CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When Cliff Schlabach surfs around Bob Hall Pier on the Island in Corpus Christi, it gives him an exhilarating feeling.
“I consider the beach out here to be my home. Surfing is my sport and not just a sport, but a lifestyle,” he said.
He’s been surfing for over 60 years and around Bob Hall Pier since the 80s. The tranquility and smooth waves around Bob Hall Pier have quickly become one of his favorite spots to surf in the Coastal Bend.
“It has good quality, it has good length, it allows for all kinds of good maneuvers on the waves,” Schlabach said.
However, Bob Hall Pier is currently being demolished and soon it will be rebuilt. The foundation holding up the pier that is being demolished has double piles.
The new pier will have single piles and that’s an issue for Schlabach. He said the more piles a pier has, the better quality of the surf.
“You can see white water in different spots. That is the surf break. That’s called a line-up. It moves as the conditions change and that’s what surfers are looking for. They’re looking for a line-up spot where they can take off from,” he explained while looking out at the waves.
Schlabach stressed that he’s not asking for anything extra to be added to the design of the pier.
“All we’re asking is that whenever the new Bob Hall pier is built, it doesn’t destroy the surf break that we currently have,” he said.
The Surfrider Foundation is working with Nueces County leaders and Jacob’s Engineering, the pier’s engineering team.
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said she’s on board with the Surfrider Foundation’s requests and said she would be willing to put more money towards the changes.
Ryan Turner, the Surfrider Foundation’s Coastal Bend chapter’s vice chair said that if the new pier's design is kept, surfers would not go to Bob Hall Pier.
Instead, he said they would surf around other piers and create crowded spaces.
“When we have all the surfers in one spot, it starts to be unsafe and overcrowded, and additionally that’s why we would love to have that open as well because you know, that’s preserving surf culture but it kind of spreads us all out and we get to have different breaks,” Turner said.