September 26, 2012

Photo Essay: Surfridge, LAX's Beachside Ghost Town, Part 3

[Last updated 8/16/21 4:59 PM PT—video embed added at bottom of post]

...continued from Parts One and Two...

The last time I visited Surfridge, I made it as far as Sandpiper Street, its last remaining street with an actual sign that's not fenced off. Although currently blocked to traffic, and prohibits pedestrians, it's not exactly closed.

Per se.

But because I cut through Sandpiper, there remained a whole chunk of Surfridge I hadn't seen: the section that lies closest to LAX, bordered by the Imperial Highway.

Because I was certain there must be a way in—a way in to see nothing, because really there is nothing left to see—I had to go back. I am a completionist.

Upon my return visit, I drove around most of the periphery I'd missed previously, seeing nothing but that ubiquitous fence, and a few signs indicating the El Segundo blue butterfly rehabilitation area.

That is, until I reached Vista Del Mar, the road that separates Surfridge from the beach.

At this point, the impenetrable fence - which casts its shadow across everything that lies in its interior - is completely covered in grayish-brownish beach, which clings to camera and hand when pressed against to get an unobstructed shot.

There is plenty of rubble at this end of Surfridge, relics from the widespread demolition of all of Surfridge's residential and commercial properties, large and small.

The bluffs are higher here, and sand seems to have blown up from the beach or down from the peaks to cover up whatever remains of the razed community.

Sea birds flourish.

In this section, I started to question whether LAX had actually built some runways, because the paved surfaces looked too wide, too recent, too maintained to be merely abandoned roads.

Some of the vestiges looked downright...industrial.

And then there's an odd patch of green - Vista del Mar Park - that juts into the bluffs surrounding a palm grove. It's a small lawn, a tiny playground, surrounded on three sides by abandonment, and one side by an ocean view.

At least someone gets to enjoy it.

A few steps later, you're back to roads, weeds and sandy fencing.

Most of the lampposts (which apparently still light at night) line Vista del Mar, but a couple of them got trapped inside the fence, behind the barbed wire.

Those that haven't been removed altogether serve as reminders that Surfridge was a real town once, and not just a big empty plot...

...with a palm-lined boulevard...

...retaining walls and foundations of buildings that once stood.

The hills roll dramatically, the closer you get to LAX.

But you can never escape the shadow of the fence.

In my final trek around Surfridge, I witnessed plenty of additional patches in the chainlink, indicating that at some point or another, there was a way - and multiple ways - in. But for the timebeing, it is very much closed to the public.

And I could only loiter for so long...

Update 8/16/21—
Surfridge has starred in a number of movies and TV shows, but you can also get a good look inside the fence in the above music video for the song "I'll Be Good" by Rene & Angela. 

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