Whale Wars

By, Zack Gardner | Videographer

May 7, 2016

The surf community of San Clemente was recently impacted when a large whale washed up at one of the most prominent surf spots in the world. Lower Trestles typically holds a crowd of 50-100 people on any given day, yet this number decreased to zero following the sighting of a 60,000 pound beached whale. Residents and tourists gathered around the deceased animal, staring in shock and disgust as they pieced together the effects this incident would bring in the future.

I set out to interview students from around the high school, focusing primarily on the staff, as they could provide insight on the aftermath of the whales’ removal. Mr. Kerr, currently a physics teacher, provided his understanding of the environment by talking about the exact impacts the whale would have on the surrounding area. Previously a California State lifeguard, Kerr heavily advised against the removal of the whale, as “it is important that we protect the natural environment and the way it is supposed to be.”

Mr. Wilson, another member of the science department, had a different opinion, as he believed the way the whale was removed was proper. “They didn’t dig a hole and have it decompose, oozing oils and fats to chum the waters for years to come,” Wilson said.

Although not a member of the science faculty, history teacher Mr. Popovich provided his opinion from the standpoint of a San Clemente local. “The whale in an ideal world should have been taken back out to sea,” Popovich said. The various ways in which to remove the whale were all taken into account by the San Clemente committee who made the ultimate decision to move the 30 ton whale to a local dump, despite opposition from environmental activists.

This event will be talked about for years by surfers and local residents, as the infestation of sharks could be a massive blow to the surf community. Lowers still holds its role as one of the top surf breaks in the world, and unfortunately for locals, the summer crowd will not be impacted due to the occurrence.

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