexico, where title searches do not always yield reliable results. In response to the ownership dispute, a federal court issued an injunction that nullified Sempra’s permits to develop the site.
Wildcoast organized numerous events over the past year to heighten public attention about the problem, and had even flown with a group of surfers to Sacramento to meet with state politicians and present their case to Governor Schwarzenegger. Save The Waves had initiated a large letter-writing campaign to the governor and was generating a petition in protest to the LNG facility. Apparently, the efforts fell upon deaf ears, and once again, big industry interests won out over recreational pursuits.
Harry’s was discovered by San Clemente’s Greg and Rusty Long and Surfer Magazine photographer Jason Murray, who surfed the isolated big-wave spot in early 2003, but kept the location secret, fearing an influx of big-wave riders from nearby San Diego. The May 2003 issue of Surfer featured Harry’s on its cover.
When the plans were unveiled for Shell-Sempra’s 600-million-dollar LNG (liquid natural gas) terminal, the surfers decided to let their secret out. “If the construction of the LNG terminal goes ahead, we are going to lose one of the most dynamic and beautiful waves in the North Pacific,” said Jason Murray.
Harry’s – Rest In Peace.