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Video: Shore Acres' Last Show for S. Oregon Coast - Or is it?

Published 05/06/22 at 4:55 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Shore Acres' Last Show for S. Oregon Coast - Or is it? (Video)

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(Coos Bay, Oregon) – It looks like Coos Bay's Shore Acres cliffs put on their last show for the season, until October anyway. This is the place where massive waves erupt against these cliffs, propelled by unique conditions beneath, the watery pyrotechnics launching as high as 250 feet in the air. Probably the biggest single show on the entire Oregon coast, it's usually gone by late March. (Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast)

That's all folks, you could say, like the cartoon character. But one weather analyst says you should never say “never.”

This year has been a freakishly wet one and a wild one. So, the big show went on even later than usual. In fact, it was April 22 and Joan Martelli was out at the south Oregon coast landmark and she caught some rollicking wave action on that day.

“It was a great day to be at Shore Acres ... the waves were rockin' and it was sunny with no wind,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection, providing this video as proof.

According to local photographer Steven Michael Smith, Shore Acres did have a couple high surf events in April, something that isn't common but it's not completely rare, either. He keeps close records of the wild wave events there and said he has nothing that went beyond Easter in previous years.

Video courtesy Joan Martelli

According to the data he has, there won't be another such event until October.

Those kinds of facts, stats and predictions are what the Medford office of the National Weather Service (NWS) deals with. They oversee weather for the entire southern Oregon coast. Brian P. Nieuwenhuis, a meteorologist there, agrees that it isn't exactly rare for Shore Acres to get raging this late in the year. He talked about the reasons these happened.

“It all depends on what kind of storm activity is going on out in the Pacific, Nieuwenhuis said. “If big windstorms are happening in the north Pacific, off Alaska or even Japan, and the winds in that storm are pointed in our direction, the resulting longer period swells (big waves coming from a long distance) are what puts on the show at Shore Acres. This happens mostly between November and March, but can come in a bit earlier or later than that. As much as we would like it to, the weather doesn't always follow our calendar.”

Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

Nieuwenhuis said this year was a strange one for everywhere, and on the Oregon coast there wasn't much storm activity for the first couple of months. Yet March and April got really active and it's continuing now. Case in point: Portland's constant soaking in recent weeks. Nieuwenhuis said all that gels with the general weather patterns across the state – from Portland down through Brookings.

This brings him to a surprise conclusion: it's not entirely impossible that we'll see yet another towering wave display from Shore Acres.

“The chances of another show this spring is pretty low, but I wouldn't say they are zero,” Nieuwenhuis said. “If a big windstorm blows up out there, we could see another one, but that is more and more unlikely as we head into summer.”

Nieuwenhuis said the NWS office in southern Oregon does have records of some very late season events from Shore Acres. The database is big, so while he hasn't seen another such event listed yet, his educated guess is there are some May occurrences of large waves for the place.

Now, Shore Acres will slowly begin transitioning into a more mellow state and a host of new attractions for spring, summer and fall, according to Janice Langlinais, executive director of Coos Bay - North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Waters get calmer and tidepools along Sunset Bay, Cape Arago and Simpson Beach are more accessible. The lower part of Shore Acres (where people take all the big wave photographs from) won't get slammed as much by large waves, but they still do happen, Langilais said.

It's a different world out on this part of the south Oregon coast soon. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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