SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — After historic rain storms this winter, the huge amount of debris being washed up on Santa Cruz shores is making a sturdy pair of shoes the must-have fashion accessory at the beach.

“I like the sun, but I don’t like the debris,” said beachgoer Fatima Reis.

Sky Drone Five shot footage Monday of some of the most popular beaches in the Santa Cruz area, starting with Seabright Beach.

Months of storm runoff had deposited massive amounts of wood and debris. The beaches with the worst debris problems are the ones right next to rivers.

Seabright sits next to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. The western end took the brunt of it.

The good news is that any debris that gets near the shoreline gets washed out to sea.

Next, KPIX 5 traveled to Rio Del Mar State Beach where there was enough driftwood to build a small patio deck.

Rio Del Mar is right next to the mouth of Aptos Creek, which explains the tons of debris that washed down from the mountains.

The Rio is 200 to 300 feet wide, so chances are good you’ll find a clear spot.

The upside is all that wood actually comes in handy for bonfires.

The spot with the most debris may have been Capitola Beach, where dozens of people are getting cozy on a small wedge of land where there seemed to be more wood than sand.

I “actually got a stick and got rid of all the smaller sticks that were there, and all the rocks,” said Reis. “I tossed it aside to make room to put up my tent. That’s kind of annoying. It is.”

Back in January, in the middle of winter, the main beach was littered with debris. But after the annual spring break cleanup a few weeks ago, it is much cleaner.

The city brought in bulldozers and pushed the debris out to the ocean.

However, the flow from Soquel Creek is so strong, it has cut off access to the main beach. That means everyone is crammed onto the side beach.

“We have no choice,” explained Reis. “It’s either that or don’t come to the beach.”

Capitola officials say they hope the flow from the river will die down. That will allow them to come in and bury all that debris by Memorial Day.


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