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With wave worries, Bob Hall Pier design gets 2nd look

The progress on deconstruction of Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi in late July. The structure, which was destroyed by Hurricane Hanna in 2020, was originally built in 1950 with two piers. The proposed one-pier design for a new structure would hurt wave action on the beach, according to surfers, who successfully lobbied for a second look at how the pier would be rebuilt. Photo courtesy of Wyatt Productions

The Surfrider Foundation asked Nueces County to design the new Bob Hall Pier to provide better surfing conditions, leading county commissioners to hire Hanson Engineering to evaluate the current design. The vote came during a Commissioners Court meeting Aug. 5.

For $30,000, Hanson Engineering will evaluate design in terms of impact on construction costs and functional use for a variety of groups that use the pier.

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches for everyone.

Currently, the structure is being built with a one-pier design, which surfers say will not provide a good surf break. Before it was destroyed by Hurricane Hanna in 2020, the pier was the site of numerous surfing competitions that drew surfers from across the state.

When word got out that the new design would only have one pier, surfers started a Save the Wave petition asking for a reevaluation of the structure.

A two-pier design enhances wave action, Cliff Schlabach, co-chair of the Surfrider Foundation, told reporters.

"The more pilings you have on the pier, the better quality of the surf," he said. "There's a good possibility with those piers spaced out 66 feet apart, it would be too far apart to make a good surf break."

Schlabach recently met with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales, who told him that Jacobs Engineering, the firm designing the pier, has not completed its work yet. The first drawings were the most economical, she told reporters.

The county is now asking for an analysis of one pier versus two piers in terms of cost. Total cost of the new pier is estimated at nearly $30 million and is due to open sometime next year.

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There are 1 comments.

Nate F —
There is much more than just creating waves that we want the city to take a second look at pertaining the currently proposed design. Obviously as surfers, we would like it to create good sand bars. But good sandbars also create strong guts. Both are good for fishing, which is a main attraction of the pier. Less pilings creates less habitat for fish to congregate around. Overall, less pilings means less fishable area where you would tend to find fish. This will put fisherman (tourists and locals alike) on top of eachother more despite the poor see extension to the length of the pier. Also, natural guts create a buffer for swell energies to decrease as they make their way towards shore. In turn, this could help prevent large tidal/swell flooding events leading to erosion. We also have surfed by piers on both West and East coasts. None of them utilize one piling columns. We take storms on the head here, and the design needs to be reevaluated not just for “surfers wishes” or better fishing, but for overall structural integrity of the pier. We want to ensure a pier that is good for everyone, and can last through hurricanes and large winter swells. This is a concern for everyone, not just us.

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