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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Beach Campers Buck the Tide in Good Humor

August 03, 2000

Campers at Doheny State Beach got a surprise soaking during high tide Tuesday night when 7-foot waves flooded their campsites, sending them scrambling and damaging the campground. Kelp, trash and lots of seawater washed over personal belongings and tents, but hardy campers--none of whom were injured--stuck it out, either moving inland or camping out in their cars.

John Boal, a real estate agent from Upland, has been camping regularly at Doheny for about 35 years. During a game of Scrabble with friends, the water began flooding in.

"We just lifted our feet and kept playing. [But] it's very strange to see this wall of water," he said. "It's just coming right at you and there's nothing you can do about it except watch it."

Ranger Jody Kummer said the 34 campsites had been reserved for at least seven months. Even though the campsites are more than 100 yards from the water, almost all of them suffered at least minor damage.

The beach itself also changed. The surf carried much of the sand around the campground back out to sea, Kummer said. Where the beach was once flat it now has a gully, and on Wednesday a berm was built. However, waves generally were about half the size of those seen Tuesday.

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